6 Quick & Easy Ways to Market Your Small Business for FREE.
I get it.
You've been up since 5am, putting out fires in your business all day, coming home & doing the family thing as much justice as you can muster, and then just before you crash down to earth in the evening your brain starts ticking over...
When did I last post on Facebook?
I should really put something on the website.
We're coming up to a slow period, I should really do some marketing.
Ah yes, that old chestnut. "Do some marketing".
Did you click this link 'cause you just want to goods?
Looking for the lite version of this post - click here to download the overview pdf.
Looking for a read with a freebie at the end? Carry on...
That little phrase seems like an enormous pile that needs sorting through, and you'd really rather just kick it under the nearest piece of furniture.
Or get someone else to do it.
Gawd wouldn't that be nice.
But deep down you know that without marketing, your small business will only ever get so far. Every business that has succeeded has consistent, effective marketing. The strategies might be different, but the foundations are the same - consistent & effective.
So where to start?
Before you start sweating bullets worrying about SEO, social media marketing or any of the confusing techy jargon, here are my top 10 ways you can market your business for FREE right now:
Step #1: Write a blog.
You may have snorted your 10th coffee out at that one straight up - oh yeah Meredith, I'll just bust out a blog in between serving customers & doing stocktake, shall I? - but hear me out.
A blog brings with it a number of benefits to your business:
it provides free value for your customers, both existing & potential
it positions you as a voice of authority in your field
it allows potential customers to get to know you through your content
it's a great excuse to use a bunch of super relevant keywords on your website which helps you perform well in Google searches (pssst: that's SEO baby!)
it's a great excuse to update your website regularly with juicy content, which also keeps the Google-monster happy.
If you step outside your business bubble for a moment, you'll see there are a tonne of amazing things happening every day that your customers would find interesting, inspiring or educational.
Now, the most successful blogs are ones that are written framed from the perspective of meeting your target market's needs, rather than talking about your products and services like a bland infomercial.
For example: If you’re a butcher, rather than writing a blog about the different cuts of meat you sell, you might instead right a blog called 'Top 7 Cuts for an Easy BBQ'. See how this approach solves a potential problem for a customer - how to make a BBQ easier - rather than simply talking about the products themselves?
Here's my top tips to get started on your blog:
Need inspiration for a topic? Think about your target market - what problems, challenges, goals or special events are going on in their lives right now that relate to your products & services?
Don't sweat about writing the perfect blog - this is about you getting your message across. So write the way you would speak, so readers can get a sense of your unique voice.
Really pressed for time? Choose lists or factsheets which allow you to write in dot points so you don't need to spend time fleshing out an indepth post.
Psst: Don’t have a website yet? Until you can afford one, why not stick your blog in your Notes tab on Facebook? It’s not a long-term solution, but it’ll get you started.
Step #2: Create individual nuggets of social media gold for Facebook & Instagram
To double down on the usefulness of your blog, go back through & pull out any statements that stand alone as little nuggets of gold, and turn these into posts for Facebook & Instagram.
Free online programs like Canva are great for creating high resolution graphics without needing a design degree - just customise one of their templates & add your own pearls of wisdom as overlaying text. Try to stick to using the same fonts & colours, because in all things marketing, consistency is key.
Use the key statement in the post image itself, then elaborate upon that point in the caption of the post. Don't forget to add hashtags in Instagram to get as many eyeballs on it as possible.
Here’s an example from this very blog post:
Step #3: Create a blog announcement post for Facebook & Instagram
Writing a blog is pointless if it just sits on your website waiting for someone to find it - create a post that announces it’s presence, using the caption to cover highlights or tease the key takeaway/benefit to those eager to read more.
For Instagram, direct them to access the link in your bio (here’s how to update your bio link if you’re not sure how).
Step #4: Link to your blog post through your Facebook Cover Photo
Now that you’ve got the hang of Canva or similar design programs from Steps #2 & #3, you can use it to bust out a highly clickable Facebook Cover with a call to action (i.e. “Check it out - click here”).
It’ll encourage Page visitors to click the image, where they can access the link to your blog which you can add to the description.
Step #5: Send an email to your database
If you’re after a quick & easy solution, send a regular email to your database of existing customers letting them know the blog post is now available, what key benefits it contains, and if they can forward your email to anyone they know who might also get something out of it.
For those of you looking for a great user-friendly option, check out Mailchimp - it’s free to get started with and has a fabulous drag-and-drop editor to customise your email, if you want something that looks extra snazzy.
A word of warning - keep your emails to once or twice a month if you’re sending to the same group of people. Email can quickly become more pestering and less helpful if you go overboard.
Step #6: Post on Google My Business
If you have claimed your listing on Google Maps, you’ll know that you’re able to manage that listing through the Google My Business platform (and if you’re a bricks & mortar business who hasn’t done that yet, DROP EVERYTHING AND GO CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE LISTING NOW)
A relatively new feature within GMB is Posts - it allows you to publish updates, events, products & services directly to Google. It has shown to improve business listing rankings (hey, it’s more eggs in the Google basket, right?) and also makes your listing appear that much more profesh and inviting in results pages.
It’s super easy to post from your Google My Business account, and the way I see it, it’s a very quick and easy way to further promote the blog post you went to all that effort to write.
Posts generally expire after 7 days (except event posts), but if you also create a post to match your Facebook & Instagram content developed in Step #2, you’ll be posting 2-3 times per week.
BONUS STEP #7: Boost your posts to a Saved Audience
The steps above are great for keeping your existing audience engaged - which fits nicely into the theory that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. But what about bringing new people into the fold?
That’s where boosting posts can be effective, but you need to have a few key things in place first.
To start with, build a Saved Audience in Facebook. This is basically an audience that you compile from scratch, nominating users based on age, gender, interests, location, etc. You can then select this audience as those you wish to target with a boosted post. Some would argue this approach doesn’t dive deep enough into Facebook’s targeting tools, but I personally find the Business Manager is really something of a specialist platform - if you’re a small business owner who just wants to run some ads, I think this approach gives you best return on your time without having to invest hours to get your head around it.
However, to be successful it does require you to have a really clear idea on who your target market is, so take some time to makes some notes in that regard first, if you haven’t already.
Next, choose a really engaging headline, caption & image for the post you want to boost. Be really clear on the kind of person you’re talking to and the solution you’re providing in your content. Alternatively, you can check out your page insights and just boost your most successful recent post.
Again, there are much more advanced & technical ways to go about this that may get you better results - but if you’re a time-strapped small business owner who just wants to get something going, this is a great place to start.
What are you waiting for - go get marketing!
Now I know that, whilst I’ve summed this up in 6 steps for you, it can still seem like a daunting task. But never fear, I’ve developed a Blog Writing Blueprint for you to use - this nifty framework will help you decide what to write, then step you through how to write in without getting bogged down in the details. From there, it’s a matter of getting it out there in as many places as possible.
Your can grab your FREE COPY of my Blog Writing Blueprint here:
Set aside some time once per month to put yourself through your paces using the blueprint as a starting point. With just a few hours every month, you’ll have weeks of juicy, valuable content meaning you can spend the rest of your time kicking back … (*cough*) well, at least spend the rest of your time not worrying about marketing.
Until next time!
|Meredith Paige is a freelance marketer dedicated to giving small business owners the tools they need to DIY their marketing. She creates courses, templates & workshops to make small biz marketing achievable & affordable - just the way it should be. You can check her out on Instagram & Facebook, or send her an email to say hi.|