Marketing is the biggest piece of the puzzle and one where most people go wrong.
Building a business, or a great product doesn't guarantee you get any customers through the door.
It's the strategies that you use to drive that traffic and brand loyalty that turns into dollars later on.
However, this is often the most neglected part and is a leading factor why a lot of businesses fail to flourish.
I've started many businesses in the almost two years I've been an entrepreneur.
Many of which became tragic stories due to a lack of marketing expertise.
Many gurus may tell you to focus on building a great product first, but I (along with many others) would suggest you worry about the marketing more than the product itself.
After all, if you build a product and forget marketing, you've simply built a personal project.
The problem, however, is that a lot of people don't have the budget to spend thousands on paid ads or pay The Rock $1 million for a sponsored post.
So what should we do when we don't have enough capital to invest in marketing?
There are a ton of free marketing strategies one can use - strategies that are not built equally by any means.
That's why I've compiled a list of the 6 most effective and free marketing strategies for businesses and brands in 2022.
The first and most popular free marketing strategy is social media marketing.
Did you know that the social media penetration rate is now 57%?
This means that over half of the world's population has access to a social media platform of some sort.
Some of the most popular being:
Anyone with a phone and internet connection can take pictures, record videos, or write short tweets, and post them online.
With the power of network effects, it's only getting more and more effective to use social media for marketing purposes.
Although it can take a while to build a following online, it's a really effective way to get in front of people and share your story.
People on social media don't like getting sold to - instead of directly pitching your product, you want to build a community that knows you, likes you, and trusts you.
That way, they'll help you sell your products or services and even suggest them to their friends and followers.
In a world where almost everyone's lives are online, you want to spend time where your customers hang out the most.
You want to distribute content that fits directly into their norm, meaning posts that look natural and engaging.
Be yourself - people like to see people on social media, not companies or robots.
With consistency, learning about your audience, and using the right strategies (hashtags, posting time, etc) you will be able to build an engaged, active community that supports you and your business.
There is no better marketing strategy than video marketing.
The spoken word is much more effective at persuading people than anything else - even the written word itself.
It's the reason people like MLK (Martin Luther King), Obama, and other prominent speakers were so impactful.
Seeing someone speak with emotion and conviction has a much higher impact than seeing someone type something online.
This principle has helped platforms like YouTube, even TikTok now, grow rapidly and capture their audience's attention.
Back in 2017, YouTube hit 1 billion daily watch hours, meaning people across the world collectively spent 1 billion hours on the platform.
5 years later, today, we can only imagine how big that number must be.
YouTube is a very effective and free marketing strategy one can use to grow their business or brand.
It has been responsible for the success of thousands, and thousands of influencers across the world.
Large businesses use YouTube today because they see the power in using organic videos to drive traffic to their business.
The amazing thing about YouTube, and TikTok alike, is that the size of your following almost has no bearing on the success of your content.
If you're able to post the right content, it's only a matter of time till your content starts to get the attention of millions of people around the world - growing your business exponentially.
You can even choose to collaborate with other channels or influencers around the same size as you in order to grow your audiences simultaneously.
Whether your goal is to generate leads, make sales, or build awareness, YouTube is a great place to do so.
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Get on podcasts
Not long ago, I found out that podcasts are one of the best marketing strategies that a lot of people don't know about.
Everyone in the world knows about paid social media marketing.
Everyone in the world knows about influencers and how they're able to market your products.
Many people know about making free content on YouTube or TikTok and getting organic traffic.
However, not many people understand the power of podcast marketing.
If you have a product you want to sell or simply want to gain some brand awareness, podcasts are an extremely effective way to do just that.
One of the main reasons that podcasts are so effective for marketing is because they help you find hyper-targeted audiences that are most likely to buy your products.
When you're looking for a podcast to listen to, you don't just click on the first thing you see.
Instead, you search for a podcast on a specific topic.
When I wanted to learn about cryptocurrency, I looked for cryptocurrency podcasts.
When I wanted to learn about building a startup, I looked for startup-stage podcasts.
In general, podcasts are 30 minutes to an hour long.
To be able to capture your audience's attention for this long is golden, and it's another reason why podcasts are usually so effective.
People listen to podcasts when they're doing something else.
