Marketing is about connecting with people and creating a loyal following. Fortunately, you don’t have to invest a lot of money in order to build awareness of your business. In fact, there are many ways to do it well and for free!

Marketing early on and often allows you to assess what your market needs, what you can offer the market and how your business stands out from the competition. Your efforts will also help you get to know your target audience so you can refine future marketing efforts.

  • Collaborate with other online businesses. Advertise on their sites and vice versa. Ask them to give you referrals, mention your company, etc. Perhaps create a badge or button to their business for your site or blog and ask to swap.
  • Create promotions and deals for referrals. People love free things. Create an incentive for people to use your service, subscribe to your newsletter or write a review. Consider a giveaway or coupon codes.
  • Send a weekly newsletter. Don’t just chat about the happenings in your business (engagements, promotions, etc.). Include cutting-edge content about industry trends or articles you find interesting.
  • Self-promote your business. It can be incredibly effective! Don’t be afraid to talk about your business, mission statement and goals with friends, family, colleagues and even people you don’t know. Doing so will help you to feel comfortable promoting your business and will also help people to know more about it. Consider advertising your business on your cart, posting your site’s link on your Facebook page or handing out business cards at local events.
  • Offer an online class on YouTube. Provide educational tips and information on a regular basis. That will give you the opportunity to connect with customers, share your expertise and promote your business.
  • Master the art of Google+. Google loves Google and so a relevant, updated Google+ profile for your business will help you to get to the top of the search-engine totem pole.
  • Use Twitter. Retweet, “favorite” and follow people. Create hashtags with your business name or product.
  • Pin pictures and how-to articles from your site on Pinterest. Just make sure they are actually worth pinning. Generally, Pinterest users are attracted to content that can help them save time and money. They’re also attracted to beautiful and unique images. Update your site to make sure you have both helpful content and appealing images.
  • Encourage Facebook Likes. Regularly share articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, etc. on your company’s Facebook page to keep customers engaged and to show personality to potential customers.
  • Join LinkedIn. Use it to connect with like-minded people in your industry and promote your business. You can also ask for tips, create relationships, and track your competition.