Advertising can be expensive, and far beyond your budget if you are just starting as a freelancer or a small business. But with a smart approach, there are a few ways in which you can promote your company in your environment for free. You do not have to place a full-page advertisement in your local newspaper to let potential customers know that you are open and ready to do business.
The internet is teeming with marketing platforms that don’t cost a cent – you just need to know where to look. Before the internet, small businesses had only a few ways to sell their products cheaply, through methods such as printing flyers or sponsoring small local events. There are now all sorts of options on the web, you just need to know where to look. With some smart marketing, you can put yourself firmly on your local business card, without paying a cent! These are 12 ways to promote your business locally for free.
1) Make Sure Your Website Adds Value
Whether you target local or international customers, your website must clearly explain what you are doing, be easy to find and navigate, and be attractive. If you do not have a website, you must create one now. Having a working website is important for marketing your company.
Depending on what you sell, your website serves as a lead generation tool, online brochure, catalog and source of information for your potential customers If you can’t afford to hire someone to design your website, create it using one of the companies such as Wix, Jimdo or even WordPress if you want to spend a little more time on it. These all have templates and tools with which you can easily create a basic website.
2) Make Blogging A High Priority
Adding a blog to your website is important because it increases your chances of being noticed and content marketing helps your SEO because you can use important keywords and phrases in your blog posts. Websites are crawled quite often, so it’s always important to have new, high-quality content.
Writing a regular blog also allows your audience to communicate with you by posting their comments about your posts. For example, take advantage of those quiet moments in your business. Don’t forget to add social sharing buttons to your blog posts so readers can easily share them and more people can discover you and your company.
Make your blog as personal as possible to get people involved with your brand.
A blog not only helps your company build a name through followers, but is also a way to make more direct contact with your consumers.
But remember that one of the most important keys to blogging is to: create new content according to a fixed schedule when you want to build followers. A sleeping, abandoned blog is then worth nothing write super-extensive and helpful content using good SEO techniques when you want to use your blog to be found. One does not have to exclude the other, but they do not necessarily have to be applied both. As long as you have a clear view of the purpose of your posts.
3) Distribute A Press Release Once A Month
It is important to stay in touch with the local newspaper and submit press releases that allow you to get free views. These can be anything from hiring new staff to winning a new customer – it doesn’t have to be big news, but something to let local businesses know you’re here.
If you build relationships with editors and journalists, this helps to ensure that your press release is read and hopefully published.
Talk About What Makes You Unique
Look for something unusual about what you do and make it known. Send press releases to local newspapers, radio stations, cable television stations and magazines whose public is likely to be interested in buying what you are selling. Also, publish the press releases on one or more online press release services and be sure to add links to your website.
To increase your chance of publishing the material, send a photo (but not to radio stations) with your press release. Editors of printed publications often need ‘art’ (drawings or photos) to fill space and break the gray appearance of a page with text. Send it to non-competing newspapers, magazines, and websites in your field that accept entries from experts.
Make sure your name, company name, telephone number and a reference to your product or service are stated at the end of the article. If the editor can use the article, you will receive your name in printed form and your contact details may also be printed for free. Also, publish your publicity yourself. If you do get publicity, you must get permission from the publisher to reprint the article with publicity.
Make photocopies and send copies with sales letters or other literature that you use to market your product or service. The publicity clips give credibility to the claims you make for your products or services.
4) Use Email Marketing Software To Increase Sales
This method is fast, effective, direct and easy to design. You can also precisely follow and understand how your email marketing software grows your business and see how individual customers respond so that you can increase sales over time.
To get full value from your email marketing, make sure you update your database regularly and grow and try to get your audience to sign up. There are many self-service email platforms available (such as the beautiful Drip), or you can decide to get help from a specialized email marketing agency.
5) Start Using Videos To Promote Your Business
YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, so it makes sense to create a YouTube channel and uses proven video marketing tactics, such as “how-to” style video content and response videos, to increase the visibility of search results improve and generate potential leads.
6) Record Your Business In Popular Local Telephone Directories
Letting customers discover where you are is crucial and one of the best ways to find local businesses online is to add their business to the top online business directories.
There are several popular online directories, including Google, Bing, LinkedIn and telephone directory. Make sure you put your data in all these places because if you only publish in these top positions, you miss a chance to be found by customers who are looking for your services.
7) Be Active On Social Media
It is important to know who your target audience is, as this is one of the most popular ways to stand out. You can promote every news item and event and communicate with your audience and publish your blog content through the most common media channels, including Facebook, Google+ LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Although Facebook and Instagram work best with advertisements to promote your content, LinkedIn and Twitter are still great media to be found with microblog content.
Embrace Social Media
Social media is not just a tool for getting exposure – it has now become a necessary time investment for every company. For example, networking on LinkedIn – both on a personal and company level – can be another way to help your startup. Place interesting information and images on your social media accounts regularly. The information or photos must be interesting for your audience.
