Your guide to a successful online business!

Promoting a business is an ongoing challenge for small businesses. How can you get your name in front of potential customers when you’re just starting up and/ or when you’re on a shoestring budget?

We’ve previously shared with you six ways to market your small business on less than £100 a month. But since there are so many more things you can do to generate publicity, buzz and awareness on the cheap, we thought we’d share a few more.

So read on to learn how else you can market your small business, attract more customers and build trust, even with a small budget of £100 (or even less) per month.

1. Fix 404 not found pages

If a visitor lands on your site for the first time and all they see is a 404 not found page, that doesn’t make a good first impression, does it?

404 not found


A 404 page is what users see when they try to reach a page on your site that isn’t found. This usually happens when they have clicked on a broken link, mistyped a URL or when the page has been moved or deleted.

Telling your first-time visitors that they can’t find the information they’re looking for after they’ve already made the decision to get on your site isn’t helping your business. So make sure to constantly click on the links on your site to ensure they’re working properly and that they lead to the pages they’re supposed to. To save up time, use Google Search Console as it can detect these pages for you. You can find a list with 404 pages on your site in Crawl-> Crawl Errors -> Not Found.

If don’t have a Google Search Console account set up, read our beginner’s guide to learn how to set it up and how to use it to find 404 not found pages on your site.

2. Speed up your site

The next step is to speed up your site as this has a huge impact on conversions and Google rankings. In fact, decreasing page loading time from eight to two seconds can increase sales by 74%.

Now, if a page takes too long to load, users will leave your site and, as a result, your bounce will increase exponentially which will cause your rankings to decrease. And lower rankings mean that potential customers will have a more difficult time finding your business in the search results.

So, here’s what you should do. Go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check and see how fast your site is loading. If you have a WordPress site and you’re looking into ways to maximise your site’s speed, check out our guide on how to speed up your WordPress site.

3. Find content with potential and improve it

Here’s something you already know: the majority of searchers don’t go past the first page of the search results.

And here’s something you might NOT already know: you probably have lots of pages on your site with the potential to rank higher in the search results. So why not put a bit more effort into making those pages better and move them from page two or three, to page one of the search results?

How? First you have to find those pages with potential. To do that, log into your Google Search Console account, go to Search Traffic -> Search Analytics and rank queries by Position.

search analytics

Anything that ranks between 10 and 20 is on the second page.

Use this information to determine which pages on your site have the potential to rank higher, and then make tweaks and improvements to those pages. Maybe you need to add more content to better explain what your product or service brings to the table, or maybe you’re missing images or meta descriptions.

While you’re making improvements to the content you should also check to make sure that that page is properly optimised for search engines. For actionable advice and tips, read our post on how to optimise a landing page for search engines.

4. Optimise for local search

Now, more than ever, search engine results are becoming increasingly personalised based on who is doing the searching and where they are located.

This is something you need to take full advantage of if you want to show up in the local search results when your potential customers are running a search on Google for local businesses.

The first and most important thing you can do is to set up Google My Business properly and include all your business information such as phone number, physical address, website, opening hours and images. The more information you provide on your Google My Business profile, the more likely it will be that someone interested in your offer comes across your name.

google my business

This information also needs to be present on your site and most importantly, it needs to be accurate, up to date and consistent on all the sites where your business information is shared. This includes social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For more advice on how to optimise your site for local search and help local customers find you much faster, check out these resources:

5. Create content for each step of the funnel

Here’s the thing: not all the people who visit your site are ready to buy. Some might have just discovered your business and are curious to find out more about what you do. They might not even have a need for your product or service so they’ve obviously not looking to buy.

Others might be in the research phase and are looking into the various businesses who are offering what they might need to find out more. They’re not ready to buy either. There are also those who are ready to buy so they’re looking at their options and comparing prices and features.

All these people can become your customers. That is if you know how to nurture them over time, gain their trust and convince them that they have a need for your product or service.

How can you do that? With great content. You need to make sure that no matter which step of the funnel a potential customer is at, you’re there to help with information and advice.

