As a small business owner we wear many many hats. One of these hats requires us to determine the best ways to market our small business. In todays marketing landscape this can be super overwhelming and sometimes paralysing… leaving many business owners not doing anything (or as little as possible) or they just keep doing what they’ve always done.
In this article, I’d like to take you through 7 free and easy ways to market and promote your small business.
#1 Create and manage a Google My Business Page
This is a free tool offered by Google for any business. The only caveat is that you will require a gmail account to set it up… which is also free (unless you opt in to use their Suite). Once you have created a gmail account in mere minutes, you can go onto create your Google My Business Page listing.
Creating this listing will give you a digital footprint in the most used search engine around the world – Google. Even if you haven’t yet created a website, you need to create a Google My Business Page listing. You can write a long description about your business, add your location (if relevant), your hours of business, contact details, photos, offers, events and manage reviews.
By creating a Google My Business listing you can be found on google in the search engine results and maps.
Watch my video on how to set up your Google business page here
#2 Create a social media presence
Create a social media profile on at least one platform. By creating a social media profile you will increase your online presence, gain ‘link juice’ from a website that has a high domain authority and it provides another ‘free’ channel to promote your business and grow a community.
Having a presence on a high domain authority website such as Facebook or Linkedin will also give you the opportunity to ‘show up’ in search engine results when someones searches for your name. Quite often for small business, your Facebook or Linkedin profile will display higher in the organic search results than your business website. This is due to its domain authority so it’s imperative that once you set up your profile that you keep it up to date with current contact details, hours of trade etc.
If you’re not feeling confident on how to create a social media marketing strategy that works, read this.
#3 Email your database
I believe that your number 1 goal from the day you commence your business is to grow your database or list. A database or list of your own is a real asset to your business, and you own it as opposed to a social media following which you don’t own. You still want to look to grow your social media audience however even with that audience, your ultimate goal is to introduce tactics that move them from just a follower to a subscriber.
So firstly ensure you have strategies in place to always be growing your list (hint hint – encourage sign ups on your website + social channels plus read this) and then regularly email your database with valuable content.
Your email content will be driven by your business and what you offer. A subscriber to Catch of the Day would expect special offers whereas a subscriber to an accountants e-newsletter would be looking for tax tips, financial news and possibly a good deal at tax time.
To create a solid content calendar, take the time to determine your ideal customer and why your product/service serves them. This will help you to work out a list of content ideas.
If you’re looking for some help on how to come up with content ideas that can feed your email campaigns and social media channels, click here.
#4 Be your own Publicist
You can spend some of your marketing budget to have a PR consultant work on a plan of attack to drive media coverage. I highly recommend this approach if you can afford it however if you’re just starting out or you’re not really convinced you want to allocate the funds to PR just yet, why not become your own Publicist?
The great news is that with sooo much content being consumed, editors online and offline are starving for content each and every day to feed their beasts. Your role is to work out why they’d want to hear from you about what you offer.
- identify media outlets that your business aligns with. There is no point contacting a motoring magazine if you are selling womens diaries. An example of where there would be great alignment is if you sell yoga gear and you reach out to yoga influencers, niche publications and/or podcasts in the wellness space
- see if they produce an editorial calendar so you can be ready to pitch with sufficient time for a feature to come together based on their timelines… not yours
- don’t be all about you. Make sure you know their publication, their audience and reference other examples they may have done in the past which is similar to what you want to pitch
- be ready for a no or not yet. Learn from each contact you make so you can get better at honing your pitch and understanding of what they are looking for
#5 Guest Blogging
Number 5 ties into number 4 in that when looking at publications that you feel align well with your offering, you can ask about being a contributor to their publication. Whether it’s a once-off or a long-term arrangement it will assist with growing your profile and position you/your business as an authority in your area of expertise.
- once again, do your research. Look at the articles they’ve published to date and by whom. How could you add value that’s different to what they are already doing?
- be pitch ready – be ready to your position yourself as the expert. You need to be ready to sell yourself so have that elevator pitch ready. Pre-empt objections so you have answers ready to go.
- offer to write or record a sample piece for free (even if they don’t ask for it!). It’s a great way to demonstrate your passion and how great you are at what you do
#6 Facebook or LinkedIn Groups
Join a Facebook or Linkedin Group (or Groups). This is a fantastic way to share your knowledge and showcase your offering BUT remember to do it with no expectation of anything in return. This is an opportunity for you to grow awareness and overtime build your own following, subscribers etc.
As an example, I posted about giving free access to my Brand Styleguide in a few womens Facebook groups that I am part of and the take up was amazing. Not only have I provided a great tool for small business owners that I know is valuable to any business, I have been able to showcase an area of expertise.
To find suitable groups, you simply search for them within the platform and ask to join. They will have certain criteria that you are to abide by and it’s as simple as that. It is a great way to raise your profile and generate leads…. for free!
#7 Directory Listings
Google and other search engines constantly scan directory listing sites to develop a stronger understanding of the local web and your business. You can use a blend of national and more local directory sites.
Find out more on the ways to grow your organic results here.
Take advantage of these 7 Free ways to promote your small business and at the same time grow your profile as an authority in your area of expertise. You will also find that by taking these 7 steps, it will lead you to more ideas and connections that will assist you further with growing your business.