How to start marketing when you have no followers, a tiny email list and no budget

We all have to start marketing our businesses somewhere, and the reality is that you’re going to be starting with no followers, a tiny email list and probably very little budget for paid traffic. Here is how to start marketing when you have no existing audience. 

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How to start marketing when you have no followers, a tiny email list and no budget

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The question that I’m answering today: How do I start marketing my business when I have no followers, a tiny email list, and no budget for paid ads?  

I love this question because we all have to start somewhere.  I started Wildbloom last year with maybe around $500 in my bank account – if that.  All my money had gone into growing my product-based business, which you would have heard a bit about if you listened to last week’s podcast episode on the things that I would do differently if I were to start again.  When I launched, I took advantage of quite a few free marketing tactics to get our first couple of clients until I could afford to spend money on Facebook ads.  Though one thing to remember is that if you’re thinking of Facebook ads as an expense, then you’re not running them correctly.  They’re an investment, not an expense.  They should lead to more paying customers or clients; otherwise, you are wasting your money.  

Okay, how can you start marketing your business when you have no followers, no email list, and no budget?  One thing to remember when you’re taking advantage of free forms of marketing: you’re typically going to have a slower growth than if you were running paid ads, so don’t feel discouraged if you’re not hitting the targets that you want just yet.  It’s just simply the nature of free platforms.  

#1: Take advantage of Facebook groups

But, don’t think of them as a way to promote your stuff; instead, think of how you could add value to other people who are in the Facebook group.  Maybe by answering questions, sharing relevant blog posts or video content, or maybe you’ll even just focus on making friends.  The Facebook group algorithm now prioritizes content that gets more engagement, so if you’re posting something, you want to make it as engage-able as possible.  Asking a question or asking for opinions: these are some easy ways that you can get more engagement and then get your post up to the top of the group.  Don’t just post a link to your website saying, “Hey, check out my business!  It’s really cool!”  Way too many people do this, and it’s not a good look for your brand.  And it doesn’t get any engagement and it doesn’t get any clicks — so don’t do it.   

#2: Create epic blog content

Note how I said epic blog content.  That’s because there is way too much mediocre blog content out there these days.  Write about things that nobody else in your industry is writing about or try to help solve a problem that your ideal customer or client has.  Then, promote your blog content in Facebook groups and on social media.  Blog content has the added benefit of growing your organic traffic over time when you’ve SEO-optimised it correctly.  But, it can take a while to start seeing the SEO benefits – especially if your website is brand new.  It’s a long game, but it’s a great way to get free traffic from Google and other search engines in the long term.  

#3: Leverage other people’s audiences

Collaborate with people in your space who have an existing audience. This is such a great way to reach new, relevant people for free.  Maybe they’ll be people who have a similar (but not a competing) product, or maybe they will be a micro-influencer in your space.  The key thing is that the collaboration needs to be mutually beneficial.  Otherwise, you’re probably not going to even get a reply, let alone a yes. 

For example, maybe you’ll propose a giveaway collaboration where you’re contributing the prize, and all they need to do is post about it on their Instagram profile.  But for someone to enter, they need to like your Instagram account AND the other person’s Instagram account.  Maybe you have friends in the space who would happily do you a favour and email their list about your business or share it to their Facebook profile or post about you on Instagram.  I know it can be hard asking, but what’s the worst that they can say?  No.

#4: Guest blogging

Guest blogging can be super powerful if you pick the right websites to blog for.  Create a hit list of blogs that your ideal customer or client regularly reads, and check to see whether they accept guest post submissions.  Some blogs will have a separate page detailing how you can submit a guest blog.  Others won’t.  Find an email address if they don’t and tailor a pitch to them.  Don’t just copy and paste an email that says, hey, I like your blog; can I write a post for you? when you’ve never even read a single post that they’ve written.  Instead, tell them which of their previous blog posts you like and why you like them, and then propose some potential topics that you could write about that are tailored to their audience. 

Give them a link to your own blog page or some previous posts that you’ve written so that they can get a feel for your writing style and whether you’d be a good fit for them.  Guest blogging not only has the benefit of driving traffic to your website, but it also shows Google that you’re an authority on your topic, as long as you’re linking back to your website from the post.  So ask for a bio or a byline with a link to your website.  

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How to start marketing with no followers, no email list and no budget

November 9, 2018



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