There are many tools out there to help grow your online business. But how do you know which ones to choose and how to get the best out of them? If you’ve been searching for tips online, you’ll now be seeing ads for the latest bells-and-whistles-included fancy marketing product, complete with one million different graphs that you won’t use. At the cost of a significant slice of your monthly income.
When you’re starting out, you don’t need any of these. Some of the most powerful methods for growing your online audience are already at your disposal. The 5 tips below will help you to get started, and best of all they’re completely FREE.
*Any products linked here have very good and TOTALLY FREE options. If you choose a paid plan, I may get a small commission to help run the blog and / or buy me a pint.*
1 – WRITE A BLOG
Your business blog is where you can showcase your knowledge and expertise to the world. According to HubSpot, 80% of web users interact with blogs in some way. That’s a huge slice of the internet to miss out on if you aren’t blogging.
Unlike paid ads, the content you produce will sit on your website forever, helping you to increase your position in search engine ranks. As you produce more content, you will be more likely to be seen as an expert in your field…by search engines AND your customers.
- Start slowly. Don’t rush out tons of new articles just to get your numbers up. Think quality over quantity. Aim for one post a month and make sure it’s a great piece of content. As your business grows, you might then afford to outsource to a copywriter.
- Write ‘evergreen content,’ that people will always find useful to get the most long-term return from your blog
- Use eye catching images. Unsplash has free stock images that you could use, or make your own if you’re handy with a camera.
2 – Build your Email List
Email marketing has a huge ROI, up to 4400% in some cases! It’s easy to see why: if somebody has opted in to your email list, you already provide something that they are interested in. By sending them helpful emails, new offers, newsletters and more, you maintain their interest and engagement with your brand.
MailerLite is a great tool to help you get started with signups and engagement. It’s free for your first 500 subscribers, and includes great features such as automation and a dashboard showing who is opening and clicking on your Emails.
- Clean your email list. The fewer people open your emails, the more likely you are to end up in the spam folder.
- Don’t overdo it. Aim for one email a month, and increase as you grow in confidence. As you get more familiar with email marketing, you can start to automate the process to save more time.
- Make opting in worthwhile. Give something away in exchange for opting in. It could be an eBook, a mini course, an email course, a money off code or anything else that your audience might want.
3 – Optimise for SEO
SEO is a long-term process, so don’t expect to the highest ranking site overnight. It will take time to optimise your site for SEO, which includes both on-page and off-page factors. If you need a helping hand knowing where to start, G10 offers a site audit which gives you an easy-to-understand report on your website, which you can then use to remedy SEO errors.
Google will consider your domain authority (DA), which tends to be low for new websites. So you probably won’t break onto page 1 of the search results right away, but consider this a long game. As you produce more quality content, the more likely you are to rank higher in searches.
Use UberSuggest’s free plan to get started with optimising your content, including finding the key words and long-tail searches that are the most popular for your industry.
- Research your content. There is no point in writing content that nobody is searching for. The most searched content will be harder to rank for, so try to strike a balance between number of searches and competitiveness.
- Focus on the user. Write with your user in mind, not the search engine algorithm.
4 – Properly Engage on Social Media
Don’t just write updates about your company and “sell” constantly. It’s off-putting. Take the time to talk to people, answer their questions, ask them questions and give them new ideas.
If you want a great example, look at Paddy Power’s Facebook page which regularly posts funny content with no selling at all. Because it’s funny, it gets shared widely – totally free advertising!
- Post regularly. Social content will be short in nature, so you can post more regularly. The more engaged your followers are with your page, the higher it will show on their feeds and timelines.
- Know your audience. Don’t be tempted to invite everyone in your friends list to like your page if they’re not very likely to interact with it. The fewer followers that interact with you, the more likely you are to be seen as spam and will be put lower down on feeds.
- Hang out where you audience hangs out. Join the groups that your audience are in. Once there, you can focus on being helpful and building your position as a trusted expert in your area.
5 – Provide Value
So this is a bit of a cheat, because it’s not a single strategy. Providing value should be at the core of everything you do.
When you create any content you should be thinking about how it is going to improve the lives of your audience. What problem are you solving for them? The more you do this, the more people will engage with you and trust you as an expert.
When you’ve helped people for free, they will come back to you again and again.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and ask what they would want to see? Better yet, look through all of the content you read online: blogs, emails and social media. What features does it have in common? What made you click onto it?
The majority of the time, there will be something in there that tempted you in by offering value or a solution to some problem.
- It’s not all about you. People care about themselves and their own needs. So talk less about you and more about them. Be their solution.
Follow these basic ideas with consistency and you will start to grow an engaged and relevant audience, who come to you to as their solution.