It might look a little bit overwhelming when you are starting to market your small business. It might also look expensive. And it can be. But there are many free ways to market your business and they can be just as effective if done correctly. Here are a few of our tips:
Start a blog
Regular blogging will not only increase your web traffic, but will allow you to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. If successful, your blogs can not only be read but also re-shared opening up an endless pool of potential clients.
Write guest blogs
Expand your reach by guest blogging elsewhere – offer valuable advice that can be published on other sites and benefit from the extended reach that they bring.
Join online forums
Join the conversation online – provide relevant and insightful advice and avoid selling.
You won’t see actual faces, but if you are not a confident networking type, webinars are just what might work for you. You can learn and interact with others online, either via the phone or through chat rooms – not as personal as actual face to face events but a very effective networking tool.
Create a professional email signature
Very simple, yet very effective if you think about how many emails you send every day. Use your signature to highlight any relevant contact details, link it to your website and keep it up to date.
Send out a regular e-newsletter
Send out regular newsletters highlighting anything that you want your readers to know about. Include links to your website and your social media accounts and make it pretty and interesting so people would only want to open and read it but also forward to others.
Conduct online surveys
Find out about what your clients think, want and need. Conducting the survey gives you a reason to contact your audience and so do the results.
Send out a downloadable e-paper
This is another great way to demonstrate your expertise and give your audience something of value that they can keep and learn from.
Set up relevant social media profiles
Don’t just create a profile – take the time to set up all relevant platforms using consistent messaging, look and feel and contact details.
Share content on social media
Post regular updates sharing valuable content – avoid spamming and focus on quality over high frequency of updates.
Connect with others on social media
Search for people and businesses that you would want hear from on regular basis and connect with them or follow them. The more people you follow the more people are likely to follow you back.
Use discovery engines to boost your traffic
Discovery engines find and recommend web content to online users. Having your site and content listed is increasing the chances of your site having better visibility and higher traffic.
Link your social media to your website and vice versa
Have clear links to your social media so you build your follower base and make sure your website link is visible on each of your profiles. Just remember that social media platforms are the route to your business and not the end destination, so be sure to use them as a way to get to your website.
Create and promote a variety of content
Be innovative on your content – consider written content, visuals, videos, podcasts, infographics. The more varied your content, the more you can expand your social media marketing.
Send out a press release
If there is news worth sharing that you think could be relevant to the press, write and send out a press release to all of your press contacts and publish it on your website.
Learn to tag
Tagging helps search engines to pick up your content so think about the most relevant words your clients will use in order to find you.
Build a database
Once you established your business online start focusing on building a database of contacts – offer a newsletter subscription, use gated content, capture your social media followers or build your list through prospecting. As your database grows, consider sending regular email campaigns on a variety of topics to remind your audience of your business.
Look at freelancing opportunities
There are more opportunities for freelancers than ever before. Have a look at Freelancer, PeoplePerHour or Upwork. It will also help you to find inspiration for additional projects to add to your portfolio.
Ask for feedback
Ask your existing customers for feedback on what your did well and focus on repeating the success scenario. Not only will this help you to drive new business but also strengthen the relationships with your existing clients.
Use case studies
Write up the success stories to date and use them as a foundation for your marketing campaigns. Doesn’t matter if you can’t use your client’s name. Everyone loves a good story – so share yours.
Ask for testimonials
Use your happy clients to promote your business by asking them for testimonials. There is nothing better to prove your skills that having a satisfied customer telling everyone else.
When you are starting with a blank client list, the best place to start is to contact those who already know you. Even better if they know your work. The more people are aware of your business the more business opportunities. Ask them for feedback too so you can see things from a different perspective. Having a great network of friends around you is also essential to keep your sanity when the going gets tough and to celebrate those great successes as your little business grows!
Reward repeat business
No doubt your clients are extremely important to you – and so they should know. Doing a great job is what makes them come back to you repeatedly, and when do, give them something extra so they know how valued they are. Little things can make a big difference so anything complimentary you can offer will be noticed and appreciated.
It’s a nice thing to do and will hopefully help those who you are recommending. In a same way, it gets your name out there. The ones who asked for recommendations are also very likely to recommend you back.
Partner up with other small businesses
Working with other small businesses and freelancers is a great way to promote your services and products. Be selective to ensure your values and focus align and start cross marketing each others services and products.
Do something good for the community
Pick a cause that you care about and do something good. It will make you feel good but also help to show others that you care. Others you will choose to support will also surely tell others about what you did and so can you.
Write for your local newspaper
If you have something interesting to write about, contact your local newspapers and pitch your ideas or alternatively get ideas on future topics from the local journalists.
Introduce special offers
Offer something special to get your clients’ interest – discounts, or even complimentary services and products if you can afford to.
Pick up the phone
Nothing is more effective than picking up the phone and having an actual conversation. Follow up on your campaigns and ask for meetings – in worst case you will get a NO which isn’t any worse than not knowing at all!
Attend a trade show
Have a wander around relevant trade shows and see what’s out there. The likelihood is that you will have conversations with delegates and exhibitors and you will learn something new.