New online businesses can be a bit tricky to market unless you know a few insider tips. After all, owners can’t just put an inflatable waving tube man in front of their computers. Unless, of course they prop their computer up on their lap as they sit on the street in front of their home office.
Even though they can’t dangle a bunch of brightly colored flags like a used car dealer, they can use the same innovation that started their business in the first place to find ways to promote their new business online and in their community—even though they don’t have a brick-and-mortar location. Here are some insider tips that can help get a new business started off on the right foot with their marketing:
1. Use Email Marketing to Spread the Word
When people visit the company’s website, make sure to invite them to submit their email address for a freebie—a white paper, a list of little-known resources, or an e-book. When they sign up, provide them with valuable information through a regular newsletter.
As the company provides more and more usable information, these potential customers will soon turn into paying ones as they begin to see the company as a helpful expert in its field. Many automated email programs are either free or available at a low cost.
2. Use Videos to Market the Business
If the business offers anything that would work on a video, be it online music lessons, online coaching, or anything else that can be demonstrated on a video, film your service (with the permission of the customers you film), your customers’ comments, or before-and-after videos.
Even the most esoteric of online businesses—such as a search engine optimization (SEO) service, for example—can show a video of the before-and-after results of the service. The great thing about video marketing is that a company can post them on social media and on video services for free.
3. Use Bumper Stickers with the Company Website
If the online business is locally oriented—such as an online directory or online service—print up bumper stickers to turn people’s cars into rolling billboards. Only unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, don’t put the company’s phone number or address on it, print the website URL instead.
This works best if the company has a memorable URL that sticks in the mind. And that goes to another point: when a company chooses a URL, it should be 1) relatable to the business’s work and 2) memorable. For example, an online guitar studio in Los Angeles was wise to choose “laguitar.com,” (both memorable and related to their business) while a hypothetical search engine optimization company headed by Joe H. Schmo wouldn’t be so wise to choose “JHSchmo.com” for theirs (not memorable nor related to their business).
4. Connect with Related Non-Competitor Companies
Partner with related companies to maximize each company’s marketing clout. For example, in the previous illustration, Mr. Schmo could partner with a local copywriter and graphic designer to provide discounted services to customers who purchased combined services. They could combine their social media clout to reach all their followers.
With these tips, even a new online business can compete with more established businesses using innovative, low-cost marketing techniques.