There are a lot of opinions and perspectives on marketing out there, but it’s time to face some undeniable truths about marketing.
Regardless of what some people think, marketing is necessary if you want other people to know that your brand exists. Although word of mouth is great, I do not think it should be relied upon as your sole source of marketing. In order to share your content, sell your products and services, and grow your audience people need to know that you are alive.
Here is another truth about marketing. Paid marketing is not cheap at all, but fortunately there are some free and otherwise affordable options available to everyone reading this. Here are some options that I have used to find success in marketing my own business on the cheap:
- Content marketing – This is very inexpensive, or free in any many cases and it has some wonderful, evergreen effects. Blogging is a very common and great way to create valuable content and it contributes to your website’s SEO. Over time this will allow Google and the other search engines to index the content on your website. So when someone does a search for a topic that you have written about, it increases the chances of one of your pages appearing in the search results. This will not happen overnight for you, but when it begins to work it’s nice. The traffic is targeted and free and there is nothing you could want more than that. I have around 60 blog posts published and I am started to see it pay off. Podcasting is another phenomenal option too because of the individually embedded episodes that you can put onto your site and because the show notes can contribute to your SEO, just like your blog.
- LinkedIn – I still know business owners that ignore LinkedIn! This is a really stupid decision for so many reasons. There are around 500 million people on this social platform and business owners are more accessible here that anywhere else. This is a great site for sharing your content both with your network and within groups (hint….hint). LinkedIn also offers a nice platform for creating content within the site and all of your work will appear on your profile too. This is my #1 source of traffic at the time of publishing this post, but it will soon be taken over by my relentless content marketing efforts.
- Facebook – This is another really important platform for marketing. Every business should have a page and at least one group where you can encourage the more highly engaged members of your audience to interact. Facebook also allows an amazing amount of options available for paid promotion for as little as $5. This low cost for entry allows the solo entrepreneur to grow his or her budget as their revenue grows. This makes this pretty attractive to anyone who is paying attention to the opportunity. You are your brand, so don’t go crazy on your personal page and expect great results on your business page. Technology blurs the lines so much between the two that they are one in the same.
- Instagram – Instagram is owned by Facebook, but has a different appeal to it. This may be the hottest social platform in use right now and this is something for every marketer to take advantage or. It is super easy to post pictures and videos on, and the hashtags make your posts really easy to search by the people that you want to get in front of. This is a great way to push new people back to your website, and like Facebook, you can do paid advertising for as little as $5.
- Twitter – This is another platform that a lot of people ignore. It is a very “busy” social channel with the endless feed of information flowing, but like LinkedIn you can access people more easily than traditional methods allow. Twitter was also the first with the hash-tagging that again makes it easy to search what you are looking for and to help others find what you are sharing. I have snagged some great podcast guests from Twitter and introduced countless people to my brand that may have never ever found it.
- Quora – This is a newer method for marketing your brand and service offering, but not in the way that you think. Quora is technically a search engine, but it allows you to answer questions for people and establish your credibility in your niche. You can even link back to your Facebook group, website, or whatever you like as your grow your fan base. The information in Quora appears in Google search results too, adding to your content marketing efforts. The best part of this is that it is all free, for now…
- Being featured as a guest – This is among the most fun marketing technique that I know of. Get yourself onto a podcast or on the radio to talk about your brand and your business. This is not only fun, but it will introduce you to new people. It can also get you positioned as an expert in a shorter amount of time. Once someone labels you as “an expert”, it does not go away and this is some of the best marketing that you will ever do. Another option, is to be featured as a guest on a YouTube channel or a traditional television show. The final option that I know of is to guest blog or guest post on someone else’s site. All of these guest appearances coupled with your own continuous marketing efforts, can really help grow your brand and credibility. Of course, you will need to be invited to do a guest spot or to contribute guest content but don’t just sit back and wait for people to approach you. I recommend being proactive with this and you will get more opportunities presented to you by staying aggressive with your efforts.
Although this list is not meant to be “all-inclusive” it certainly provides you with a good starting point. I rely on all of the methods that I have shared with you today and will continue to for the foreseeable future. I would now like to hear from some of you. What is a low cost or free marketing technique that you have used to grow your business?
Leave your techniques in the comments and we will see what kind of a list that we can compile and all learn from.