This article was originally posted on JenniferBegg.com
This post was inspired by the Quora question: How do I market my new business with no budget?
Always start with the main goals of your business in mind. You don’t have to be on every shiny new social media platform. Spend time analysing where your target audience spend their time and talk to them there.
Optimise your site thoroughly. Start by doing the following:
- Register your site with GoogleAnalytics and start using WebMaster Tools
- Look at the terms current users are typing in to reach your site and see where you could be expanding your reach. Which terms are resulting in the most pages per visit and lowest bounce rates?
- Use GoogleAdwords’ keyword search to get an idea of how competitive the terms you want to go after are (nb: you don’t need to be booking advertising to use these tools)
- Google cares about who links to you. It’s important to optimise on the pages of your website but you also need to spend time gaining relevant links back to your website pages. This not only helps with search ranking but is also another avenue for relevant traffic.
Here is a handy cheat sheet for optimising your pages
It’s important to follow blogs like SEOMoz to keep ahead of the competition.
Next you should make time for social media. It may be free but to get good returns you need to invest time and invest it wisely:
- Decide on the profile of your target audience (start with a narrower definition first to make targeting easier, especially if you are short on resources)
- Spend time searching twitter for discussions that are relevant to you (this twitter chat hashtag list is a handy place to start)
- Facebook advertising is a very cheap and targeted way to put your toe in the water (you can do some short term testing for very little money and you have complete control) – ONLY IF THIS IS WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE ARE
- LinkedIn discussions and relevant blogs are a great way to gain credibility and link people back to useful information on your website.
Finally – get into the habit of using a social media dashboard so that you can analyse the success of your tasks and integrate your profiles in a more time efficient way. I combine the following:
BufferApp Their chrome extension means I can add posts to my schedule without leaving the page I’m on. Saves massively on time and I can avoid sounding like an autobot by editing tweets etc before posting. They also let you integrate your bitly account so that you can track all the stats from your specific links. Works for: Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn
TweetDeck Great for following multiple hashtags and discussions as well as search terms (make columns that are specific to the audience you are targeting).
SproutSocial This is not a free app but is very cost efficient as I get detailed stats and tailored search functionality which really helps me to target my efforts.