The success of your business will depend on a number of things, and among these things is how you market your business whether its a service or product.
Marketing could be a simple word to define but it is a tough nut to crack if you are a business person, entrepreneur or nevertheless a marketer.
Even the biggest businesses tend to find it hard to propel their businesses in the right direction. Most of them tend to break their banks to try to come up with ways in which they can gain new customers for their business while at the same time engaging the already existing few ones.
For small businesses, it is the same case. However, thanks to this guide, you might not be needed to break your bank every day to get your small business going.
This guide highlights some of the few strategies and tools that can help you market your small business. The guide is split into two, the first part will discuss the free strategies you can use to market your small business while the second part will discuss the free tools you can use.
Part 1: Use a Number of Working Strategies
i) Develop a Customer Referral Program
Most marketers and online entrepreneurs tend to overlook word of mouth kind of marketing yet it is one of the most super-powerful ways.
This strategy is number on our list of free small business marketing ideas for a reason and the reason is as follows: According to a research done by Nielsen, more than 90% of consumers believe in referrals and recommendations from family, colleagues or close friends over all other kinds of advertising.
The referral program which works magic through word of mouth is simple to execute. All you need to do is offer a free sample of your product in your business, discounts, complimentary services or even other low-cost rewards in exchange for new customers.
it could be incredibly valuable to your business if you have your customers tell their family, friends and colleagues about it. Aside from the general word of mouth growth of your business, this strategy, the use of rewards acts as appreciation to your already existing customers which in the end strengthens your relationship with them and in the long run, encourages loyalty.
An example of a good referral program is shown by the Sunny Co Clothing brand which has grown so big in just but a short time through the strategy. By referring your friends to their Instagram, you get a free swimsuit as long as you pay for its delivery.
ii) Send Out a Customer Satisfaction Survey.
If you have been ignoring customer Satisfaction Surveys, it’s time to think twice and implement them in your business. Apart from letting you learn more about your customer base, the strategy is also one of the best ways that remind your customers about your product. No wonder, it is rightfully second on our list of free small Business Marketing ideas.
This works the same way as email marketing but the difference is that you can even do it manually seated at your front store or even in the streets. Customer satisfaction survey gives you feedback about your product or service which in the long run gives you hints about which areas of your product or service you can improve.
Aside from that, customers will always feel invested in the survey, especially the results of the survey and over time, loyalty from them is what you are most likely to get which is good for the growth of your small business.
iii) Tell Stories with Milestone or Data
Although third on our list, you would fancy this small business marketing ideas and it could turn out to be your favourite of strategies to grow your small business.
The reason is that you will be using your own business statistics to tell an interesting story that draws people’s attention. If done well, your small business is going to draw even more attention and you will notice an increase in your customers.
This is how you are supposed to do it. Crunch the numbers on your business and create an amazingly significant story form the data obtained. For instance, maybe your services are at a higher percentage than the normal business standard, or even you have done a successful business, or have provided satisfying services to a huge number of people.
You will need to publish the statistics obtained or even use a sign that portrays that at your store’s front. You will realize that people are drawn attention to numbers.
For example, if you served 3000 customers, a story like “We have over 3000 satisfied customers in our area” at your font store or website, will attract more traffic for people who will be looking for similar services you offer.
Additionally, another way to get along with this strategy is that you can find academic studies that have been done and proven and most importantly are related or revolve around your business. Come up with a way of linking the two together and publish it while highlighting the most important parts.
iv) Use Your Very Own Infographics
Just like data that we have aforementioned, infographics are equally powerful as well. In fact, infographics are super powerful because they draw the most attention and are easy to make at the same time.
Many people all over the internet love to share infographics because they are visuals, easy to understand and they have detailed content. Through browsers like Visme, you are good to go. You can easily create infographics for your business with no design or software requires.
However, there are chances that if you might not be in good knowledge about infographics, you will need a top-notch design firm to create powerful infographics for your business and pay for their services.
