10 Free Marketing Strategies Business Owners Must Use To Grow Their Business
Marketing is a business's most powerful weapon - good marketing can turn a business into a revenue-generating machine.
However, a business that lacks a well-thought-out marketing strategy will most likely struggle at attracting the right customers to their front door.
A business without any traffic flowing is essentially a dead business. After all, customers are who determine the success of your company.
For many people, marketing can seem like a scary process to pursue - it not only costs a lot of money, but it's difficult to wrap your head around all the various possibilities with marketing.
Luckily for us, there are dozens of marketing strategies that can help you grow your business without the need for innovation or capital.
Facebook advertising can cost a pretty penny, yet it saves you tons of time that could be spent on other, more pressing matters.
On the other hand, we have free marketing strategies - some of which we're going to discuss soon.
Free marketing strategies help you keep your money in your pocket, yet suck all the free time you may have had to spare.
For many, paid marketing may not be an option.
In this article, we're going into detail on the 10 free marketing strategies business owners must use to grow their businesses.
Quora is an extremely effective, yet undervalued marketing platform for all businesses.
Every month, Quora gets around 700 million visits to their site, many of which are people looking to ask or answer questions.
Whenever you're looking for an answer, Quora is a great place to go to find one. You're able to either submit your own question or search through the millions of questions that already exist on the platform.
Quora is such a powerful platform, that some of the questions asked have the potential to rank on Google's first page, meaning anyone searching for the question online will most likely see Quora as a search result.
This is where the gold is found - business owners can search for these high-ranking questions, and answer them.
However, it's important that you find questions only relevant to your business - if you own a marketing agency, you should not be answering questions about cats and dogs.
Instead, you'll be looking for questions about marketing, marketing strategies, and questions closely related to your target audience.
When I ran Hawk Prospecting, I answered 10-20 Quora questions per day. It's crucial that you give detailed, helpful answers or else people will not appreciate you simply pushing your own content.
Provide value first, then tell people where they can learn more - quality always beats quantity on Quora.
Forums are another great way to market your business for free.
Many people approach marketing via forums like Reddit the wrong way - instead of entering a forum and simply promoting your content, you need to, once again, provide value.
Contribute to the group and help those who are looking for assistance.
Share articles, videos, and resources that people in the groups will find valuable.
If you're joining a fitness group, share some dieting tips, or workout routines.
If you're looking to sell your own fitness products, answer questions in the group that are related to your products, and then point people in your direction.
Better yet, you can reach out to the owners of the group to see if there's a chance for a partnership.
It's much better to get the support of the founders of the group rather than self-promoting yourself.
Many forums have very sensitive rules and regulations, so it's important that you avoid spamming your links or promotion, instead, follow the rules and bring value to the table.
Block out some time, every day, to go through forums and engage in them as we've discussed above - after a while, people will get used to your presence and start engaging with you too.
Facebook is an incredible distribution channel for your products or services.
Owning an agency, I used to see dozens of agency owners starting their own Facebook groups, building them up, and running funnels and marketing offers through their groups.
Some of these people were making upwards of $1 million per month because they had managed to build large, engaged communities by sharing valuable content in their groups.
The problem is that building a Facebook group from scratch is difficult - it needs its own marketing to grow rapidly.
Instead, you can find existing Facebook groups related to your business to join.
Simply head over to Facebook, click on groups, and start searching for groups closely related to your business.
While there might be a ton of groups to choose from, it's important you choose the right groups - find groups where:
- There's a low number of posts per day (or week)
- The group is private and needs verification to join
- There's real engagement
A lot of the groups you find on Facebook will be littered with scammers, fakes, and people looking to promote themselves.
Joining real, engaged communities is where you'll get the best value for your time.
Like you'd do in forums, go through the groups and answer any questions or provide real value.
From there, you can start to drive traffic to your products or services. Directly self-promoting yourself will get you banned, or your posts deleted.
There are businesses around the world that run on an affiliate-only model.
These businesses find and hire affiliates, who are then only paid a percentage of sales after they drive the customer to purchase.
This is a free marketing strategy as you don't need to pay anyone upfront. Instead, affiliates are only paid once they make you money first.
It might sound like a headache, finding and hiring affiliates then trying to manage them all.
Luckily, there are platforms that take the tedious work out of your hand so you can only focus on growing your company.
One of the biggest affiliate websites is Clickbank. You can register your business on the platform and get affiliates coming to you.
It's a completely hands-off way of growing your business.
Once you're on a platform like Clickbank, affiliates will be able to find you and start marketing your products without your intervention.
Once they make a sale, Clickbank helps issue/manage payments so you don't have to.
As the owner of the company, you need to ensure that you provide Clickbank (or the affiliates) with resources, creatives, scripts, and information to help them market your products and services.
While they can deviate slightly, it's best to let the affiliates know of anything that might make your brand look bad, so they can avoid it.
Starting your own blog has its downsides:
- It takes a long time to write articles
- It takes long to grow your blog
- It requires a ton of consistency
- It might not be free if you need to hire a team to run it
Instead of creating your own blog, there's a much more effective work-around known as guest blogging.
Guest blogging is the process in which you write an article that's featured on someone else's blog.
For example, I can write a guest article exclusively for Forbes. While I'm giving Forbes free content, my article will have some links that tie back to my business or online profiles.
Writing and publishing guest posts on popular, trustworthy websites can help you grow your business faster than anything else.
Not only are you getting the direct traffic that finds your article and clicks through to your site using your links, but you're also improving your SEO - something we'll talk about later.
