Marketing is an essential part of any business, but it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when you’re on a tight budget. However, with the advancements in technology and the abundance of resources available, there are plenty of free and low-budget marketing strategies that can help you reach your target audience without breaking the bank. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing five free and fast marketing ideas that will help you grow your business without spending a lot of time or money.
Create a Free Google My Business account
For local businesses, a Google Business Profile is a must-have marketing tool. This free marketing strategy allows your business to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the right-side Knowledge Panel for branded searches. By creating a Google My Business account, you can optimise your Business Profile, which will increase your visibility on Google Maps and local results.
To see higher visibility on Google Maps or local search results, it’s important to optimise your Business Profile. Verification of ownership, which is done through a Google My Business account, is necessary for optimization.
Be active on social media
Utilising social media to grow your small business is a cost-effective way to express your brand’s personality and build trust with your audience. Set up business accounts on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, and actively engage with your community. You can promote your blog posts, have direct conversations with followers, run polls, and request feedback. Remember to be consistent, collaborative, and committed when it comes to social media.
- Make your blog posts known to drive traffic to your website.
- Engage in direct conversations with your audience to showcase your brand voice and increase engagement.
- Conduct polls and ask for feedback from your followers.
- Extract information from longer content and create bite-sized and informative posts.
- It’s important to be consistent, community-focused, collaborative, and dedicated in managing your social media accounts, regardless of your goals.
Tag people, companies and brands
Mentioning individuals (and other companies) on social media can expand the natural reach of your business to new potential audiences, assist in growing your followers, and potentially attract more clients. It is also advisable to encourage your followers to mention your social media handle or business location in their posts. More information about user-generated content can be found here.
Incorporate hashtags into your social media posts, it’s a free strategy that can increase your reach on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and LinkedIn. Trending or general hashtags can assist in reinforcing your brand’s identity, but it’s important to use a variety of hashtags, not just these types.
More specific hashtags which can be compared to long-tail keywords, are useful when you’re sharing resources or advice. If your business is located in a specific area, it’s essential to include location-based hashtags. Additionally, don’t overlook the value of creating your own custom hashtags. By using a mixture of hashtag types in your posts, you can ensure that your content is reaching the appropriate audience.
Incorporating hashtags into your social media posts is a free and effective marketing tactic that can help you reach a wider audience. Hashtags can help you connect with users who are searching for specific topics or interests. By including relevant hashtags in your posts, you can increase the visibility of your content and attract new followers. Hashtags are particularly useful on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and LinkedIn. They can help you to join conversations, connect with other users who are interested in the same topics as you, and boost your visibility to new audiences. It’s important to use a mix of hashtags that are both broad and specific, such as trending hashtags, long-tail keywords, location-based hashtags and custom hashtags to reach the right people.
There are several ways to find the best hashtags to use for your business vertical. Here are a few methods you can try:
- Research competitors: Look at your competitors’ social media accounts and see which hashtags they are using.
- Use hashtag research tools: There are several free and paid tools available that can help you find the best hashtags for your business vertical. Some popular options include Hashtagify, RiteTag, and Keyhole. These tools allow you to search for hashtags related to your niche, see the popularity of different hashtags, and get suggestions for new hashtags to use.
- Explore industry-specific hashtags: Many industries have their own specific hashtags that are commonly used by businesses in that vertical. For example, businesses in the beauty and fashion industry often use hashtags like #beauty, #fashion, and #style.
- Look at trending hashtags: Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram have a trending section that shows the most popular hashtags at the moment. These hashtags can be a great way to get your content seen by a wider audience, but it’s important to make sure the hashtag is relevant to your business.
- Create your own hashtags: If you can’t find relevant hashtags for your business vertical, you can always create your own. Create unique hashtags that represent your brand, products, or services. You can also create a custom hashtag for your events, campaigns or promotions.
It’s important to note that using too many hashtags can be overwhelming and can decrease the engagement of your post. Use hashtags that are relevant, specific and not too many. Also, make sure to follow the guidelines of the social media platform you are using.
Don’t underestimate the potential of LinkedIn.
Don’t overlook the power of LinkedIn, it’s a significant social media platform that is frequently underutilised.
- As of 2021, LinkedIn had over 740 million registered users.
- LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform, with more than half of its users located outside of the United States, with over 27 million LinkedIn users in the United Kingdom
- LinkedIn has been focusing on making the platform more interactive and engaging by rolling out features such as LinkedIn Live, which allows users to stream live video content, and LinkedIn Stories, which allows users to share short, ephemeral updates.
Instead of merely adding network connections and logging out, actively engage with your connections by having conversations, sharing your blog posts, special deals, participating in forums and sharing valuable content from others.
Show your reviews in Google search results!
