You’re growing your business on a budget, but you still need a reliable system for pulling in new leads and customers.
If paid advertising and expensive promotions are out of your grasp (or even if they’re not), here are 6 cost-free marketing moves that will get your business rolling in no time.
#1 – Blogging
If you’re looking for a consistent way to pull in fresh traffic and new leads for your business, blogging is a great approach.
And contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to be a master wordsmith or have bucket loads of spare time laying around in order to maintain a blog for your business.
If you can share helpful advice once a month (or more, if you’re up for it), you can gain the many benefits of business blogging.
Or, if you have a serious aversion to writing, video blogging is a popular and effective alternative. And, if you already have some type of digital camera or a webcam in your possession, it won’t cost you a thing.
#2 – Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to get in front of a new audience and drive traffic back to your own website.
Writing content for other popular blogs in your niche/industry gives you the opportunity to share your expertise (and web address!) with hundreds or thousands of new potential customers. It’s also a great way to build profitable relationships with other bloggers and business owners in your space.
#3 – Email Marketing
Do you have an email list? If you do, is it growing?
Email marketing gets pushed to the side quite often, but it’s actually still one of the most reliable and profitable ways to market a business online.
And while running a large email list does require some financial investment, you can get yours started for free with MailChimp which allows you to maintain an email list of up to 2,000 subscribers without paying a dime.
#4 – Social Media
I’m confident you’re heard of social media marketing, but you might have also heard that social media is time consuming, frustrating, and sometimes even pointless.
Social media marketing can be hard to master, easy to waste time on, and come with very little return on invest – if you don’t know how to approach it. But with a simple strategy in place, social media can be a rich source of new business.
The most important key to a successful social media marketing strategy is understanding what social media is actually good for: making connections. You make those connections by being helpful, sharing interesting stuff, starting conversations, promoting other people’s ideas, and interacting with the community. You turn social media into a profitable marketing channel by then transferring those relationships onto your website, where it is effective and appropriate to make offers.
#5 – Publicity
Nothing puts you in a desirable light as quickly as having another respected person promote you. Getting free publicity can make that happen for you.
Getting interviewed is a powerful way to reach a new audience and get them interested in what you have to offer. You can find interview opportunities all around you: reach out to people on social media, include a section on your own website/blog that lets people know you’re available to answer interview questions, or use HARO – a free and super helpful tool for connecting journalists with experts.
#6 – Your Website
You’ve probably noticed that most of the marketing tactics listed above have one thing in common: they all point back to your website.
Your website is by far your most valuable marketing asset.
A website that is well-designed and layered with effective, compelling copy will become the foundation of any other marketing strategies you decide to try.
So before you go any further, do an inventory of your own website. Is it well-branded? Is it easy to use? Is your copy engaging? Do you make clear, compelling offers?
A website isn’t necessarily free, so I hesitated to include it in this list. But the truth is, if you don’t have a solid website in place, none of your other online marketing efforts are going to be as effective as they could be. Plus, getting a professional website up and running is extremely affordable.
You’ll need to buy a domain name and sign up for web hosting, which is where the financial investment comes in, but a domain name will only set you back about $13 and you can find basic hosting for as little as $8/month.
Now for the awesome free part: WordPress. WP is one of my favorite tools on the web, and it allows you to build incredible website without any advanced technical skills.
If you don’t have a website running yet – or you have one you’re embarrassed to claim – use WordPress to get the job done.
What free online marketing activities do you use to bring in new business? Share your ideas in the comments.
Sonja Jobson helps small business owners and entrepreneurs become incredible on the internet with content marketing. Get her free profitable marketing toolkit and access to her best marketing advice here.