Every small business has to work with a small marketing budget at some point. But what if you don’t have any budget to spend? Is there even such a thing as free small-business marketing?
Whether you’ve always had a tight marketing budget or your business has been hit hard by the pandemic, a lack of funding shouldn’t stop you from increasing website traffic, conversions, or store traffic. That’s why we’re excited to share this list of small business marketing strategies you can use to grow your business for free!
How can you promote your small business with no budget?
You can implement any (or all) of these small business marketing ideas right now! Some require more time and internal resources than others, but all are completely doable and completely free.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the best free marketing option for small businesses. It also helps to generate leads. This can help improve your conversion rate. This will increase your SEO and the same content can be used on your website, social media, emails, and advertising.
Here are just a few examples of content you can produce:
- A branded graphic
- A blog Posts
- A comprehensive case study or project summary
- A video
- Gated content, such as an e-book or research paper.
All this information can be obtained for free! You can easily create free Google apps for any type of content.
Although websites fall under the umbrella of content marketing, they deserve their own category. Partly because they are so bad, and partly because they are so misunderstood.
Infographics are perhaps the most accessible type of business content. A strong website can spend years gaining popularity on platforms like Pinterest, where users support great content by reposting it.
But too many companies think they need a lot of data and a team of designers to create a website. Not really! The best infographics clearly explain what your customers care about. This could be information, suggestions, steps, or ideas.
3. Review and Reuse of Content
No content should be created for a single purpose. You can always apply this information to at least one more aspect of your small business. If you’re trying to do this (during a paid seminar!), you’ll want to stretch it out as much as possible.
Here are five ways to repurpose a blog post or case study.
- Turn it into a single graphic or a series of images for social media.
- Turn it into an infographic (see what I did there).
- Turn it into a video.
- Talk about it on the podcast.
- Create a summary of links to relevant information on a specific topic.
4. Social Media
Every small business marketing strategy should include social media marketing. It is free, offers plenty of opportunities to increase awareness and reach, and helps you connect with and learn more about your customers.
Here are seven great posts from your social media accounts:
- One image (which you can create with free art tools!)
- A carousel poster uses related images to tell a story.
- Video (which you can create with your existing phone and apps)
- Team culture, or corporate image, defines the face of your company’s people.
- A link to one of your pages or publications
- Links to third-party content that may be useful to your audience
- Ask questions, and then interact in the comments.
Don’t jump onto every available platform and start delivering the same post on all platforms. Take the time to find the best advertising strategy for your business. You’re not done yet! You should also analyze hashtags to understand which hashtags work best for optimizing your content on each platform.
5. User-Generated Content
It’s great when customers like you enough to share their stories about your business.
The easiest form of collecting human-generated content (UGC) is reviewed. When a customer leaves a review on Google or Facebook, you can turn that review into an image on your website or social media platforms.
To get the most out of the content people are using, try creating a unique hashtag, tagging it, and promoting it on one or two social media platforms. Even if someone uses your branded hashtag, you should still contact them and get their permission before sharing their photos and/or stories.
6. Local SEO
Oh, oh, THAT! Perhaps you were hoping to avoid the difficult and often confusing part of technology planning. But facts are facts, and SEO is one of the best ways to promote your business.
In addition to regular SEO, which helps increase website traffic, there are several things you can do to improve your local SEO:
- How is your NAP? Google uses your NAP (name, address, and phone number) from various websites to determine where you live and how important you are to a searcher. The NAP should be accurate and complete at the bottom of your website, local business listings, social media, and all business documents.
- Name and fill in your businesses in Google My Business, Bing Places, and Apple Maps. This means adding hours, website, email address and phone number, business location, and logo.
- Make sure your on-page SEO is in order. Use local keywords in everything that is commonly used on your site, such as titles, page titles, URLs, meta descriptions, image titles, etc.
- Create Google search engine accounts. As with other social media platforms, this is an opportunity to surprise your audience. But in this case, Google has also recommended you, which helps you rank higher in search results.
7. Business Listings
Every city and industry has dedicated online business classifieds for you to post about your business.
It might sound a little boring when you compare it to “real” small business marketing like content creation and social media activity, but it’s not. Business listings provide valuable links to your website, strengthen your local SEO profile, and increase visibility for people searching for similar businesses.