Here’s how:

  • Awareness. At this stage you need to provide educational content that helps people solve a problem they’re struggling with. Think video tutorials, ebooks, checklists, podcasts, etc.
  • Information. Now that they know they have a need and have started researching solutions, make it easier for them to compare. Create a survey to help them find the perfect product or service, or a table that compares various products.
  • Evaluation. At this stage, people are looking at prices and considering whether the price is fair, and which business they should buy from. Make sure you provide the necessary information to position your product as an investment rather than a cost.
  • Purchase: You’ve got this!

While this may sound like a lot of work (and it definitely is), marketing your business this way can increase your chances of converting visitors into customers, no matter which stage they’re at when they first land on your site.

6. Add strong calls to action

Every piece of marketing that you create – whether it’s a tweet, a blog post or an email newsletter – needs to include a strong call to action to draw in new customers.

It’s not enough to add popular and relevant hashtags. And it’s not enough to add a pretty image to your newsletter. And it’s definitely not enough to write an informative blog post. You also need to clearly state how people can get in touch with you, read more of your content, work with you or buy from you. So a strong call to action is what you need.

For example, if you’re posting a tweet sharing an article from your blog, you’re going to add a call to action to entice people to click and go read the article. If you’re publishing an article on your blog, you should also link to other resources on your blog and also get people to sign up to get notified via email whenever you publish a new article.

Calls to action don’t have to be elaborate or ask much from your prospects. They can be as simple as asking for their opinion on a topic, suggesting that they use a specific hashtag when they mention your business, or asking them to sign up for your email updates.

7. Automate your email follow up

While social media can get more people talking and engaging with your brand, there’s still nothing as strong as email when it comes to driving sales. So why not make the most of it?

If you’re using an email service like the 123 Reg email marketing solution, then you can automate your emails to save some time. For example, if you’re a personal trainer you can set up automated follow up emails to go out to those who have finished their journey with you. In your email you could ask them to write a review that you can then share on your site, to recommend your services to their friends or to give them an incentive to ensure they’ll come back to you.

8. Repurpose your most popular content

One of the most difficult parts about creating high quality content on a regular basis is finding topics to write about to keep your audience interested. That takes time and resources. So why not try to breathe new life into your old articles and gain even more value from your most popular content?

Repurposing your content can help you to extend the longevity of your content, it can give you a search engine optimisation boost and you can also make a bigger impact. And the best part? You can reach new groups of people.

Think about it. Some people like reading blog posts, others would rather digest that information in the form of infographics, videographics (or animated videos), podcasts, etc. So by repurposing your old content and switching up the formats to present the content in new light, you can attract even more people.

Of course, you can also just give an article a quick refresh by adding some new facts, statistics or images. That works too.

We’ve written an in-depth article on creative ways to get more value out of your best content so make sure you read it for more inspiration.

9. Offer free trials to new customers

An effective way to acquire new customers is to offer them a free trial or some way to test your product or service. This not only helps to market your business and entice prospects to become customers, but is also a great way to gather feedback and make improvements where needed.

You can also ask for reviews and testimonials that you can then use on your site and social media channels to further market your business.

Offering prospects a free trial allows you to show them the value of what you have to offer. This is your chance to prove to them that your product or service is truly exemplary, and thus convert them into paying returning customers later.

10. Make use of cross promotions and partnerships

You might not think so but cross promotions still work, no matter what business you’re in. For example, if you’re a hair dresser, go find event planners to partner with. If you’re a dog trainer, why not partner with veterinarians, dog grooming businesses, and even pet shops.

Don’t know how or where to find these local businesses? Search on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, LinkedIn and even Facebook.

facebook pet shop

You can promote each other or you can pay to get your business name in front of your partners’ customers.

Wrapping up

Most small businesses are on a shoestring budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete with big brands when it comes to creative ways to attract new customers. You just have to get even more creative. So, instead of always relying on budgets to market your business, you should use your other resources like time, ingenuity and some risk-taking to get people talking about your business.

Have any other marketing ideas for under £100? Share them with us in a tweet @123reg.

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