In a world of tutorials, social media and technology you can market without spending a penny. The catch is that you will need to invest time and effort. It’s a learning game, and there’s a lot to pick up but it can be rewarding to learn what works and what doesn’t. In a previous article I discussed the need to understand your target market. Once you know who you’re marketing to, the next step is to act on this. There are several ways to do this but here are four free marketing tips to get you started.
Start blogging as soon as possible
Blogging is a great way to engage with others by answering frequently asked questions relevant to your field of expertise. Don’t be afraid to give away information for free because this is how you become the leading authority on certain topics. There’s a lot to be gained from sharing your knowledge with others and you can demonstrate that you know your stuff to potential and existing customers.
These days a web blog can be setup relatively easily through the likes of Wix or other website builders for free. Whilst this may be a start, it would be wise to consider hiring a web developer for a more refined blog with advanced features should you require it. Remember also that a conventional website isn’t the only way to blog, there’s social media too. Regular informative content is a great way to provide an insight into the work that you do.
Understand search engines and what they mean for your business
Utilising search engines is an area of marketing I’m particularly interested in. These days when people want to know something they “Google it.” With that in mind appearing in the search results has major benefits for most businesses. If the user is searching from a mobile phone Google’s algorithm tends to favour local results. For this reason, it’s important to begin to understand search engine optimisation and what it means for your business. Basic optimisation doesn’t cost a penny to set up, but I’d strongly recommend doing your research as it is a specialised field with lots of know how. I enjoy using Yoast and they also provide great free marketing tips.
More established businesses would be wise to invest resources in the management of their search visibility. If you have multiple sites or a strong social media presence it can very quickly become overwhelming to optimise large amounts of content for search visibility. Search engines handle billions of queries and by answering the right questions you can gain exposure very quickly. It’s all part of having that wider digital presence.
Use emails and deliver relevant content
Most people have an email address these days but it’s difficult to stand out in the inbox. The very first step is obtaining consent to send out marketing emails, it’s in your interests and the customers’ really. Marketing to people who aren’t interested isn’t a good way to generate new work. There are also legal obligations in the era of data protection and GDPR to gain explicit consent to market. Your new blog would be a good place to begin creating an email list by giving your users the option to opt in to a mailing list. Some common ways to entice sign ups include:
- free downloadable content
- updates on new products and releases
- exclusive offers associated with sign up
Getting hold of subscribers is only the first step. Once you have a list you need to meet the subscribers’ expectations and the way to do this is by delivering relevant and engaging content. It’s important to be clear about what your subscription includes/excludes. If you tell subscribers they’re going to receive one email a week then don’t bombard them with one a day. Always give an option to opt-out too.
The transition from free to paid content can be difficult. It’s not wise to try and sell yourself at every opportunity. In some respects, it can come across as pushy and you’ll lose users. The best way is to pick your moments and when you do, you’ll need to be clear about the value of your product or service.
Harness the power of social media
Billions of people are on social media and if you’re not using it then you’re missing out on an effective way of reaching them. These days it’s relatively simple to build a Facebook page for your business and it can be a good forum to blog, provide updates and market effectively. To really connect with customers, you’ll have to show the human side of your brand as social media is very personal.
It’s not easy to ‘go viral’ but it is possible if you post a particularly good post. Going viral is a situation where many users like, share and comment on your post making it visible to thousands of people very quickly. This exposure is a great way to make your business known to other users. Once you have a better feel of social media, you’ll begin to understand what works and what doesn’t. It can take a while to build a following on social media but it’s worth it.
Feel free to read my blog for more free marketing tips or get in touch using the form below. There are lots of resources available online if you get stuck but don’t be afraid to try something new in the meantime!