If you own or manage a business, you are undoubtedly on the prowl for opportunities to differentiate your company from the rest, especially on the internet. After all, the battle for customers is shifting away from traditional avenues onto the web. Let’s take a look at a couple free ways to help shine the spotlight on your business through the internet.

Do not Hesitate to Self-promote

If the marketing budget for your business is set in stone or you have no marketing budget at all, don’t fret. You can still generate interest in your business on the web with some good old sweat equity. If you have the will, there is a way. Find internet forums related to your business and the overarching industry. Join these forums and subtly promote your value offering when adding to the discussion.

Aside from subtly promoting your products/services in online forums, you can also generate interest in your business through social media. Create a business page for your company on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. However, merely establishing pages on such social platforms is not enough in and of itself. It is also important to interact with members of the online audience.

If anyone posts questions or comments to your social media pages, be sure to answer those questions, address concerns and engage in an ongoing dialogue with your web-based audience. Ideally, your online content will be intriguing to the point that it goes viral, meaning followers of your company share your posts with their followers and so on.

Take Advantage of Directory Listings

The internet is chock full of no-cost directory listings. These listings represent opportunities for your business to generate that much more online traffic through valuable online exposure. From your Google My Business page to your Yahoo! Local business page, Bing Places for Business, Yelp and beyond, your business should have a listing on each of these directories to maximize the extent of your online footprint.

Zero in on Google My Business

Out of all the opportunities on the web available to connect with new customers, Google My Business might be the most important. It costs nothing to create a Google My Business page. Use this page to post photos of your business as well as unique offers and other relevant information. Double-check your company’s contact information on your Google My Business page as well as other online directories to guarantee your address, phone number and email are all accurate. When people use Google to search for local product/service providers or use Google Maps to find local businesses, it will be that much easier to connect with them if your business is listed on Google My Business.

Consider Nextdoor

Nextdoor provides businesses with the opportunity to create a no-cost business page. This page connects your business to locals in your neighborhood. Once your business is listed on Nextdoor, you will have the opportunity to establish yourself as a legitimate authority in your industry and niche through your online posts as well as a blog.

Engage in a Dialogue as Opposed to a Monologue

A top-down monologue in which you speak to your customers will not make the desired impact. Instead, engage in an ongoing web-based dialogue with your target audience. Respond to questions, criticisms and comments. Be sure to include a Contact Us form on your site’s Contact page so you can review customer feedback. Invest the time and effort necessary to maintain an ongoing dialogue with your customers and they will reciprocate by continuing to support your business.

Raymond James is not affiliated with nor endorses any of the 3rd party businesses mentioned.