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:
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…”
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? 😀