One of the biggest misconceptions new online business owners make is thinking they are in whatever business they have actually started. It doesn’t matter if you are starting a service business or selling products. Nor does it matter what your niche is. You are in the marketing business. In order to have a business, you have to make money. In order to make money, customers have to find you. In order for customers to find you, you have to market your online business.

So how do you market your business when you are on a shoestring budget when starting out. There are tons of low/no cost marketing tactics that you can use. And it can get very overwhelming if you try and do all of them at one time. It is important to focus on only a few of them when you first start marketing your business online. Mastering these 5 low/no cost marketing techniques will jump start your online success.

1. Email Marketing – Some people may say that email marketing no longer works, but I disagree. Your most important job as an online marketer is to get people on your list by offering a free product in exchange for their email address. Once you have their email address, it is important that you keep in touch with your list on a regular basis. This can be in the form of a weekly newsletter and periodic email blast about one of your products or services. Through your newsletter your list begins to know, like and trust you and eventually purchase from you. The only cost associated with email marketing is the low monthly subscription of your autoresponder.

2. Blogging – You have the option to set up a blog instead of a regular website. You should have both, but when just starting an online business, a blog is good. You can use your blog to offer great, relevant, informative content. The more content you post, the more you begin to be seen as an expert in your niche. You should have a form on your blog for visitors to sign up for a free gift, again capturing their email address. And therefore, being able to market to them. You can also market your products and service by including ads on your blog. Another way blogging can be used when marketing your online business, is by commenting on other blogs. You not only build backlinks to your blog, but you build relationships with other bloggers. Both of these things will lead to more visitors to your blog. The only costs associated with blogging are for your domain name and hosting account, both of which are very inexpensive.

3. Article Marketing – This is by far one of the most effective free ways to market your business online. You write keyword rich articles about your niche topic and submit them to a variety of free article directories. These article directories allow you to add a link back to your website, blog, or landing page. Again, collecting information to continue to market to your visitors. Article marketing also builds your expert status. Your articles can be used by other online business owner as content on their website, blog or in their ezines. Your article may also be picked up by a print publication. All of these things boost the number of visitors to your site, which in turn increases your sales. There is no cost associated with article marketing, unless you choose to pay a service to submit your articles for you. But that is only an option.

4. Forum Marketing – One of the more subtle ways of marketing your online business is by browsing forums related to your niche market and answering questions or providing useful information. You cannot market outright in forums. But you can include your website or blog url in your signature file. If you consistently give good quality information, you will be seen as someone who is very knowledgeable about your niche and an expert. Other forum members will want to learn more about you and from you so they will click your link to your website or blog. This method of marketing your online business should be done consistently a few times a week. Most forums are free to join unless it is a forum associated with a niche membership site.

5.Social Networking – If you are not on the social networking sites, what are you waiting for? This too is one of the best free ways to market your business online. There are tons of different social networking sites to choose from. The key is to find out where your target market is and join those sites. Build relationships with your customers, potential customers and colleagues. Offer tips, resources, inspiration, motivation, and relevant useful information. Every once in a while you can send out a promotional message, but that should not be the norm. It is called social networking for a reason, so be social. The relationships built on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, will propel you to online success.

These are just a few on the low/no cost marketing techniques you can use when starting an online business on a budget. Starting your online marketing campaign with these 5 tactics with jump start your business in the right direction.