21 easiest ways to market your small business FOR FREE or with very little investment

Where the heck do I start from?

We are always a bit frustrated when it comes to finding ways to promote ourselves (business, products, services, etc.) without spending a fortune on marketing campaigns that will probably not even work.
These 21 ways are simple, always effective and, yes, either free or requiring very little investment. All you need is a bit of time and enthusiasm.

 

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Let’s get started:

1. Facebook page

This one is pretty obvious, but never underestimate the power of Facebook. It always works, a 100% of the time. Don’t limit yourself just at creating the fan page, but instead, use the tools Facebook is giving you: promote your page. It’s cheap and it helps you to not only better define your target audience, but also find new customers out of that target. These are the ones you probably didn’t think about in the first place. They’re going to help you make that first sale or increase what you already have going on.

 

2. Facebook through friends and groups

Probably this one is the least popular way of using Facebook when you have a company, a blog, a product or a service. Businesses focus on creating a page and promoting it, forgetting about how important it is when someone else is talking about you!  You are separated from your business in real life. Why not make it that way with social media too? Let me explain: use your personal Facebook profile to post about your business (leading them to your page or – even better – your website), talk in groups about your amazing product/service/blog/etc., or have someone else talk about it. People enjoy reviewing and this is what you are going to do: give them the chance to comment. This way you not only make people aware of your existence, but allow them to give you valuable feedback that can be used to make your business the best out there.

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3. Tumblr

Yes, yes, I continue with the social media. And I am writing about each of the social sites individually because you need to know that they are all of equal importance and each of them is going to help you in a slightly different way. Of course, I could have just said: “marketing way nr.1: social media”, but then you would have skipped one or two and that is in no way good when it comes to marketing. This being said, let’s continue:
Tumblr was originally used as a platform of mini blogs where people shared… well… their thoughts. But it turned out to be a really effective marketing tool also!
The method is still the same as on Facebook or Instagram (explained in detail at point 4), but I personally like this marketing way more than, say, Twitter (point 5). The app is really nice and user-friendly. I prefer it over the website. More on Tumblr in future posts, as it is an often underestimated platform when it comes to marketing, but a REALLY efficient one once you get to use it on a regular basis.

4. Instagram

This one is very, very powerful! You get people to follow you almost INSTAntly. For some reason the app makes me feel very homey and it is very easy for all types of individuals and businesses to promote themselves in a more human being-ish way. On instagram you feel like people already know you and you are all friends. And friends always support you and like what you offer, right?

5. Twitter

Not one of my favorites, but for some reason people are there. This is a way to get the people with cash. This is where you want to be as “marketingy” as possible. Tweet, tweet and tweet some more! And let’s face it, it’s fun to just add random stuff and get people to retweet them. Challenge yourself to get as many followers as possible. But for now stick to the ones you have. So what if you have only 2 followers? On twitter you don’t need more to get the word spread!

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6. Pinterest

Another good one, folks! And it is, again, free! From your grandmother to your boss, everyone’s on Pinterest these days. You will find out what their interests are and, bam, promote to the ones that really dig your product. Here you don’t have to struggle much. They will find you.

7. LinkedIn

Most of the people think this one is pretty useless, until they find out that a lot of other individuals and companies are there. What’s a good place to promote your stuff if not one where people go especially for this particular reason?

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8. Word of mouth

Enough of social media (for now), because the old fashion way still works pretty dang good. Talk to people in your circles (and not the Google ones, although that is also a way) about your product/service. Let close friends and family try it for free. Test your product’s success on your close ones, since they are probably the most sincere when it comes to letting you know where you have to improve. Take criticism and make something with it.

9. E-mail

Email marketing is one of the most used techniques on the market. Without it you can’t even begin being!  I personally don’t like the ones that pop up just like that, in the middle of your screen, and in the worst case scenario (where you MUST have one), make it so that it is disabled for mobiles! Please! I, myself, prefer a more discreet way to present my readers with the opportunity of subscribing to my email list: an email provider that is much less obvious, like Convertkit, for instance. Now, once established and functioning, make sure you send weekly newsletters to your subscribers. Campaigns won’t do you any harm either 😉 Keep their memory about your product/service fresh.

10. Workshops

Teach people about your business. You are the authority. You are the pro and it is you who should teach them all about how nice it is to have a product/service like yours. Don’t be too “selly” or obvious, though. Remember: in order to make that one sale you have to be able to give a lot of freebies (in form of information or actual product).

