How can I market my business for free? Here are the best free ways to market your business

Believe it or not, there are many different free ways to market your business. This episode, I’m diving into some of the best free ways to market your business, because often when you’re just starting out, money is tight! I’m willing to bet that you haven’t thought of some of these ideas before, too. If you’ve been trying to marketing your business on a budget, wondering “how can I market my business for free?” then this episode is a must-listen.

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10 of the best ways to market your business for free

Most of us have been there: You’ve just launched a business and you’ve invested what little money you have into a website, products, branding and collateral, trademarks, insurances, domain names… You name it! That really doesn’t leave a lot of budget for marketing.

Luckily, there are some great ways to market your business for free. Here are 10 of the best free ways to market your business:

Marketing your business for free with content

If you’ve listened to any of my podcast episodes, you’ll know I’m a big fan of content marketing. I just can’t get enough of it and I’m going to talk a lot more about it in the future. It also happens to be one of the best free ways to market your business.

For the most part, producing content is free – assuming that you have the time and the knowledge to write a blog post or record a video. Content doesn’t just have to be a blog post or video – it can be anything from a photo you post on Instagram, to a podcast episode or a YouTube video, or a webinar or a Facebook Live… Or anything in between!

Content marketing is a form of “pull” marketing. That is, your customers find your content and they turn to your business when they’re in the market for whatever you sell. “Push” marketing is more of the in-your-face style of advertising, like TV ads or Facebook Ads, whenever you’re disrupting what they’re doing.

Marketing your business for free with social media

This goes hand-in-hand with content marketing. If you don’t have good content, you’re going to struggle to build an engaged audience. And, without an engaged audience, you’re going to be selling to crickets.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: Do not make your social media feed one big sales pitch. Rather than spending all your energy trying to grow your following, focus on adding value to your followers’ lives. Start building a connection with your followers. Reach out and connect with others via Instagram and genuinely engage with people.

Social media is, first and foremost, a social platform. You wouldn’t run into a networking event, run up to someone and scream “buy my product!” and then run away. Would you? No, you wouldn’t – you would build a connection first. Think of Instagram and Facebook like that.

Sure, genuinely engaging with people on Instagram is not scalable. Yes, it does take a lot of time. But, once you start getting traction you’ll find it requires less time. Plus, when you’re in the early days of business, it’s okay to do some things that won’t scale – because, once you grow, you won’t have the time to do them.

Personally, I looked up the Instagram account for almost everyone who downloaded my free ebook and left a comment thanking them. Scalable? No. Effective? Yes.

Here’s how to grow your Instagram following when you’re just starting out.

Leveraging your in-person connections to market your business

Next, you want to make sure you’re leveraging your in-person connections. Sometimes, all it takes is a quick email or a message to friends and family, telling them about your business and asking them to spread the word for you. Usually, when people come to me and ask “How can I market my business for free?” I ask them if they’ve posted about their business on their personal Facebook or Instagram. And the answer is usually no.

Don’t be afraid to tell people about your business. You never know when a friend-of-a-friend is desperately looking for your product, or when your aunt’s best friend’s mother-in-law is your dream client. If you’re starting out and you’re struggling to get those first few customers or clients, offer to give your product or service to friends and family for free, in return for a review or a testimonial. Don’t make a habit of working for free because your time is valuable. But, sometimes, when you’re new in the game you’ve just got to do it.

Market your business for free by getting out of the house

Don’t be afraid to get out there and meet people. I know a good portion of you started an online business so that you didn’t have to get out there and meet people. But, even if your business is online, you’ve still got to go to the events, meet the people and build those networks.

There are so many entrepreneurial groups and meetup events where you can get out in the real world and chat about all things business. You’ll be surprised what you learn – after all, you don’t know what you don’t know. I remember when I first started working in a coworking space almost two years ago, all these words that were being thrown around that I’d never heard of before. Words like Trello, Slack, Zapier, Asana – two years ago, I had no idea about half the small business marketing apps out there and now they form part of my daily life. And, they’ve saved me so much time. I could have just been plodding along, doing my own thing for the last two years and not even knowing that there was an easier way to do these things.

So, definitely get out there meet people and be open to learning new things.

Marketing your business for free with your email list

Another great way to market your business for free is to build your email list. Growing your email list should be pretty high on the list of things to do. Once you’ve got people on your email list, you can market to them for free and setting up an email list through MailChimp is free too.

How do you get people onto your email list? You give them great content and you offer them something in return.

They opt-in for your free lead magnet, and then you build trust with them using an email nurture sequence.

Marketing your business for free with guest blogging

Guest blogging is another great way to reach a new audience for free. Rather than paying for advertising on a certain blog or magazine, write a really, bloody good article and pitch it to them as a guest post. In return, ask that they include a short bio and a link back to your website.

This will have two benefits:

  • First people will see your bio and hopefully click through to your website.
  • Secondly, Google will see that they’re linking to your website and, to them, this is a signal that you’re an authoritative source which means they’ll rank your website higher in organic search results.

I recommend researching the website you’re pitching to and just look at what style their writing is, what topics they cover and whether they accept guest posts – before you pitch them.

Marketing your business for free with an affiliate program

Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to market your business for free but, sometimes, it needs a little nudge to hurry it along. An affiliate program can be just that little nudge that your audience needs. How you decide to structure yours depends on what you sell. It could be something like this: The person they’re referring gets 10% off and the referrer gets 10% back on their purchase or a $50 voucher or a $50 cash payment.

So many people put this off because they think it’s really hard to set up an affiliate program. It’s not. My favourite app for this is Referral Candy. It integrates easily with the major website platforms and it is so user-friendly.

Marketing your business for free with a giveaway

Another great way to market your business for free (and grow your audience at the same time) is through a giveaway – but, you’ve got to be very strategic about this. If you’re giving away a free iPad when you run a skincare business, you’ve got to realise that a lot of people entering won’t be interested in what you’ve got to sell. They’re just interested in winning the iPad.

The key to running a strategic give away is picking a prize that your target audience will like. If you can give away your own product as a prize even better.

Then, you need to think about what people have to do to enter. Do they need to follow you on Instagram? Tag a friend? Subscribe to your email list? Maybe you could even reach a bigger audience by collaborating with a business who shares a similar target audience.

Think about what the goal of your giveaway is. Do you want to build your email list you? Do you want to build your Instagram audience? What is your goal? Then, think about what they need to do to enter.

Marketing your business for free with influencer marketing

This one is kind of a free way to market your business. Some smaller influencers will post content in return for free product, whereas others will ask for payment. You don’t know unless you ask. Make sure you pick an influencer who is truly influential and has the right audience for your business.

A big following doesn’t make them influential. Look at how people interact and look at who is commenting. If it’s the same people commenting on their post each time, they’re probably just part of a comment pod.

I could talk about influencer marketing for hours so I’m going to leave it there for this episode, but we’ll definitely look at it again in a future episode when I have more time.

The best way to market your business for free: Partnerships

This could be anything from partnering with a business who sells a complementary product, to sponsoring an event, to running a giveaway together, to swapping guest posts, to selling each other’s products wholesale.

There are lots of ways you can potentially partner with another business. Chances are, there’s another small business out there with the same target audience as yours, also wondering how they can market their business for free.

Join forces and boom – you’ve doubled your audience. If you’re looking to grow quickly, think about pitching some big businesses that are out of your league. Again, you don’t know unless you ask. And, if you can pitch it in a way that shows them what value is in it for them then they might say yes.

There you have it 10 of the best free ways to market your business.


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May 23, 2018

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