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Using free online tools for marketing your business

Grow your business online

COVID-19 has spread the world over the past few months, the deadily virus leaving most the planet in lockdown. Our borders are closed.  We were in isolation. It's all a bit crazy! 

Cafes, restaurants, bars, gyms, retail stores and other small businesses across the world are taking a hit.

If you're concerned about your business moving forward with your loss of income, then feel free to contact us for a FREE virtual marketing consultation.

We can answer any questions you may have about marketing, and talk about steps you can use to increase the visibility of your business online. 

The New Zealand Government are giving assistance to businesses, which you can read more about here.  But it's only so much, and the longer we're shutdown, the more it is going to affect the SME out there.

I wanted to provide this guide to help all those businesses get themselves online with marketing they can do themselves for free to get more people through the door after the lockdown, or increase leads for their online business.

We will undoubtedly go into a recession in the aftermath of COVID-19 / The Coronavirus, so many businesses have taken a big hit.   Anything you can do to be easily found online will benefit your business.

Make sure you try and be as active as possible in lockdown.  Physical health is very important to our wellbeing and links with our mental health.

Kia Kaha.

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HOw to get yourself an online presence for free

Get your business online!

Here are 14 TIPS for bringing your business online and/or increasing brand awareness and website traffic.

1. Set up your website
If you don't already have a website it's fairly easy to set one up yourself, and you can do it for free.  I would recommend paying for your domain, however.  This is because a .com or .co.nz web address is far more professional and credible than yourwebsite.wordpress.com for example.

I have had a few business websites in my time, and I have set them all up myself through websites you can use for free, and then pay for a domain and extra features.  There are numerous options available, such as WordPress, Wix, Sitebuilder is examples of options that are pretty user-friendly for beginners, and should offer all you need for your first website.  Wordpress is the best option if you're going to write a lot of blog content, and go for Shopify if you want to sell things from an online store.

2. The next step is setting up social media.  Facebook is the first obvious option, you can also use Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedInTwitter to reach your target audience through social media. 

Choose what is right for your business, where your customers are most likely to be and what you're trying to achieve. Some businesses are more suited to Instagram than LinkedIn and vice versa.

3. When you set up your profile, images should be a certain size on different social media for your wallpaper/cover photo and profile picture. One size won't fit all, so I can take some time to edit logos and photos to get them the appropriate size.  If you don't have software to resize pictures, click here to use an online resource.  Click here for a resource that shows you the different sizes to use for the different social media platforms. 

You can use this website called Photofeeler where users rank each others' profile photos.  It's a good tool to see what impression your photo is giving people.  It's an important part of your personal brand to get right!

4. Copywriting is an important aspect of the business to get right.  Spend a bit of time writing a description and explaining what you do. Try and make it as simple as possible understand. You don't want people who click on your social media account and then exit confused as to what you do. Make sure you set up links to your website from your social media. 

5. If you can, record a video of yourself explaining who you are, and what makes your business unique, to use on social media and your website.  

You can also create content to explain a certain topic associated with what you do, that provides value and expertise to your target customers. Giving value to someone watching the video showing your expertise It doesn't cost money to do a video you can set up a phone to record yourself at home. 

6. Technology is important to utilise if you're a content creator.  But it does not have to be expensive.  You can buy a cheap microphone and tripod to record from your phone for 5 - 10 dollars each online from AliExpress for example. Any modern mobile phone should have the capability to take a pretty good quality video. If you buy a new phone, anything more than $300 should be sufficient. You don't need a $2000 iPhone!

7. For video editing, you can use an app from your phone or your computer.  I prefer to use a program from my PC.  If you want to use your phone, this article will give you some options.

To edit on PC, you can download Microsoft Movie Maker, which I've used for about ten years. Using the software, you can add basic titles and text, you can cut it all up and add transitions that look pretty good, and add music and narration. It's not made anymore, but you can download Windows Essentials 2012 and is it included.  Visit this site to download it.  I still use it for quick editing.  It's a very user-friendly software that has all your needs covered for basic editing.  Once I've done the initial editing of footage, I give the final touches in with flashy animations and titles in Adobe After effects and premiere.

8. Host the videos on YouTube to set up on your website or in blog posts, or post shorter videos straight to your social media account.  Try and make the length of those videos 30 seconds to 3 minutes max.  The videos you post to YouTube should be a bit longer.  

Algorithms on social media sites usually don't like people sending them away from the website, which is why it is better to post a video straight to your Facebook page for example than just post a link to a YouTube video.  You want as many people as possible to see your posts, so it's important to understand how algorithms work.

  9. Set up a blog on your website or an external website, specific for blogs.  Many of these are also Apps.  WordPressMedium, Blogger, and Tumblr are good options which allow you to blog for free.  Each has its own feel and target market, so check them all out to see which one you prefer the look and feel of. The objective for this is to gain followers and credibility and said people to your website if possible.

10. Set up a Google My Business page. now turn up on Google maps making you easier to find if people Google for someone relating to your industry You can do a lot of the search engine optimisation yourself and it's free for whoever has access to your website. It does take time but some tweaking here can give you a better result on you Google. Set it up here.

11. Follow Neil Patel for anything to do with Search Engine Optimisation, he gives away plenty of advice for free and has a program you can use to check keywords other things your competitors are doing. 

12. Use Grammarly to improve your writing, this is also free and will improve your writing massively. The copy you write is very important to build credibility, so you want to have well-worded content on your social media and website without spelling mistakes and bad grammar.  This app is fantastic and integrates with a Word document for example or with websites. Download it here.

 13. Tips for social media content - think from the perspective of your target customer.  The people most likely to buy from you repeatedly, and the people you want as your customers.   What information or content would be interesting or funny to them.  How can you provide them with value with your expertise?

How can you encourage them to click on a link and visit your website to find out more about you?

14. Small marketing investments - If you have a little bit of a budget I would recommend purchasing Adobe Suite, for numerous professional video editing and photo editing products.   You can also sign up for websites such as Envato for around $20-30 US a month, for access to thousands of video templates, stock images, PowerPoint templates and the like, to make your job as a content creator much easier.  Microsoft Office if you don't already have it have some really useful programs for content creators such as Word and PowerPoint.

I hope you find this information useful.  You might have done a lot of these things already, but even if there are one or two extras you start doing, it should bring you more customers and leads online.

If you have any specific questions, I am offering a free 30-minute virtual consultation.  I can give you a video call over ZOOM to chat marketing.

Let's help each other to move forward through, and after the COVID-19 aftermath.

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Free Marketing Consultation

Want some personalised advice moving forward after the Covid-19 lockdown to attract more customers?

Resources that can help your business

Links to useful Covid19 information

Hamilton City Council has announced its plan to help the city withstand the economic and social effects moving forward from COVID-19.   

It includes:
• Social service funding support
• Early payments to suppliers
• Consent fees relief and refunds
• Rent relief
• Rates remissions
• Development contributions relief
• Emergency response
• Business response centre

Click here to read more.

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Financial relief from your bank

Most of the main banks are accepting mortgage repayment deferral applications online.  Read more here.

See what your bank is doing:
Kiwibank - click here
ASB Bank - click here
ANZ Bank - click here
Westpac - click here
BNZ Bank - click here
TSB Bank - click here
First Credit Union - click here

New Zealand COVID-19  Information & Resources 

These are the best resources for Covid-19.

• Latest Covid-19 info: 0800 779 997 or click here 
• For health-related information and resources click here
• For COVID-19 financial assistance: 0800 40 80 40 or click here
• For business and tax info: click here
• For more business resources to help click here
• For up to date travel advice: click here
• For immigration and visa advice: click here