By Michael Alter
Using the Web for marketing is popular for good reason. There are many low-cost tactics that require little to no cash outlay, such as e-mail, social media, and social networking. All marketing initiatives take time to initiate and manage, and these options are no exception.
In addition to some Web marketing tactics requiring little to no cash outlay, using the Web has grown in popularity due to smartphones and other portable handheld devices. Internet connectivity from practically anywhere makes it easy for businesses to reach clients and prospect with marketing messaging anywhere and anytime.
Here is a rundown of several ways to use the Web for marketing, including insight into how to use QR code technology, which is free and easily accessible to most.
Social Networking, Videos, and Online Pinboards
- Facebook allows users to add their Twitter handle to their profile, which automatically feeds Twitter activities into one's Facebook account. Facebook allows users to "like" a business.
- LinkedIn allows its members to recommend each other and follow company pages.
- Twitter is used to send out information to followers, and typically used as a tool to follow trends and show thought leadership on a topic.
- Google+ is newer, but Google has begun tying it to search results, so it could be important for search engine optimization.
YouTube: While posting videos is hardly novel anymore, YouTube remains a popular site many businesses are using to publish videos. For those who have not tried uploading a video to YouTube, you must first create a YouTube account before uploading a video to the site. After creating a YouTube account and uploading a video, the video can be added to a PowerPoint presentation, a website, a Facebook page, or shared as a hyperlink in an e-mail message to clients or prospects. Search Google and YouTube for helpful advice and video tutorials on how to use YouTube.
Pinterest: Imagine placing a poster board with your interests in the entryway of your business. Pinterest is an online version of this, used to organize and share your interests with others. Much like its cardboard counterpart, Pinterest can be designed to be elaborate or basic. Quickly explore how others are gaining exposure by searching Pinterest for your areas of expertise, such as "accounting and payroll." While this site may not be considered a primary marketing tool, establishing a presence on the site can serve as a supplemental marketing tool – one that offers brief nuggets of information about your business.
Quick Response Codes (QR Codes)
QR codes, digital, square black-and-white boxes, are scanned by mobile devices such as smartphones.
When scanned by a smartphone, a QR code immediately links the device to a destination, such as a Web page, phone number, or YouTube video. QR codes have the advantage of driving prospects to action. They can be used as hyperlinks to access a coupon, view a brochure, download contact information, or watch a demo. QR codes are becoming more common, some are using them on advertisements, business cards, brochures, packaging, or on the door of their business.
This QR code, which links to a Facebook company page, was created in ten seconds using http://quikqr.com:
The steps to creating, reading, and using a QR code are simple:
- Download a QR code reader app to your smartphone.
- Create a QR code with a free QR code Generator.
- Scan the QR code using your QR code reader app.
- Save the QR code image to your computer and add it to marketing materials or anywhere you prefer.
Interested in reading about more free online marketing tools? Read more here: New collection of eleven free online marketing tools.
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About the author:
Michael Alter, payroll expert with an MBA from Harvard Business School, is a nationally recognized spokesperson providing thought leadership and sensible advice to help accounting and payroll professionals build deeper more profitable relationships with clients. Alter, president of SurePayroll, writes the Trade Secrets column on INC.com and is frequently published in Bloomberg TV, Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.