In today’s world, businesses are operating remotely, from offices around the world. For some, this means working from home, while others travel for work. Regardless, technology has allowed us to come together and work remotely, which has created a new opportunity for business owners to connect with customers and grow their reach. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you may be considering ways to market your products and services online.
For those who prefer to keep a low profile, the thought of marketing via social media channels may be daunting. After all, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, your brand, or your business. But this is exactly what you want to avoid if you want to be able to spend your money on growth rather than marketing.
The thought of paying for advertising may be off-putting if you’re looking to save money. But you may be surprised by how affordable online marketing can be. There are various tools and platforms that you can use to build and grow your audience, all of which are completely free. In this article, we’ll run down the best five affordable online marketing tools for entrepreneurs and small business owners, along with some suggestions on how to use them effectively.
Free Blogging Platforms & Tools
As a small business owner, you’re probably limited in your choices when it comes to blogging platforms. But don’t fret. There are dozens of free blogging platforms available, and many of them are quite suitable for professional marketers who want to build a personal brand. Here are a few of the most popular and respected blogging platforms:
- Blogger (Blogger.com): This is the granddaddy of all blogging platforms. If you’ve ever blogged before, then you’ve used Blogger. It’s been around for a while and was originally designed to allow non-technical users to set up and run their own blogs. What this means is that you can use it to create a space for client and customer conversations, product reviews, or anything else you want to share with the world. You can also use their free tool, Blogger Snippet, to create short blogs or vlogs to post on social media channels like Instagram or YouTube.
- Medium (Medium.com): This is another popular blogging platform that allows users to set up and run websites or blogs. What sets it apart from Blogger is that it allows for a bit more design freedom. You can choose a free or paid account with Medium, but the paid option allows for more features and greater customization. What this means is that you can use their tool to design a beautiful template for your blog, complete with various animations and features that make your site stand out.
- Shopify (Shopify.com): If you’re looking for an e-commerce platform that allows for simple and quick setup, then Shopify is an option worth considering. What makes this platform different from other e-commerce solutions is that it focuses more on user experience and less on complex feature sets. For instance, you can use their platform to set up a beautiful store with various products, all of which are neatly displayed on a gallery page. When a customer makes a purchase, you receive an email notification letting you know what was purchased and allowing you to follow up with the individual to ensure they have all the necessary information.
- Wix (Wix.com): Wix is one of the more popular website builders, and it provides an affordable option for individuals who want to create a digital marketing outlet. What makes Wix unique is that their platform offers powerful features, such as the ability to create a fully functioning website with a blog in under a minute. You can also use their impressive drag-and-drop interface to build a store, or you can opt for the free version and just create a blog.
- Squarespace (Squarespace.com): If you’re looking for a blogging platform that offers a variety of templates and designs, then Squarespace is the option you need to consider. What makes this particular platform stand out is that they offer a free version, which allows you to create and design a website with a blog, all without having to pay a penny.
- WordPress (WordPress.com): Finally, we have WordPress. This is the most popular blogging platform overall, and it’s what nearly all bloggers use to this day. What makes WordPress unique is that it was initially designed to be a content management system, or CMS. What this means is that you can use their platform to easily build and maintain a blog with content that you can then use to generate blog post ideas, or to simply update your customers and clients with news about your company.
Social Media Channel & Market Tools
If you’ve ever tried to market your business on social media, then you may know how expensive it can be to get the required ads, gain the necessary followers, and then turn them into paying customers. This is where social media channels come in very handy. What these are is a massive list of ‘followers’ that you can use to ‘like’ or ‘share’ your content, whether it’s a blog post, photo, or video. By doing so, you can gain exposure to a massive audience who may find value in what you have to say. As a business owner or marketer, you can use these platforms to gain credibility with a seemingly infinite audience, all of which can help you find new customers and leads.
Here are a few of the most popular and respected social media platforms and tools to help you gain credibility and make the most of your massive reach:
- Facebook (Facebook.com): This is the granddaddy of all social media platforms. What this means is that you can use its various tools to help you gain credibility, build a following, and engage with your audience. What makes Facebook unique, however, is that nearly everyone within the world is on the platform, which means your content can potentially reach a massive audience.
- Twitter (Twitter.com): This is another popular social media platform that allows for quick and easy sharing of short-form content, such as tweets. What this means is that you can use their various tools to gain credibility, engage with your audience, and follow the conversations that matter most to you.
- Instagram (Instagram.com): Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms simply because it’s easy to use and allows for quick and easy sharing of photos and videos. What this means is that you can use their various tools to gain credibility, engage with your audience, and follow the conversations that matter most to you.
- LinkedIn (LinkedIn.com): LinkedIn is an extensive professional network with a significant audience. What this means is that you can use its various tools to gain credibility, find potential customers, and engage with other professionals.
- YouTube (YouTube.com): If you’ve ever watched YouTube videos about your niche, then you know exactly what it is. This is the home base of almost every vlogger, content creator, and entrepreneur. What this means is that you can use its various tools to gain credibility, find potential customers, and engage with other professionals.
Email Marketing Software
If you’ve ever tried to market a business via email, then you may know how costly it can be to build a list of subscribers. This is where digital marketing software comes in very handy. What this does is it allows you to connect with customers via email, whether they’re subscribing to your blog or to a newsletter. What makes this type of software different from regular email marketing platforms is the fact that they also provide you with a CRM (case management system), which stores all of your contact and case information, so you can easily follow up with each person to ensure they have all of the necessary information. Additionally, many of these platforms provide advanced analytics that allow you to see exactly how the emails you send perform, including the open rates, clicks, and conversions.
How to Use These Tools Effectively
Now that you have the tools and platforms in place, you need to figure out how to use them effectively to grow your business. To start, you should set up a blog, add some content to it, and then start sharing these articles on social media channels. When you’ve done this, you’ll be able to track the traffic that’s come from these platforms, using a tool like Google Analytics. From there, you can figure out which articles generated the most interest and traffic, and use this information to determine the kinds of content you need to create going forward.