Starting a new business? You already know that a website is essential, but how else can you promote your new business online?

The reality is, if you don’t have a huge budget for pay-per-click ads in the beginning, you’re going to need to rely on organic marketing methods. These can take time. If you work them to their full potential, you’ll gain traction and the web traffic will start to trickle in. At that point, you can use some of your profits to invest in pay-per-click advertising.


Until then, utilize these 5 proven ways to get your new business noticed online:

  1. Make a Stand-Out Website

Just about every business has a website today. But, most of them are terrible. If you want to dominate your competitors, make sure that you build a website that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Do your market research. A site aimed a tweeners buying Bluetooth earbuds should look and function differently than one aimed at seniors looking to re-finish their bathrooms.

But, no matter who your audience is, make sure your site is clean, packed with good content, and is easy to navigate. No matter how web-savvy the user, if they can’t find your product page, you aren’t going to sell anything.

  1. Establish Your Social Media Pages

While Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and slew of other social media sites grow in reach, Facebook is still the king of social media marketing.

Their “boosted” post feature angered a lot of small business owners who went from reaching hundreds or thousands of customers with each post, to needing to pay between $5 and $1000 per post to be seen.

But, as the program has aged, many businesses have utilized the power of boosted posts to reach deep, defined, niche audiences.


Combined with its pay per click platform, Facebook should be our go-to early on.

Integrate Facebook with the other social media sites that fit yoru business. Early on, you’ll have very few followers. But, stay consistent, use your budget wisely, continue to crank out quality content, and soon you’ll have a solid base of followers to market to.

New Business Targeting and Content

  1. Use Local Listings

Local listing makes the search easier for your business to be found locally. Make sure you are registered with Google MyBusiness (Google Local). Then, use the same address and phone number for all local listing sites. Google likes uniformity in their local results.

  1. Generate Content

Blogging, with no followers, may seem pointless. But, learn to create, or hire quality content creators, so that your site becomes loaded with search engine optimized quality content such as articles, blogs, videos, picture, and infographics. Google loves information like this, and gives it preferential treatment in the search engine rankings.

re-purposed content 4

Write content for bigger websites. Everyone needs content. Creating great articles for bigger websites will generate links back to your site. This can help drive traffic to your site.

Don’t neglect writing for your local newspapers. Certain demographics (baby boomers, especially) still read the local paper for info. PR pieces are good, but human interest articles related to your product or service can lead to a solid flow of leads and sales because it not only exposes your business to a large pool of customers, being in the paper also lends your business a great deal of credibility.

No matter how small the area, how small the client base, or how small the business, before long, someone will post a negative review about you. Now, large companies expect this. Because of the sheer number of reviewers, they can withstand some a negative review. However even one negative review can sink a small, medium, new, or local business.

What’s worse, often those negatives are fake. They come not from dissatisfied customers, but from competing businesses or former employees. Sites like Yelp, despite their endless videos and text detailing their mysterious algorithm for ferreting out fakes, do little to police this problem. This means that anyone with a wi-fi connection can, in a few keystrokes, cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Negative Reviews 2

News sites like the Huffington Post, the NY Times, The Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal have helped expose another disturbing aspect of online reviews. All have cited instances where bad reviews were posted before a business had even opened! This happens more frequently in highly competitive industries (restaurants, home improvement contractors, tech gear, etc.)

Don’t let a negative review sink your business. Here’s how you can fight back:

  1. The Pen is Mightier

Getting angry and ranting online is a big no-no. It will only make you look worse.

But, posting a sane, measured, well-written response on your website, blog, Google, Facebook, and in-response to the negative (if the review site allows replies) allows you to swing public opinion back in your favor.

Don’t be afraid to flood the few negatives with positive articles, blogs, videos, and reviews from your happy customers. This is the best, fastest, and most effective way to drown even the most virulent of phone negatives.

This Infographic Shows How Reviews Impact Your App or Business

This Infographic Shows How Reviews Impact Your App or Business

You’ll have to be consistent when doing this. It may take time, but if you continually hit back with positivity, you gain the respect of potential customers. Hiding from negatives makes you look guilt in the court of public opinion. But, respoinding rationally, with facts – even if you must state that this person was never a customer – shows that when a problem, real or fake, pops up, you deal with it head on. This will put future customers at ease, knowing you don’t duck problems.

  1. No Figting

Whatever you do, do not get angry and start a war of words. Ranting, rambling responses make you look terrible. Even if the review is clearly a fake – a personal attack, written by a non-customer, or posted by someone with an ax to grind – you should respond in a well-organized, calm manner.

This actually makes the fake review seem even more obviously phony.

  1. Spread the Positive

Want to bury negatives in positivity?

