How to promote your local business online (cheaply)

As a business owner, everyone wants your money!

As a business owner I’m sure you’re bombarded every day with emails and phone calls from companies who either want to do Toronto SEO for you or they want you to advertise on their website. If you signed up with everyone who called, you’d be spending millions of dollars every month and chances are you wouldn’t be in that much better of a situation… because they’re all offering a bunch of junk. If you want to learn the basic principles of promoting your business online without spending a ton of money doing so, pay close attention because we’re going to show you how!

Learn how to promote your business by taking advantage of free online resources.Free online resources. If you don’t want to pay big bucks for someone else to do it for you, then you’re going to have to learn how to do it yourself. The bad news is that it’s not easy and so there will be a learning curve, but the good news it that there are PLENTY of free resources out there to teach you everything you need to know and more. Don’t sign up for courses that say they can teach you how to make millions overnight, because chances are that information that they’re selling you is available for free online. Start with well trusted sites like Moz.com. You’re going to need to devote at least a couple of hours every day to getting a good understanding of the online marketing industry. Once you do, you’re going to need to spend the same amount of time applying what you’ve learned. It’s not easy but it’s the only way to do it, there’s no miracles where you can get amazing results with no money or little effort. So if you’ve decided that you don’t want to spend a lot of money, that means you have to be willing to put in the effort and it begins with learning. Work smart, not hard!

upwork-logo-1200x630Use sites like UpWork.com for outsourcing. There’s going to be some times when you’re just incapable of doing something yourself. It could be due to time constraints or it could be due to technical ability. Look, you’re not going to be able to become a PPC expert, social media expert, SEO expert, senior developer, front end wizard and graphic artist all at once. You’re going to need some help along the way, however rather than knocking on the door of that start up down the road where everyone has beards, plaid shirts and thick black glasses who will charge you $200/hour, you can instead find people overseas who are capable, reliable and can communicate well in English. If the big companies can outsource overseas, why can’t you? In order to facilitate this kind of outsourcing there are plenty of sites out there that make it very easy. One, for example, is UpWork.com. They allow you to post a job and have people bid on it. From there you can filter the applicants based on their feedback from prior jobs, see their resumes and work history etc. Picking someone who you can be confident will deliver on the job is made easy. The big key here however is that this is not a type of relationship where you can hand them work and check in once a month to make sure it’s being done, you’ll need to check in with them on a daily basis or perhaps even through out the day to make sure that not only is the work being done, but that it’s being done to your satisfaction.

slick-salesmanAvoid expensive advertising opportunities. Like I mentioned earlier, you probably get emailed and called all day every day with people looking to get your money in their pocket. A lot of those people who are calling you are trained sales professionals. They’re not marketers, they probably know less than you about promoting your business, however what they’re good at is getting you to see the “value” in what they’re selling and ultimately getting you to hand over your money. Sometimes it can be as cheap as a $30 local directory, other times it can be a shark who wants you to hand over $5000/month for him to take over everything for you. Whatever it is, don’t do it! Your money is best spent on promoting your website yourself once you learn how to do so effectively or by signing up with Google Adwords yourself and spending a budget that you’re comfortable with. Once you find a winning online PPC campaign, you can increase the budget. If you’re maximizing the campaign to it’s fullest, you can move over to media buying or Facebook PPC and Bing PPC. The point is, one of the biggest keys to being a frugal local business owner who does online marketing is to learn to say NO to the people who call and email you trying to get your money.