Business Awards UK sponsors, AddStars, have created a very helpful blog post for anyone looking for almost free ways to boost their visibility: –
One sure-fire way to make a website stand out in the crowded digital landscape is to show your reviews in Google search results, and share this social proof with potential visitors. The post has valuable information on how to improve your website and increase visibility to potential visitors, such as choosing a good domain name, how to make your website mobile-friendly, and how you can show all of your business’ reviews on Google search results.
AddStars’ service is not free, but it is absolutely cheap enough that you will see a huge ROI by increasing your visibility, and displaying your reviews on Google. What’s more, you can get an exclusive discount of 25% off for life by using our discount code: AWARDSUK!
Invest time in learning local SEO
Google’s algorithm aims to deliver the most accurate, high-quality, and relevant content for any given search query. It is not based on paid promotion, which means small businesses have the same opportunity as larger companies to rank on the first page. Local SEO requires time and effort, but it is free of cost, so it’s best to start now and keep working on it, as the long-term benefits can be significant.
A few key steps for Local SEO include:
- Incorporate location-based keywords like “Portland bakery” in the titles, headings, and body content of your main website pages.
- Get listed in online directories, making sure your information is consistent across all platforms.
- Create pages or blog posts that are specific to the neighbourhoods you serve.
- Good Local SEO can help you appear on Google’s 3-Pack.
By following these steps, you can improve your local SEO and increase the chances of appearing on Google’s 3-Pack.
Create an email marketing strategy
Email marketing is a powerful tool for engaging new visitors and maintaining relationships with existing customers. Though not a new concept, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to achieve a strong return on your marketing investment. Here are some steps to ensure success:
- Put effort into creating captivating subject lines.
- Make sure each email includes an offer that encourages readers to take action.
- Track performance and conduct A/B tests to determine which copy and offers resonate with your audience.
- Additional easy email marketing ideas include:
- Offering bonus content or a coupon/discount for subscribing to your newsletter to encourage new website visitors to sign up.
- Gradually building a relationship with your subscribers through email until they are ready to become paying customers.
- Utilising a free email marketing service like MailChimp or SendInBlue to start your promotional campaigns.
By following these steps, you can develop an effective email marketing plan that can help grow your business.
Create Infographics with valuable, shareable data
Infographics are a powerful marketing tool that can help to increase referral traffic and links. They are visually appealing, easy to understand, and often shared by viewers, making them a great way to boost your online presence.
As you can see from the below graphic, the logo and URL of the infographic authors appear on the image, and will be shared virally if the data is interesting.
Creating an infographic on your own doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of free tools available such as Canva, Adobe’s free vector kits, and Visme, which provide all the necessary elements to make a creative and shareable infographic. If you’re not sure where to start, Visual.ly is a great resource for inspiration, with examples for both beginners and advanced users.
In addition to creating your own data, you can also use existing data to create an infographic. Government data can be found on sites such as data.gov and The Census Bureau, while global statistics can be obtained from international organisations and data gatherers such as data.un.org or OurWorldInData.org. Be sure to find data that is relevant to your industry and audience interests, as there is a wealth of freely available data out there.
It’s important to ensure that all images and graphics used in your infographics are royalty-free and copyright-free. Websites such as Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels offer a wide range of high-quality images that can be used for free. Furthermore, using a tool like Google’s Advanced Search can help you filter images that are labelled for reuse, making it easy to find images that are legally usable for your infographics. With a little creativity and the right resources, creating data-rich infographics for your marketing efforts can be a cost-effective and engaging way to reach your audience.
Entering and winning business awards
Winning or being nominated for an award can give your business an improved position against your competitors. If you become the award-winning business in your sector, it is more likely that customers will choose your business over your competitors. Participating in awards can lead to increased sales and more customers. Awards are a strong indicator of trustworthiness among prospective customers, and businesses that regularly enter and win awards often report increased sales and income compared to those that don’t.
Equalising the competition
In many cases, your new competitive position obtained by winning (or even being shortlisted in) business awards give you an opportunity to compete against large corporations, which can help level the playing field. Many categories of business awards allow you to go head-to-head against major blue chip companies and, in many cases, succeed in areas such as customer service, innovation and impact. Seeing your company logo lined up against some of the UK’s most well-known brands can be a valuable opportunity for your business.
Awards can also increase credibility for your business. A nomination for an award can act as a third-party endorsement, while winning an award can give your business a real stamp of authority and credibility within your industry sector. This can be a sign of quality for potential customers, and can help attract new business.
Valuable Exposure Opportunities
Another benefit of awards is that they provide valuable exposure opportunities. Awards are published and shared by the awards company as a marketing and PR exercise, which means your business will be put in front of influential and noteworthy people who may be key players within your industry, sector or region. This can be a great way to start to network and make important connections.
