10 ways to market your business {for free}

Marketing your small business doesn’t have to be expensive, it takes your time of course, but there are a number of effective (and free) ways to market your business. Here is our guide to get you started.

1. Get Social. If you’re not on the social networking sites, get on them. Build a facebook fan page, linkedin profile and twitter account. You can also link your facebook and twitter accounts, and if you want to get clever, you can schedule your tweets and posts through tools such as Hootsuite. Some other sites to check out are Pinterest and the Apple app Instagram.

2. Press Release. Is there something newsworthy about your product or service? Got a story to tell? Write a press release (you can use a template such as this) and send out to local media. You can get the names and contact details directly from your local paper or online. Or you could use a wizard and distribute through sites such as News Maker.

3. Get Blogging. Don’t have a business blog yet? You can start one free and simply through blogspot or wordpress. You can then write articles relevant to your business niche telling you customer’s more about your products and services. For example, if you run a restaurant you could publish content around party planning or weddings, including imagery (providing proper credit back to the photographer). If you take time writing a good headline and using the headline words again in the content, instant SEO! And when you’re done, be sure to use the sharing tools and share to your facebook and twitter accounts.

4. Build a network. Starting out in small business is tough. Start building a network of business owners where you can share and swap ideas. There are a number of great forums such as Flying Solo . Another tip create an email signature and forum signature that includes your business name, link to your website, facebook page, blog etc… every time you email someone or comment on a forum, it’s out there!

5. Talk about it. Follow blogs and facebook pages within your particular niche. Get involved in conversations and comment where appropriate, being careful not to be spammy (i.e. commenting on every page/ blog with a standard come and visit my site and include url) this is considered bad etiquette. There are also a number of facebook pages that allow you to promote your business such as The Mummy Tree and Aussie Mumpreneurs.

6. Involve your customers. Customers are like loyal employees (some even love your brand more than your paid employees do), so involve them. Use your social media platforms to ask your customers what they’d like to see, get them to collaborate with you on a product, give them three product choices and ask them to be the buyer! The biggest brands in the world are outsourcing to their loyal customers. Marmite outsourced their marketing to customers. Threadless is a revolution!

7. Run a promotion or giveaway. This is a great way to increase your reach and introduce people to your product, blog or service. If you are running this on facebook, you need to be super careful not to use any of the functions of facebook (such as liking your page) as an entry mechanism. You can be shut down without warning read more here. Instead you might use facebook to promote the competition and drive customers to email or enter on your site. Also be careful to adhere to the Competition Guidelines in your particular state (NSW here).

8. Build an email database. Your email database is an incredibly valuable tool. Do you have one? Do you use it? There are some fantastic and free e-marketing sites that create professional looking emails, provide great reporting and maintain your database (including unsubscribes). Mailchimp is our provider of choice, check it out. Be careful to always adhere to privacy regulations and only email customers that have first ‘opted in’ to receive updates via email. You can easily add a sign up form to your website and/or facebook page through mailchimp also.

9. List your site. Look out for free business directory listings and list your site on them. We are launching our business directory on Monday 13 February and offered free business listings for 6 months. Listings have now closed to the general public but we will take any new listings over the weekend from our Social Factory friends.

10. Cross promotion. Team up with a non-competitive business and cross-promote. Your pool of customers just increased! You could run a reciprocal discount or gift with purchase.

If you need some help  marketing of your business, contact us for a consultation

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