Ten Free Marketing Tools For Business
A quick overview to some of the best known and less well known free online marketing tools that can help a business to increase it’s profile, brand awareness and generate business.
Google Alerts is a simple yet effective tool that searches the internet for any phrase, name or topic. Enter specific phrases that are related to your business such as products, brands, services or even competitors. The alerts will be e-mailed to you as regular as you like. They help pinpoint who is saying what about you and where, always handy to know.
Google Analytics is another excellent free tool from Google used to measure website data. Geographic information on users, their browsers, internet connection, what pages were viewed, how long people stay on your site and a whole lot more. This data is invaluable and can provide an insight into what kind of people are viewing your site and why. Allowing you to tailor your website more towards the people that are actually visiting it.
Do you have a business blog? If not, why not? Blog’s are useful tools for customers and potential customers to develop their understanding of a company. Compared to advertising, blogs offer a more personable approach and a greater depth of knowledge of a particular area. While free to set up, the hardest part is in generating useful content. Its not a sales pitch, but a one to one conversation you are after. If someone tried the hard sell, offered uninteresting, valueless conversation how long would you stick around? Not long and I’m guessing you wouldn’t be back. There’s also countless plugin’s for blogs that can help with all manner of operations such as improving its search engine ranking and social bookmarks. Check WordPress to get started.
Google Webmaster Tools
Googles Webmaster Tools help to make websites more Google friendly, always a good thing. It can help diagnose problems with sitemaps, links, URL’s and identify what sites are linking to yours.
The rapid growth of Facebook over the last year has been impressive. Facebook want Facebook to be the first port of call for all internet users and earlier this year time spent on social network sites overtook time spent on e-mail. Facebook pages are simple to set up, easy to manage and can be useful ways of connecting with customers. The trick here is identifying ways to engage with your customers through the existing tools on the Facebook page such as photo’s, video’s and text. But remember not to contact them too often or you may see a decrease in number of fans or group members you have.
Linked In is similar to Facebook, but aimed at the business community. LinkedIn is slowly growing in popularity in Ireland and can be a good means of networking. I have heard of firms finding this avenue of communication generating more business than the more popular Facebook.
Twitter is massive in the states and not so massive over here – yet. According to this and this a few Irish tweeters are making a lot of noise and most have less than nine friends on the service. This could point to the large amounts of hype the service has received in the last six months as people dip their toes. However, just think back two years and much fewer people were on Facebook in this country and any kind of Google / Twitter tie up will only increasing the latter’s visibility. Also the micro-blogging site can help with search engine ranking and is a useful way of notifying followers of new blog posts. See my quick guide to Twitter here.
An RSS feed notifies subscribers of updates to a website. The notification goes to a feed reader, like Google Reader, so subscribers know of updates to your site. Feed’s are easy to set up through sites like Feedburner .
Sharing Widgets & Social Bookmarks
Sharing widgets such as the ‘Share This’ icon and Twitter icon posted below this increase the sharability of items posted on your website to other social media outlets. For example, clicking on Share This then, for example, the Facebook icon will post this message to your Facebook profile instantly spreading it around the internet. The service isn’t limited to Facebook just click on the icon below to see the full range of social media outlets anybody can easily post your content to.
For easy step by step guides on all of the above, the internet is the best free resource offering handy tips and tutorials to get you started. I suggest starting here