- Driving a car
- Going to work
- Doing some chores
There's nothing else to do during these times than to sit down and listen to the podcast making it a very great channel to get your message across.
Here's where you have a choice to make.
You can either start your own podcast and grow it that way, or you can simply be a guest on other podcasts.
Don't worry, there are easy ways to get on a podcast for free.
Podcasts hosts usually need content, and you need to get on a podcast.
This is a perfect partnership opportunity.
Head over to a website like matchmaker.fm, and make an account.
From there, you can browse through all the available podcasts to see one that you might want to get on.
Tell the host why you're a great fit to be on the podcast, and wait for them to reply.
Start a blog
I might be a little biased here, but I think that starting a blog is one of the best marketing strategies for businesses or brands.
I started my blog around 6 months ago.
While the first few months were very slow, the snowball quickly grew larger and larger.
On Medium alone, I've managed to gain over 300 followers within the last month and a half.
Compared to the first 4/5 months, that's a 100X increase.
Across all channels, I'm getting around 30K-50K views per month which is insane when we account for how long I've been blogging.
Blogging is very convenient, especially for someone introverted like me.
You may not want to post YouTube videos, make TikTok videos, or even make social media content.
That's fine. The internet has provided all of us with opportunities fit for our unique situations.
Google is the biggest search engine in the world with over 90% market share in the search engine market.
This makes it the best place to find customers for your business.
With a bit of consistency, effort, and research, you'll be able to drive a lot of traffic to your business or brand.
I've written an article previously that outlines the step-by-step process of starting a blog for free, and even making money from it.
It's as simple as setting up an account and writing your first article.
Till now, I've only spent around $15 on my blog - and that was to purchase the domain, mohamadalasadi.com.
Other than that, it's been completely free to launch and run my blog for 6 months.
A few months ago, I wrote an article talking about the three engines of growth in business.
One of the engines of growth we talked about was the viral engine of growth.
Going viral is much easier today, due to the network effects we spoke about earlier.
On top of that, virality is the most effective form of marketing.
It's so effective, that it can lead to more growth than one can hope for - sometimes your business or brand might not be fully ready for an influx of attention or sales.
However, that's the beauty of virality, when it happens, it happens.
Going viral can change someone's life immediately - not long ago in TikTok's early days, people managed to build massive followings crossing the 100 million follower mark.
Normal, everyday people, like Khabi Lame, managed to build insanely massive and engaged online followings that changed the trajectory of their lives forever.
Although it's difficult to go viral, and there's no real recipe for virality, there are common practices one can use to increase their chances of going viral.
Firstly, you'll want to focus on platforms where virality is possible - although you can go viral on something like Instagram, your chances are much higher on TikTok.
Finding new platforms is usually the best way to go viral because there's still room for growth.
Next, you'll want to go against common advice and aim for the largest audience you can.
Going viral requires you to expand your market, rather than niche down completely.
Finally, you'll want to fit into the trends happening NOW.
In order to go viral, your content must align with what people are currently raving about, otherwise, you'll get left with the other millions of people who failed to go viral.
There's no better marketing strategy than turning your customers into advocates.
All of the strategies we've spoken about so far are really effective marketing strategies that virtually anyone can pull off - after all, they're completely free.
However, the advantage that this strategy has over the others is the word-of-mouth aspect.
Word-of-mouth marketing is very effective, it shows prospective customers or followers how others are benefitting from what you offer.
One of my favorite businesses (mainly because of the owner himself), Clickfunnels, uses referral programs to grow.
In fact, aside from the CEO's, Russell Brunson, efforts, referrals might be the biggest source of revenue for the business.
Within the NFT community, we're also seeing how referrals are leading to massive growth for some NFT projects.
Marketing an NFT collection effectively is the only way to watch it succeed.
However, a lot of people are not sure how to kick off that engine of growth for their projects.
In my article on marketing an NFT collection, I spoke about how giveaways and contests are extremely effective for exponential growth.
Simply making one of the requirements to 'tag 3 friends' will lead to massive growth over time.
To make a referral program work, the reward has to be valuable.
In the NFT community, people like getting free NFTs or whitelist spots.
In the traditional world of business, giving discounts, rewards, or free stuff, again, is very effective.
Those were the 6 most effective (and free) marketing strategies for businesses and brands in 2022.
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