This might become a little bit more expensive for your small business but well-designed infographics will have a huge impact on your business in terms of drawing attention and more customers.
v) Publish Distributed Content
Most online marketers are conversant with the wonders of marketing content on social media, but many platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, are merely pay to play kind of channels which charge quite expensive costs to help your content reach the most of the audience you want.
However, as much as they work in the long run, you might fancy to try and invest in alternative networks that distribute networks in case you want free small marketing ideas for your business.
To give an example, LinkedIn is a business-focused social platform that has been overlooked but has the greatest potential when considered especially for B2B kind of marketing.
For LinkedIn, all you need to do is join professional groups, share your own content, and participate in industry conversation. This lets you stretch out to the kind of audience for your own business and in the long run, success.
Another example is the Reddit social network. Reddit is the front page of the internet. If you want to do your marketing on Reddit, you will need to find a niche which we can refer to as message boards or subreddits that are related to your service you offer or product you sell.
On this forum, in your niche, you are therefore going to find people who have already indirect interest in what you offer and this will have an impact on what you offer as long as you get it done properly.
Point to note: do not advertise on platforms like Reddit if whatever you will be advertising will not look authentic to the audience. Therefore, it is highly advised that you study the subreddit even more carefully before having to post.
vii) Hold Online Contests
Contests are great ways that you can engage your customers, especially if they are online. You do not need extravagant prizes for the contests. In fact, a couple of complementary services or free products are sufficient to earn you new prospects who invest a few seconds of their time engaging in the contest to try and win.
Aside from engagement, your brand will grow by word of mouth due to contests and not forgetting they are one of the ways you can use to gather data regarding your potential customers.
You will know exactly what they would like about your business or product and in the long run, you will improve in that regard.
Contests will also create a strong relationship between you and your already existing customers which is very important for your small business.
viii) Guerilla Marketing
Most people get scared by the sight of Guerrilla, whether in most contexts, whether it’s the animal or the guerilla warfare that ever existed before. In this context, however, there is no need for panic even though the kind of marketing strategy evolved from Guerilla warfare kind of strategy.
Therefore guerrilla marketing basically focuses on attention-grabbing, creative and most importantly low-budget techniques to hit your potential customers by surprise and grab their attention with the aim of increasing your brand awareness and increasing your sales.
Using nice and attractive stickers alongside graffiti as long as you have the permits, will be a gem as you try out these strategies.
All you need to do is draw or script attention-grabbing stickers and graffiti and use it on your website page or even your front store. You will be amazed by how much attention you will grab for both your customers and your potential
The example above shows the MacDonalds kind of Guerilla marketing strategy.
ix) Send Email Newsletters
If you are looking for one of the best ways to engage your new visitors on your page, as well as maintaining your already established customers, email marketing is the way to go.
We are currently living in an email world, and as it stands it is one of the ways to communicate to your prospects or customers with is. The good thing with email marketing is that even the most basic of email marketing strategies are capable of having the biggest impact in your small business.
If we supposedly consider the statistics done by Entrepreneur Magazine, you will understand the reason why email marketing is important.
More than 70% of adults in the US prefer communication through email especially if it is official communication from companies and working organizations. Even to add to that, 91% of them prefer receiving promotional emails from companies that they do business together,
Therefore, it is very easy to advertise newsletters on your website for people to sign them up. This is the best way to nurture potential customers and later turn them into your loyal customers. In fact, the emails work perfectly for subscription businesses.
x) Invest in SEO
SEO as much as it may be ignored by many people, is one of the ways you can boost your small business. In fact, people who have perfected the SEO strategy are shelling out quite a lot of money. For your small business, you still can invest in SEO to boost it.
There are a few things you can do to start your SEO journey with the aim of boosting your small business. You can do things like creating content that would be helpful to your audience.
The content should be precise and you should make sure that your headers and subtopics are both readable and explanatory.
You can also optimize your local listings that can go towards helping your small business build a significant presence on the web.
xi) Build a presence in Online Forums
We are living in a dot com world in which most people engage in online forums. Actually, if you have been reading or engaging yourself in other online forums, you must have found it interesting.
