Marketing can cost a lot of money. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance your newly booming business isn’t ready to spend as much as you’d want on online marketing. If you’re looking for free methods to market your business online, be prepared, it might take more effort than you anticipated. But if you do it right and invest your time in avenues that pay off, you’re likely to get good results. So, here are free some ways you can market your business online without breaking the bank.
Paid vs Free Online Marketing
As mentioned, nothing in life is truly free. Saving money on marketing means you’ll have to spend a lot of your own time marketing your business. You’ll also need to spend a lot of time learning new things. There are a lot of great tools and marketing avenues available online, many of which are free, but learning how to use them will be time-consuming.
The good news is that you’ll be all the better for it. If you start out doing your own marketing, you’ll know so much more about online marketing in general. Once you’re ready to start paid marketing, you’ll know enough to sieve out irrelevant expenses and hire competent marketers. Without at least some knowledge of marketing, it’s easy to get swindled into paying for services that aren’t helping your business or online presence grow.
You’ll learn to understand the marketing process. From the initial stages of product development to choosing marketing messaging that will help you sell, you should gather an overall idea of what works best.
So, if investing all that time seemed like a disadvantage to you, just realize that you’ll be acquiring a ton of experience and knowledge in the process. You can benefit from these skills and keep them forever. That’s the ultimate reward for all your time spent.
With that said, let’s look at how you can market your business online for free!
1. Get on Social Media
This step may seem so obvious, but way too many business owners don’t do this. Social media probably won’t be your ticket to success. Don’t expect to watch your business grow immediately after setting up profiles. It will take more than just a good profile to grow.
That said, you can start by marketing your profiles to friends, family and existing business acquaintances. Just get a few people to follow your profile in the early stages and grow it from there.
Hootsuite is a great, free tool you can use to schedule social media posts across different platforms. The free version has some limitations, but it’s fine for when you’re just getting started.
2. Have an Awesome Website
Okay, having a website isn’t 100% free – you need to pay for a domain name and hosting.
Still, having a website also isn’t super expensive and I’m assuming most business owners already have one.
But too many small business owners make the mistake of setting up their websites with bland, standard WordPress themes that aren’t attractive to look at. Making use of a free page builder like Elementor is an easy way to get your website looking better at no extra cost, even the paid plan is affordable compared to many alternatives.
3. Create a Business Blog
Content marketing can be a great way to drive traffic to your website. By starting a blog, you could improve your website SEO and see a spike in traffic from search engines coming your way.
No one knows your business better than you do. You’re the perfect person to author your blog in the beginning stages when you can’t afford outsourcing content creation.
The key to blogging is time investment. New writers will often struggle to produce content. You might find yourself spending hours on a simple 500-word blog post. But with time, writing will become easier, you’ll improve your skills and your blog will grow.
4. Focus on SEO
Just because you can’t pay anyone to do your SEO for you, doesn’t mean you should abandon SEO altogether. Learn some basics like keyword research and apply it on your website and in blog posts. Add image alt attributes and make sure you’re running a fully responsive theme on your website. There are so many things you can do that will make a difference.
5. Guest Post on Popular Sites
There are a lot of blogs out there that will publish guest posts on various topics. Try to contribute to a well-known blog in your industry to give your online reputation a boost!
To find blogs in your industry that will accept guest posts. Do and industry-relevant search with the words “write for us” at the beginning, separating your industry-specific word and “write for us” using a plus sign.
If for instance, your business does swimming pools, you can search for “write for us + pools”. If you really want to go big in with guest posting, you could even try to submit blog posts to popular online publications in your industry. Angie’s List regularly features home maintenance posts by industry experts and might very well accept posts on swimming pool topics.
These examples were for pool care, but there will be similar opportunities to guest post on major publications in most industries.
6. Try to Snag Some Interviews, Reviews and Press Releases
Okay, it’s time to do some serious PR! Have a look to find out if there are any podcasts, blogs or other media outlets that will be willing to interview you about your business and what you do. If you’re a local business, you might not need to look any further than a local podcast or publication. There might be some podcasters in your industry looking for people to talk to.
Press releases can also be great. The good thing about a press release is that you put in all the work to create a newsworthy content piece about your business. Journalists and blog editors can take your press release just as it is and publish it, which saves them a lot of time on sourcing stories.
When submitting a press release, make sure you target relevant publications. In this case, relevant means they have to fill two criteria. Firstly, the publication must cover topics on the industry your business works in. Secondly, it should be a publication that accepts press releases. No use in pitching your press release to online magazines. Magazines might accept guest posts but rarely do press releases.
7. Email Marketing
Email marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. Email service providers like Mailchimp and Mailerlite both offer free plans if you have less than a certain number of subscribers. Set up your free account with one of these clients and collect emails with a beautiful, custom-designed popup you can create yourself using Sumo. Once you’re all done setting things up, you can convert website visitors into returning customers and reap the rewards!
When you’re trying to build your email list, be sure to offer new subscribers a great incentive. Perhaps you’ll notify your subscribers of specials, or even offer promotions that are exclusively available to email subscribers. You can also offer an informative content piece like an e-book as an incentive to get new email subscribers.
8. Get Easy Social Shares
You know now that you can use Sumo to create a beautiful popup to prompt website visitors to subscribe to your list, but there’s more!
You can also add social share icons to your content using Sumo. These share buttons make it so that sharing your content on social media is only a click away for all website visitors. It’s a great way to get more social shares!
9. Setup a Google My Business Profile
If your business only operates locally, a Google My Business page can really help you bring in more business. Go to Google My Business and set up a free page with your business address, phone number, hours and more. Local customers searching for a business like yours are almost sure to find you.
10. Network for Success
Networking takes time, but it often opens doors for your business you never would’ve thought of. Network online and in-person. Everywhere you go, try to find new opportunities to talk to people who also work in your industry,
11. Cold Emailing
Cold emailing can seem scary, but it’s often the difference between a successful business owner and an unsuccessful one. If you want to get your press releases published, snag interviews on podcasts and get attention for your business, you’ll probably have to send at least some cold emails. Cold emailing can be essential in your business PR strategy.
But why stop there? If you work in an industry that lends itself well to cold emailing prospective customers directly, why not try this? But don’t target just anyone. You know who your target customers are. Send emails to businesses that can benefit from using your product or service.
12. Get Listed on Local Online Business Directories
Once again, this tip is best for local businesses. There are quite a few online directories that allow business owners to post listings for their business. Just add your business listing on a free online directory. It’s a simple thing to do and you might win new customers from it.
Marketing can take hours upon hours. You might have to work hard at your marketing every single day for a month or more before you see any results.
Don’t give up. Keep up the work. You’re trying to build your business and marketing is an integral part of the process. Until you have the financial capacity to outsource marketing, you’ll need to put a lot of work to make your marketing work for you.