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When it comes to small businesses in the online realm, it’s not always a case of, “If you build it, they will come.” There are so many competitors across every industry now, that effectively promoting your business online means making your voice heard and standing out in the crowd.

As a small business, you might not have access to enormous reserves of funds allocated towards your marketing budget – so that means you need to be savvy about how you promote and market yourself online. Check out our top cost-effective ways to market your small business online.

Use social media

Social media has been the marketing revelation of the decade. It didn’t take long for businesses to realise that they could reach out to their target customer base on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook – and it’s now progressed to a point where consumers expect all brands to have a social media presence. Establish yours early, and post regular, optimised content that provides real value for your audience. Endless sales posts are good for no one – social media marketing is more about engagement than it is promotion.

Start a blog

Creating a business blog has a multitude of benefits – not only will regularly updating your site with fresh, original content offer plenty of SEO goodness, it will encourage visitors to spend longer your website, and will help to position you as an expert within your particular field. You can also share your blogs online, on social media and blog-sharing websites, which will enhance your web traffic, too.

As well as starting your own blog, you should make an effort to engage with other blogs and influential bloggers in your field. Who knows – one of them may reciprocate and share your content!

Build your email list

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach out to potential customers. It may be tough, at first, to convince website visitors to part with their email address, but there are plenty of free tools online which can help you to build your email list and reap all the benefits of email marketing. If you’re still establishing your credibility as a firm, try offering users an incentive to sign up to your mailing list – a whitepaper, a how-to guide or some free resources should do the trick.

Utilise local directories

Localised marketing is very important in today’s world, where everyone can share their location and look up local businesses on their smartphones and tablets. Make sure you capitalise on this by listing your business on directories including Google Places for Business, Yelp, Thompson Local and FreeIndex.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is the only paid option on the list, but it’s easy to restrict your spending, so you can keep a close eye on your budget. If you’re a new business, with a new website, AdWords can help give you the kick-start you need in terms of ranking for your targeted search terms – so you can work on ranking organically in the meantime. If you can target the right keywords, the ROI from AdWords can be considerable.

Which cost-effective methods do you use to market your business? Let us know in the comments!

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