From my desk to yours, my top 10 free ways to market your business. - Melissa B.

 

1. Go LIVE on Facebook

Host a video on Facebook LIVE to talk about your product or service. Answer impromptu questions and watch viewers' reactions in real-time.

64% of users are more likely to buy a product or service after watching a video (source: ComScore). If you're not doing video, you're out of excuses.

 

2. Get Tight With Influencers

Identify influencers in your industry and engage with them on their blog, website, and social media. Engaging does not mean just following them on Instagram or liking a post -- read their content, compliment their work, add your own builds, and always include a link to your website in your sign-off.

 

3. Speak At A Local Event

Not into public speaking? Not many of us are. But, when you talk about something you're passionate about and know a lot about, you may find that its rewarding and it's a great way to engage with potential customers in a more intimate setting. Look up events in your area using Meetup or other networking tools. Attend a couple and get to know the vibe, then volunteer your time to talk about a topic that's related to your business. 

 

4. Post Something People Want to Read

Chances are, if you're reading this, you got here because of a captivating image and catchy headline I posted on social media aimed at getting you to click and read this article. Why? Because I WANT to share my tips and tricks with you. AND, I want you to hire me. Now it's your turn. Come up with a top 10 list of advice you can provide in your industry. Use Canva to create a nice image and post it to all of your social networks. You'll build credibility as a thought leader and inform more people about the product or service you provide.

 

5. Send a Mass, Non-Spammy Email to Your Extended Network

Make sure that your network (family, friends, and colleagues) are kept up to date with occasional emails that remind them 1) what you do  2) why you're different from the competition  3) about new products, features or services you're providing  and 4) where to reach you if they want to know more. You may get a few unsubscribes, but overall you'll probably find that if the emails are timed correctly, beautifully designed, and contain just enough interesting and non-salesy content, that you'll get a bump in traffic and stay top of mind with the people most likely to refer you for future business. 

I use MailChimp because it's easy to use and free (for your first 2,000 subscribers). And, I export my connection list from LinkedIn to keep my mailing list up to date.

 

6. Collect and Showcase Reviews 

If you're any good at what you do, you should have at least a handful of people who have nice things to say about you. My business thrives on referrals and I consider an authentic review the most powerful and precious form of marketing there is. I'm proud of mine and showcase them on my homepage, here.

68% of people trust online opinions from other consumers [source: Neilsen].

IMPORTANT: Don't send an email asking for referrals. Solicit referrals using the built-in referral tools on LinkedIn, Google My Business, or sites like Thumbtack so that when someone searches you online your referral is included along with your business listing.

(Don't forget to include a couple reviews in your mass, non-spammy email listed in #5.)

 

7. Reach Out to Like-Minded Business Owners

If there's one thing that has surprised me the most about owning a business, it's how willing other business owners are to help out a fellow entrepreneur. It's like joining a sacred tribe where only we know the highs, lows, scars, and triumphs of working for yourself. It's not too dissimilar from what I found when I became a new mom, surrounded by other mom-strangers who gave me hand-me-downs, insisted that I use their brand of pacifier, and detailed exactly how to introduce solids. As a business owner, we have a wealth of knowledge and compassion. Reach out to owners of complimentary businesses to yours; ask for advice, offer to send them business, and you may find they can become a great source for new revenue. 

As an example, I have great relationships with other marketing agencies, photographers, videographers, media buyers, software and IT companies. There's plenty of work to go around and it makes life a lot more fun when you have a tribe to do it with.

 

8. Narrow Your Target and Be Professionally Persistent

Most of us have pretty broad target audiences we focus our marketing efforts on because God-forbid we leave anyone out. Broad targets with segments are important and can be effective, but so can highly-targeted, laser-focused efforts. Make a list of your ideal clients or customers. What do they have in common? For me, my ideal clients are tech startups, often owned by women, who are in the fundraising stage. Make a hot list and make your communication to them direct, highly-customized, and consistent. 

 

9. Send Personalized Notes to Past Customers

Your best bet for new business can often be repeat business. If someone trusted you once, (and you did a great job), chances are they'll be willing to use you again. Send a personalized email or hand-written note to past clients that could have potential for new work. Remind them of the work you completed, ask about changes in their business, tell them about new products/services you're providing, and maybe even offer them a discount for repeat business. 

 

10. List Your Business In All the Right Places

Make sure your business is listed on the most popular online directories. Some are general and apply to every business (Facebook Business, Google Plus, and LinkedIn), and others are more niche like Thumbtack or Trip Advisor. Make a list of your top 10 and don't just create an account, but optimize your profile with tons of photos, business details, and reviews. Set a reminder to update your profiles once-a-quarter to be sure your info stays current and increase your chances of being found by a potential customer.

 

 
                          Melissa Barker, Founder & Owner  MEL BAR MAR

                         Melissa Barker, Founder & Owner MEL BAR MAR

 

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MEL BAR MAR  |  Digital Marketing Agency  | Charleston SC

 

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