Enhanced Brand Loyalty and Customer Retention
One of the key advantages of awards is that it can help to build brand loyalty and increase customer retention. Entering and winning business awards demonstrates to your customers that your business is at the top of its game, which can reinforce their reasons for using your business in the first place. Additionally, customers are more likely to stick with businesses that are perceived to be doing well.
The application process for awards can also serve as a benchmarking tool for your business. The process of applying for an award can force you to look at your business from a different perspective and compare yourself to your competitors. This can help you identify areas where you stand out from the competition, as well as areas where you can improve.
Boosting Employee Motivation and Morale
Awards are a fantastic way to recognise the hard work of your employees, and knowing that they have contributed to the recognition that comes with winning an award can be a great motivator for them to continue to perform well.
Enter Business Awards UK FREE
At Business Awards UK, we understand just how powerful it can be to be shortlisted, a finalist or win a business award. Our free entry means that our awards are within the reach of any business – and our low fee if you win an award costs much less than many, many other forms of marketing.
There are many advantages to forming industry partnerships for small business owners. Collaboration with fellow professionals and companies can lead to massive benefits.
One of the most obvious is the ability to expand your reach and gain access to a new audience. By teaming up with another business, you can tap into their customer base and reach a wider market. This can be especially beneficial if the other business operates in a complementary industry or has a customer base that overlaps with yours.
Another advantage of industry partnerships is the ability to share resources. By working together, businesses can pool their resources and expertise to achieve a common goal. For example, one business may have a strong marketing department while the other has a strong sales team. By working together, they can leverage each other’s strengths to achieve better results.
Innovation and Growth
Partnerships also offer the opportunity for innovation and growth. By working with another business, you can gain access to new ideas and perspectives. This can help you to think outside the box and develop new products, services or marketing strategies. Additionally, partnerships can help to fuel growth by providing access to new markets and customers.
Industry partnerships can also be a cost-effective marketing strategy. By joining forces with another business, you can split the cost of marketing and promotional activities. This can help to increase visibility and reach a larger audience without breaking the bank. Additionally, partnerships can also provide valuable exposure opportunities. By participating in joint events, webinars or giveaways, you can put your business in front of influential and noteworthy people who may be key players within your industry, sector or region.
Partnerships can also help to boost employee motivation and morale. Collaborating with another business can provide a sense of purpose and a shared goal for employees. This can help to keep them engaged and motivated, which can lead to better performance and productivity.
Efficient Content Utilisation
As a business owner, it’s crucial to ensure that your efforts are yielding maximum results. One approach to achieve this is by reusing successful content on various platforms. This strategy can help you tap into new markets and get more value out of your hard work.
For example, if you have content that has received positive feedback on your website, think about reusing it on other channels. For instance, you could convert a well-received webinar into a video tutorial that can be shared on social media or on your site. Furthermore, you could gather a set of similar blog posts and convert them into an ebook that you can promote through site pop-ups or email marketing campaigns.
Optimising Your Content
By reusing your content in this way, you can make the most of your efforts and reach new audiences. Additionally, it can help you save time and resources by creating new content from the material you already have. Repurposing your content is a great way to increase visibility, drive more sales, and optimise your existing materials.
Community Based Marketing & Networking
Sometimes the best way to reach people is by going to them, instead of trying to bring them to you!
Marketing at Trade Shows and Conferences
Attending trade shows and industry conferences can be a valuable marketing strategy for small businesses. These events provide an opportunity to connect with other business owners and professionals from various industries who are also looking for new ways to grow their business.
Networking and B2B Contacts
In addition, trade shows and conferences offer a chance to network with like-minded individuals and develop new B2B contacts. This can be especially beneficial for small business owners who are seeking to expand their professional network.
Exclusive Seminars and Training
Many trade shows and conferences also offer exclusive seminars and training sessions that can help small business owners sharpen their skills in areas such as sales, social media, and advertising. These sessions can provide valuable insights into the latest trends and strategies for promoting your business.
Share Your Knowledge!
You have a wealth of knowledge that is valuable, so you should consider sharing it in free (or almost free) ways.
Hosting Classes and Events
One way to market your small business is by hosting classes and events. This can be done by planning an event or class and promoting it through flyers posted on community bulletin boards in libraries, coffee shops, local colleges, and adult education centres. Even if you are unable to host an event, attending local events that may benefit your business can also be a great way to find new customers or business partners.
Another effective marketing strategy for small businesses is hosting webinars. These online events provide a free way to promote your business by providing helpful information to potential customers. Platforms such as Webex and GoToMeeting make it easy to broadcast your webinar with just a few clicks. To ensure a successful turnout, make sure to promote your webinar on social media or through an email newsletter one to two weeks before the event, and remind registrants to attend.
Over to you!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and we also hope you found some value. The important thing now is to take action and put some of these free (and almost free) marketing methods into place for your business, and take it to the next level!