8. Contests and Giveaways
Everyone likes free stuff. That’s why you’re reading this article: The Promise of Free Marketing Skills! Running contests in stores or on social media is a great way to grow your audience. Offers such as a free item after eight purchases, a referral to a free item, or an automatic promotion when you buy for bonus months are a great way to increase sales.
You might be asking, “Does giving something away mean I’ll have to spend money?” There are few ways to view it. You can give something that’s worth exactly the money you’re already spending on the company’s time:
- An eBook
- A consultation
- A personalized tutorial
- A tour
- Offering early access to a product, feature, or service.
You can also offer real products to attract more new customers with the leads or subscribers you generate—how to make money!
9. Appear on a Podcast
Does it seem like everyone with their dog now has a podcast? Maybe your friends have podcasts. Chances are, other businesses in your industry have podcasts as well. But you don’t need to launch your own podcast to access this popular digital space.
One of the biggest challenges for podcast hosts is finding guests. If you or someone else in your industry can offer honest, specific advice or an opinion on a topic of interest to your customers, people want to hear it!
10. Guest Blogging and Republishing
Major publications, such as Entrepreneur and Inc., are driven by guest posts. This type of blogging gets thousands of people to see your name, which increases the value of each blog post.
You can also find many social media sites that share information about your business, and you can contact them to write a dedicated blog post for them. A smaller, more engaged audience is often more effective at building brand awareness and generating leads.
Don’t forget to republish your existing posts on sites like Medium and LinkedIn’s Publisher! These sites reach more people than your original message through algorithmic recommendations.
11. Join Quora or HARO
If you’ve ever asked Google a question, you’ve probably seen or clicked on Quora in the search box.
Quora is an online forum where people can ask questions and get answers from famous people and experts in the field. If you go to Quora and search for people asking questions directly related to your business, you can actually find customers online. Take note and promote your business if necessary. If you offer your product too early, people will stop listening and become angry.
HARO connects writers and bloggers with industry experts to answer the questions of the day. You just need to register and check your email regularly.
Networks have been a popular marketing product since the invention of marketing itself. You probably already have business cards but have forgotten about them because everything is about digital marketing these days. When it’s safe, grab your cards and get out!
You can now host or participate in online events and webinars. If you run a B2B business, you may have access to company events such as seminars, conferences, and exhibitions. For B2C businesses, pay attention to the types of events your customers attend, be they markets, conferences, or events.
13. Host a Webinar
In this age of remote work and social distancing, webinars are more popular than ever. From large meetings to intimate seminars, your customers are open to and eager to engage online.
If your business can explain, educate, or provide information about a room, a webinar is a great way to connect with customers and generate leads. You can use any free software, such as Facebook, to host a webinar. This article provides a list of seven free webinars.
14. Do a live-stream
Like other forms of video, live streaming is gaining in popularity.
Every social network has an option, from Facebook and LinkedIn to YouTube and TikTok. You can answer customer questions, show how your company or product works in real-time, or talk about a specific topic. Look at your social media analytics to find out how your audience spends the most time and stays.
15. Be First on a New Platform
Remember when everyone was talking about the Clubhouse app? This is a unique online listening opportunity where you can find great company interviews on a variety of topics. Other platforms that have gained popularity in the last five years include TikTok, BeReal, Twitch, Discord, and other new platforms.
New relationships are a great place to learn and inform your clients.
16. Press Releases
If your company regularly hosts webinars or events, launches new products, or participates in social media, why not ask the press?
If you prepare a good advertising campaign that doesn’t require a lot of editing of the ad, you have a good chance of appearing among many digital sources and their many subscribers.
17. Apply for Awards
Almost every business has big annual awards that seem out of reach, but there are plenty of unwanted awards your business could win. Brands help you feel confident.
Take some time to research the right products in your industry or product category. Larger ones may charge an entrance fee, but you can find hidden gems that are free to enter.
18. Email Marketing
Email marketing is probably the most time-consuming entry on this list, but there is much higher earning potential there. The ROI of email is 3,800%, but you don’t have to spend money.
To gain leads, you can use content marketing, advertising, and social media, as well as traditional marketing. Then choose a free email marketing tool to create compelling messages, create compelling headlines, send emails, and manage your subscriber list.
I hope this list helped you discover some cool ideas for your new small business! Remember to pick methods and content that your customers will enjoy. Stay active on popular platforms and share content that they really like. Good luck with your business!