12 Most Organic Ways to Grow Your Business Online
No matter how long you’ve been in business, you have to continually get your name out to market. With all the choices available, it’s often difficult to know which will be most effective and won’t break the bank in the process.
Enter organic marketing. What this simply means is you don’t pay for it — it’s grown from the ground up.
Although it’s great to get free publicity, you need to make sure your efforts are not in vein. You absolutely must know who your market is and where they hang out in order to avoid spinning your wheels.
For example, if your target market is women over the age of fifty who want to eat healthy, find resources specific to this market. If you’re a childcare expert, find the resources specific to this market.
If you were to consistently apply the following strategies to your marketing mix, within a very short period of time you will achieve incredible results for your market reach and visibility.
If you’ve been online for any length of time, it’s likely you’ve heard that you should blog. But exactly what that means is open to interpretation.
Let’s start with defining what a blog is. A blog is a type of website, or web log, where you regularly post entries, also known as posts — informative commentaries, articles, promotional information, graphics, MP3s, and/or videos. Posts are usually listed in reverse chronological order.
The word “blog” can also be used as a verb meaning “to post on your blog.” Blogging is a great way to build your list. With effective blogging you can direct readers to your website or landing page where they can opt in for something free (an ethical bribe). You can also effectively establish your “voice” if you’re willing to let your personality shine through on your posts.
To get the most out of your blog, post on a regular basis — a minimum of two to three times a week, and more if possible — using fresh content containing market-related keywords for the search engines. By using targeted keywords you increase the right kind of traffic to your blog.
2. Guest blogging
If you’re looking for ways to get in front of your market, find blogs that fit your market needs. The process of finding blogs is quite simple: contact people in your circle of influence to inquire about guest blogging. If you have a good reputation, it should be relatively easy to find opportunities through them. Check blog directories, blogs listed in the blogroll of a popular blog you are targeting, and use Google searches. (A blogroll is a list posted at a blog site of links to other blogs the blogger likes.)
Here are some of the most popular directories:
- Blog Catalog
- On Top List
To get the greatest result for your efforts, be prepared when approaching blog owners. Let the owner know who you are, what you want, why you would be a nice addition to the blog, what your expertise is, and what the benefit to their readers will be. Avoid being pushy, arrogant, or coming across as a know-it-all. Nothing turns a blog owner off faster than someone acting as if they can “rescue” them in some way.
In some cases you will find a contact form or request form on the site that you need to complete. Otherwise, simply send an email. You can also reach many blog owners by direct message via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks to which they belong.
If you want to escalate your market position and expert status in record time, a telesummit is the way to go. Telesummits are virtual events that are very similar to conferences or live seminars where several experts join in on a training program with a theme.
When done right, telesummits quickly escalate your expert status. To begin, create a wish-list of 20–30 ideal experts for your event. Prepare a document where you outline what the telesummit is about, who the target market is, what other experts are involved and what the responsibility of anyone being involved in the event will be.
The more prepared you are when approaching experts, and the more you convey a win for them, the more likely they are to get involved.
4. Online radio
Never has it been easier for an expert to be heard than with online radio. Radio is an excellent medium to optimize your personality. When being interviewed, keep the conversation going and present interesting content.
Lots of people are extremely intimidated by the thought of going on air, but when you consider what it can open up for you, it might be time to walk through your fear. You have a message to get out to the world. When you keep this in the forefront of your thinking, speaking on the air becomes much easier.
An interview is simply a conversation. The more relaxed you are, the more natural the conversation and the more you can be yourself. The more you are yourself, the more people will like you for who you are.
An advantage of web radio is that when your show information is posted, you gain Google ranking. And a podcast of the show can be posted on the radio-show website, so your interview can continue to attract attention for a long time. You never know how many opportunities will show up after a great interview.
5. Media releases
A simple way to gain free publicity and build your opt-in subscriber list is to write and distribute a well-written, well-formatted media release, also known as a press release. It’s a very effective yet underutilized publicity tool. There are paid services that will distribute your media releases. If budget is an issue, you can easily find specific locations with a Google search such as “media” in your local market or a targeted group of people. For example, “where to submit media releases for free” brings up several choices for where to submit a release.
A media release is an announcement you distribute to various online locations such as directories, your blog, social networks, and forums. Traditionally, press releases were “released” to newspapers and radio and TV stations, and you can do that as well. Public service announcements (PSAs) are also submitted as press releases.
Use a targeted approach with your media releases to get the greatest result. If you are announcing something to do with dog training, don’t send your release to a business editor. Rather, you would send the release to pet editors.