11. Meetup groups

In Copenhagen this is the new fashion. People with the same interests meet and talk about them. There’s an event “host” and they organize it at a said location and invite people to join them through meetup.com.  This is a great, great opportunity to meet new people and – you guessed – promote your product. These Meetup guys made a super cool app too, so you can just access it from your smart phone. And no, I am not affiliated, but I do like the idea behind the meetup site quite a lot!

12. Blogging

This one is pretty obvious for those of you who are into online businesses; nevertheless, I can assure you that you can (AND SHOULD) blog about almost anything, including your little coffee shop around the corner or the dog hairdresser salon idea that you just came up with.

Instead of the obvious “Buy me” add, use blogging as a way of promoting yourself, your business, service or product. Blog about it in a non obvious way and add a CTA (call to action, that is) every now and then. Engage your audience with smart, appealing posts and do not focus on selling. Instead, make people understand what they are missing on if they do not have what you offer.
Do some research and then write a “Did you know?” post about it, for example.

People are thirsty for fresh, useful info. Part of the blogging process could include writing an e-book and promoting it through the blog. Why not? You can blog using WordPress.com when it is a personal blog, but when you seem to have valuable info and you want to turn that into a business, you MUST get out of WordPress.com and get into WordPress.org – self hosting – that is. You have amazing options when it comes to domain purchasing and I will write an entire post about that in the “blogging” section of this blog, but to give you a hint for now, you should try different hosting providers. I have my personal favorite, depending on what you need your website for.

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13. Become a product reviewer

This marketing way is subtle, but efficient. You gain popularity and trust. And when you are trusted, the sales are not only more often, but the client leaves satisfied that they actually got the chance to buy from you.

14. About.me

This one is listed here because it is easier to sell your stuff if people get to also know you as a person. You are a special and unique individual, not just a product. Relate to your customers in this way and you will see results while having fun.

15. T-shirts

Print your logo on a few t-shirts or – the clothes of your choice, for that matter – and give them as a special gift to your friends. Also wear them when you go out to do group activities. These t-shirts could be your team’s wear.

16. Print on cans, mugs, etc

Similar to way 15, this one allows you to have a cheap version of marketing right at home. Also you can have your logo framed and put on the wall to proudly show it off when guests arrive. They will ask what that is (if you have an awesome poster right in the middle of the living room!) and you’ll have a chance to make a bit of marketing right there, without leaving the comfort of your house.

17. Business cards

Place a few business cards at your favorite cafeteria. Talk to people who you know at bars, restaurants, local shops, etc. to let you place your cards there. Works wonders!

18. Guest blogging or simply commenting

Be active online. That means commenting on topics related to your business or giving advice on other people’s blogs, sites, etc. This way you will fast go from no one to someone.

19. Affiliate marketing

You promote, they promote. Talk to bloggers, be part of their news and get them to be part of yours. Be friendly with reporters. After all, they are the ones making or breaking you. You never know when you’ll need a good review *winks*. Also, there are tons of websites that offer affiliate programs. Just google the ones in your niche and you’ll be surprised (and most probably overwhelmed) by the number of options that you suddenly have.

20. Create a crowdfunding campaign

You will not only benefit from raising some cash to develop your business, but you will attract new clients. Also, by adding your own product as a perk, you will sell without even beginning a “real” marketing campaign.

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21. Last, but not least, Adwords

Yes, I know this one’s a bit controversial and not totally free, but it has great benefits if/when you get to know how it works.

Bonus:

22. Etsy Shop

I know that it seems crazy to create a shop on a platform that sells handmade stuff, but if designers who sell WordPress themes can do it, so can you! Etsy is a good way of making yourself seen. You don’t have to add an actual product (if you don’t have one!), but with the digital products you can actually represent yourself that way. You don’t really have to sell anything (unless you want to, of course), but just your presence there will do the trick in getting you some traffic to your website. (I assume you have one. We live in the 21st century!!!. And if you don’t have one, get one)

Alright folks, almost 2000 (1986 to be more exact!) words later and a whole lot of info, I’m leaving you with this phrase:

Stay thirsty for info and always humble!

Ah, and  leave a comment about what other marketing ideas you’ve got. We all want to know a little bit more 😉

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