Is your marketing budget tiny – or non-existent? It’s a common problem with local businesses who put everything they make into inventory and payroll.
If you don’t have much to spend on marketing, you might wonder how you can ever grow your business.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to attract new customers without spending a dime.
I’ve compiled 10 of my favorite free marketing ideas for you to try.
#1: Facebook Live Video
You might think of video marketing as expensive, and it certainly can be if you hire a professional videographer. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend that money – especially when you look at Facebook Live Video, which is free to anybody who wants to use it.
Because these videos are live, they’re usually held to a lower standard in terms of quality. You don’t need to be scripted – in fact, it’s better if you’re not. You can use Facebook Live to shoot how-to videos, give a behind the scenes tour, or answer questions from your followers. Then, you can edit and post the video to your blog or YouTube channel.
#2: Become a Hashtag Expert
Hashtags are like social media signposts. They’re free to use and they point potential clients in the direction of your content. The key is to choose and use the best hashtags – the ones that are most likely to attract people who’ll buy your products.
One option is to focus on community hashtags such as #ThrowbackThursday or #givingback. Just make sure to use them appropriately. You can also create your own hashtags that incorporate your business name or most popular product, along with locational tags that will help you reach a local audience.
#3: Blog Regularly
Blogging for business is hardly a groundbreaking marketing strategy, but it’s one that you can do for free. Blog posts can be short or long and if they’re relevant to your business, they’re a great way to attract new people to your website.
The key is to choose blog topics that are highly useful to the people you want to attract. For example, you can do a series of blog posts answering common questions about your product or service. Add some relevant images and tags and you’ll be sure to attract some traffic – without spending money.
#4: Cross-Post Everything
A lot of small businesses making the mistake of creating content for one outlet and not reusing it. That’s not ideal because it limits your scope and means you need to spend more time and money creating content.
Instead, come up with a cross-posting strategy that makes sense. For example, you might:
- Share blog posts on Facebook with an image that contains a pull quote from the blog
- Share visual content from Pinterest on Instagram
- Put pull quotes on images and share to Twitter with a shortened URL
- Create a Pinterest board with your most liked images from Instagram
There are dozens of ways to repurpose your social media content and share it elsewhere. The most important thing to remember is to keep the platform where you’re posting in mind. You won’t need hashtags on Facebook, but you will on Twitter and Instagram.
#5: Create Free Graphics
You’ve probably noticed that infographics and other graphic images are popular on social media. While you could hire a designer to create images for you, there are also plenty of tools you can use to create them for free.
One of the best free tools is Canva, which has a ton of templates and tools to create social media posts, infographics and more. You may also want to check out Venngage to make infographics.
#6: Encourage and Respond to Reviews
You already know that online reviews are important. Most people read reviews before purchasing products. You can use reviews to your advantage without spending any money.
First, you can encourage your existing customers to leave reviews of your business by asking them in person or in an email. You can also link to your review pages from your website. Once people post reviews, make sure to reply to all reviews, positive and negative, to show reviewers that you care about their opinions.
#7: Film or Write Customer Testimonials
A customer testimonial can do the same work as a review in a slightly more formal way. People are happy to be asked their opinion and many of your customers may be eager to help you out by filming or writing a testimonial.
Testimonials can be shared on your website, blog, or social media pages once they’re completed. They serve to inform people about your business and demonstrate what you can do for people who buy your products.
#8: Publish a Newsletter
Email marketing is easy and affordable. If you have a small list, you can manage it using a free version of autoresponder software – and a newsletter is a great way to keep people informed about your business.
Newsletter articles can be very short, even as short as 100 or 150 words. Your goal should be to keep people updated on what’s happening with your business. You can also use it to preview new products and services.
#9: Pair Up with Other Business Owners
Whatever your business does, the chances are good that you know other business owners who sell products or services that complement yours. For example, perhaps you sell furniture and there’s a boutique in your area that sells artwork and decorative items.
Identify business that mesh well with yours and cross-promote each other’s products and services. You can do this for free. You can even offer joint packages or deals to attract more customers.
#10: Get Involved in Local Events
Finally, one of the best ways for local businesses to attract new customers is to get involved in local events. Does your town have an annual tree lighting or charity ball? Participating can help raise your profile and earn you some goodwill from the people who are most likely to buy from you.
You may also decide to:
- Sponsor a Little League or soccer team
- Raise money for a local charity
- Help with a local street fair
The key is to find things you can do that won’t cost you anything. If you decide you can spend a little bit, then do it wisely and in a way that’ll help to attract new customers to your business.
Marketing doesn’t need to cost a fortune – or anything at all. The 10 free ideas here will help you kick-start your marketing even if your budget is non-existent.