Marketing. Does that single word cause you to want to scream or run away? Well, it doesn't need to cause that kind of reaction. Although every business, large or small, needs to market themselves on a regular basis, there is no need to be afraid of it. You really just need to do what is comfortable for you. One thing you can do is market your business online, and it is easier than you think. Here are seven of the most popular online marketing ideas:
1. Have a professionally-designed web site
If you have the skills and time needed to create your own professional site, by all means do it. If not, hiring a professional will be money well spent. It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Just keep it simple to educate others about what products or services you offer.
2. Online networking
This is a great way to meet those in your target market, especially if you don't enjoy networking in person. Two sites I can suggest that do not cost anything to join are:
o Ryze Business Networking, http://ryze.com/
o LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/
3. Submit articles online
If you enjoy writing, a great way to drive more traffic to your web site is by submitting articles online. Find publications that your target market reads, and submit your articles there. Some sites offer directories of articles that others can use in e-zines or blogs. Submit to as many sites as possible, and don't forget to include a short bio at the end. Reference your contact information, including a link back to your web site.
E-zines help you keep in touch with clients, customers and colleagues. This is also another opportunity to send more traffic to your site.
Blogging is becoming much more popular these days. Blogs are less formal than e-zines, allowing you to become more up close and personal, while still promoting your business.
6. Message Boards
Although this also falls under the category of online networking, posting to message boards is a great way to showcase your expertise. Offer a solution to a problem someone has posted about, or offer a helpful tip. The more you come across as being an expert in your field, the more you will build your credibility.
7. Advertise in online publications
This option is not the least expensive way to get your business noticed, but can help if you know your target audience. There are plenty of sources for finding lists of publications that allow advertising.
As you can see, marketing your business online is fairly easy to do. Hopefully these suggestions will get you started in finding more business, and getting the word out there about you and your business.