You may not have wads of cash to spend on marketing in the early stages of your startup, but that doesn't mean that there aren't effective ways to get your brand out there.
Before the Internet, small businesses only had a few ways to market their products cheaply, through methods like printing out fliers or sponsoring little local events to attract potential clients.
Now there are all kinds of opportunities out there on the Web—you just need to know where to look and what services to use that will benefit the long term strategy of your business.
Mobile internet just adds a big jump on it all.
Because you could be anywhere, and still watch over your business. We shall have a look at a few tips you can use to promote your business.
1. Registering your business
All you have to do is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through Google's confirmation process, which can be done either with a phone call or postal mail.
2. Yahoo! also has a big database of businesses called Yahoo! Local
It's free, and is certainly worth the few minutes it takes to set up. Microsoft's Bing has a similar service that's easy to sign up for in conjunction with yahoo.
3. Social media isn't just a tool to gain exposure
Social media has now become a necessary time investment for every business to make. You can tie in ads and offers on your Facebook page and have a direct channel with your customers on Twitter.
Networking on LinkedIn—both at the personal and company level—can be another way to help your startup.
4. A blog not only helps your company
You company can get its name out through followers, but its a way to connect with your consumers more directly and professionally. Remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream updated as frequently as you possible with fresh and updated content.
A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing.
5. YouTube creative promotional videos
In order to succeed on YouTube, you must put up content that people want to watch and are relevant to your business—a simple ad will not work and a not so well video curation will bomb to the land of no return.
A Flickr profile can also help by giving you one place to compile all the photos for your business, allowing you to link back to your website.
There are many other websites out there you can use to increase exposure for your business images.
6. Search engine optimization
SEO cannot be underestimated in the world of constant Googling. Pick up a book or head over to an online how-to-guide on SEO and make sure your site is ready for performance on search engines.
Every time your business does something newsworthy, don't hesitate to shoot off a press release—maybe folks will pick up on it. Press releases are powerful media tools to use to help generate publicity, and having free distribution of them is a bonus.
There are dozens of websites out there that you can use for your press releases, such as PRLog and 24/7 Press Release or get a strategy on how to market your startup press release.
Every niche has communities online that you can get involved in. But just signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while about your business isn't beneficial for anyone, and will likely just annoy people. Actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it.
Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.