Marketing, whether it’s digital or traditional, is usually an investment of some kind. It costs money to make money, right? That’s not entirely true, but it’s not entirely false, either. Marketing is an investment for everyone involved, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always a monetary investment. If you do it right, certain forms of marketing can cost you nothing. Now the issue is:
- Where do you start?
- What do you need to do to achieve this free form of marketing?
- Do you have the resources to do so?
We’ll discuss all of this in more detail, as we go through each element of free marketing you can do for your business.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If your business has a website, then you’ve already got a head start with this one. The content on your website serves as a beacon for users who are surfing the web for what you sell. The issue with you not getting every single one of those customers can be resolved by a few things. One of them is SEO. Having curated content throughout your website will give the search engines what they need to provide your business to users who are looking for it. This acts as a form of marketing in itself as it not only gets your website in front of more people, but it gets your website more professional content that shows audiences you’re knowledgeable about your product/service. If you’re finding that your website isn’t getting a lot of hits, lack of SEO is probably a factor as to why. Optimizing for SEO throughout your website by way of content revamping, keyword overhaul, and additional information will set your website higher on search rankings. If you want to learn more about SEO and its benefits, you can check out our blog post about it.
If you don’t have a social media account for your business already, you’re missing out on some critical free marketing. Social media is a great way to promote your business across various platforms with a wide array of audiences. If you’re a business owner whose business caters to a younger generation, you can create a profile on a social media platform that hosts mainly younger people. The same goes for an older audience. And not only does social media give you the advantage of promotion, it also gives you immediate access to your audience. Customers can contact you directly through your page about questions, comments or concerns they may have in one convenience channel. As a bonus, if you’d like to pay for ads in the future, setting up a social media account is a good first step, seeing as with most social media accounts nowadays, you can boost your posts for a certain amount of money. And with a social media platform like Facebook for example, you can pay to make new posts which will show up on people’s feeds as ads. By utilizing your social media platforms often, you’ll find that building a rapport with your audience will bring in new customers as well. People like accessibility to the businesses they frequent--it brings about a sense of community as well as builds trust between customers and you.
You can also use social media to organize giveaways, which will cost you--usually the price of a product or a discount off of a product/service. Giveaways are a great way to build a following and increase engagement on your posts. You may find that while hosting giveaways doesn’t cost you a specific dollar amount like an ad, the results may be worthwhile for your business.
Speaking of trust, reputation management relies on trust to keep your business relevant. With websites and apps like Yelp and Google My Business, your customers can now rate you on a scale from 1 to 5 based on how satisfied they are with your service. Many loyal customers will leave reviews on their favorite business’ accounts to show people that your business is one of the best. But how can you get people to leave reviews in the first place? There’s a few ways to go about doing this. You can offer customers who review your service a free coupon or a discount for reviewing. Or you can promote reviewing on your social media accounts. Facebook has a reviewing feature now that customers can see right on the forefront of your page. And not only will reputation management help establish customer satisfaction through trustworthy reviews, you can alleviate any unhappy customers that may leave negative reviews about your business.
Reputation management can take a lot out of you, so there are programs that exist to take that work off of your shoulders. Or if you’d like to have someone else entirely manage your reviews, you can always hire a separate company to do the job for you. In fact, we offer it as a service if you’re interested in learning more about the process.
Free traditional marketing can be a little more tricky and hands-on. One option is to rely on things like word of mouth to get your business out there, or you can put up flyers around your neighborhood to gain interest in your business or website. Some businesses even opt to go door-to-door to try and sell their services or product directly to people in their homes. And then there’s the option to gather phone numbers of people who might be interested in your business and cold-calling them. Most businesses would rather not choose an option of that caliber, but sometimes it can work to your benefit. (We dabbled in that at one time too!).
Marketing without the use of monetary investment is doable, you just have to know the right way to do it. If you’re looking to market your business for free, you first need to figure out what your goal is through the marketing process. Do you want more traffic to your website or in your brick and mortar? Or do you want to get your name out there and establish a brand presence? Thinking through these few elements will help you further decide which path to take in the berth of free marketing. And remember, no marketing is actually “free”-- time, effort and planning are always going to be what you end up investing, no matter the amount of money you’re going to spend or not. Now that you have the tools to start marketing without money laid out before you, it’s time to put them to use!