7 Low-Cost and No-Cost Tactics to Market Your Business

The Shift 1It was my absolute joy to share some of my hard-won knowledge about low-cost and no-cost marketing strategies with fellow business bootstrappers at The Shift coworking space in Chicago last Thursday.

I realize that I don’t cover small business topics that much on this blog. (I usually do it on Carol Roth’s blog, Business Unplugged.)

But I LOVE helping small business owners. And I have learned a lot over the past five years.

What a great group we had! Everyone participated and seemed to get a lot out of it. Here’s what we talked about:

Marketing Your Biz on a Bootstrapper’s Budget.
(A Big Bang for Small Bucks.)

Tactic 1: Blogging Strategies

Why you should have a blog

  • Thought leadership
  • SEO
  • Site ranking

Why you should guest blog

  • Get in front of people you don’t know
  • Get additional exposure
  • Build relationships and referral sources

Why you should use LinkedIn Pulse

Tactic 2: Social Media

When social media is a giant time suck

  • When you are spending hours on your personal social media, not your business’s
  • Do what I say, not what I did – my face-plant moment

How to get value from social media

  • Have a social media strategy that is tied in with your marketing plan
  • Know where your ideal clients hang out so you can get your message in front of them
  • Be helpful! (Note: using social media solely as advertising will not work.)

Tactic 3: Referrals

How to get in the habit of asking for referrals

  • Add asking for referrals into your sales process

How to make it easy for others to refer you

  • Have a clear “who and do what” statement – who do you work with and what do you do for them?
  • Have a very specific “ask” – and just ask for one thing (even if you can do lots of things)

Tactic 4: Content Strategies

How to come up with ideas

How to reuse existing content in new ways

  • Break blog posts into short topics and make short videos around one point
  • Break up points in blog posts for social media posts
  • Have videos or podcasts transcribed and then turn them into blog posts
  • Consolidate blog posts into an eBook or tips sheet to use as a giveaway to get signups

Why you need to promote your content MORE and create LESS

  • Creating content takes time, promote it so that people see it (Pro tip: You’ll need to promote things WAY more than you think you will.)
  • It’s not an “if you build it they will come” thing

Tactic 5: Influencers

How to find influencers

  • Social media
  • Commenting on their blogs
  • In-person events

How to reach out to influencers

  • Be respectful!
  • Don’t ask for anything immediately

How to build and maintain relationships with influencers

Tactic 6: Podcasting and/or Video

How to get past the fear of hearing/seeing yourself

  • Know that pretty much everyone hates hearing/seeing themselves
  • Over time, you become desensitized – and hopefully better, too
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • In short, get over it
  • Follow my friend Lou Bortone – he’ll get you going http://www.loubortone.com/

How to have fun creating content

  • Be yourself
  • Be funny
  • Be authentic and share your story and your challenges
  • Share your knowledge

Tactic 7: Speaking

How speaking for free can generate leads and help you get clients

  • Many (most?) groups and meetings book speakers
  • Paid speaking gigs are a separate business, but free gigs are easy to get

How to find free speaking gigs

  • Ask the organizer of groups you attend
  • Ask for referrals from your network
  • Try local libraries, chambers, Rotary Club meetings, etc. (Note: IF those people might be clients.)
  • Do a class for Dabble, or your coworking space like this event 🙂
  • Sign up for http://chicago.freespeakers.org/become-a-speaker/

Bonus: Insider Tips

How to be seen – and feel like – an expert

  • Create a body of work – blog posts, tips sheets, interviews, eBooks, podcasts, videos
  • Have a professional look and feel – logo, website – doesn’t have to cost a lot!
  • Are you new? Surround yourself with smart, established people
  • Collaborate with people who do complementary – and SIMILAR – things
  • Try to get mentioned in the media
  • Sign up for HARO http://www.helpareporter.com/ and other services
  • Read “Got a Media Mention? Now Do the Important Things” by me on Business Unplugged http://www.carolroth.com/blog/got-media-mention-now-do-important-things/

 

1 comments
Clement Lim
Clement Lim

Great article Catherine!


Really good point about promoting content more and creating less.


Instead of creating lots of small pieces of content, I like to create one epic piece and promote it like crazy. 


I get much better results that way. 


These days there's so much content around your stuff must be really outstanding to get people's attention.


Clement