3 Easy Ways to Market Your Business Online

When you’re just starting out as a business owner, no matter what your business is, you’re undoubtedly looking for affordable and easy ways to market your business online. These three marketing ideas couldn’t be simpler (more like DUH!) and they’re also FREE. Add the fact that they’re quick and easy to implement and you’ve got three no brainer ways to market your business right NOW.
 
 

1. The email call to action

No doubt you use email to in your day-to-day business transactions. Well now you can also use email to market your business. I’m not talking about an email list that you have to build. I’m not talking about spamming people. I’m talking about a very simple, yet effective way to maximize your email communication with something Peter Bowerman taught me.  It’s the email “Call to action”.
 
I think it’s safe to assume that you’re using an email signature that has your name, your company name, your website and possibly your social media hooks like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Well now you can make your everyday back-and-forth by email more powerful by adding a short but powerful call to action.
 
 
If you’re Sarah Wallace, you might include this on your email signature:
 
“I write for hire. Ask me about my discount for mom entrepreneurs.”
 
 
If you’re Ros Guerrero, you might add this to your email signature:
 
“Have a child who thinks their eye glasses are geeky? Make them cool with Ficklets.”
 
 
And if you’re Heather Ledeboer, you might tack this on to your email signature:
 
“Motherhood is a journey. Gear up at Mom 4 Life.”
 
 
So just how do you add a call to action to your email signature? Easy. If you use Microsoft Outlook, just follow this path:
 
Tools > Options > Mail Format > Signatures > New
 
Then, you add a name to your signature like “Business Signature” and click “Start with a blank signature” and then click “Next”. This will bring  you to a screen with a blank box. Usually, I click “Advanced Edit” because it gives me more options as far as fonts, colors and images. It will prompt a box that says “This will launch an editor that is not part of Microsoft Office Outlook. Do you want to continue?” Don’t panic–this is perfectly fine and you can feel safe clicking “Yes”.
 
Next you’ll see a blank screen (probably Microsoft Word) where you can begin creating your email signature with call to action. Here, you’ll want to type the following:
 
Name
Company name
URL
Any other links–social media, for example
Call to action
 
Then, click the “Save” icon and then close that file. This will bring you back to the “Create signature” screen and click “Ok”.
 
You’ll now a section where it says “Select signatures for account” with a drop-down menu. Select the email address you use for your business and then select the signature you just created in the dropdown menu that says “Signature for new messages” and “Signature for replies and forwards”, then click “Apply” and “Ok”. Your call to action is good to go.
 
If you use Gmail, Yahoo, or another hosted email address, you will be able to do the same thing, usually in your “Settings” options.
 
Now, your email is ready to do the talking. You’ll be surprised at how many people say, “Hey, I noticed in your email that you…”
 
 
 

2. Testimonials

I don’t know about you, but I put a much heavier weight on testimonials from real humans than I do on seeing celebrities wearing or using a product that was more than likely gifted to them. When I’m thinking of buying, trying or using something (from products to services to books to appliances to WordPress plugins), I want to see reviews or testimonials from real people.  Don’t you?
 
Creating a testimonials page on your website is a simple yet powerful way to let other people do the selling for you.
 
You can get testimonials two ways:

  • You can ask current customers for a testimonial, or
  • You can give your product or service to friends and family and ask them to write a testimonial

 
Ask customers, friends or family to tell you honestly how they liked your product or service, how it helped them and the benefit they received from using it.
 
When a friend of my husband’s used Swaddleaze on his newborn twins, he gave me an amazing testimonial AND showed me a new way to use Swaddleaze — as a sleep sack!
 
Then, post your best testimonials on a testimonials page and let them work their magic.
 
 
 

3. Thoughtful comments

No, I’m not talking about writing some simpleton comment on a blog like, “Great post, thanks for writing it.” Any dumbass can do that.
 
What I’m talking about here is adding to websites, blogs, forums or discussion groups with a comment that is full of thought.  A comment that shows that you actually read the article or discussion and have something intelligent to add to it. A comment that shows your expertise in a particular area.  A comment that is so well written, timely or interesting that other readers will click on your link.
 
Most sites and blogs these days have form fields that include your name, email address and URL–once you enter a URL, it “links” your name to it and people can click on it to visit your site. DON’T include links in your actual comment–you’ll either be screened out by a spam protection program or be seen as a bogus, blatant spammer trying desperately to get people to visit your site. Let your comment be the link bait.
 
Commenting on other blogs and sites is a great way to add value to the discussion and show your intelligence, professionalism and expertise.
 

  • Annette Frey might leave a comment about dog allergies on Kate Hollaway’s K9 Cuisine blog.
  •  

  • LeNesha Carey might leave a comment about maternity fashion on Audrey McClelland’s Mom Generations.
  •  

  • And Lisa Otto might comment about the power of sales letters on a copywriting blog like Copyblogger.

