Many people I speak with are part of the “If it ain’t free it ain’t for me” club. The question is can you become successful in business being in this club. I guess if you have more time than money and don’t mind taking ten to twenty times longer to reach your goals it is possible. That being said the saying “You usually get what you pay for” usually still applies. There is nothing wrong with utilizing “free” marketing tools but if you want real success you will also need to advertise, take some risks and constantly research to accomplish your goals. below are some “Free” marketing tools you may want to add to your business.
1. Publish: Publishing content that relates to your business and that your customers want to know about is one of the best ways to market and it’s absolutely free. The principal behind business publishing online make it a solid investment of your time. Publishing helps more people find you through search engines, and publishing useful content helps make you an expert in your given field. When people search for information, they read the content you have produced, and then it leads them back to you as a viable option for the sale. Have an opinion, a perspective? This can be done by blogging, vlogging, submitting quality information through free internet publishing outlets, printed materials at events, networking meetings, social media, twitter and more. This should be done at least twice a month and weekly is even better. Your goal is to become the expert and the go to person.
2. Strategic Alliances: Take the time to find similar or even same businesses that you can communicate with and share ideas. Discuss ways you can help each other grow your businesses. You may have a portion of your business that you do not want to sell that they sell and you can offer to refer that business to them. Important: “Walk the Walk”! If you say you will refer them business….do it! I suggest finding those who are already successful in your business. You will be surprised at how many people will be willing to help you in your business. Do what they do and duplicate the process.
3. Create Videos: Engaging your customers through videos is the number one way to get attention. People don’t read anymore, they consume media in sound bytes, Videos can be produced on your desktop or your cell phone and uploaded to youtube and other free video hosting sites. Create a Youtube channel and post informative videos about your product, service or industry and search engine optimize each video. This can increase your website visits as well as your income. Produce a minimum of 3 videos a month on your Youtube channel and also submit to all the social media outlets. These videos are NOT intended as professional videos on your website. Your main home page video should be a professionally produced video if you have a professional business. Remember… only cell phone videos that are produced properly, have the right content and structure will work.
4. Social Media: You can spin your wheels relying on social media to become successful. Don’t! “Likes and Friends” don’t pay the bills. SM is great for brand awareness and branding but statistically most businesses do not receive much revenue vs time spent on social media. If you want success here, then you need to analyze what works. Looking across the items that you share for patterns, what posts are garnering the most likes, shares, and new followers. Social media can be a great, free addition to your marketing mix. Just make sure that you are spending your time wisely by putting effort into posts that have the most return for your business. If you have a business Facebook page check the “Insights tab” for detailed info on what people are engaging with and sharing. If you have a more professional business you may want to use LinkedIn which tends to attract a higher profile of business. If you are not an expert in SM research online or seek out a class that instructs how to do this. Be careful! Everyone seems to be an expert in SM. Ask for referrals that have received more business as a result of SM not just “likes and friends”.
5: Make the News: We’re not talking front page of the news but people forget that there are lots of places that people go for news and information, and getting your story told on these sources is a smart, free way to market. Example: You can subscribe to (HARO) Help a Reporter Out.com. Each day you will get solicitations to be a part of press articles and you can respond to them if you have insight in areas they are seeking. Create a Wikibusiness. Go to Google search or YouTube: “how to get your business on Wikipedia business” for more information. These are just a couple news outlets there are dozens of outlet where you can submit articles and promote your business if done properly. Google “submit to free news outlets”. There are many! Important! If you are not a writer or know how to structure a proper press release or article Google “how to write a press release” or seek out a local professional before wasting time sending releases and articles that won’t get published.
6: FREEmail: Email gets overlooked. But if you do it right, it’s incredibly effective. Especially when measured against cost. The challenge is collecting email addresses. To get people to sign up, you usually need to give something away for free. It doesn’t need to be a physical item. Plenty of people will sign up for marketing emails, if you make the content valuable for them. My favorite free email server is “MailChimp.com”. Successful email promotions is another whole business topic that you should know and understand in order to become successful with email. I would suggest researching this online or attend a local area class or expert to find out how to do this.
7. Business Networking: This can be one of the most effective ways to get new business if done properly. After networking for over 10 years I have discovered that over 95% of the people I meet at networking meetings do not know or understand how to make networking work for them. Most people spend many hours a month doing the same things the same ways and get very little results. I call this “Networking Insanity”! Most also quit networking because they think it doesn’t work or doesn’t work for them. The truth is they just don’t understand what it takes to make it work. “Networking is a marathon not a sprint” and it is a simple concept not an easy one. It takes time, effort and dedication. It is not for everyone! If you know what it takes you probably are already receiving new business. If not, I suggest attending a networking class or workshop to discover everything you need to know about becoming more successful through networking. FYI: I just happen to teach one and if in the Tampa bay area go to the Irefuse2fail.com website and contact me for the next workshop.
#8. Google My Business: It’s now easy to get on the first page of Google if you have a local business. Used properly GoogleMyBusiness will put you on top of the organic listings and just below the paid listings. The key is to stay on top of it!
#1. Use your Google dashboard to see the trends and make adjustments as needed.
#2. Stay on top of reviews: Ask satisfied customers to give you 4-5 star reviews. Answer complaints to all bad reviews both directly to the customer as well as to their review online.
#3. See what’s working: Learn about your customers and how they’re interacting with your business. How did people find you? Where are they coming from? With Google My Business, the answers are right here.
#4. Clicks and Calls: See the number of clicks on your business’s phone number, driving direction requests, and website visits you receive.
#5. Views: See how many times customers find your business on Google and view trends over time.
#6. Directions: See how many people are clicking to get directions to your business.
#9. Research: The internet can be your business partner! If you have more time than money spend time researching, learning and trying new things. Check out business blogs, vlogs and articles related to the areas you feel you need the most help.
Try a few or try them all, there are many ways to experiment getting your business out there, and all for free. So go for it! So, what are you doing to promote your business that costs nothing? If you have a free tool, tip or technique I can share with others please contact me.