Trying to improve your marketing strategy without spending any money — or just a very little bit?
Check out this list of tried-and-true free marketing strategies:
6 Ways to Market Your Business for Free
Create a Google Places account.
This is a simple, yet important first step for free marketing. This gives you the opportunity to be found on Google. Plus, once registered, your business will show up on Google Maps.
Mobile is becoming more popular every day, and people will turn to Google search on their phones when they are trying to find something. A registered account with Google places will help boost your visibility on search engines.
Create a Facebook Business Page.
If you aren’t on Facebook, you’re missing out on free marketing. In fact, you may be losing visibility if you don’t have a Facebook Business page; when you create a FB biz page, it will help raise your SEO ranking on Google.
For example, if you’re a florist in your area competing with a few other florists, you could be listed first on Google search results, thanks to your Facebook Business page.
If you’re posting on Facebook, you’ll get interest from people who might not be able to find you in person. With the florist example, you may have a non-local woman searching for a florist in your town for her wedding. She’ll likely search for florist options close to her wedding venue, especially if it’s a destination wedding.
If you’re active on your Facebook Business page, they (and other similar customers) will have an easier time finding your business while searching “florists in [your town/city].”
You also can boost your business on Facebook with paid ads. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot, but if you’re strategic, monthly ads on Facebook can get you exposure and successfully grow your customer base. For more info on Facebook Ads, check out this piece from our expert social media team.
People trust reviews and testimonials more than anything else. John Smith would rather hear about Bill Miller’s experience with your product rather than some paid celebrity or influencer he can’t relate to.
He also doesn’t immediately trust you just because you’ve created a beautiful website with high-quality product images or paid for some larger-than-life digital advertisement.
Customers want the real deal and something that’s worth their money. That’s where word-of-mouth marketing becomes your best (free) friend. If you want to learn how to master it for yourself, check out our guide check out our guide on how to get word-of-mouth marketing to work for you.
When in doubt, pull the testimonies out, and let your business speak for itself.
Incentivize Social Media Engagement.
This is fairly common for many businesses, regardless of what stage of success they’re at. Basically, offer your customers rewards for promoting your business on social media.
Let’s say you’re running a snow plowing business in the winter. You could tell your customers to post a picture of their best snowman and tag your business’s social media URL (or handle). You could also set clear guidelines such as “State our company name and add the hashtag #SnowmanChallenge to be entered to win free snow plowing during the next winter storm.”
It doesn’t need to be a photo challenge. You could also tell your customers that for every time they mention your biz on social media, they’ll be entered to win a discount on their next snow plowing services.
Engage with Online Communities.
This is something I use with my energy-healing and psychic-reading business. By engaging in online forums, private Facebook groups, and tagging my Instagram posts with hashtags related to my trade, I’ve been able to interact with fellow small business owners as well as people who have become customers.
Why does this work? Human connection. This is a form of networking, but more importantly, it has put my brand’s name in front of thousands of internet users (who I would have not been able to communicate with otherwise). It’s also a good method for researching your trade and learning from customers what they’re looking for.
Remember, this is not about spamming people with your business. In fact, you should not be promoting your business when you’re doing this unless it’s passively added to your signature or someone asks you about it. Though it’s easy to think marketing is about your services or products, smart marketing is about promoting who you are as a person that others can relate to or feel inspired by.
Put a face behind your brand, and people will likely want to support your business.
Cross-Promote with Small Businesses & Influencers.
Have you heard the phrase “Promo for promo”? If you haven’t, you’ll likely stumble upon it quickly online. It’s exactly how it sounds; you promote another business while they promote yours.
You don’t just want to cross-promote with any businesses. Do your research, and consider these factors:
- Is this a local business? (Could be better for targeting your community if they’re also a local.)
- Are they in a similar trade? (Helpful for reaching target customers online.)
- Is this a legitimate business? (You don’t want to be working with a scam or someone who spams for marketing.)
- Do they have a strong enough following to benefit me? (Particularly for influencers, you don’t want to waste your time promoting an individual if there’s no reward for you.)
For even more support with influencer marketing, check out this article I wrote.
There are plenty of free marketing opportunities, especially online. The important thing is to cover the basics, take advantage of social media, and remember to put your best work out there.
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