How to Promote a Small Business Using Free Online Tools

Promoting a small business on the Internet seems straightforward, but many small business owners and marketing managers overlook important online tools that can transform a simple web presence into a powerful Internet traffic generating instrument. The most useful online tools available for promoting small businesses are easy-to-use and completely free, with the exception of the time invested. Save your advertising dollars to use on printed publications and real-world trade shows and discover surprising opportunities that are just a few mouse-clicks away.

Register for a free Google account by visiting the Google home page and providing the necessary personal information. Provided with the free Google account are several key items that will be useful for promoting your business. Gmail is a free web-based email service that may be accessed from anywhere an Internet connection is available and it has a great anti-spam filter. Google Documents is an important application because it includes a word processor which may be used to create and save documents online. For the best results using Google Documents, try the free Google Chrome web browser, which may also be downloaded from Google's home page.

Write simple, but informative articles about your small business using Google Documents. Articles may be about products, services and any interesting news or updates that are taking place within the company. Save each article as its own document. These articles are very important and will be used to provide content for other websites. Because the articles were created and saved online, each will be easily accessible when needed. Write several articles every day in order to build a collection of information, and have someone proofread each one for spelling and grammar errors.

Take pictures in and around the company using a digital camera. Photograph products, employees (with permission) and services as they are being provided by the company. Upload the photos from the digital camera to Picasa, which is also accessible through a link in your free Google account. These pictures may be used in conjunction with the articles to present a powerful representation of your small business and what it can do for the customer. Content is crucial to attracting visitors; it will be useful to have this collection of articles and pictures to draw upon as you build an online presence for the company.

Register a free Facebook account for your business. Sign up for a business page using the link toward the bottom of the page, which says "Create a page for a celebrity, band or business." Be creative and personalize the Facebook profile page for the business using your collection of pictures and articles. Refer new and existing customers to the company's Facebook page both over the phone and through links in email messages so that you will slowly build a following of loyal friends and customers. Designate time each week to update the company's profile page in order to keep the content fresh and relevant.

Create a personalized blog using a free blogging website. The same Google account login information may be used to access Blogger, which is owned and operated by Google. Tailor the topic and content of the blog to closely match the message that you feel will convince visitors to contact your company. If you already have a company website, use links from the blog to direct visitors to that site; otherwise direct them to the company's Facebook page, which should present all of the necessary contact information.

Promote both the Facebook profile page and the company blog using other free online resources such as Reddit, Twitter and Squidoo. Regardless of how many online accounts are created for the company, the most important component is always the content provided. Without premium content, your company's online presence is just another obstacle in the customer's way to finding the information they seek.

Do not create empty profile pages and on-line persona that leave visitors with too little information. Consumers search for products on the Internet because they want to learn more about them. If you can satisfy a visitor's need for information, your company stands a better chance of converting that visitor into a paying customer.