6 Free Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses


For small businesses marketing can both be expensive and feel futile. After all, it’s incredibly hard to compete against the big boys with their big budgets. So how do you get ahead? Is it even possible? There are a heap of marketing opportunities out there which don’t cost much and sometimes are even free. All it takes is a bit of thinking creatively. Here are 6 free marketing strategies for small businesses: 

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Here are some actions you can take which will get you attention for free or next to nothing.

1. Hop on social media trends

Social media trends are when people start focusing serious attention on some kind of action or happening en masse. If you can get to those early, then it’s possible to throw your voice in the mix and in that way potentially draw attention your way.

The best approach is to use Twitter and follow popular hashtags. Then you can scroll through and see what’s going on. Pay attention to the news hashtags that appear, see what they’re about and then throw your 2 cents out there. Of course, do pay attention to what you’re chiming in on. You don’t want to have what happened to DiGiorno happen to you.

Twitter Analytics also offers an Events section where you can not only see what's taking place with reference to key events around the world but also in there you'll find a Recurring Trends section where you can find hashtags to join in conversations on. 

Tip: don't forget about Google Trends too, a great place to explore what the world is searching on too. 

Recommended reading: 10 Low Cost But Effective Marketing Strategies for Startups

2. Use a blog

Do you or someone in your business have some serious writing talent? Then why not start a blog? Now, to be clear, if handled incorrectly blogs can eat into your time without booking you a lot of results. On the other hand, if done correctly they can be incredibly effective.

The trick is to post content that’s actually useful to people. These don’t have to be earth shattering pieces, but they do have to give useful tips and ideas, specifically focused on people who are likely to buy your products. If you do create content that people find useful, they’ll often share it with friends and family which will give you organic exposure. Even better, if you keep it up for a while and really stick to the area you specialize in, you’ll be pushing yourself up in the search rankings as well.

What to keep in mind. Quality over quantity. A trickle of good articles is far more valuable than a torrent of bad ones. Writing is difficult. So if you’ve not been doing this for a while, start slowly and consider hiring an editor if that means you’ll learn more quickly how to write engaging content, it will be worth it.

3. Use advertising credit

If you spend a little bit of money on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn or Google then they will often start offering you credit in order to get you to spend more. This can be a great way to significantly boost your outreach. The trick is to on and off spend a few dollars here and there. Then, due to their trigger marketing setup, they will try to pull you back in and offer you credit in order to do so. Okay, this isn’t exactly free, but it’s a great way to stretch a small budget a lot further.

Most platforms will offer you credit if you spend a few dollars there occasionally. Often this is enough to end up getting twice as much reach as you would have would you not have gotten that credit.

4. Interact in Social Media groups

Most social media platforms now have groups. This includes Facebook and Linkedin. If used correctly, these are great ways to boost your outreach – particularly if you find the right groups for your target customers. 

The trick is to not come on too hard. Be a person first and a small business second. After all, people join these groups to get real information about what they’re interested in, not for businesses to advertise to them.

Respect that. Give honest feedback on what they’re doing and get into actual conversations with them. Often, what you do will naturally come up, at which point you can point them your way. And as many of these groups have tens of thousands of members, this can lead to a lot of traffic.

5. Share and share alike

Talk to fellow businesses which are selling products similar to your own and share each other’s networks. If done well, both of your networks will appreciate the heads up about other businesses out there. In this way, you can easily double the number of people you reach.

If you manage to find a few companies who are willing to do this with you, then you could potentially reach tens of thousands of extra people at no extra cost.

Of course, this only works if your network doesn’t get annoyed with you constantly plugging other people’s products and offers, so tread carefully. Make sure you actually stand behind the product that you’re offering. Otherwise, you’ll get a short-term boost in reach, but will in the long run shrink your network.

6. Give free workshops or share free content

If you’re an expert in your area, then why not give away some of that expertise by giving workshops online? Or use video to create content that helps your target customer. If done subtly you can plug your own products or services. Just make sure the workshop or video is useful first and sales second.

The key to gaining attention in our busy digital lives is to build trust through useful content and to listen to your network and community. I hope these 6 marketing strategies have given you some ideas for your business. 

Over to you now. Have you used any of these marketing strategies for your business? Tell us what worked in the comments below. 

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