These forums, helps you answer questions or discuss topics in non-promotional but quite helpful manner and the long run impact is enhanced the visibility of your brand to most potential customers over the internet.
Point to Note; you should be careful though, selling your business heavy-handedly might be a turn off to your new customers and that means that you could miss a chance to get new customers for your business in the online forums.
xii) Establish your Social Media Presence
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest among others, you can name them are the platforms you should not miss if you are looking forward to growing your small business. In fact, these are free of charge platforms that will help your small business grow.
Create pages and accounts for your small business and post updates. That means your following will grow which creates your brand awareness of social media. While we should agree that different businesses will suit certain platforms, you should be aware of where your business can do well.
For example, if you are running a small local bakery or even a cafe you might fancy posting pictures of it over Instagram for your followers however few they are. Without that, you would be missing out on chances of attracting new customers to your cafe.
xiii) Invest in YouTube Videos
Albeit being last on our list, this strategy is one of those that will grow your small business no doubt. Being the second biggest search engine in the United States, establishing yourself on YouTube should be a great idea for all businesses and above all, it is cost effective.
All you need to do is create a channel and post short but most importantly captivating videos that describes every detail of what you do or you could even talk about a deep topic that relates to the services you offer or products you sell.
Most customers prefer watching a video of how to do something rather than read about it and that is why YouTube is quite vital. When you have a number of videos that explain how to use your service or product, chances are that you are going to draw more attention over YouTube
There is more to YouTube than what we will discuss here, but the important thing to know is that you will have to find out more on YouTube SEO for you to nail your YouTube marketing strategies.
The good thing is that your business will grow alongside your presence on YouTube and it is a platform that will be of use for your business once you deploy it.
Part 2: Use Various Free Marketing Tools
Aside from the strategies named above, there are free tools allover the internet that can help you as you market your business especially if it can still be regarded as ‘small business’. They include:
i) Use Due to Track Time Spent on Marketing Projects.
Due is absolutely free; it will enable you to track your time easily; this will help you access the time spent on each marketing project. The app will help you allocate more time on the important project that will yield more productivity to your business.
Besides tracking time, the app is useful in calculating the billing time, offering invoicing and payment platforms, which is important in freelance marketing talent as it helps in billing the clients for their work.
ii) Use Buffer to Manage your Social Media
Buffer is useful in managing your social media accounts with ease. Social media is a great platform for marketing your business; however, managing it can be a bit challenging. Buffer will help you manage your social media accounts with ease, and it will also help increase your followers, hence enabling your brand to grow.
Other perks of using buffer include the ability to manage multiple accounts, schedule post, it has analytics, and it will enable you to create campaigns. Buffer has a free plan, and this is a great platform to grow your social media handles of the business.
iii) Alternatively, use Hootsuite for Social Media Management.
Beside Buffer, you can use Hootsuite to manage your social media accounts. Actually, using both Hootsuite and Buffer will make your social media accounts yield outcome whenever you market your business on the platform. While using Buffer, you can schedule a post, Hootsuite, on the other hand, is a great tool for central social media management.
Hootsuite has free plans that can help in managing up to three social media profile, and this can be useful to the bootstrapped business.
The advantage of Hootsuite is that you can easily give feedback on the post made in the different social media platform with ease in one dashboard.
Therefore, if your business will be needing too much social media action from Facebook, Twitter to Instagram, you might fancy jumping onto Hootsuite’s or Buffer’s bandwagon.
iv) Design a logo with Spaces’ Free Logo Maker
Having a logo is one of the vital steps in marketing your business. The logo is a vital step in your branding. With Spaces’ free logo maker, you won’t need to hire a designer to make a logo for you since you can design a logo that meets your expectations.
Spaces’ free logo maker has a different icon, frames, and font classes where you can use them to design your preferred logo that will express your brand without incurring any cost. Therefore if you have a small business that might require to make logos, Spaces’ logo maker is the tool to go for.
v) Use Canva for Easy Designing
Visual content is gaining popularity in marketing. From custom illustrations to infographics, visual content is an amazing strategy used by marketers to build the appearance of a business.
