30 ways to market for free

Article researched and written by Debora Kabikwa, Durham College student interning at BACD.

Online and offline marketing go hand-in-hand when it comes to building recognition. We all know the idea of marketing (to promote and advertise products or services), which sounds simple, but can be overwhelming when thinking about the procedures and the tools to use to market. You may feel like your business needs recognition for it to become successful. It can be financially challenging. Thankfully, modern innovation provides a multitude of avenues to market your business online for free.

1.Write a weekly/monthly newsletter.

A newsletter is what gets your company’s name out there, through your subscribers. Not only does it allow your consumers to get-in-the-know of your latest products and services, it also allows you to connect more directly with your consumers. A tip: Try not to flood your customers’ inbox with newsletters. Monthly newsletters are preferable. Email is still one of the best ways to generate sales for your business – source https://blogs.constantcontact.com/email-marketing-stats/

2.Collect email data

Collect email data from everyone who subscribes to your newsletter then, add them to your contact list following  the regulations of CASL or GDPR Rarely anyone checks for newsletters directly on websites, send every subscriber your newsletter so that they don’t miss out on any sales updates.

3.Market on social media. 

Billions of people use social media and it is one of the fastest growing digital advertising tools in multimedia. Marketing on social media is a way to expose your business to a larger audience. Consider the demographic you are trying to target. (e.g. age groups, gender, or location). For example: if women are your target group, Sprout Social suggests that Instagram and Pinterest are the go-to social media platforms.  Overall, social media is easy to use and it’s cost free. 

4.Use Pinterest.

Pinterest is well-known for using compelling images of products to lure browsers into a website that sells the products. It turns browsers into consumers. According to Social Media Today, Pinterest has more than 200 million monthly active users; more than 50 million pins; a billion Pinterest boards; 2 billion searches. Another fact is that 87 per cent of Pinterest users say they’ve purchased a product or a service from the app – this is a high conversion rate!

5.Create video content.

Do not underestimate the power of video marketing. It’s an essential tool in marketing because it attracts viewers and it’s easily shareable. An example of video content is a tutorial on how to use your product/service. Here is a link to the seven secrets of  super-successful video marketing. 

6.Post your video on YouTube. 

YouTube is considered one of the top search engines in the world. Once you upload a video of your company on YouTube, your company’s name becomes recognizable. It becomes easily searchable. You also gain subscribers, who then become your consumers. Check out HubSpot’s  Ultimate Guide to YouTube marketing. 

7.Advertise your videos on social media. 

A way to navigate people to your business website is to post  15-second, 30-second or 60-second videos promoting your product or service. If you want to promote your new product, make a video of you using the product, clip it to15 seconds, then add a link on your bio and/or caption to the full video on your YouTube channel or your website, or use time lapse to show more.

8.Reach out to social media influencers.

Influencers have been a well known marketing tool for businesses. If you’re unfamiliar with the influencer industry, it basically consists of you paying or offering free products to someone who has a high number of followers on their social media channels (that  you want to also be on) in exchange for them recommending or showcasing your product. Some influencers do this for revenue. The key is to try and build relationships with influencers and engage with them, give them reasons why they should work with you. Hangar 12 provides 7 Best Practices  for Communicating with Influencers.

9. Organize and decorate your Instagram. Make your page look more attractive.

Post high definition pictures. Develop a colour scheme to make your posts look aesthetically appealing and follow your brand strategy. Use compositional techniques in your pictures (with your camera or your phone). If you want to add stories (highlights), you can add icons as covers that represent the content of your highlight. A tip: Make sure the style of your  icons are consistent. Click here to see an example

10.Run a giveaway on your social media.

People love free stuff. Maybe once in a while, run a giveaway of some of your products. A common way to do it is to solicit your audience to follow, subscribe, like and/or share your posts or your page. You will gain more followers and subscribers which will boost your company’s recognition. Here are some amazing examples of social media giveaways. 

11.Get active on LinkedIn.

According to HubSpot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. The reason is because LinkedIn users are high-level decision-makers. Executives and business-to-business buyers (B2B) research vendors via LinkedIn profiles. And gladly, 44% have found potential vendors. If you are a B2B, then you can be a potential vendor. You could also join a LinkedIn group by connecting with people in the same niche as you. You could promote your website content through groups. But, try not to come across as spam. 

12.Use Twitter to respond to customer feedback.

