5 “Free” Advertising Programs

I often get asked, “What can I start doing today to advertise my small business without spending a dime on advertising?”

Here are 5 tips that you can start implementing today, without dropping a penny from your marketing budget:

  1. Social Media. Depending on the type of business, you should strongly consider getting a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and whatever else the social media du jour may be. Of course, deciding which one or ones your business should sign up for is an entirely separate blog article in and of itself. Here’s the rule of thumb for the purposes of this article: Get your business active on whichever social media platform(s) you are most comfortable. For example: If you are an avid Facebooker on the personal side, create a Facebook page for your business. On the other hand, if you are not comfortable with social media, perhaps you should skip this step for now.
  2. Email Marketing. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? In short, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business will result from 20% of your customers. Stay in touch with your current customers. Keep them posted on interesting news about your business. The optimal word here is “interesting”. I am not suggesting that you should flood your client’s inboxes with useless information everyday. On the contraire, I am suggesting that you stay engaged with your customers when you have a compelling reason to email them. Always answer the question “What’s in it for my customer” before you hit send. Here are some examples of the compelling reasons for your customer to open your email:
    • A sale. Everybody loves a sale. If your business rarely has one, this email will be even more enticing for your customer to open.
    • An event. Maybe you are hosting an open house with free giveaways? Perhaps an interesting person (that your customer base finds interesting, that is) will be speaking at an event you are hosting?
    • Educational information. This could be anything from news in your industry to a new product available at your store. Example: A coffee shop just starting selling a popular seasonal flavor coffee for a limited time only.

3. Invoice Marketing. My cell phone carrier loves this technique. Every month my bill includes at least one piece of self-promotion in addition to the bill. If you are in a business that sends out invoices via snail mail, why not capitalize on this mailing? This is a great opportunity to contact these clients with more “compelling” information.

4. Optimize social proof! Simply put, social proof are customer testimonials. According to HubSpot, 78% of Internet users conduct product research online. What does this mean to you? Other than the fact that your business needs an effective website, it also means that the more positive feedback OTHER people say about your business online, the more likely that person is to do business with you. Examples of social proof online:

  • Yelp! This might not pertain to every business, but it is especially essential for those businesses that are geared toward Business to Consumer, versus Business to Business. I don’t know about you, but I rely on Yelp! whenever I visit a new town for things such as restaurants, hotels, gyms, coffee shops, and even dog parks! This linkwill let you claim your business on Yelp!
  • Facebook reviews. If you have a Facebook page, consider adding a review tab to your page. It is quick and free! Here is a link for more details.
  • Google reviews. More information can be found here.
  • Your website. You can either add in the customer reviews from the Google and Facebook pages, and/or you can create a separate page dedicated to customer testimonials. There is no right or wrong way!

5. Speak! Position yourself as the expert in your field and provides a setting where potential customers can approach you. Seek out speaking engagements whenever possible. These speaking engagements can be on a large or small scale.  And remember, when you do obtain a speaking engagement that is a perfect time to let your customers and prospects know through Email Marketing and Social Media sharing!

I hope that you found these tips useful and hopefully you can implement at least one, if not all of these tips this week! Please share below in the comment section any “free” marketing ideas that you have implemented and how they have benefited your business.

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