It’s a fact: We’ve all got to market our business if we want to stay in business. The trouble with advertising in the daily paper, on radio, and television, is that they’re expensive – and your costly advertisement will be forgotten in no time.
Marketing online may be a better option. You’re probably already be using social media, and your business may already have a website. Now it’s time to make that online presence work for you. Web tools let you track your results and focus your marketing strategies on the methods that are most profitable for your business. And best of all, many online marketing strategies are inexpensive or free!
Here are some free online marketing methods to consider for your business:
1. Partner up with another expert in your field
Consider joining forces with another brand. You can then offer a more substantial product together than either one of you could offer alone.
In addition, you’ll automatically get the attention of both audiences, resulting in more sales and adding more leads to your email list. In the future, these new leads can drive more sales of another one of your products.
Partnering on even one marketing campaign can bring long-term benefits to both of you.
2. Encourage user-generated content
If you can acquire user-generated content, your website will grow without you having to create your own content. This type of content also increases your website visitors. Enable comments on your website and contribute to the discussions.
Allow visitors to submit their own articles and encourage guest posts from other experts.
Do you have a vendor, or someone in your business from outside your market area, who can offer some practical information, an anecdote, or insight into how to choose the right option? Ask if you can repost something they’ve posted, or invite them to be the guest star on your page or website.
3. Affiliate marketing
When you create an affiliate program for your business, you will be getting other experts in your field and the public to send business your way. This can be mutually beneficial, and you will only be paying commissions (after the sale) if the affiliate makes a sale.
As with the partnering idea, many of these new visitors will sign up for your email list, even if they don’t buy something right away – bringing you long-term benefits and sales.
4. Be active on social media
There are millions of users visiting the various social media platforms daily, so it makes sense for your business to have a presence there.
- Share funny or interesting images or videos that are relevant to your business.
- Post insights and valuable information. Do most folks have questions about your product or service? You’re the expert; a series of How-To articles or videos may get shared widely. If your special area of knowledge gives you insight into local events or needs, then your social post can start a wider conversation.
- Let your audience know when you have a sale on your products. Give your social media followers coupons or discounts.
- Encourage engagement by participating in discussions. Ask questions and answer theirs.
- Run a survey, poll, or contest.
- If these are interesting, then they’ll be shared by your followers, increasing your reach.
5. Use free online tools
There are plenty of tools online that can help your business. Involve.me or SurveyMonkey will let you create free surveys, or you can use a free online service like Mailchimp to send emails to your customers. You don’t have to pay a premium to get started in online marketing.
6. Change and reuse old advertisements
Rather than reinventing the wheel and creating new articles for every marketing campaign, try reusing parts of an advertisement that worked well. Save your time and expense to make the event you’re advertising special.
As an added plus, keeping consistent brand imagery through every ad will help with brand recognition too.
7. Build an email list
If people are visiting your website, chances are good that they are interested in what you have to offer. Make a form available for them to join your email list and be kept in the loop about future product releases or special offers. When anyone makes a purchase online, offer them a chance to stay updated with a newsletter.
Once they’ve signed up to this email list, you can send these folks messages with news and further information about your products. Let them know whenever something goes on sale or when an event is planned.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to drive sales. Treat your list members like gold, because that’s what they are to you and your business.
8. Create some video content
Video content is incredibly important nowadays as an increasing number of people online will watch a video before they’ll read a blog post. If you can create interesting, creative, or helpful videos, you’ll create interest in your brand.
It’s certainly possible to do online marketing without spending money. Some of these methods will take time and consistent effort to put into action, but the results will be worth it.
For example, it can take a while to build an email list or a social media community. But once you’ve built a loyal group who follow your brand, then you can generate enthusiasm, sales, donations or commitments, simply by building up and announcing what new products or projects are coming.
If you want to see an immediate return on investment, perhaps for a special promotion, you may want to consider paying for ads online. But by consistently putting these free strategies into place, you’ll make your brand and your online presence a familiar and welcome part of the lives of your customers. Instead of merely buyers, you can convert them into enthusiasts and ambassadors for your brand.