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How to market your small business for free
When I started my first business in 2011 the world was a different place. There weren’t as many social media websites and pressure to present a perfect brand online.
I relied on word of mouth in the beginning and it took me pretty far. If you have a good product people will talk about it. But there comes a time in every business when you need to start marketing for real.
Marketing a new business shouldn’t bankrupt you. It might seem like all advertising costs tons of money but there are some great ways to market your small business for free.
Make sure you get your website up and running before you start promoting and it’s worth it to print some business cards to hand out in person.
- Social Media – find the places where your potential customers hang out. Every place has different demographics and a little research can set you up for a great reach.
- Ask Family and Friends to share – create a Facebook post or email and ask your friends and family to help you get the word out. It’s helpful to have a website or Facebook page ready for them to share.
- Google My Business – if you have a local or brick and mortar business make sure you claim your free business listing on Google. It is a bit complicated, but they will walk you through the whole process.
- Yelp – another place to create a business listing so people can find and review your business.
- Volunteer your services – if you have the type of services that can help non-profits then offer them in exchange for a testimonial or shout out on their website. This worked great for me when I was starting my VA business.
- Host a giveaway – can you give away your product or service? Start on online giveaway and promote it on social media. Ask people to share the post in exchange for an entry.
- Guest post on a blog in the right niche – there are many blogs that accept guest posts and if you can find a blog in your niche it can be a great way to get your name out. Make sure you write a helpful post that is not promoting your business every other sentence. If you write a post that truly helps people they will follow the link in your bio to find out more.
- Create a video on Lumen5 – This is an awesome new service that allows you to create a slideshow style video in minutes. They have a wide selection of stock photos or you can upload your own. You can see one I made to promote my coaching program here.
- Create a flyer on Canva – quick and easy program for making flyers, business cards, brochures and so much more. You can design everything yourself and then print them at home.
- Create an email list – I love ConvertKit but it costs money. To get started for free try MailChimp. Use your website and social media to encourage people to sign up to your list. Now you can email all these people on a regular basis so they don’t forget you!
- Send out a coupon – this goes along with your email list. Now that you have their email address send them something good! An coupon, a sale, a freebie of some sort. Encourage them to share it with their friends to help spread the word.
- Attend a Chamber or Networking event – you don’t have to join your local Chamber of Commerce or Networking group to go check out a meeting. Go, introduce yourself and hand out some business cards.
- Create a freebie – can you create a free printable, checklist, workbook or ebook that will help your potential customers? Create it in Canva then offer it as a free item they can get for signing up to your email list. Use social media to promote it and make sure it is very visible on your website.
- Reach out to local media – create a press release and send it to your local papers and tv stations. You might get some free coverage!
- Connect with other business owners – see if there are other businesses in your area that will collaborate with you. There are tons of different ways to pair up. Sell soap? See if a bed and breakfast will put them in their bathrooms. Sell food items? Create some gift baskets with other food companies in your area.
Market your small business for free to get started. Once you have some income coming in you might want to pay for a few ads, or sponsor an event.
If you are ready for the next step in your marketing journey, or need more help getting set up, check out my course, Simple Small Business Marketing.