12 Effective Ways to Market Your Business for Free
Being able to market your business is probably the most important business skill to master, yet a lot of small business owners carry out no marketing whatsoever. Are they just expecting customers, clients or patients to beat their door down? The funny thing is, the majority of the most effective marketing strategies are absolutely free!
Here are a round dozen of my favourite free and effective marketing strategies:
- Referral Strategies. The single most effective marketing strategy of all time, whatever your line of business, you should be getting the bulk of your new business from referrals. The trick here is the EAR formula. Earn first by showing how good you are, then ask (this is not pushy if you do it right!) and then recognition. I have 93, yes 93, referral strategies I can share with you!
- Google Places. Not only can set-up a free mini-website with photos, information on your business and even a video but in addition, being on Google Places sends your own website soaring up the search rankings on Google without paying for Google Adwords or spending hour after hour typing in the optimum search words on each of your web pages.
- Word of Mouth. Use an easy non-threatening opening line which is an open question e.g. I use “do you have a good accountant?” Be passionate and enthusiastic, and just ask everyone you meet wherever you go. If they’re not interested what have you got to lose, just change the subject and move on.
- Blogging. Quick to do and a great way of getting case studies & success stories out there as well as tips and useful information. It’s far easier to get your message over by providing practical examples of how you’ve gone beyond the norm to help your customers get out of sticky situations and demonstrate how your expertise has made a difference to your customer’s lives. They do not have to be long, just keep them short and succinct – what did Mark Twain say – “if I had more time I’d write less”.
- Networking. Business owners often say it doesn’t work but it will if you go about it the right way. The best events to attend are those which are not supposed to be networking events e.g. free business training seminars. Coffee meetings are very effective too – quick & cheap and a great way of getting to know people – I’ve probably met over 250 people for coffee now in three years. But be ready to give your time and enthusiasm first for free and demonstrate your expertise before expecting it to work – only then will you build trust and position yourself as helpful, friendly and an expert in your field.
- Free Stuff. Give away your time or items of low cost to you but of high perceived value to customers. A great opportunity to get your foot in the door so you can tap into the lifetime value of a customer! If you sell products give valuable information or tips instead. There will be times it will disappoint but overall, this is very successful. Link your free offer to a service or product which you charge for or where it will become recurring revenue.
- Free website publicity. Your local Chamber of Commerce (Hawkes Bay does) probably reserves a page on their web-site for members to publicise special offers for fellow Chamber members who can be a useful source of new prospects. In addition, some local councils offer a free business directory, many of the commercial business directories are free, and you can always set-up deals with other businesses to put links on each other’s websites. I guarantee you will get at least 10 listings for free!
- Baker’s Dozen. Always give more than people expect and do it cheerfully! This concept exists all over the world, from the 13th Century Baker’s Dozen to the Louisiana concept of “lagniappe”, where the customer gets a little gift with their purchase. If doesn’t have to be a gift, it could be reducing the price from the original quote or delivering Wednesday when you promised Friday.
- Newsletters. If you use Business Contact Manager on Outlook or MailChimp these are free to send out and are a great way of keeping in contact with your customers and prospects. Few businesses are so downright boring that even an occasional newsletter can’t be made interesting and give tips and useful information. Avoid adverts and talking too much about you or your staff – no one really cares about Deidre’s OE or your new reception desk! I’ve heard every excuse under the sun over the years why they can’t be done but they’re all pathetic!
- Case Studies/Success Stories are a very effective way of demonstrating your skills & positioning you as an expert in your field. They’re easy to write too – just think about situations where you’ve gone beyond the norm to help your customers or where your competition has messed up and you’ve saved the day! Keep these updated and topical.
- Your Website. Is not being able to afford a website your excuse? No longer – you can now host them & set them up completely for free! One US provider now lets you set up 50, yes 50 sites for free and charges you nothing for hosting. It doesn’t have to be flash, just a basic one will do, but one thing’s for sure, over the next 10 years you’ll be history without a web-site!
- Facebook. Love it or hate it, a non-business Facebook page can be used as a great tool to publicise your business. If you post interesting snippets or comments or a link to elsewhere, get your Facebook friends to click on the Like button which means your comments etc will appear on all their friends’ Facebook pages too – how good is that?
If you need help to market your business for free contact Nick on 0800 ASK NICK or email.