Advertising and marketing is essential for all businesses – no matter big or small, to reach out and engage with existing and potential customers and also to differentiate your goods and services from other competitors. However, most advertising and marketing services do not come free, and might incur hefty costs. Especially for entrepreneurs and start-ups, traditional marketing techniques like print ads, flyers and hiring promoters for events might be out of your budget.
The good thing is, there are many ways which you can promote your business for free. With the continuous growth in internet usage and new social media tools, here are some ways you can leverage on the power of the internet to advertise and promote your business.
1. Listing your products and services on business directories
There are numerous business directories on the Internet which are free to use and you can list your offerings with minimal effort. These directories are easy to understand and requires less than one hour to set up. Just in case you are wondering, business directories are different from online shopping portals like Lazada, Qoo10 and Zalora. This is because shopping portals require more information and details, e.g. photos of products and detailed verification of ID, as purchases will be made directly on these online shopping portals. For business directories, customers will liaise with you directly (no middle man involvement). If customers are interested with your products, they can contact you directly through the contact information you leave on the directory. Business directories are free and do not take any percentage of your sales, unlike shopping portals.
If you would like to see for yourself some of the available business directories, we have done some research and listed down the top business directories used by businesses and consumers in Malaysia and Singapore.
OneStopMalaysia (Malaysia) - https://www.onestopmalaysia.com/directory/
BusinessWorld (Malaysia) - http://www.businessworld.com.my/
Malaysia Business Link (Malaysia) - http://www.mybizlink.com/
Recommend (Singapore) - https://www.yellowpages.com.sg/
Yellow Pages (Singapore & Asia Pacific) - https://www.yellowpages.com.sg/
SimaPages (Asia Pacific) - https://my.simw
For even more exposure, you can list your business on multiple business directories, as they are free for use. Also, as there are some directories which are more catered to businesses while others are mainly used by end consumers, do remember to tailor your business information accordingly to address the intended target market.
2. Locate your business on Google My Business
The world’s larget search engine – Google, continues to provide support to local businesses and has recently put a lot of effort into populating its Google Maps application. Through Google’s My Business function, you can make it easier for consumers to find any local business through Google Map’s local listings. By setting up an account and keying in your business information on My Business, consumers will be able to see a summary of your business when they perform a Google Search. For example, you can search for “Paradigm Mall JB” and the following information shows up:
Similar to the above, you can do the same for your business. Google My Business is easy to set up and takes at most one or two hours. You can add the following details onto your My Business account – Google reviews, address, phone number, e-mail, photos and link the Google My Business to your other social media accounts. By having these information pop up when a user uses Google search, this will better engage your potential customers.
3. Participate and Answer Questions on Forums
You can further engage your potential customers by reaching out to them directly on forums. There are various forums with large userbases, like Lowyat.net in Malaysia (https://forum.lowyat.net/) and HardwareZone.com in Singapore (https://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/). There are also Q&A sections on websites like Quora (https://www.quora.com/) and Yahoo Answers (https://answers.yahoo.com/).
By creating an account with your business details and actively participating by answering relevant questions, you are creating awareness about your business on these forums. You can take this opportunity to reach out to potential customers. If customers are interested, they can easily contact you based on the business information which you have provided on these forums. By taking some time every week to answer some questions, you will be able to gain more exposure for your business.
In addition, we also noted that your answers on all the above forums will be indexed by Google. This means that your answer will show up as a Google Search result when people search for it. By increasing your activity by participating and answering questions, your ranking on Google Search will improve.
4. Optimise your Website for Search Engines
Talking about Google Search, you can further optimise your website for better ranking on search engines which will lead to improved visibility. When you make a search on Google, do you know how the search results are ranked? Well, this is done through optimization of your website through search engine optimisation (SEO). There are various ways which SEO can be done and consists of various factors. These includes selecting the right business keywords, constantly updating original content on your website, obtaining good Google reviews and also the amount of traffic into your website.
SEO is a complicated subject, but you can definitely work on the easier aspects of it, i.e. keeping your website up to date and also choosing the right keywords for Google Search purposes. With good SEO techniques, you will be able to see your website rise through the rankings on Google search.
Those are four ways to promote your business for free. All you need to utilise these techniques is to spend some time to understand and set up these advertising and marketing tools and you will be good to go. If you would like to understand more on the above methods, or if you would like some help with internet marketing strategies, do drop us an e-mail or call for further consultation.
Published by : Leanne Chong - Marketing Counselor of Rockwell Global Solution
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