Canva is a graphic design tool, and it can be used easily by the newbies. It contains hundreds of fonts, images, and templates, giving you an array of graphics which you can easily design brochures, infographics, and social media images for free.
If you have an Instagram account that you would want to optimize great images for, Canva is the way to go. You will be amazed by how much simple yet powerful this tool is for your Instagram marketing activities.
vi) Use Evernote for Organization
Organizing your plan is essential in marketing your business. With a constant flow of ideas, it is essential to organize and prioritize your notes so that you can capitalize on the opportunities if they arise.
With Evernote, you can easily capture ideas, and trends in a note, voices, and videos it down for future reference. The notes can be easily accessed by phone, tablet, or laptop. Evernote is one of the effective tools in finding and storing ideas, competitive analysis, and market research.
vii) Use SurveyMonkey to Secure Customer Feedback
Getting feedback is essential for any business that intends to grow. With the feedback you can easily note the areas that need some improvements for the business to be perfect and be in a position to meet the expectations of the customers.
With SurveyMonkey, you can get information from the consumers, have an insight into your business, and engage with the customers.
The software is easy to use, and it takes a couple of minutes to come up with your business survey. Moreover, the customers can be able to take a few minutes of their time to complete the survey, and you will get the answers to the questions asked in the survey.
viii) Use MailChimp for Email Marketing
Email is proven to be more effective in marketing compared to popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Most people love receiving emails, and with this, it can be easy to market with the platform.
Emails tend to be more official than other ways of communication and that is why it has grown even more popular than most of the other modes of communication.
MailChimp is an email marketing tool and can be easily used by the newbies. The tool is useful in creating integrated campaigns, bringing the insight of your business and enable you to grow your account.
With the simplest of organizations, you can organize email templates that you can send to your potential customers to nurture them into buyers. Therefore, if you have a way of funnelling the emails, then MailChimp is the tool you should go for.
ix) Use Sniply for Growth Hacking
When marketing your products on social media, you should also share the content of other reliable experts within your industry. Sharing the content of the reputable influence will make your audience to trust you, it will also result in a close relationship with the experts on the industry.
Sniply is a useful tool that will help you to add a call-to-action on every link you share. Because you have no control over the content you share on the internet, after reading your content, there is a minimal chance that users will go and check on your site.
However, with Sniply, you can add an inbound button or CTA within the frame in the article, this will enable users to view some of your other content.
x) Use Yelp for Business
Yelp is one of the best tools you can have at your disposal as you market your small business. Thousands and thousands of people are on Yelp looking for a business like yours. All you need to do is show them why they should choose you.
Yelp allows you to upload photos, update your business info, respond to views among other activities that you can do to create your presence in the midst of an audience that can turn out to be your customers.
Aside from helping people to get to know you, Yelp will make you stay on top of the feedback and respond to reviews from your customers and potential customers as soon as make any of them. This, in the long run, helps you engage them more and you will keep them coming back.
Yelp, additionally, helps you to get all the information you need. It allows you to see any action happening on your page in real time. With that, you can track calls, page visits, clicks and most importantly learn about your potential customers.
xi) Use Hotjar For Website Optimization
Hotjar is a fast and visual way in which you can understand your users or customers. Hotjar, therefore, qualifies as one of the best tools you can have for your business. Even for the fact that you can try it for free for some time, makes it perfect.
Hotjar, in fact, is an all in one analytic tool for collecting, monitoring, recording and measuring qualitative data for your use.
Designed with very simple but powerful device types like visitor recording and funnel tracking feature, every data about your customers and potential customers on your website is taken care of.
Whether you are a marketer, a product manager or even a UX designer, this tool brings more to your table.
Wrapping It Up
If you have a small business and you are looking for ways that you can market it, then you can count on the above strategies and tools.
They are briefly discussed but can be your game changer in your business. However, it is important to know that different strategies and tools will work in different kind of businesses.
That means that it will be good for you to dig deeper and try the ones that you think are related or would work in favour of your business.