 
Now, please don’t get me wrong– commenting is not license to spam your URL all over the place. Comments are a special place to sprinkle your knowledge, opinion or thoughts on a topic you care about, know about or feel strongly about. Use commenting wisely and you’ll undoubtedly gain new visitors to your site, garner interest in your product or service and maybe even establish yourself as a “go-to” person on a particular topic.
 
 
 

Alrighty then…go forth and implement these three no brainer ways to market your business online. Then come back and tell me how they worked, ya hear? 😀

 
 

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Heather Allard

Heather Allard is a mom of three kids + one big rescue dog. She's a wellness buff, an essential oil educator with dōTERRA, and a self-professed “entrepreneur to the core”.
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29 Comments

  1. Kara Jensen

    I don’t have a product available yet, just my own little person offering a service, so working on an international presence is probably a bit daft, but thank you for the signature tip!!! That’s brilliant.

    I actually called up my email program and chucked my details and call to action in it before I moved on to the next tip, which, being the queen of procrastination that I am, is darn near a miracle!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Bravo Kara! So glad you ACTED on these tips. 😀 (I procrastinate sometimes too…)

      Heather

      Reply
  2. Janie McQueen

    This is a great blog in general and I really enjoyed this post. (It led me to read all your other posts. 🙂 ) I immediately leapt on the signature “call to action”. I had the sig but no call, lol. And I’m so glad to hear someone try to “keep it real” by encouraging real testimony, not to spend sooo much money trying to literally pitch it to celebrities. I’ve done a couple of giftings, but that’s not what impressed the sales rep I ended up getting–he liked the real press and reading what real customers had to say about the product, not some blurry photo of a celebrity wearing a free item or even a thank-you note. I know many successful entrepreneurs use giftings as a tool, but I find it doesn’t usually create momentum. It’s not the endorsement they’re seeking. I think the general idea originally was to get the product in front of people who might actively endorse but it’s way over the top right now, lots of wasted $$ at least with my budget. P.S. Oo, but I did have a celebrity PURCHASE. 😉
    Thanks for sharing! Janie McQueen, http://www.susuandjohn.com

    Reply
  3. Karen Renzi

    Love the email call-to-action, that’s such an easy one to overlook. I’ll have to think of what to add right now. I also like that it’s easy to change up, so you can promote different things as needed.

    On the testimonials, this is something I recommend to all our website design clients (though I don’t do such a good job on my own site!). However, if I could add one comment – I would recommend that in addition to a testimonials page you should consider peppering the testimonials throughout the site on pages relevant to the quote. A lot of people might never purposely visit a “Testimonials” page but if you put one right on the services page it is subtle reinforcement of the “sell.”

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hi Karen,

      I totally agree – “peppering” testimonials around your site is a great way to show them for those people who might not otherwise visit your Testimonials page – AND, they might catch someone’s eye and make them aware of your product/service. 😀

      Thanks!
      Heather

      Reply
  4. Terri

    The one thing I haven’t done from the list of 3 things to do is to add the”call to action”in my sig line, thanks for that tip!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Terri,
      And it’s probably the easiest – so go do it!! LOL. 😀

      Heather

      Reply
  5. exhale. return to center.

    these are great, heather!

    just wanted to add two things that made a big difference for me when commenting on other blogs.

    first, i changed from commenting as “erin” to commenting as “exhale. return to center.” (my blog’s name).

    i saw a big spike in people clicking through on my comments when i did this.

    secondly, i added an avatar photo, which also helps my comment to stand out in the crowd a bit more.

    (i’m still working on the second one. a friend told me about gravatar.com but so far i am not finding it to work in all platforms.)

    off to brainstorm my “call to action” for my e-mail signature….

    ~erin

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hi Erin,
      Thanks for sharing your tips! Awesome. I have a Gravatar too but some blogs that I’ve been on recently use OpenID or something like that which you have to create a profile for.

      Heather

      Reply
  6. Jill Pfefer

    Great information article Heather! I think so many of us in so many different industries can use this helpful information!

    Reply
  7. Barbara Schantz

    Great ideas! I definitely need to come up with a call to action for my signature. Oh, and I need to try to seek out opportunities to make helpful comments about feeding babies and helping toddlers feed themselves…..in my spare time, right?

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Barbara,
      You could put see the Baby Dipper in action and link it to @IWearYourShirt’s video. I loved that – it was so awesome and clever and I think parents would get a kick out of it.

      Heather

      Reply
  8. Tara McClintick

    I was happy to see that I’ve already been working on the last two, but I can definitely improve on my email signature! Thanks for the details on that one, I always feel like I’m asking people “how did you do that?” I love that you gave the specific how to’s, now I gotta go try it! I know that’s a powerful one because I always love reading people’s interesting email signature info. – they can be very informative!

    Reply
  9. Liz Jenkins

    Really good points – and great, simple ways to spread the love.
    I’ve been meaning to work on my testimonials – right now I sort of have them sprinkled around my website – is it better to have them all on a single page? I’m wondering if it is ineffective the way I have it or if I should set up another page?
    It’s something I’ve been considering – just haven’t done it yet.
    Your thoughts?

