If you’ve been thinking about free ways to market your business online, you’ve arrived at the perfect blog post.
It’s crazy to think, but just eighteen years ago, you couldn’t promote your business online through Facebook.
That is to say; it was still an idea in Mark Zuckerberg’s head.
Or the Winklevoss twins, depending on who you believe.
Likewise, Instagram didn’t exist, so you couldn’t find the newest influencer to peddle your teeth-whitening products to a decent audience.
By the same token, Google My Business wasn’t around.
Likewise, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok… none of those existed either.
Fast-forward to 2023, and NI business owners are spoiled; we’ve got many platforms to choose from.
On the positive side, we’ve got lots of different ways to market our companies.
Content marketing, email marketing, video marketing, Pay Per Click adverts, social media adverts, retargeting, influencer marketing, the list is endless.
But, of course, you’ll have to spend a small fortune to reach a lot of people on Facebook and Google ads.
Today, we will explore the best ways to promote your business online for free.
While they won’t cost you money, you will have to invest life’s most precious commodity; your time.
So, let’s get stuck in!
Emails, they’re not the most, ahem, sexy type of marketing.
However, they’re the most consistent with results.
Did you know that email marketing generates £42 for every £1 spent?
That’s an incredible 4,200% ROI.
Most importantly, the beauty of email marketing is that you can start it today from scratch, and it won’t cost you a penny.
Visit the email marketing platform MailChimp, create an account and get started.
Now, while you won’t necessarily have to spend money on email marketing (unless you have thousands of subscribers), it can be time-consuming.
As a result, when you’re ready to jump into it, plan wisely.
Decide whether it’ll be a once-a-week, once-a-fortnight or monthly newsletter and stick rigidly to that schedule.
Remember, too; it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Just make sure your newsletter is unique and not too sales-y.
Back in the good ol’ days of dial-up broadband, you’d have to buy a camcorder to create a video.
Today though, you can create studio-quality videos on your phone for free.
And you can make use of the hundreds of apps available to add some flair and edit your creations.
So, what could you use video marketing for?
Well, if you sell products, you could create how-to videos.
Or, if you’re a service business, you could talk through what you offer on videos.
The best places to post your videos are Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, but don’t forget to add some to your website.
You’ll see how, on my About page, I’ve added a promotional video.
When I started my first business in 2011, those days, on reflection, were as good as they would ever be on social media.
I remember posting content on my Facebook business pages, and nearly everyone that ‘Liked’ my page would see it.
Nowadays, though, you’ll have to pay to play to reach anyone at all.
However, all is not lost.
While you won’t reach 100% of your followers, you’ll still reach enough to make it a valuable part of your marketing strategy.
Make sure you have a presence on all the biggies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
And if you have visual products or services, TikTok, YouTube, and even Snapchat are worth looking into.
If yours is a B2B company, LinkedIn should be top of your priority list for marketing.
With nearly one billion users in over 200 countries around the world, it’s a platform you can’t afford to ignore.
Indeed, over the last decade, most of my significant projects and contracts were gained through LinkedIn.
The best way to build your network is to share relevant industry content, comment on other people’s posts with your own opinions and engage with your connections.
If you’ve read my blog post about getting to the top of Google search results, you’ll know that I attribute some of my success to my Google My Business listing.
I’m genuinely surprised more people aren’t singing from the rooftops about Google My Business.
It’s a hidden gem in the Northern Ireland digital marketing landscape with an easy set-up and simple navigation.
So what’s the secret?
Updating it regularly with your latest blog posts, recent images and a handful of videos and status updates.
Further, you can also include behind-the-scenes photos, new offers and a whole host of other types of content.
Could you do with an extra 1,000+ website visitors for free every month?
You know what to do; create a Google My Business listing today.
Picture the scene.
A family member or friend says, “Have you watched Stranger Things on Netflix yet? No? Aw, you have to. It’s absolutely brilliant!”
Naturally, you’ll take their recommendation seriously and watch it.
Generally, testimonials work in the same kind of way.
For instance, when searching for a product or service, potential customers want to know that others first enjoyed a good experience with that company.
Testimonials are free, yet they’re remarkably powerful in driving sales.
Have a look at how I use testimonials in my portfolio.
I would recommend inserting a different testimonial on every page of your website.
For instance, when people Google something and end up on your website, they might visit that single page and leave.
As a result, it’s best to have enough customer testimonials on every page to reach every customer.
In addition, include testimonials on your marketing material like I have with my portfolio.
Positive PR adds an extra layer of credibility to your business.
Even a small mention in national media can have a considerable impact.
When The News Letter published this article about me being shortlisted at the Digital DNA Awards, it helped get my business in front of lots of eyes (for free!):
This was free PR and not only did it lead to more people knowing about me and my business, but it also helped improve my Google rankings.
As a result, this article led to many inquiries from local business owners keen to find a blog content writing service in Belfast and fresh web content when revamping their website.
So, if you’ve got something to say, won an award, or have an interesting take on the world, don’t be afraid to make a song and dance about it.
Contact local and national media outlets; you never know what opportunities could arise.
Well, you knew I was going to include this, didn’t you?
Blog content has the power to transform your website into a traffic-attracting beast.
And the secret?
Post content regularly and make it high-quality and interesting.
To give you an idea of the power of blog content, my own Google Analytics tell a fantastic story.
For example, in the last 365 days, my website had 23,473 visitors.
Out of those, a massive 78% of all my website visitors were reading my blog content.
Thanks to my blog posts, I’m now on the radar of tens of thousands of more people.
Every business owner, Marketing Manager, and Communications Officer should prioritise updating their blog or news page regularly.
PS: If you need help with regular, high-quality blog content, I offer monthly blog retainer packages of 2, 4, 6 and 8 blog posts per month.
All you have to do is tell me what you’d like written, and I’ll take care of the rest.