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  • Writer's picturePankaj Agrawal

How to advertise your business for Free, during the COVID-19 pandemic

Let’s face it, all of us are in search of affordable ways to market our business in these difficult times and there’s obviously nothing more affordable that Free!! So are there any ways we can get our business out there for free? You bet there are!!


People’s lifestyles and purchasing patterns have changed during the Coronavirus situation and many of these will remain for the long term, creating new opportunities and catalysing several. Data published by Facebook shows that online shopping activity has increased 32% across all markets. Facebook and Instagram browsing have also increased, by 53% and 32% respectively. Whilst online streaming has increased by 42%. This data shows that because people have more time at home, they are spending more online. This gives businesses a fantastic chance to rise above the Corona blues and improve sales.


The increase in online buying activity also coincides with many platforms choosing to support merchants, by offering free advertising. From free listings to ad credits, there is a fair range of options for getting word out. LinkedIn is offering a free month to try Navigator, Google regularly offers Rs 2 - 4k in free ad credits and so on. So what are the best free ways to advertise your business during and after COVID-19?


4 ways to advertise for Free during the Coronavirus pandemic

- Free listings - Increase your visibility

- Free advertising credits

- Write relevant blog posts

- Reach your audience using social media


a. Free listings - Increase your visibility

Regardless of the type of business you run, free listings are a type of advertising that you should always consider. This is due to their versatility and reach. Here are a few examples of free listings that could skyrocket interest in your brand:



i) Google My Business

Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information. To set up your Google My Business account, please click here.

Tip: Watch our Small Business livestream for tips about how to reach more customers online.


ii) Online Classifieds

There are several classified platforms where you can post your product or service for free and decide later if you want to promote it with a paid subscription or not. Some of the popular ones in India are: ClickIn, Olx, Quikr and several others.

iii) Google Shopping

The retail sector has faced many threats over the years, which have only intensified during the coronavirus pandemic. With physical stores shuttered, digital commerce has become a lifeline for retailers. And as consumers increasingly shop online, they're searching not just for essentials but also things like toys, apparel, and home goods. While this presents an opportunity for struggling businesses to reconnect with consumers, many cannot afford to do so at scale. In light of these challenges, Google has started the Google Shopping tab which consists primarily of free listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. To get started, click here.

How to Add Products to Google Shopping (Keep it free or advertise if you like)

- Set up a Google Merchant Center account.

- Optimize your product imagery.

- Collect and input your product feed data.

- Link your Google AdWords account.

- Create a Google Shopping campaign.

- Place bids on your Shopping campaign.

- Target and schedule your Shopping campaign.

- Build ad groups.

This has been hugely successful in India as you can see in the attached link:


iv. Facebook / Instagram

Billions of people use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media. During Coronavirus people are using these social media platforms to an even greater extent. So why not have your business listed? After all, it is free exposure. Facebook allows you to list business hours, location and receive reviews, similar to Google My Business. The ability for customers and brands to directly communicate ensures that customers can find out anything they may need to in difficult times.


Furthermore, businesses can also post regular updates during an ever fluctuating environment. So if Coronavirus forces a restaurant to close, they can inform customers and also tell them they are still open for delivery. By providing information so quickly, brands can stay on top of the situation and stay engaged with their community.

 

b. Free advertising credits

If you are a small business and wanting to start advertising online but are apprehensive about the cost, then fear not. Most platforms from Google to Facebook and others are offering you free credits to try and experiment with online promotions and see for yourself whether it works for you. Obviously digital marketing opens many more doors for you than conventional advertising ever can, helps in better targeting potential customers and makes the entire process measurable & scientific. So this is something that you must try at least and even if you can't do it yourself, find an agency like Celestial Fix to do it for you in a well researched and organized manner.

To start with Rs 2,000 worth of free advertising credits on Google, click here: https://ads.google.com/

 


c. Write relevant blog posts

With over 2Mn blogs being written everyday, the internet is fairly saturated and with the current focus on COVID-19 content, it is extremely unlikely for your content to get noticed. However if you have your keywords well researched and your blogs written well, you will surely start on the journey slowly but surely, to getting noticed. The best part about this is that it is Forever Free. When your blogs become substantial and start getting noticed, it will start fetching you customers 24X7 without any additional effort or cost from your side.

 

d. Reach your audience using social media

As billions of people across the world engage with different social media platforms, it is imperative for all brands to be there. Social media is an excellent way to captivate customers during COVID-19. There are a number of helpful strategies that may help to engage current customers and even gain new ones. They include:

- Live streaming

Whether it’s Facebook live, periscope or Twitch, all can help to draw customers in and create higher levels of engagement. You can do live Q&A sessions or even create fun activities that keep your audience engaged.

- Keep your pages up to date

If there's one good thing the Corona virus has given us - it is oodles of extra time. Use it to keep your pages up to date, customers can see the latest developments with your business. This has never been more important than during COVID-19, due to the constantly changing environment.

- Interlink your social media

By interlinking your social media platforms together, and to your website, you can make your brand experience consistent. Customers can easily view every aspect of your brand. It may help them get the answers they need and motivate them to make a purchase.

- Engage through hashtags

Hashtags are always going to extend your reach, due to people engaging with the latest trends.

Tip 1: Use Coronavirus hashtags to reach a wider audience and present your business in a positive light.

Tip 2: Don't overdo hashtags as that will lead your posts to get lost in the clutter.

 

Conclusion

The Coronavirus epidemic has created a unique situation that nobody could have imagined, but where many people and businesses are falling upon hard times. While the situation for many seems dark and hopeless, it is important that we maintain an air of positivity and look at the positive constructive things we can do, to identify and exploit the opportunities that this presents. This would provide a much needed psychological boost not just to ourselves but also to our families, friends and customers.


We at Celestial are also trying to support other businesses through these hard times. Our goal is to optimise advertising so you get the best value for money, and so you can continue to grow during COVID-19. If there's any help you need, please do not hesitate to contact us at +91-9650508508 or thecelestialfix@gmail.com.

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