Handy alternatives to paying for online advertising

by Carter Toni

While many things appear to have been in a state of suspended animation for the best part of the last two years, hampered either by lockdowns or staff furlough (or both), the rise in the number of people using the internet to find what they want has accelerated.

While the reasons for this are quite obvious, solutions on how a business can make the most of this opportunity are not quite as apparent. The knee-jerk reaction of throwing more money into online advertising can be one solution,but it suddenly drains the advertising budget.

With that in mind, here are a couple of solutions that you can look to that might not be as instant as throwing thousands at Google or Facebook but can have very positive medium and long-term results.

Increase your organic search traffic

While appearing at the top of Google search results can be done by paying for an ad, a better long-term solution is to drive organic traffic to your website. This will work out far cheaper than advertising for every visitor your site gets but does not bring results overnight. This will involve a commitment to a long-term strategy that can involve the content on your site, the way it is structured, and the quality of the incoming links.

If this sounds like quite an undertaking, that’s because it can be. This means that while you can do this yourself or ask an employee to do it for you, you might be better off outsourcing it to an SEO company or contracting a freelance specialist to work in-house and carry out or coordinate what needs to happen. This could take up to a year before you see what you might regard as discernible ‘results’ (i.e., an increase in sales from organic traffic), so it might be considered more of an investment than a direct expense like advertising.

Increase your traffic from social media

Using social media effectively can have a massive effect on your traffic, even without using paid advertising. With effective use of hashtags and by using tactics like cross-promotions and influencers, you can gain followers who then will possibly see your posts when you make them.

Your approach can be two-fold. Firstly, the more direct approach to posting information about your latest product with links back to your website to engage a sale, but any account that simply does this will typically get ‘unfollowed’ rather quickly. So instead, mixing product pushes with posts that give your followers insight into your story will attract more people that align with your ethos and make you their first stop when they are ready to buy the type of product they sell.

A few final thoughts

There’s no way around it; even carefully targeted advertising can be expensive and seeing this as the only way to get new customers in the door can still be more costly. However, by adding an effective SEO strategy and being equally savvy with social media, you could see an increase in sales without breaking the bank.

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