Twitter is a useful platform to interact with users. It’s a place where people can share their honest opinion about your company. Whether negative or positive, respond to them. It shows that you care about your customers and want to make their experiences better. This advice goes for all reviews, always comment on every review.

13.Offer sales and promotions to your customers.

One thing that attracts everyday consumers are . Offers, sales and deals, like percentage off prices or a buy-one-get-one deals. . 

14.Write a press release.

If you have a newsworthy story relating to your  business, you can pitch it to free press release distribution sites (e.g. PRLOG) Click here to learn how to write press releases with templates and examples. 

15.Ask your customers for testimonials.

Ask your customers to share their experiences using your products and services. Then, add them on your website. Ask your customer if they could post a review on Google, Yelp or Facebook Generate as many positive reviews as possible.

16.Apply SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

It’s an easy process: Use keywords that relate to your company and the interests of your potential consumers. If you want your  company to appear on the first page of search results, Google judges on the quality of the content or the site design among many other ranking factors (most important SEO ranking factors). You can learn how to create a remarkable website content here.

17.Submit your website on search engines.

Submitting your website to a search engine is beneficial to your website’s SEO success. Benefits include:

  • Ensuring that search engines index your site.
  • Letting search engines highlight the important parts on your website. 
  • Improves your website’s overall ranking.
  • You can easily do this using a free search engine submission service. (e.g. EntireWeb).

18.Submit your events to online community calendars.

If you have an event you want to promote,  submit your event to local community calendars. For example, Google events, Eventbrite, Durham Region.com, DurhamRadioNews.

19.Guest Blogging.

Guest blogging is when you write articles for other websites to attract traffic to the website. Often guest bloggers help to boost the website’s domain authority,  increase brand credibility to build relationships within their industry. You can collaborate with popular bloggers in your industry. Click here to read why guest blogging is important. 

20.Ensure that your contact information is consistent.

Make sure that all mentions of your contact information are correct. You don’t want your consumers to be led to the wrong email or to call the wrong phone number.  Also ensure your brand is consistent across all platforms.

21.Volunteer to speak at conferences or events.

This is an excellent way of building a reputation for yourself, as an entrepreneur, a business owner and an expert within your industry. It could be an opportunity for you to promote your business to a physical and virtual  audience. 

22.Encourage User-Generated Content.

Also, known as, UGC, is when a user creates content where they share some of their greatest experiences with your business. It’s mostly done on social media or in video. Ask people to follow, share and like your content.

23.Creating and posting blogs regularly. 

Essentially, the most effective way to market your business is to create a blog and posting it often (Preferably every month). Here are some essential tips for writing a high-quality blog post. Once you know how to write good quality content on your blogs, it will add so much value to your brand and company. Make sure that your blogs are clear, concise and accessible. 

24.Show off your expertise on Quora or other Q&A sites.

Quora or Reddit are sites for experts to give quality answers to consumers’ problems. As an expert of your business and in the industry, this platform will give you the opportunity to show off your expertise. This will make you and your company look more credible and reliable, which can attract your potential customers. 

25.Deliver good customer service.

Unhappy customers can be challenging to communicate with. Try providing solutions to their problems, even if it means giving them a deal on their next purchase. You customers will feel satisfied and potential change the way they feel about your company. 

26.Create a survey

A survey encourages customer feedback. It allows you to pinpoint where you need to improve on with your business. Ask questions such about their overall experience with your company, your products and services. Nowadays, it’s simple to create surveys. You could sign up for free on SurveyMonkey and create your own survey.

27.Referral Marketing.

Referral marketing, also known as word-of-mouth marketing, is one of the oldest and most trusted marketing strategies. It consists of promoting your company, your product or your service to new customers and encouraging or rewarding them to recommend it to a friend or a family member. It’s usually sent as a memo physically or by email. 

28.Attend events.

Whenever there’s a business event, lunch or a gala,  it’s your chance to network with people. Socialize, build a relationship with those you meet.  It could be with a potential business partner or a potential client/customer. Either way, you should never miss an opportunity where you could promote yourself directly. 

29.Send Thank You letters.

Remember to always thank your customers for their support. Regardless if they purchased anything, every interaction counts. 

30.Send complimentary gifts.

This could be optional, but will pay off. Don’t hesitate to send a free sample of your product. Customers love free products. According to CenterState, customers’ satisfaction increases by 10 per cent to 20 per cent after receiving a gift.