You can find websites looking for guest posting by going on Google and searching for your business industry (marketing, etc) then following on by adding "write for us."
This is what the full search query will look like:
marketing "write for us"
From here, you'll only see results where there's a 'write for us' page on the website, click on them to do your due diligence, and reach out if the website looks legitimate and trustworthy.
Email marketing (B2B)
While email marketing is both a B2B and B2C marketing strategy, I'm referring to cold emailing, rather than traditional email marketing.
Cold email is a great way to reach a large volume of people for free, or on a low budget.
While you're able to send emails for free manually, you can automate the entire process, saving you tons of time, by spending a small amount on automation software.
When I ran my marketing agency, I used email marketing to help me reach prospects at scale.
As a B2B business, you can eventually build a small team of cold email VA (virtual assistants) who help you reach tens of thousands of prospects per month.
Software (like my old business, Hawk Prospecting) can help you find the contact information of prospects through platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, however, these are rarely ever free.
You can either set up a lead magnet that collects people's emails, or you could opt in to pay freelancers from Fiverr or Upwork to find the leads for you.
From here, you need to use CRM software to manage your leads, or else it'll be very difficult to keep track of large quantities of prospects.
Trello is a great place to start as it's a free option - you're able to leverage the Kanban layout to organize your leads.
Once the leads are ready, ensure you have an email campaign ready to go - the more personalized it is, the better your chances of getting replies and meetings.
I suggest doing your research on the leads you choose to reach out to. Remember... quality over quantity.
Giveaways & contests
One of the most effective marketing strategies in the NFT space at the moment are giveaways and contests.
Instead, you can leverage the power of virality by hosting giveaways and contests that people in your existing community can enter.
On Twitter, you're able to 'retweet' tweets which makes the original tweet visible to your audience.
NFT projects and businesses usually have a minimum entry requirement for giveaways which includes:
- A follow
- A like
- A retweet
- A tag X friends
These are crucial as they help you grow your following and reach more people.
The more people that see the retweets, the more people who can enter.
On top of that, the people who are tagged in the post will also enter the giveaway, kicking off a flywheel that can shoot you into stardom (not really).
As a fitness company, you can create a contest whereby people share their 30-second workout routine, and post it using a specific hashtag.
From there, winners are chosen at a later date.
Get creative - these are only some examples out of thousands.
Almost all businesses have one thing in common - they all need marketing.
With that said, a free marketing strategy your business could potentially use is partnerships with other businesses.
It might be difficult to get a partnership with massive companies. If you're a new clothing brand, chances are you won't be able to work with Nike.
However, there's a much higher chance that you'll be able to work with brands around the same size as you.
Spend some time making a list of potential partnership opportunities - with businesses directly in your market, or those that are complimentary.
As a fashion brand, you might be able to work with a shoe brand as they compliment each other.
You might be thinking, "why would another business partner with mine? Are we not competing for the same customers?"
While that is true, seasoned business owners will realise that competition is a benefit, and they're better off partnering with you than competing.
Some companies do frequent email list swaps where they write an email to their audience about another company in exchange for the same.
This only results in both companies benefitting from fresh eyes - everyone wins!
Search engine optimization
SEO or search engine optimization is the most effective free marketing strategy for any online business.
The higher you rank on Google, the more money your business will make. The problem, however, is that over 90% of people who use Google, never make it to the second page, never mind the third or fourth.
This means that you need to rank on the first page of Google in order to stand a chance of reaping its lucrative rewards.
To build your SEO, you need to understand the difference between off-page SEO and on-page SEO - something I explained in my article on search engine optimization.
You need to ensure that all your website's pages are completely optimized with the right titles, content, images, tags, keywords, links, and text formatting.
Owning a blog helps you drive more traffic via SEO, as your content can rank for search queries people make on Google.
When we look at off-page SEO, we're referring to things like guest posting.
whenever you write articles for websites with a high domain authority it shows Google that you're a site that should be trusted, pushing your DA (domain authority) higher, along with your ranking.
Tools like Ahrefs can help you improve your SEO, and rank higher on Google.
Remember that this is a long term play - you won't be able to get to Google's first page within a day.
Read up on my article about SEO to understand how you can eventually reach that glorious first page.
Word of mouth
Getting your own supporters, customers, and clients to talk about your business is extremely effective and will always beat self-promotion.
If you're the owner of an eCommerce store, include a small letter in your package that asks customers to create a short video or post on social media that talks about your product.
You can either repost their content or enter them into a giveaway/contest.
Gym Shark and Blendjet are two companies that do this extremely well - their customers are constantly posting about their products, showing other potential customers that the product and community are both worth it!
Other companies might ask customers to leave a positive review which acts as a tool to help other prospective customers make a purchasing decision.
Reviews are crucial - on Amazon, you can upvote and downvote reviews, which shows whether a review has helped someone purchase the product or not.
The more reviews you mount, the better your brand looks to others.
Getting client testimonials can help your LinkedIn network see how your company helps others, like them, grow their business, and can drive a lot of referrals to your doorstep.
Potential customers are much more likely to believe your existing clients, customers, and supporters, however, you need to incentivize people to leave these positive reviews and testimonials.
Other companies have an email signature that leads customers to a review page where they can share their honest opinion - these review platforms get millions of visitors per month, and have helped tons of customers find the perfect products or services for them.
Marketing is important, however, a good product is equally as important - if you can't get positive reviews, repeat business falls through, and you won't be able to get any word of mouth.
Those were 10 free marketing strategies business owners must use to grow their business.
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