Recently start a new business and in need of low cost, effective marketing tools? Or just interested in expanding your reach in different ways? The marketing world has many different avenues and roads to explore.
They say you have to spend money in order to make money. And, that’s absolutely true when it comes to marketing. But in spite of that, some of the the best strategies are completely free!
We’ve compiled a list of things you can start doing today to make your presence known — all at a low cost.
1. Post Content on Social Media
Social media is king in the marketing world. It can be completely free and you can reach thousands upon thousands of people. It only starts to cost money if you choose to promote/sponsor your posts.
If you haven’t started already, make sure you start accounts for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These are the big 4. Pinterest and YouTube are also great options, depending on your niche.
People love connecting with their favorite brands and companies. They want to stay in the loop with the latest products and promotions. Additionally, they want to see the human side of your business.
Ask your customers for feedback on a new product idea, promote your blog posts, and run polls. You want to be encouraging communication with your followers.
Always try to curate custom content and imagery. But, if you don’t have a knack for graphic design, you can try using Canva to get your feet wet.
Here are a few post ideas: unexpected store closings, holiday recognition, customer testimonies, and hiring for X position. The possibilities are endless.
Also, you can check out Forekast – they’re the calendar of the internet. It’s a great tool for keeping up to date, and learning about when National Employee Appreciation Day is or National Burrito Day. Who doesn’t love burritos?
Here’s another tip: like posts that relate to your content. More often than not, people will return the love. This is a great way of increasing your followers and generating more leads.
Know what’s even harder to ignore? Comments. Start leaving comments and you’ll be sure to catch their attention.
2. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a great tool for expanding your reach to people that have never seen your content. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign (#). For instance: #graphicimage
Use hashtags that are detailed, specific, and relate to your brand.
#dogsofinstagram is incredibly popular, and has 231 million posts with that hashtag at the time of me writing this. If you chose to use that tag, your post would get buried immediately and very few people would see it. The more popular the tag, the less likely people will dig for content within it.
It’s a massive ocean of content that will drown out your post within seconds.
In comparison, there’s #dogsofnyc (1.5 million posts) and #dogsofct (47k posts). As you can see, the more specific your hashtag results in less generalized content. Focus your attention on a niche audience that relates to your business.
In addition, you can create your own custom tag dedicated to your brand.
For example, the restaurant chain bartaco uses #bartacolife. This encourages customers to use #bartacolife in their posts, and bartaco can track and interact with their followers that use this.
This increases brand engagement and your customers are doing the advertising for you. Their followers are more likely to trust and purchase from brands that their friends and family can vouch for.
3. Tag and Converse with People/Brands on Social Media
Tag your customers or other businesses that you routinely work with. This will broaden your reach, resulting in more page views, likes, and followers.
See a happy customer showing off your product in one of their posts? Give them a shoutout and re-post their post! This will deepen their loyalty to you, and they’ll feel special and appreciated.
If people start commenting on your posts, always make sure to respond to them. People want to see brands conversing back with the customers, as it shows them you care.
4. Signup for Google My Business
Google My Business is a free and easy tool to manage your online presence on Google. It’s essential in any digital marketing plan.
Signing up allows your business to appear in local searches and on Google Maps. This lets you easily engage and connect with your customers.
You can update your profile with images/examples of work you’ve produced. In addition, you can include promotions to give customers incentive to choose you over competitors.
Everything a customer needs is right there. From your address, number, website, reviews, and to hours of operation. It’s quick and people rely on Google My Business for easy access to businesses.
5. Write Blog Posts
Starting a blog is easy, albeit time consuming. You can download WordPress for free on your domain/web host. WordPress is a web publishing software to build websites and blogs with ease.
An average post takes a few hours to finish, depending on how many words you’re aiming for. You may spend up to a week on one blog post. In reality, you want to choose a topic relevant to your audience, create an outline, and check facts.
Treat every blog post like a research paper, you want to make sure what you know what you’re talking about. Back up your content with statistics and sources. And, always make sure to proofread and use proper spelling and grammar.
You want your audience to learn something. After all, that’s the reason they’re reading your blog in the first place.
When visiting a blog post for the first time, people tend to skim the entire thing to see if it’s worth reading. An ideal post has a minimum of 1,000 words, with 2,000 being the goal. The more words in a blog post, the better it performs with SEO (search engine optimization).
The content should be easily digestible and written at a 6th grade reading level. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and blocks of text. Also, sprinkle in images and infographics to break up the constant flow of text.
In general, people want to read content that feels human. Throw in some humor, memes, or gifs to make your content relatable. Write as if you’re talking to a friend, and overtime you’ll develop a unique voice for your posts.
People have increasingly short attention spans, so it’s paramount that you hook them in with quality content and format.
6. Send Email Blasts
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your existing clients, and gain new ones. Not only that, but sending email blasts has always been a great way to increase ROI (return on investment).
Mailchimp is a great email marketing platform and they have a plan that’s completely free! You can import a list of contacts, use pre-made or custom templates, and keep track of your performance on email campaigns.
Email marketing is a great way to inform customers of new products and promotions. Not only that, but you can keep people in the loop of blog posts or changes happening within the company.
In order to gain more subscribers, embed a signup form on your website. You can choose from a popup embed form, or something static at the top or bottom of the page.
To really drive new subscribers, offer some kind of bonus or incentive for them to subscribe. A popular one is “take 10% off your first purchase”. Speaking from experience, this nearly gets me every time.
7. Host a Contest/Giveaway
Who doesn’t love free stuff? One great way to expand your reach is to host a giveaway.
Have a few rules in order for people to enter your giveaway. For example: like this post, sign up for our email list, follow us on XYZ, tag a friend in the comments, use a certain hashtag, etc.
Make sure the prize you offer is relevant to your business, and enough of an incentive for people to participate. The prize can be your newest product or a gift card to the restaurant of their choosing.
You can also giveaway promotional items with your logo on them. Tumblers are a personal favorite of mine, and I’ve used every one I’ve received as a gift.
Other popular items to consider: tote bags, face masks, pens, t-shirts, and USB drives.
Make sure you look into and adhere to all of the rules on the platform of your choosing.
These are sure fire ways to gain more followers, subscribers, and customers. Time and time again, these low cost marketing tools have proven effective.
In short, they’re all easy to implement. However, everything takes daily effort to maintain and it may take up to 6 months to begin to see results.
Be diligent in your efforts, and it’ll pay off in the long run.
By the way, #dogsofinstagram is now at 232 million posts.
Looking for more low cost, effective marketing ideas? We can provide more suggestions. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.