Tips on how to improve their lives or business or special offers are likely to receive the most likes and shares. If you want to spend a little on your marketing, pay to improve your most popular posts on social media sites. Target the boosted messages at groups of people who are most like your customers to improve your brand awareness among people who are most likely to become customers.
Put Multimedia On Youtube And Flickr
YouTube offers a new way for creative promotional videos, but to succeed, you must post content that people want to view and that are relevant to your business: a simple ad does not work. You have to offer value to the viewer.
A Flickr profile can also help by giving you a place to compile all the photos for your company and you can link back to your website.
8) Verify Your Listing On Google My Business
Previously this was known as Google Places and now Google My Business. It is a way to verify on Google maps where your business is physical. This can be verified by everyone in the company. Google sends a pin code to your exact business address and as long as someone puts that pin code on your listing, this means that you have been verified and can receive the benefits.
These include more chances of being shown in local Google searches, the ability to link your Google+ profile to your local listing, and the ability to get reviews from your customers that are then displayed as star ratings in the search results.
The best thing about this is that it is completely free. The disadvantage is that the pin codes by mail can take weeks to arrive, so if you get the option to immediately verify by phone, do so.
9) Attend Local Network Events And Build Connections
The best way to meet new local contacts (and potential customers) is to go out and network. If you are just starting and do not have business cards or business stationery, have them made immediately. Your business card tells potential customers that you are a professional who takes your business seriously and you need something to hand out at these events. Make sure you state your website address on your business card and on any handouts you make. If possible, also add a link to your most important social media accounts.
Sign up for an email service provider and send an email newsletter and/or promotional offers to customers and prospects for your company. Make sure you request permission to send an email before placing the email name of a person on your list. A good way to build a permission-based email list of people who want your mailings is to give something away. It can be a free e-book or even a free tip about how your prospect can already get started with something basic.
Put your business cards in the hand of everyone who can help you in your search for new customers. Call your friends and family and tell them that you have started a business. Give different business cards to your customers if you are a service provider. In this way, friends and neighbors can ask them for a recommendation so that they can easily provide your company name and contact details.
Talk to all suppliers from whom you purchase products or services. Give them your business card and ask them if they can use your products or services, or if they know someone who might be able to. But above all, take them with you to local events. Keep the business cards in a pocket where they are easily accessible.
Don’t forget to ask what the people you’re talking to do and listen to them. They will be flattered by your interest and can, therefore, better remember you. If the group has a website and publishes a list of members on the site, ensure that your name and a website link are added.
Get actively involved in 2 or 3 of these groups. That gives you more opportunities to meet potential prospects. But remember: opportunists are quickly noticed for what they are and get a few things.
Although you don’t want to get involved with too many organizations that need a lot of time, you can – and should – make real contributions to successful events in particular by providing usable ideas and helping projects where possible.
BECOME A MEMBER OF A RELEVANT ONLINE COMMUNITY AND Contribute
By simply signing up for a forum and posting occasionally about your company is not helpful and is likely to annoy people. Contribute actively and build a bond with the community while keeping your business out.
Passively promote your company by placing a link in your signature or only mentioning it when the context is appropriate works much better in communities and to build a bond.
10) Guest Message On Someone Else’s Site
Writing a blog for someone else ‘s site is a great way to raise awareness of your business and gain a reputation as an expert – especially if they are well known in your area. Posting a guest blog gives you an excellent opportunity to make new contacts with bloggers and hopefully attract some loyal readers.
These readers can develop into customers, so posting blogs will be beneficial to your sales. Make sure you meet Google guidelines for placement on a guest site.
11) Ask For Work Or Leads
Contact non-profit organizations, schools and colleges and even other companies that have customers who may need your services. Network with others who do the same kind of work as you. Let them know that you are available to tackle their work surpluses. Offer to be a speaker. Business conferences, volunteer organizations, libraries, and local business groups often need speakers for meetings.
You will benefit from the name recognition, contacts, and publicity that you get as a speaker at these events. If your product or service is appropriate, give demonstrations to groups or individuals who may be interested. Or teach others how to use a tool that you use in your work.
12) Learn To Request Referrals
Ask existing customers, prospects and casual acquaintances if they know anyone who would also be good customers for your company. If you get them, follow the leads.
Partners Who Sell For You
Use this technique to sell your product or service. Instead of (or in addition to) selling your products yourself, you look for partners, resellers or people who generate leads for you in exchange for a commission on sales.
Make sure your pricing structure takes into account the fees or commissions that you must pay for all sales made. But it is a good way to achieve more sales without a marketing budget. After all, you only pay for a sale and then you pay for it with part of the profit.
Partners To Sell Together
Come together with companies that serve the same market, but where you sell different products and services. Make agreements to promote each other’s goods and services by leading leads back and forth, sharing mailings and creating links.
Plan For Success
How can you advertise your business and your name to get potential customers, especially if the money is tight or you are just starting? How can you let people know about your company most affordably?
Promoting a business is a constant challenge for small businesses. Whether you are just starting or doing business for years. But there is one important element that will help you enormously in all of the above approaches: plan your attack. You will waste valuable time and money trying to market your business without first defining your marketing strategy.