6. Article marketing
One of the most effective ways to get your name recognized is by writing and distributing articles. This is referred to as article marketing. I began article marketing in the late nineties when few people were doing it. I had very little visibility and market position compared to what I have today. Without a doubt, one thing that skyrocketed my visibility was article marketing.
If you haven’t yet begun writing articles to establish your expert status, build your subscriber list, and increase your credibility and market reach, now is a great time to begin.
Article marketing positions you as an expert, increases traffic to your blog, website, and landing pages, increases sales potential, builds name recognition, gains trust and entry into your customer’s mind, and builds a highly responsive subscriber list for any industry.
7. Hosted webinars and teleseminars
As the internet has become more and more popular, so have training methods that don’t require leaving the comfort of your home or office. Teleseminars — seminars conducted by phone, also known as teleconferences, teleclasses, and telecoaching, initially were more readily embraced by home-based entrepreneurs because they cost so little to host.
Early on, not only was the cost of hosting a webinar prohibitive for many people, but so was the lack of service providers for small and solo businesses. As demand grew, however, so did the number of choices available for the market. Both teleseminars and webinars allow you to facilitate a training session with participants from around the globe as long as you have a phone, a computer, and an internet connection.
8. Joint venture partnerships
There is only so much we can do to reach our market on our own. When we join with others who have a similar market reach, we are able to accomplish much more. Enter joint-venture partnerships.
A joint-venture partnership, or JV for short, is an agreement between two or more people in which everyone benefits in some way. The primary purpose is cross-promotion, with one partner selling a product while increasing market reach and subscribers for all partners.
One of the most common JV arrangements in online marketing is when a partner agrees to send out a message to their market about a specific campaign that another partner is promoting.
9. Affiliate partners
One of the best ways to provide excellent resources to your market or tap in to other markets with your products is with an affiliate partnership. In this type of partnership, your affiliate partner helps sell your product or service by marketing to their customers, and receives a percentage of that sale based on performance. If you have products to sell and you want a greater market reach with increased revenue-generating opportunities, others can be your affiliates.
Common items to sell through an affiliate are software programs, e-products, and seminar registrations. This type of partnership allows for increased revenue streams, while providing added value for existing clients by offering products that are beneficial to them.
10. Trade journals
A trade journal, also known as a trade magazine (or trade rag) and a professional magazine, is a magazine targeted to a specific industry or market. Trade magazines often contain advertising centered around the industry. You will not find general advertising in many trade journals. If you have a highly-niched market, trade journals are a great avenue to gain free publicity. There are both online and print versions for most industries.
11. Social networks
One of the greatest changes to happen online is social networks and social media. Social media has changed the way people communicate with each other online and offers a greater opportunity than ever to share your message with the world. It offers incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for their own “perfect” clients. It has leveled the playing field for virtually any entrepreneur in any industry.
Using social media makes it possible to connect, communicate, and create relationships with people all over the globe who are in need of your product. You establish these relationships by creating compelling profiles about you and your business, then sharing information and content so those “perfect clients” can get to know yo, learn what you stand for and how they can work with you.
Social media is made up of social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. A social network is an online community of people with similar interests. It’s a social structure made up of individuals and organizations, called nodes, that are connected by one or more specific commonalities such as friendship, family, industries, knowledge bases, religions, etc.
There are very specific social networks and very broad-based social networks. Most are web-based and offer emailing options, postings for anyone in your immediate network to see, and instant messaging or direct messaging.
Has the thought of being in the movies ever appealed to you? Ever dreamed of having your own television show? Want to be seen by hundreds, thousands, and even millions of viewers? If you said yes, then video is for you!
Video is one of the hottest marketing tools around. Not only is it great for promotions, but when done right, viewers really feel that they’ve gotten to know you and that translates to great marketing.
There are two basic approaches to video: direct to camera and screen capture. Direct to camera is filming yourself, colleagues, and/or experts conducting a training session, demonstration, or presentation; doing an interview, book trailer, or testimonial; or delivering a speech. You can film your expert interview or any other kind of interview rather than recording it as an audio. Screen capture is turning something on your computer into a video, such as PowerPoint slides or online locations.
The number one online video location is YouTube. There are plenty of others, but YouTube gets so much traffic that posting your video there is a “must-do.”
No matter what industry you are in, these strategies can work for you. You will have the best results when you have a focused approach to your organic marketing. You will achieve incredible outcomes which include visibility, market reach and increased revenues.
How are you growing your business online?
Featured image courtesy of LadyDragonfly licensed via Creative Commons.