Here are ten ways you can get new customers to your website, using the free resources available on the Internet. There are many free Internet sites where you can get in touch with potential customers, if you reach out to them. You’ll be surprised how effective they are. Yes, they’re free. You don’t need big bucks to see big results.
Ten Fantastic Free Ways
1. Use Free Social Media to Get Customers
- Use the online social media sites to introduce yourself, your business and your products. Over time you will build brand awareness among people there. Set up your MySpace page, your Twitter account, your LinkedIn, Facebook, Friendster and Hi5 profiles, and link each of them to your website. Facebook offers business pages, too.
- Post pictures of your products at Flickr.com and Photobucket.com, together with your profile, description and a link to the website. When you choose your screen name for these online accounts, you might want to use the domain name of your business site, like JoesHVACDotCom.
- A number of online bookmarking sites offer you an online community of people, such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Ask, Google Bookmarks, Reddit, Blogmarks, Simpy, Delicious, Kaboodle, Blinklist, Live, Slashdot, Magnolia, Spurl, Technorati, myAol, Yahoo Bookmarks, Furl or Newsvine. When you post an article of interest to customers on your website, bookmark the article at some of these sites.
2. Try Free Guerilla Techniques to Get Customers
Explore guerrilla marketing techniques that require only time, energy and imagination. Choose a new promotion, and spread the word about it on your social media sites. Depending on your business, you can offer online seminars, free samples, free consultations, and product video demonstrations. Perhaps it makes sense to give away a free toolbar, screensaver, game or utility, all of which can be branded for your business. Many websites get new customers when they give away free coupons. You can promote the coupons on Twitter and on other social media. Give your customers more service than they expect. If your employees have idle time, offer the customer free product assembly. Use your website to introduce yourself to the customers and share your product expertise with them.
3. Visit Online Groups to Get Customers
Visit the online groups for more free opportunities to introduce yourself. See if Google Groups or Yahoo Groups has a topic that fits your area of interest. Group members will appreciate your help and advice. Build your reputation as an expert in the field, and group members will turn to you when they are ready to buy. Also, participate in related online forums where your expertise will be useful to customers.
4. Write Online Articles to Market Yourself
- Write an article about your field of expertise. It could be a helpful "how-to" article about using your product, or an explanation of the benefits of your product. Then submit your article tor one of the many online sites, like ezine.com, that accept free articles. You’ll automatically get a link back to your business website along with free publicity.
- Write a press release and post it online. The topic could be your website expansion, your new product line, a new employee, or a charitable project. Include links to your online website and submit it to the free press release sites online. Check out sites like 24-7PressRelease.com, PRLog.org and 1888PressRelease.com. Email your press release to your local newspapers, too.
- Find your business niche on Wikipedia, WikiTravel, and other wiki sites, and become a contributor. You might be able to link to your business site as a reference. It's one more way to keep your name in front of the online public.
5. Optimize Your WebSite to Get Customers
Use the help of search engines to get more customers to your website. Make your website friendly for search engines. The technique is called search engine optimization. Just by changing the title of your page, its description, or your introductory remarks, you can double the traffic to your site. The traffic sent by search engines is called organic traffic, and it’s free. More traffic gets more new customers to your website.
6. Take Advantage of Free Business Listings
- Use the Google Local Business Center to create your free listing. When potential customers search Google Maps for local information, they'll find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products. It's easy, it’s free, and you don't need a website of your own.
- Proofread your business listing in yellowpages.com.
- Check the local online telephone listing for your business, and correct it if necessary.
- Make sure your Yahoo city listing is up to date.
- Submit your website to The Open Directory Project, dmoz.org. This directory is maintained by humans, and getting in is difficult, but the search engines rank your site higher if dmoz lists it.
7. Use Free Online Blogging to Get Customers to Your Website
- Locate Internet blogs that cover topics related to your business. Leave comments on the blogs, and use your business domain name as your screen name; for example, AngiesCookiesDotCom. Your blog comments provide an additional link to your website. You can pick up free traffic from these links, too.
- Read more blogs. Set up your feed reader with the names of good blogs. A feed reader saves time by letting you skim the headlines of new articles. Whenever you have a spare moment, read something in your field. New ideas are always hatching online.
- If you enjoy writing, set up a blog for yourself. It can be a part of your business website, a page where you write informally about related activities and allow your personality to shine. A business blog is a great tool to build traffic and get customers to your website.
8. Use Free Internet Tools to Get Customers to Your Website
- Set up and verify a Webmaster Central Account at Google.
- Submit a product to Google Base. Google Base lets you submit pictures and describe your items with detailed information called attributes, which will help customers find your content more easily. You don’t even need a website to take advantage of Google Base.
- Install Google Analytics on your site, if you don't already have it. Google Analytics is helpful and free. You’ll learn more about customer behavior when they get to your website.
- Set up a CrazyEgg heat mapping test for your most important pages, to analyze what part of the page a customer looks at and clicks on. The results will help you rearrange items on your pages to maximize visibility.
- Show your customers how to find your physical store by adding a link to Google Maps on your website.
- Set up a MyBlogLog account for your blog or your website. When you put the MyBlogLog widget on your website, your customers can see avatars (small photos) of each other. The use of avatars helps build a sense of community among your customers. There are many such widgets available free online.
9. Create a Video to Get Customers
Convert a slideshow of your products into a video and upload it to Youtube or MetaCafe. Be sure to optimize your title and descriptions to get the most traffic from search engines. Set up your own channel on Youtube. With YouTube hosting your video and supplying the bandwidth, embed the video into your website. The link from YouTube will get more customers to your website.
10. Try Pay Per Click Advertising to Get Customers to Your Website
No, Pay Per Click advertising is not free, but it can be very inexpensive. Signup is free. When people search for the products you sell, your PPC business ad will appear on the search engine report. With PPC, you only pay when a customer clicks on your ad and comes to your website. Each customer who comes to your website costs you only a few pennies. You can set your advertising budget as low as $1 per day, and turn your ad campaign off and on whenever you wish. You can easily track your Pay Per Click customers to see if PPC brings you more sales. The largest PPC advertising networks are those with the most popular search engines: Microsoft Ad Center, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Google Adwords.