In 4 Tips to Boost your Website in Google for Free, we showed you how unique content, good copywriting, backlinks and social marketing can all combine to make a great marketing plan for many businesses. We’re not done yet though. The Internet is a universe of free opportunity and if you have the time and motivation to get your marketing off the ground, you can boost your website and business profile online DIY style – for free.

Online directories

For local tradies, online directories are sometimes an untapped wealth of traffic, enquiries and links to your website. There are thousands of online directories but only a few that are actually worth using. These prominent directories allow free listings but also offer paid listings with more features. In this author’s opinion, stick with the free listings as they do just as good a job.

Yellow Pages Online

There’s been a rumbling in the earth about how the printed Yellow Pages phone book may soon be obsolete as more and more people turn to the Internet for business information. To hedge their bets, Yellow Pages are now offering online listings for businesses. Get your free listing and put in your business name, contact number, location and website address.

Truelocal

Another prominent directory, geared up for Australian businesses. Get your free listing and put in as many details as you can.

Hotfrog

One of the big three directories for Australian businesses. Get your business into Hotfrog and reap the benefits of a free listing and a frequent free report about how well your listing is performing.
Other online directories worth a go:

Start Local
Enterprise Search
Aussie Web
Shopseek

Get active on forums

Are you a specialist in your field? Do your friends often ask you for advice? Do you have useful knowledge to impart?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re ripe for opportunity in the field of Online Forums. These forums are created by a need for people to be able to get answers to their questions from knowledgeable peers. The Web is bursting with forums, and all of them serve a certain niche. Look for a forum related to your industry. For example, if you deal in technical gadgets or phone & internet networks, get active on Whirlpool. If you have a wide array of knowledge on many subjects, consider gaining reputation on Yahoo! Answers.

Why join a forum?

But what do you get out of joining forum discussions? By lending your advice and engaging in discussions on subjects you know about, you can build up your reputation as an expert. When people trust your reputation enough, they’ll click on your profile to check out your website – or better yet, your website link in your signature (the piece of text that appends every forum post you make). Forum marketing results in both a surge in reputation and backlinks, but only when correctly handled.
How do you market on forums effectively? In short, follow these guidelines:

– Find a forum relevant to your industry where your target market is likely to hang around.
– Make sure the forum has at least 1,000 members.
– Ignore forums that are full of spam and dodgy ads.
– Avoid forums that are controlled by your direct competitors, ie. A forum on a competitors’ website.
– Forum marketing is long term – the longer you are with a forum, the more you are seen as a credible senior member and somebody to listen to.
– Observe the forum’s guidelines to make sure you don’t step over the line.
– Fill your forum profile with as much compelling information as you can.
– Before you post, ‘lurk’ around the forums to observe what others are discussing and how they go about conversing. Some forums cater to subcultures who have their own customs and lingo.
– When you do post, answer somebody’s question with very useful and detailed information, and add links to other useful resources to the post. This will demonstrate your expertise and position you as a trusted expert.
– Never directly market or mention your product or business in a post. That’s what your signature is for, but don’t go overboard. You need to project the image of being a valued community member, not just a marketing shark.
– Don’t get drawn into heated arguments.

Some forums possibly worth your time:
Amazon.com Forums
DiscussAnything.com
Topix.com
Yahoo! Answers

These forums deal with any subject. If you are targeting a niche, search for a decent forum on Google or head to Boardreader or BigBoards.

Get on the map

This is a great way to get instant exposure on the web – set up a Google+ Profile and through that, set up your business listing on Google+ Local. This is basically the replacement to Google Maps Places, so get on board while it’s early days.

Google+ Local is like a facebook Business Page, but also has many other features – including reviews, photos, location maps and more. It’s also getting quite a bit of priority in Google Searches.

Google+ Local acts as a directory for consumers to find local products and services in their area. It’s the new Yellow Pages and offers far more scope for effective local area marketing. A well-optimized Google+ Local page provides visibility, location maps, details, a link back to your website, engagement with customers, and potentially high page rankings for your Local page.

Remember – this is a form of social marketing. If you want to maintain your Google+ Local listing to its fullest potential, keep tabs on your page. It’s a great place to engage with your customers in order to increase brand loyalty. It’s also a crucial place to put some nice photos of your business and as much information about your business as possible including opening times, location, payment information, products and services provided and such.

Possibly the most effective form of marketing on Google+ Local is to get some of your happiest customers to review your business via the listing. Visibly good feedback attracts enquiries like you wouldn’t believe.

Press Releases

If you’re a fashion designer or an industry professional with a newsworthy story up your sleeve, a great way to get exposure is to release your story via online Press Release services – for free. If your story is interesting it may be picked up by large newspapers, resulting in lots and lots of exposure. Though the success of this largely rests on whether your story is newsworthy, and where your Press Release service distributes to. The main noteworthy PR services are: prweb.com & onlineprnews.com.

That’s it for our 4 tips, we hope you’ve gained some insight into the wealth of free opportunities on the internet. Get out there and get exposure for your business, DIY style!