THE BLOG
11/14/2014 12:09 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2015

No Online Marketing Budget? Use These 7 Tips to Grow Your Business In-House.

Every small business would love to dive head first into online marketing, but many hit a roadblock when exploring the many options available: their budget. A lack of budget shouldn't prevent you from attracting new business online. It is possible to start small and do some online marketing in-house until your business is producing enough revenue to justify hiring a marketing agency to handle the task. Use these 7 tips to help grow your business to the point where you can hire and benefit greatly from an online marketing agency.

1. Claim Your Local Listing Pages

If you haven't already claimed your local business listing on Google, Bing and various other local directories then you are missing out on potential website visitors, phone calls and physical location visits. There are several free listings that can help your business gain online exposure, so make sure you take advantage of these. Moz local is a great tool that can help you identify, manage and audit your local listings.

Here are a few to help you get started:

Google My Business
Bing Places for Business
YP.com

2. Audit Your On-Page SEO

In order to help your website become more search engine friendly you will want to audit your on-page SEO. Making sure that each page is correctly optimized for your target keywords will help your business be found in the search results. Many local businesses can rank organically with solid on-page SEO. Tools like moz's on-page grader and this on-page optimization guide can help you improve the performance and visibility of your website.

3. Build an Email Marketing List

Building a highly targeted email list of potential customers as well as current customers allows you to keep them updated on current sales, promotions and just general information about your business. It is important that your brand remains on their radar so when they are ready to purchase you are the first business to come to mind.

Create a simple opt-in offer on your website and offer something of value such as exclusive early bird notifications or a special savings coupon. To capture emails at a physical business location include a tri-fold with a QR code at your register that your customers can scan with their mobile device to take advantage of your offer. Send them to a simple opt-in that collects their name and email. (Note: make sure that the URL you send them to is mobile friendly so they can easily submit via their mobile device)

4. Become Active on Social Media

Being active on social media allows you to connect to a new audience and introduce them to your brand. Think of social media as a tool to help potential customers get to know what your business offers. The last thing you want to do is post updates related to selling your product or service. This approach will turn people off -- instead, focus on providing them with useful information that will attract their interest and cause them to naturally check out what your business offers.

5. Create a Blog

Blogging on a regular basis can help to build your online authority and improve your organic reach in the search results. It also gives your visitors content to engage with when they land on your website. Since you are extremely familiar with your business you should be able to easily come up with topics that will interest your potential customers. For some more blogging tips check out the blog post, "How Blogging Gets Customers For Your Business."

6. Study Your Google Analytics Data

Your Google Analytics account can provide you with priceless information about your website visitors. Understanding what they are doing when they get to your site and where they are coming from can help you shift your effort to those areas and outlets that are producing the highest quality traffic. You should be diving into your Analytics account daily!

7. Develop Relationships With Local Media Outlets

PR and SEO go hand-in-hand, so any time you can get media exposure you have the potential to attract new website visitors as well as earn high quality links to your website. Reaching out to local TV stations and online news publications and introducing yourself is a great start. Once the connection is established let them know that you would be happy to provide insight regarding your industry if they ever needed it. You will be surprised at how many of these introductions will result in media contacts that will reach out looking for your expert input on a frequent basis.

Now, if you have the budget to afford professional help, by all means go in that direction -- it allows you to focus 100 percent of your effort on running your business while your entire online marketing strategy is taken care of. But, for those that simply don't have the budget for professional help, utilize these tips to grow your business until an agency is within your budget.

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