I get it.
The cost to advertise in your local newspaper really creeps up on you and ads in phone directories like the Yellow pages can be a little on the expensive side, to say the least.
With this in mind, you’re probably thinking that it’s going to cost a heck of a lot more to advertise your business online, especially in the search engines like Google right?
To prove my case, I’ve pulled together my 4 of my favorite methods that you can start putting into action today.
I’ve also listed a rough price below each one so you can keep a running total of the cost.
Hint: Put your calculator away, you won’t need it.
Method #1: Get Into Bed With The “Big G”
Just in case you’re wondering, I’m referring to Google and no, I don’t mean literally.
Having said that, Google does seem to have somewhat of a love affair with small businesses which is great news for you.
They try to make it as easy as possible for brick ‘n’ mortar and local service businesses to show up in the search results when potential customers search for them online locally.
By creating a free Google My Business account, you stand a chance of making your way into the local results (see image below) commonly referred to as the “local pack” or “Maps”.
I’m sure you’ve probably seen these yourself when you’ve searched for a local business like lawn care services, plumber, or hair salon on Google.
Creating your listing is a fairly painless process. Just be sure to take your time and add as much detail as possible about your business including relevant images.
Cost: Zip, Zilch, Nada. (That means free!)
Method #2: The Phone Book
When I say the phone book, I don’t mean that old copy of the Yellow pages that you may still have knocking around in the back of the cupboard somewhere.
Instead, I’m talking about the online version.
There are many out there who will disagree with that statement, but I for one know that my local pages have shrunk to almost half of its original size in the last few years.
However, the online versions of these business directories are alive and well and guess what?
It won’t cost you a penny to list your business in them.
There’s plenty to choose from out there in addition to the Yellow Pages, but the best ones for your business will depend on where you live.
The best thing to do is to hop on over to Google and perform a search for “business directories + Your Town/city”.
As well as location specific directories, you could also try industry specific ones. Just type “business directories + Your industry“.
I’ll give you a head start with some of the most popular ones below sorted by country;
- UK directories
Find as many as you can, make a list and then add your business to them gradually. There’s no rush.
Cost: Free, just don’t be fooled into paying for a premium listing as you really don’t need it.
Method #3: Word of Mouth Advertising….Online
Think of this method as word of mouth advertising only on the internet.
A few good reviews will go a long way to encouraging new customers to pick up the phone.
Here are a few of the most popular ones;
These are the type of sites where after using them to find a local business, people will often take the time to go back and leave a review of their experience with your services.
I highly recommend taking your time and fill out your profile in full, add a detailed description of your business along with images wherever possible.
It’s also a good idea to bookmark these sites and reply to any reviews your receive, both good and bad.
Method 4: Get Your Digital House in Order
If you don’t have a website, then your business doesn’t exist.
At least not to the tech-savvy younger generation anyway.
Don’t think of your website as just an online brochure, it’s much more than that.
It’s a place where your potential customers can go to learn more about your business, find answers to frequently asked questions, prices, read testimonials, and see examples of your previous work.
If you’re thinking “but hiring a web designer is going to cost a small fortune” then you’re probably right, but it’s entirely possible to do it yourself these days if you’re willing to trade your time instead of dollars.
There’s plenty of website builders out there such as Wix that’ll guide you through the process of building your very own website for free and you can choose to upgrade your plan at a later date if you wish.
Cost: $10 – $15 dollars per year for your website address and around $5 -$20 per month for a basic website plan.
Over To You
I did say that advertising your business online probably wouldn’t cost as much as you thought.
In fact, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than traditional offline promotion if you’re willing to put in the time required to implement the strategies that we’ve covered here today.
I could have easily filled this page with 30 ways to advertise your business but if I had then you could quite easily fall into the “paralysis by analysis” trap and not end up taking action on any of them.
The methods I’ve described above are what I believe to be the foundation for a truly successful online advertising campaign.
They work best when all 4 methods are implemented creating a powerful “4 pronged attack” on your competitors leaving you the victor, with a steady stream of new customers as your spoils of war.
By the way, if you don’t already have a digital home, then my free beginner’s website building guide is a great place to start.
If you have any questions on the methods here or how to implement them, then don’t hesitate to drop me a message in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I possibly can.