Marketing a Business for Nothing
If you’re a business owner like me, you know you have to market your enterprise to grow it. There’s no way round’ it, bub. Word-of-mouth, and growing your business on the merits of quality can only take us so far. We also know that advertising, marketing, and public relations can get costly fast. But, have no fear I’ve put together a couple marketing strategies that won’t cost you a penny and can help build a steadfast foundation to launch your brand! Perfect for bootstrapping a startup or growing something from little to something great in just a few easy steps!
From posting on social media, digital-networking, earned-media, and podcasting these tactics can be time-consuming, but fun, and a great way to learn how to market your business from the inside out. By administering these plans, it will help you think through some of the decisions you’ve made in your business planning stages and get to put some of the vision, principals, and values into action. Let’s get started.
Post and post often
According to emarsys.com, 42% of the world’s population (3.2 billion people) are on social media and as high as much as 80% in the United States. Facebook is still the leader with the most users. Furthermore, U.S. users have an average time of 3.5 hours, interacting with digital media online.
The data all support that having a social media presence is an integral part of the game. Your potential customers, more than likely, will visit your online profiles before deciding to buy from you. But, what can you do with all this information?
Make sure you’re posting and posting often! That’s right; every business owner’s biggest fear; posting on social media. It takes a lot of discipline to keep your timelines up to date, but it is highly essential to market your online presence. The good thing is that posting does not have to cost you any money unless you want to source it out, you can easily preprogram a month of relevant content at a time using content management systems like Hootsuite or Buffer. Either way, it’s time if you haven’t already to be part of the online community, and post as much relevant content as you can.
There will be no direct ROI at first, but once you have built an online reputation, you can leverage it to let your audience know about any new announcements, events, products, sales, or services.
Networking of the future
Your digital reputation does not happen overnight, and you will have to work hard and be diligent about keeping those channels alive to gain trust.
The second most important activity for your business’s digital reputation is digital networking or being interactive on social media. Digital networking is where you use your companies profile to like, comment, market and share your potential customer’s content. For example, if you’re a brewer, you should be following any hashtags related to brewing, such as #craftbeer or #craftbeerlovers. Then you can start to find users that post using these hashtags, and you can begin to comment, share, and like these posts.
These interactions are easier on Instagram, but just as important on all social media channels. You can also follow locations and use the same strategy to interact with potential customers.
These types of interactions can be as simple as commenting on a photo, or a more in-depth thought on a post. It’s also great to share content as well. The more interactive you become with your online community, the more they will give back. And, again, this is entirely free. It’s only the time that it takes you.
Get people to share your stuff.
Earned media takes time and effort, but it can have a big pay off, and it can have no cost to you. This type of media was traditionally getting press coverage in a local paper, magazine, or local news station, but now it includes podcasts, blogs, and retweets. The best approach to get an audience’s attention is to provide an outlet with an interesting angle or headline that would be good for their audience. If you’re sending an email to a blog or podcast that you want to cover your business, make sure to put an attention-grabbing headline as your subject line. For example, if you want the story of your startup pizza app to get covered, “New startup Your Business Name changes the way we order pizza.”
The trick will be to find the best outlet for your brand.
Media outlets are always searching for new content daily. Sometimes, your efforts can come as a relief for a reporter or blogger that needs new material. The trick will be to find the best outlet for your brand. Don’t try to send out blanket press releases try to find individual reporters or podcast hosts that would typically cover a story like yours. More than likely, you are already consuming the publications, blogs, or podcasts that would be appropriate to you.
Local news stations typically have a weekly segment on local food and beverage. This is an excellent opportunity for a brewer or new restaurant to seek out the journalist that usually producers these segments, and introduce to them your story.
Podcast / Blog / Youtube Channel
Depending on what talents you have, creating a blog, YouTube Channel, or a podcast can help position you not only on Google, but also, it can market you in the minds of your customers as a thought leader. The concept is that the materials that you create for educational purposes display the amount of knowledge you have in your field. It also allows a business owner to process and work through some complex concepts. This is valuable in the sense that you can work out any kinks in your processes.
Additionally, your blog, Youtube channel, or podcast enables your audience, customers, or potential clients to get a more in-depth view of you and your brand’s personality. If you are genuine and honest, you will attract other like-minded individuals into your circle. From here, you can start to build trust and start to become top of mind. You also are creating content for your newsfeeds so you can get two birds with one stone.
Blog writing is free. Podcasting may have some equipment costs; however, you can use easily use anchor.fm with a smartphone, and not spend a single penny.
Make sure you are sharing and posting these blogs, podcasts, and YouTube videos often. Get your friends and family to share them, and get their friends to share. Sometimes, if it’s something important, I’ll direct close message friends or family members and ask them to share my content.
Conclude this madness
Bootstrapping is a relentless, sometimes exhausting pursuit, however, if you genuinely believe in your products or services, then you will find this process fun and exciting. As a small business owner, I know that finding the time to do these types of marketing projects can seem daunting, and not as necessary to the day to day task of running a business, but I implore you to commit yourself to just a few marketing tactics. This will help start to market the foundations of your business’ brand, increase your digital reputation, and keep you top-of-mind.
There are so many tasks that we are faced with as business owners. But, in the early stages of growing a business marketing, and advertising should be moved closer to the top to get closer to revenue that enables you to pay someone to do these jobs for you.
Best of luck, and get to work!