One of the most common questions that I get from small business owners is how to market their small business online for free. As any small business owner knows, when you first start out, the marketing budget is often very small.
Generating sales early on is important so that you can increase your marketing budget and extend your reach into the marketplace.
It does not help that the digital world is continuously changing on what seems like a daily basis. There is always another marketing method being introduced and another platform to check out. If you listen and pay attention to everything you are seeing and hearing, it can often become confusing and chaotic.
If that’s you, it’s time to stick to some of the more basic, little-known techniques that nobody is talking about. The people who are already using these methods are not talking about it, because they do not want their little dirty secret of success to get out.
Why? Because the less competition there is in the space, the easier it is to have free reign.
Without further ado, here are some of the little-known methods that you can use to market your small business online for free:
FREE ONLINE MARKETING STRATEGY 1) Question/Answer Websites
Some of the most popular websites are ones that provide relevant and informative answers. One of the most popular websites in the question/answer arena, is Quora.
Quora is a website that allows users to ask questions, and receive answers from other users.
When a question receives multiple answers, users are then able to “up-vote” or “down-vote” the answer based on how helpful, informative and relevant the answer is.
If you provided the most helpful, informative, and relevant answer, then chances are your answer will receive the #1 slot.
The benefits of question/answer platforms
Here’s why Quora is such an incredible platform and why you should use it for your business:
- Quora questions/answers show up in search results for every major search engine (Google, Bing, etc). They are often featured on the first page of SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages).
- You can provide relevant links in your answers, so people can go to the website you referenced for more information.
- Millions of people go to websites like Quora every day, searching for answers to their questions.
- The questions and answers stay there for a very, very long time, and if your answer is the featured one, then your response (and links) may be viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
Keep in mind, Quora is not the only question/answer website out there. I would pick the top 2-3 websites (including Quora) and start providing the most helpful, insightful, and relevant answers you possibly can to any questions related to your small business niche’.
Here’s an example:
As you can see from the screenshot above, John Roberson’s answer has been upvoted as the best, most helpful answer. As a result, John has been getting free marketing exposure since October 23, 2017.
A full three years later, the 10 minutes he spent writing out his answer has likely generated thousands and thousands of dollars worth of marketing for FREE.
Side Note: Ever heard of an Instagram Pod? Think about what you could do with a “Quora Pod”.
It’s literally FREE marketing that pays dividends for years into the future. And all it takes is a few minutes of your time.
FREE ONLINE MARKETING STRATEGY 2) FREE Blog Posting
One of the common misconceptions about blogging is that you have to have a blog to write blog posts. The other common misconception is that you have to pay in order to start a blog.
Let’s set the record straight:
- You do not need a blog in order to write blog posts.
- If you want to start your own blog, you don’t have to pay a cent.
There are millions of people who have started blogs, and many of them do not write their own content. Either because they hate writing, don’t know how to write blogs, or just don’t have the time.
There are a thousand reasons why a lot of people do not create their own content.
Guest blog for other people
That means that there are also lots of people looking for guest bloggers to write content for their blogs.
Normally, they’d have to pay people to write blogging content for their website, but you could do it for FREE, in exchange for a link to your business page.
Here’s what that looks like:
- You identify websites within your niche (or parallel niches) that do not have a lot of blogging content and/or don’t have helpful/informative content.
- It should be a site that is not offering competing products/services.
- You reach out and offer to write some high-quality, relevant content for their audience.
- In exchange, they agree to let you put a link into your content so that people who find your blog, have a way to connect with you and your business.
This creates a win-win situation where they are providing value to their website visitors, and you will likely get a few filter-through visits from their site, as well as the “link juice” for your website.
If you do this dozens and dozens of times over the course of a year, you’re increasing the exposure of your business, and increasing the number of places that your potential customers can find you.
Create a blog on a free platform
You can also just write blogs for free on any free blogging site such as Medium, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.
Blogs are important for any small business looking for ways to market online for free. Once you start blogging and guest blogging, before you know it, your business will be plastered all over the internet.
FREE ONLINE MARKETING STRATEGY 3) Give Away Information For Free
Because the internet has become so cluttered with noise, it’s difficult for some people to discern:
- What is authentic and what is not.
- Who is legitimate, and who is not.
- Who knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t.
That’s where building authority in your niche’ comes into play. And one of the quickest ways to establish authority within your niche, and to let the general public know that you are who you say you are (and that you know what you’re talking about) is to give away valuable and relevant information for free.
Create a downloadable report (or short e-book)
The simplest way to do this is to create a short, downloadable report or info-graph. And by short, I really mean short.
Think about the last time you visited a website and a pop-up flashed right before you went to close the browser window. Now, think about the times that you actually provided your email.
It was likely because:
- They offered to give you a discount code if you provided your email
- They offered to give you some valuable information on the topic you were reading about if you provided your email
- They would give you something else for free in exchange for your email so they could contact you later on
Market the free download as a lead magnet
All of those things are called “lead magnets”.
A lead magnet is something that a business gives a customer for free, in exchange for something of value (other than money) — usually an email address or phone number.
Once you provide your contact information, you are automatically entered into their contact database, where you will frequently receive emails from them. Chances are, you will likely do business with them in the future.
That’s what a short downloadable report does for your small business, and it is one of the easiest ways to market your business online for free.
Find out what questions your customers are longing to know the answers to the most, and then write a short e-book answering 1 or 2 of those questions as thoroughly and as simply as possible.
A lead magnet report (or e-book) is usually less than 10 pages long, but preferably even shorter, and it’s packed full of valuable information.
Examples of powerful lead magnets
For instance, if you’re in the tax niche, it could be a report titled something like, “Here’s How Your Tax Software Is Secretly Costing You Hundreds Each Year“. Or if you’re in the credit repair business, it could be something like, “The Secrets of Credit and What The Credit Bureaus Will Never Tell You“.
Just make sure that you require (at the very least) an email and first name in order to access your downloadable report.
If it is a report that has a great title and is filled with valuable information that establishes you as an authority on the subject, not only will you be building your email list rather quickly… you’ll also start getting phone calls from people who need your help.
Now that you know how to market your small business online for free
After you have started using these free marketing tactics for your small business, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a long and prosperous presence online that provides you with returns well into the future.
But, as always, there are also pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid that many small business owners make.
Read more about those common pitfalls here so that you can start strong and avoid making the mistakes that have cost many small business owners a lot of money, and have ruined many businesses before they even had a fighting chance.