If you were to ask newbie entrepreneurs about their marketing strategy, most will tell you they don’t have one. My guess is that they share a similar belief with other individuals starting up and that is they believe marketing their business will be expensive. Most operate under the assumption that once they start making money, only then will they invest money into marketing.
Hey, I held the same belief and attitude when I started my first business over 25 years ago. However, I don’t want you to think that you shouldn’t be doing any marketing because you don’t have a big budget to do so at this moment.
Listen up newbie entrepreneurs, here’s the good news!
Marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and with a bit of creativity, you can even do it for free. The more you get to know me, you’ll know that ‘free’ is one of my favorite words. Yes, I do have an annual marketing budget, however I’m always going to be a guerilla marketer and like to challenge
Using the Internet and new technologies, it’s possible to reach a wide audience without hiring a professional marketing agency, buying ads, or paying others to write content for you. Best of all, you have full control over how you market yourself. Discover 8 free marketing tactics that will make your small business more visible online and beyond.
- Engage in Social Media Marketing
Set up brand profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and any other social networks where your target audience is active. Post news, updates, and content shared from trustworthy sources relevant to your market. Engage with your audience, answering their questions and sharing content. Social media is the most powerful free marketing platform available for brands.
- Use Your Blog as a Marketing Tool
You may have a business blog already, but are you using it as an effective marketing tool? To do so, incorporate links to your products and services naturally into your content. You can do this by creating posts focused on the problems your audience is facing. Present your offerings as solutions to those problems. Also, try to build your posts around keywords that your audience may be searching for on Google.
- Build an Email List
Email marketing has higher conversion rates than other online marketing tools. It’s direct, personal, and powerful. Make sure you have an opt in form with an engaging lead magnet on your website and blog, and send your tribe members a weekly or bi-monthly newsletter. In Don’t just advertise products or services in your newsletters, but rather focus on providing valuable content. You can do this reusing blog posts and social updates – your newsletters can be like social media recaps.
- Improve Your Google My Business Page
If you don’t have a Google My Business Page, you’re missing a lot of exposure. It makes you more visible in Google and enables people who search for your business to more easily find your location and contact information. It also places you on Google Maps, which many mobile users will be accessing to get to your location.
- Make Your Website Search-Engine Friendly
Ranking well on Google is not only a major visibility booster, but also increases the trust that new customers will have in your business. Google uses complex algorithms when determining search results, and while there’s no strategy that can bring you to the first spot, there’s a lot you can do to make sure you show up at the top of the results for local searchers:
- sprinkle relevant keywords throughout your content
- add ALT tags to images
- improve meta descriptions
- reduce duplicate or irrelevant content
For an introduction to search engine optimization, have a look at this guide.
- Ask for Testimonials
Testimonials can make a big difference online. The problem is that if you don’t encourage satisfied customers to leave them, you won’t get any. After every purchase, ask customers to leave a testimonial, and provide a link to a special web page where they can do so. Setting up a testimonial page should not be a problem, as most business themes feature one.
- Distribute Press Releases
Press releases are still worthwhile, especially for small local businesses. More than spreading the word about your business, they feed Google fresh content that improves your search engine ranking. Keep your press releases short, following the templates and style accepted by sites that publish them. Here’s a list of 60 press release sites.
- Be Present in Local Directories
Appearing in local directories is not as effective as other marketing tactics, but it can help increase your visibility. Use Google to find local directories and get your business listed on all the free ones.
Whether you choose to use all of the free marketing tactics above, or only some, you will want to implement them one at a time. Without a systematic approach to free marketing, it’s easy to waste a lot of time hopping from one strategy to another. Doing them one at a time also allows you to monitor when you are getting traction and from what platforms.
Your turn. Which one of these free tactics will you start with first?