You know you need to market your business, but you just don’t have the overhead to do it. In today’s online world, you really don’t need any savings to kick off a marketing campaign. Consider these ten ways to start marketing right away without spending a dime.
If you have a yen for writing, pen a few SEO-rich articles that relate to your business. You can submit them for free at websites like Squidoo.com and HubPages.com after creating a profile. People searching on the Internet for whatever it is your company offers will stumble across the articles and then hopefully click through to your website or online store. Plus, these sites have strong communities, which means that other members will read and share your content.
Take some time crafting a bio, particularly if you’re going to be the face of your business. Include both professional information that conveys your expertise and personal information that readers will relate to. Don’t forget to post a photo along with your bio. Update as necessary, but don’t change the wording too much. Keep a paragraph towards the bottom that mentions your accomplishments and refresh it as needed.
The blogging community is extremely tight knit and running your own blog is a great way to constantly post new information. Write about the topics that your target audience is interested in, even if it’s a little bit outside whatever product or service you sell. For example, if you make jewelry, your customers will also be interested in fashion and trends.
4. Catch Phrases
Come up with a mission statement, tag line and a few key phrases that you’ll use for all your business’ communication tools. This type of content will communicate consistency and eventually certain phrases will become a recognizable part of your business. Don’t rush this step – developing a few short, well thought out, properly worded sentences isn’t easy, especially when you need them to be both informative and engaging.
5. Industry Events
Attend industry events whenever possible. These are often held during Happy Hour at local restaurants or sophisticated bars. Sure, you’ll have to spend a few bucks on a drink in order to hob nob, but unless you consider a dirty martini a business expense, this marketing tool is pretty much free.
Network, network, network, wherever possible and as much as possible. The key to networking is retaining information and following up with your contacts. Keep everyone’s info organized in an electronic address book, like on your laptop or phone (or both), and make sure to check in with your network from time to time.
E-mail campaigns are still one of the best ways to market online. With services like Mail Chimp, you can set up e-mail lists and design newsletters for free. You can also track how many people open your mailings to figure out what you’re doing wrong or where you’re going right.
8. Social Media
Social media is one of the absolute best methods of modern marketing. The big hitters are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram. Think about the best ways to communicate your brand to your audience. If you’re in a very business-centric field, don’t skip LinkedIn. If you sell products that are visually beautiful, set up Pinterest and Instagram profiles. Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are non-negotiable.
Okay, so you can’t hire a web designer for free, but if you just need a basic website to get your started, hosts like Weebly.com will let you set one up for nothing. If you don’t mind having a website address with “.Weebly” on the end, it really won’t cost you a thing to get your site up and running.
Word-of-mouth will never, ever be at the bottom of the “Effective Marketing Tools” list. This means that it’s your responsibility to protect your reputation so that the word going around is positive, not negative. From time to time, check out review sites to see what your customers are saying about you, then adjust accordingly.