Contact your customers and ask them to review you online. You can offer an ethical bribe in exchange for a review (not for a positive review, that’s where you can get into trouble). But, if you target customers you already know are thrilled with your product or service, this is a safe play.

There are few things more powerful for fighting negative reviews (and boosting sales) than a genuine positive review from a real customer.

  1. Be Consistent

Never stop asking customers to review you online. The more positives posted, the less impact negatives have. Humans tend to be attracted to the negatives (with negative reviews being read far more than positive), but if a few bad ones are floating in a sea of good, the impact is lessened. It’s hard to argue when there are 49 Five-Star reviews and only 1 One-Star.

Growing your business is hard and it is expensive. Sometimes hiring staff can be a huge expense. This is why many start-ups begin to hire the best freelancers for roles, to get the work done. Freelancers allow for talent to perform tasks at a low cost and with a minimal commitment. Here the team at Retaliate1st lay out our tips for hiring the best freelancers.

3 Tips for Hiring the Best Freelancers

  1. Shop Around

The reality is that no matter how good a freelancer looks on paper, you won’t know how good they are until they do work for you.

When you find potential candidates, start them off with small tasks with a clear deadline and expectations. Handing them the responsibility of redesigning the company website without having seen how they handle instructions, time-pressures, or setbacks is asking for disaster.


  1. Learn to Communicate Your Needs

Most freelancers are honest, hardworking people eager to do great work for your business. But, if you are incapable of communicating what you want, in exact terms, frustration will strike.

Remember that not all freelancers are native English speakers. Until you can ascertain their fluency, keep sentences short, use bullet points, and avoid idiomatic language.

Do you want 3 three article so a few?


Do you want the graphic to be 650 x 350 pixels, or around the size of a 5×7 picture?

Language concerns aside, being clear cuts down on the time you spend managing freelancers. Tell them what to do, on the first try, and you’ll have less back-and-forth. Remember, you’re hiring them to cut down on your workload by assigning them tasks that free you up to do more important things.

Freelancer Payments

  1. Split Payment

This is just good business. Pay half up front, half upon completion. If you find freelancers willing to work for a smaller percentage up front, that’s even more ideal.

concept of the coworking center, business meeting

Again, most freelancers are honest, but there are crooks and scammers in every field. Losing fifty bucks on a starter payment is a lot more manageable than losing five thousand by paying upfront.

  1. Find People Who Are Better Than You

This is the old Henry Ford philosophy. No matter what you sell or which services you offer, chances are you’re the best at one or two things. Trying to do everything is going to lead to frustration and lack of profits. This problem hits very small businesses and solo-preneurs the hardest.

If you are a baker, stop trying to design your website. Web design takes thousands of hours to master. Doing it yourself in order to save a few bucks will cost you thousands. That’s time you could be making cakes, learning new techniques, or working with a marketer to develop your brand and get your name out into the community. Those things put money in the till. Sitting hunched over your laptop at 3am with an HTML for Dummies book splayed-out in your lap costs you money.

Finding the best people takes time, and effort, to get started. But, once you get your team established, it’ll pay off many times over in bigger profits, and more free time for you.

Most business owners fall into one of two categories: those love and embrace social media, and those who loathe the very mention of it.

It can be confusing for the small, local business owner because the articles that spew the virtues of social media are seemingly never-ending.

The Social Media Landscape

The Social Media Landscape

The truth is, traditional Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc.) methods won’t generate enough leads to support your business.

But, having a presence, even a small one, on these sites is an absolute necessity.


  • It Puts a Face on Your Business – This is becoming increasingly more important both online and off. Study after study have shown that people want to do business with other people, not faceless corporations. Interacting with people on Facebook or Google + is a perfect way to make your business real and relatable. 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online. (
  • It Powers Up Your Home Shows – If you use home shows, trade shows, or any other large event to generate leads, there is no better place to promote them, and link your company to the big shows, than on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • It Makes You Likable – Getting “Likes,” comments, or shares is now being used as a signal of credibility by Google in their search results. It’s not a huge impact, but it’s an increasingly important part of the puzzle. Interaction with your customers makes you more trustworthy to Google, and helps your site move up in the rankings.
  • It Adds Credibility with Your Customers – We all want to be with the in-crowd. More likes, shares, and “friends,” leads to more trust. If most of your competitors have 200-followers on Facebook, and you have 5,000, potential clients pick up on this. It’s subtle, but it has a huge impact on making you appear trustworthy because there’s strength in numbers. Studies show that over 50% of consumers have based their decision to buy on a recommendation from their social network.

If in doubt on what social media channels to use, you can always refer to the Ogilvy Guide on how to use social media:

Ogilvy's Guide To Social Media

Ogilvy’s Guide To Social Media


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