ringcentral-team
RingCentral Team
January 21, 2010

7 Effective Ways to Promote Your Business Online

Do these tasks each week and your small business will get new website traffic and customers.

I know that many marketing and small business blogs these days have filler content that reiterates the obvious or advertises not-so-subtly. But I’m about to give you seven steps to get new customers for your business that not only have a high likelihood of success, but are relatively low-cost. This is advice that clients pay us thousands of dollars for, and it’s yours for free.

1) Get a Twitter Account

In Website Magazine’s recent “Year in Review,” the editors passionately speak of ways that search engines are changing to include real-time search. What does that mean for your small business? For one, people are increasingly starting to search for news, reviews and recommendations on websites like Twitter and Digg. You can sign up for Twitter in 2 minutes, and as I’ve said in previous posts, the rules for Twitter success are to follow others and comment on their tweets before expecting others to follow you. It’s a long term investment, so get started while the year is still fresh.

2) Get Google Local

Yes, it’s true that advertising on Google can be very, very expensive. Some clicks (like “mesothelioma”) cost over $100 per click! Yet if you’re a small business, Google has a recent innovation that will not only include you in Google Maps, but in local search results. If you’re in retail or have a physical business presence, signing up for a Google local account is a must. Use a Gmail account to sign up or it will become cumbersome later.

3) Get a Google Sites Page

Google’s answer to Craigslist (or GoDaddy’s “Website Tonight”) these do-it-yourself web pages never quite took off, but creating a Google site for your business only takes about 30 minutes to an hour, and placing a link within this Google Sites page to your own website will help increase your organic search engine optimization. More importantly, if Google decides later to start including their Sites pages in local results – you’re already ahead of the game. Include keywords in the link to your website!

4) Get a Digg Account

CNN.com no longer holds the top spot as the online media juggernaut. Sites like Digg have generated tremendous numbers of loyal followers who look to them for news and information. That means that company announcements and interesting product news (or just your thoughts and reportings on industry events) can be seen by a whole new generation of readers that don’t necessarily go to their online newspaper to get current events. If you sell to a high-tech crowd or a tween-to-twenty-something audience, you can’t afford to ignore sending steady streams of news through Digg. Caveat – Digg works by letting their members vote articles up or down. Don’t vote for your article more than once, or have your fellow office workers vote for your articles as Digg is wise to these tactics and will penalize and not elevate your article.

5) Get an Account at PRWeb

PRWeb allows small business owners to publish and disseminate press releases about your company’s product offerings to traditional newswires. If you can’t afford to hire a PR firm (and what small business owner can these days?), PRWeb is a good option. Tip – be sure to pay a little extra for each press release and insert links with keywords describing your product/service within the press release. These not only make your press release a better user experience for your readers, but they also build valuable links that can help elevate your organic search engine rankings.

6) See Your Website on CrazyEgg

Analytics can be daunting for many small business owners. After all, who has time to sift through tons of data and mine it for relevant suggestions about what to do with your website? The creative folks at CrazyEgg must have pondered the same exact issue, as they have created a way to easily visualize complex website analytics data in fun and easy-to-understand ways. Check out the best analytics for small business owners ever created (to date).

7) Get a Toll-Free Number

My last suggestion is a bit self-serving, but one I see a lot of small business owners, especially first-time small business owners, ignore. Getting a toll-free number will not only help get more customers to call your business but has a positive branding impact. Remember to pick a toll-free number that will be easy for your customers to remember if they see it in print or hear it on a radio commercial.