Quick and Inexpensive Advertising

Last week, a commenter responded to a post asking, “what are some simple ways or advertising medium that a business owner could turn to if they had to cut back [on their advertising].” Here are some concrete things you can do to promote and advertise your business at very little cost. In the long run, you’ll want to do more than this to grow your business, but if things are tight this will keep you in the game.

1. List your business with Google Places and Bing Local Listing.

According to Alexa, Google is the most visited web site in the world. Bing is Microsoft’s new search engine that launched last year and is becoming one of Google’s biggest competitors in search.

Both search engines allow you to list your business for free, although you do need to sign up for a free account with each one. If you have gmail, then you already have a Google account. If you have a Hotmail address, or a Windows Live ID, then you already have an account with Bing.

Once you’ve added your company’s information, anyone who searches for your business name and city on that site will find you at top of all the other search results.

If you have a web site, be sure to include that in your Google Places and Bing Local Listing information.

2. Start a blog and tell people about your business.

There’s lots of free blogging solutions on the web. Some of the more popular ones are WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Posterous. You don’t need a web domain name or anything, just sign up and start writing about your business — what you do and why you are different from you competition. Don’t just write one entry. Write something at least twice a week.

If you have a web site, link to it in your blog posts and “about” page. And be sure to include your blog’s web address in your Google Places and Bing Local Listing entries.

3. Let your friends, colleagues, current and past clients know about your blog.

Don’t blast them all in a single email. Take a few minutes each day and send out a half-dozen or so emails letting those people know about your blog. If you have a Facebook account, tell about the blog in your status update. But be nice, and don’t annoy anyone as you tell them.

Everything I’ve suggested here is free — there is no cost to your business other than the time it takes to do it. You’ll want to move on to other forms of advertising as your business picks up, but in the meantime you are still promoting your business.

Oh, I almost forgot. All the other things I’ve said about advertising still apply.

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