By Mark Hayward
(Please note: this post assumes that you have no advertising budget but want to use the Internet to promote and grow your business (not become an Internet or affiliate marketer). Some businesses don’t want (or need) to market, advertise or promote and that’s okay. There are many ways to publicize your venture and the steps listed below are exactly what I did to promote mine. The only expenses were for a domain name and web server space, all of which should cost you under $20.00)
As a solopreneur or small business owner, when it comes to marketing your business online, there are no magic bullets. None.
If you remember only one thing from this post, please do NOT give your limited funds to someone who calls himself a “social media expert” unless you do some heavy-duty research (that’s not to say experts don’t exist because there are many well qualified individuals, but with online marketing it’s buyer beware).
From first hand experience I know that online promotion can require a tremendous amount of work for what seems to be little ROI in the beginning, but hang in there. In the long run your efforts will payoff.
During the past year my little guesthouse business has been featured in Islands Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, and most recently, mentioned in a TripAdvisor press release. None of which would have happened had I not utilized the web because they all found us through various social media sites or my own blog.
When I took ownership of my small business a couple of years ago it had not really been marketed or run as an entrepreneurial venture for a number of years.
In fact, it was kind of strange, one day I didn’t own a business and I had NO mortgage to worry about. And suddenly, the next day, I had a mortgage and a business that needed to have customers ASAP because the funny thing about banks is…they like to get their payments every month (go figure!).
With no funds for advertising, and in a race against the foreclosure clock, I began to research and read heavily on marketing and online promotion. If you run a business or are starting a new one from scratch, and find yourself in a similar situation to the one I was in – – no customers, no advertising budget, and absolutely no presence on the Internet I crafted this post with you in mind.