If you want to attract more people to your business, work with more of your dream clients, and make more money, you already know that you have to do some form of marketing.
If you’re like most people, marketing makes you want to pull your hair out! You might be wondering, “What kind of marketing should I even be doing right now and how should I get started?”
Whether you’re in the early stages of your business and you don’t have a budget for marketing or you want to keep your marketing cost down, the best thing you can do is leverage free marketing. There are many ways to market your business for free!
Before we go any further, there is a catch to free marketing.
Technically the free marketing strategies aren’t actually “free” because they’ll cost you time—hello sweat equity!
But here’s the great thing…if you have more time than you have money right now, leveraging free marketing can help you grow your business so you can make a shift to having more money than time. Wouldn’t that be nice???! Well, that’s what growing your business can do for you.
Over the last 5 years there has been an overemphasis on paid marketing. If you’ve been following me for a while then you know I don’t advise people to spend money on marketing unless there are certain conditions met in their business. Or, unless you have a bunch of money laying around to waste!
I usually give people the green light to do paid marketing when they:
- Know their market very well
- Know who their ideal customer is
- Know they can convert them into a paying a client
- Know their product, program, or service can get people real results
If you’ve been paying attention to the landscape of online marketing, you may have noticed that things are changing rapidly. There are market changes due to covid, people have new emerging desires, and a newfound respect of user privacy.
Given the shift we’ve witnessed over the last few years, leveraging free online marketing will become increasingly more important if you want to grow your business and increase profits.
Even though every business should leverage free marketing, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of free or very low cost marketing if you’re:
- Just starting your business with limited knowledge of your industry
- Not clear on your target market and who your ideal customers are
- Working to nail your niche and the product or service you want to offer
- In the process of testing your offer and collecting testimonials
- Still working to create a sales system or proven process that can convert around 1% of interested people into customers
- On a tight budget and have more time than money
If you find yourself in any of the situations above, leveraging free marketing is the best thing you can do to grow your business right now!
Here are 10 free marketing strategies you can leverage today to grow your business:
1. Introduce or Reintroduce Your Business
This is a simple one but don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of a proper introduction or reintroduction to your existing network! You can share who you are, what you do, who you help, and why you’re in business. It could be in the form of an email you send to everyone you know, a social media post to your followers or online communities you’re a part of, or you could reach out to family and friends by phone. You’d be surprised at how many people in your existing network may need your business or know someone who does.
2. Join In-person Groups or Create Your Own
People everywhere are craving in-person connections. This is a huge opportunity for you to join existing networking groups or other interest groups. The goal here is to get to know people, create a genuine connection, and naturally you’ll have the opportunity to talk about your business. Networking online is great, but nothing beats connecting with people in-person. Now is a great time to research what’s happening in your local community, make new connections, and look for free opportunities to market your business.
3. Find Referral Partners in Your Network
One of the best free marketing strategies that exist is word of mouth, especially from strategic referral or promotional partners. These people can be your family, friends, past clients, other business owners who are either in your industry, adjacent industry, or businesses that serve the same target market.
For example, if you’re a photographer, great referral partners could be a wedding planner, personal brand strategist, or doula. When you can strategically find referral partners and other people who are happy to refer business to you it’ll help you grow your business.
4. Guest Post on Relevant Blogs
If you can create a high-value blog post for someone else’s audience, you’ll instantly see the benefits of this free marketing strategy. The key here is finding the right opportunities for you to guest blog. Most people aim for blogs with a big audience.
That’s what I did! But even after writing for major online content platforms like Huff Post, Success Magazine, and Business Insider, I didn’t see a huge payoff. It’s the smaller, niche audiences that include your target market that get you the best results.
If you do the work to figure out what blogs your ideal customer reads, write an amazing post that solves a specific problem, you’ll have a single piece of marketing content that will keep paying you back in traffic, leads, and customers for as long as it’s up.
5. Speak at an Event or Host Your Own
There are endless events happening online and offline where you can speak. You just have to start looking for them and pitch your talk. My first speaking engagement came from me googling, “business events speakers wanted.”
If you don’t see any great speaking opportunities on the horizon, you can create your own. You can give free talks in your city (even if it’s small), local community or online. You can host a class, webinar, training series, seminar, masterclass, or workshop.
You can get started now by picking a topic, choosing a date, deciding a location (offline or on), and using the free marketing strategies in this post to promote your event.
6. Be of Service in Groups or Create Your Own
You can be of service to people in relevant groups, online communities, or online forums like Reddit or Quora.
Now, what do I mean by “be of service?” This means adding value to people by sharing your best advice, ideas, strategies, thoughts, knowledge, feedback, insights, and answering questions—freely without holding back.
This does not mean joining other people’s groups to pitch, spam, and be annoying! This is about being generous, helpful, making an authentic connection with no strings attached. Then, only when it’s appropriate, you can share how they can take the next step with you if they want more support.
This free marketing strategy has worked wonders for not only me but my clients too. If you’d like to build your own community you can create a group around the topic of your business and directly connect with your audience.
7. Send Weekly Newsletters to Your Email List
Don’t have an email list? There are so many ways to build your email list! You can start by collecting emails of people you know (with their permission), creating a valuable opt-in offer, or offering people some kind of incentive to sign up for your email list.
Even if you only have 5 people on your email list, you have the opportunity to add value and market your business each week. You’d be surprised at how many people have an email list of thousands of people, don’t take the opportunity to market their business weekly to their email list, and complain about how they’re not growing their business!
7. Create an Amazing, Free Opt-in Offer
If you can create a high-impact, actionable opt-in offer that gets people results, you have yourself a 24/7, free to low-cost marketing machine. Creating an amazing opt-in offer will help you build an email list of people who are interested in your products, programs, or services.
Your opt-in offer can be an ebook, quiz, guide, action plan, or any piece of valuable content that will help your ideal customer solve a small, pressing problem. Ideally, your opt-in offer is reverse-engineered from what you’re selling to make sure you attract the right people.
9. Share Engaging, High-Value Content on Social Media
As with many things in the online marketing world, the landscape of social media marketing is changing too. To market your business on social media and see results, you have to think more strategically about your content strategy.
Back in 2016, you may have been able to get away with posting a photo and an inspirational quote-not today! If you want people to engage with your content, you have to do more of what your audience wants to see on social media.
What’s performing well right now is off the cuff, engaging video content that your ideal customers find both entertaining and valuable. If you can develop a consistent social media strategy that includes sharing your expertise in an engaging way, hopping into the comments to discuss the topic, and having fun with it, you’ll see the fruits of your free marketing labor on social media.
10. Get in Front of Your Ideal Customers Locally
Online marketing is all the rage but let’s not forget about the timeless, “old school” ways to market your business for free. Chances are that your ideal customers hang out or frequent somewhere in your community. You can post a flyer or leave a brochure with info about your upcoming event, offering, or opt-in. Or you can leave a stack of your business cards to make it easier for people to refer business to you.
If you think outside the box, there are most likely opportunities in your local community where you can get in front of your ideal customers. Ask yourself, “Where do my ideal clients go and how can I be more viable to them?” From there, you can brainstorm a list of places and create plan to get out into your community and serve those people.
Now that you have some great ways to leverage free marketing, it’s time to pick the one that you want to implement first.
Which one sticks out to you, feels easy, and you can implement right away? Once you choose the one you’d like to experiment with, stick with it long enough to see results!
After you’ve mastered that one strategy, then you can come back to this post and implement another one. Once you’ve put a couple of these free marketing strategies to work, you’ll see the results of your labor.
Cheers to sweat equity and growing your business with free marketing!