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hi Liz,
      Well, I think it’s great to have testimonials all on one page – but you can also sprinkle them around on your site. I used to do that on my product site – I had some on my flash intro and then all of them on my “Testimonials” page.

      Hope this helps!
      Heather

      Reply
  10. LeNesha

    This is why I love the mogul mom…you bring to our attention or remind us of these critical little things that we sometimes tend to overlook as we focus on the “bigger” areas of our business. I for one definitely need to add a call to action in my signature. Currently, I have a more passive tagline. And, I’ll jump right on obtaining testimonials.

    Charleta, you summed up the thought of “Keep it simple, smarty” so nicely. I especially have a hard time keeping things simple and paying attention to the little things because I am doing it all and focusing my attention on so many things.

    Heather, this article appeals to me on so many levels. You offer great simple tips, then share exactly how to implement them. You demonstrate a connection and knowledge of your readers, then encourage networking amongst us. Finally, you send us off with an assignment to implement these easy tips. Great Job!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Thanks, LeNesha…I certainly try my best. I’m so fortunate to have such great readers that make my “job” easy and fun. 🙂

      I too, find it difficult sometimes to “Keep it simple, smarty”…always so focused on BIG things. It’s nice to hear how the simple things have helped y’all and reminds me to do the same–in life and online. 😉

      Heather

      Reply
  11. m

    Thanks for the tips.
    I’ve been meaning to add a sig to my email and a testimonials page. Now, I just have to go do it:)

    Reply
  12. Heather Ledeboer

    Great tips Heather and thanks for the link love:)! The Mom 4 Life slogan is owed to your greatness as is the call to action at the bottom of my emails. I love with simple changes can improve things!

    Reply
  13. Stephanie Lindquist

    I have MANY items on my to do list for PR and Marketing today/this week and most all of them are thanks to you Heather! I took Elena’s class last week and have a list of fun stuff to work on, this idea to add a “call to action” to my email signature just got added, I am going to have a FUN week! Thanks for all the great tips!

    Reply
  14. Stephanie

    Great list of suggestions, i’ve already implemented some but I’m going try the others too!
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..i heart faces – nostalgia =-.

    Reply
  15. sadonna

    I have been meaning to add my info the my email signature, guess I will do that right now! I have to agree on the testimonals page. I have one on my site and it seems like as soon as I put the page up I started getting more feedback emails from customers! I havent updated, obviously I don’t put up every single ‘great feedback’ email from customers or that page would be a mile long. However, its such a confidence boost when I get feedback, I should update it more often.

    Reply
  16. Design Your Thoughts

    As always Heather you’ve introduced some great success tools that are new and foreign to some while others of us previously completely discounted the effectiveness of these tips because we’re so focused on “building the business” that we’re not building the business — at least not in the way in which we should be…in other words, we can’t see the forest from the trees. Sometimes we waste hard earned money and resources which accomplish nothing, and completely disregard the potential effectiveness of simple, often FREE tips and tricks for success simply because the presumption is that “if it’s this easy/simple/free, it probably won’t work”.

    Me myself, I’d been using a signature on my email from day 1 but at the launch of my company, I was so proud to be a “President”, I never even thought about a call to action in the signature box –something of greater value than the “title” I promoted which at the end of the day doesn’t get me any business and would still be mine even if I never promoted it. So, I’m changing it up…soon as I’m done here.

    As for a testimonials page, I couldn’t agree more with what’s been said about the value of having one on your site. Word of mouth promotion is one of the best things going and it helps build your credibility far-better than any advertisement could.

    Bottom line “K-I-S-S” Keep it simple…work smarter not harder

    Charleta

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Charleta,

      Agree completely–I used to be so caught up in my title as President of 2 Virtues that I neglected the call to action for a long time. I love the call to action for it’s simplicity and effectiveness. Even if the person reading your email doesn’t act on it, they may forward your email to someone that does. Love it.

      Keeping it simple and streamlined is smart…so I think I will change the K.I.S.S. to mean “Keep It Simple, Smarty”. 😉

      Heather

      Reply
  17. elina

    love this article! simple techniques but very effective
    .-= elina´s last blog ..Head of the Class =-.

    Reply
  18. Ros

    When Heather writes… I’m all eyes and know I’m in for some education: 1) I’ve already implemented the email call to action–brilliant idea; thanks for the example; 2) Omitted website after my name–didn’t know about the form fields and definitely don’t want to appear desperate (more a PR/marketing DIYer and still learning the ropes).

    I used to think a celebrity endorsement would be the ultimate PR success, but that was before I learned that a lot of the products they use are gifted to them, so I was quite disillusioned. But understand like anyone else, heck I’d use free stuff, too.

    Reply
  19. Michelle Hesse

    Thank for some great tips! I am JUST starting out so I will be running over to my email right after this post to do the signature! Doing comments on pages is a GREAT tip, too! Getting testimonials will take some time-but I’ll work on that too! Thanks again for helping out us newbies!

    Reply

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