What are some FREE ways small businesses can advertise?
During the pandemic we have seen a huge shift in small businesses needing to get more visible online but they aren't really in a position to sink in a big chunk of advertising dollars. In this blog I will cover a few FREE options that anyone with a business should be doing.
The first and most important thing you can do is set up your Google My Business. Already done this? Don't go anywhere because I am also going to cover some things to look out for.
For my beginners, you will start with going here. You are going to search for your business name and follow this guide. Now, before you go racing off - like the go-getter you are - there are some things you want to keep in mind.
This process will take some time because Google will be mailing you a verification to the address you use. If you work from home, no sweat, you can hide your address on the public profile portion.
This takes me to the next point. As you are filling all the questions out try to be as complete as possible. Don't rush through it. Slow down and be sure the info is correct, as well as conveys the tone and message of your branding.
Some things you would do well to have on hand: photos of your business, yourself, and logo. If you have to pick only one - go with logo. If you have a website you will also be able to connect it.
The more complete and up to date you keep this profile the better results you will see. Once you have it all set up and verified you can send people your short-link to ask them to review you (I will do another post about this soon).
Second important step is to set up a Facebook Business Page! You will need a private profile to do this. If you don't have a private profile start with setting that one up. Once you have it established then you are ready to create the business page. You can read Facebook's instructions here.
As you create it, you will want to follow the same principles as above by filling the page out as completely as possible. Where Facebook starts to get really tricky for businesses is that it is media based. This means that everything about Facebook is about visual cues. Lots of photos, images, logos, buttons.
I like to recommend having a designer make you a custom profile picture icon based on your logo. In this section, I will demonstrate why this is important. Here is one version of my regular logo with a blue background.
This is the version I like to use on white background pages, usually centered as a footer or something similar. Depending on how I need to use my logo in each instance, I sometimes need to change it up.
For example, another option I like to use on white backgrounds is to have the blue color part of the text instead of as a background color. By changing that part up it gives me more versatility without loosing the look and feel of my branding overall. You should be applying these principals to your branding across any platform you are on - free or not.
As you can see, even when I remove the blue "box" behind the logo it still comes out very square. Since the profile picture on most platforms is round right now, I asked the designer to make me a circle with a "P" that would carry over my branding look and colors.
It doesn't take that much extra time but can really make all the difference in ensuring that you have a well-branded presence online. Branding doesn't mean that it has to have your whole logo, rather that it incorporates enough of the elements that if a person were scrolling through a feed they would associate your post with your business by the icon logo as well as the business name itself. Here is the example of the circle logo.
This "P" is still my regular font and colors but, when shrunk down, clear and purposeful. Think about all the places you would see a profile picture... It will always have the name of your business so you don't need the logo to carry that portion of your messaging in this context.
For contrast, here is an example of my regular logo put into the same size circle. Notice how even though they are the same size the full logo version just becomes Pearl and a blur below?
The "P" above feels confident and planned whereas this little guy feels like he was an afterthought squished into a circle. You are already setting the tone of your brand with just this little circle so take it seriously and make it worth your efforts. Clients will notice and respond to you differently because it feels different on a subconscious level.
Another great trick is a custom banner with your logo and slogan, if you have one. Now, think about it like this: you are a prospective client and when you see the branding is consistent across platforms, what is the next thing that business can do to add value to their brand (for free)?
GET REVIEWS! Yes, I know I am yelling but reviews just get me so excited. Reviews are marketing GOLD. You want them. You need them. So how do you get them? Well, that is either a free consultation or yet another post down the road for me.
In the meantime though, stay consistent with your online presence and now that you have the appropriate profiles - use them. Closing for the holiday? Update your Google My Business. Have an interesting topic to post? Use that Facebook page to share it with your valued clients and prospective clients.
Remember, really people are reading what you put out there so don't be afraid to make yourself relatable and even vulnerable. Authenticity goes a long way in marketing your business and yourself.
Does this all sound great to you but you are already overwhelmed? I gotchu! Get in touch with me to set up a free consultation to find out how Pearl Consulting can help take your business to the next level.