12 Free Marketing Ideas You Can Use In Your Business Today

12 Free Marketing Ideas You Can Use In Your Business Today

When you’re in business it can feel like you’re shelling out money, hand over fist. Finding money for marketing can be tough on top of all your other business costs but you know you need to keep marketing to grow your business. What’s a girl to do?

Well, let me share some of my favourite free marketing ideas. They won’t cost you a penny but some will need you to spend a bit of time to get them working.

 1. Video

Videos are one of my FAVOURITE free marketing tools. They are so easy to make on your phone or tablet and let’s face it, most of us have one of them. I also use my webcam to film me talking or screen capture software called www.screencast-o-matic.com if I want to share how something works. Videos are brilliant for lots of reasons, from helping your customers to get to know you (building relationships) to helping you stand out from the competition (they can’t copy you on video!) and letting you demonstrate your products and services right there and then. They are super quick to make too, especially if you can get over your fears (I’m too fat, my voice sounds weird, I have bad hair etc) and understand your viewers and fans just want to LEARN. They are not there to judge you, they want to learn from you. That’s all. I challenge you to start making videos for your business today – you can share them on social media, on blogs or on your website and if pictures are worth a thousand words then videos must be worth a million.

2. List Building

You might have heard people talk about subscriber lists or mailing lists and not given them much thought but they are actually a brilliant free marketing tool that you could be using to grow your business. Why? Because if people sign up to hear from you regularly, that means you can use e-newsletters to grow your business.

The key thing here is that they MUST sign up, you must get their permission and you must NOT include people who haven’t given you their explicit permission to email them or you’re breaking a ton of spam laws.

This could include:

  • People who once gave you their business card (that’s not the same as giving you permission to email them)
  • People on lists you have bought/scraped off the internet
  • Basically, anyone who has not signed up to your list!

Apart from anything else, if people haven’t signed up they are not going to be interested. You only want people on your list who WANT to be on your list, who have signed up and who have ASKED to receive e-newsletters and offers for you – otherwise you’re just going to generate a lot of spam complaints and get your account shut down. Ack.

You can build your list using Mailchimp (www.mailchimp.com) – it has a great free package which is more than enough for most small businesses. It has great help files and videos to walk you through what you need to do.

How do you get people onto your list?

Well, you tempt them on! You give them a great reason to sign up and that usually means offering them an irresistible freebie. It could be a discount coupon or voucher, a free sample, a free e-book or cheat sheet, a free checklist or guide – anything that will attract the right people onto your list. Remember, you don’t want just anyone, you want the people who are most likely to buy from you – your Super Customers (I have a blog about that here) so create a freebie your Super Customers will love and you’ll build a list that’s responsive and full of lovely people who will buy.

3. E-marketing

Once you’ve got people onto your list, what do you do with them? Well, using Mailchimp again you can create beautiful e-newsletters that your Super Customer subscribers will love.

You can share tips, advice, articles, offers, videos, inspirational quotes – anything that adds value for your subscribers and keeps them wanting more.

Don’t sell, sell, sell though – that’s a sure fire way to get lots of people unsubscribing. Instead, think about what your subscribers would love to read.

E-newsletters are great free marketing tools because they help to build relationships with potential customers, they position you as an expert, they showcase your products and services, they keep you top of mind – all important aspects of marketing. E-newsletters also drive sales.

If you get the right people onto your subscriber list and you make them the right offers (in between giving them tons of value the rest of the time) you will find that people will buy. It happens for me and it could happen for you. It’s all about putting in the time to build your subscriber list and create engaging newsletters your subscribers will love.

4. Jungle Grapevine

This used to be one of the main ways businesses got customers – via word of mouth. These days it’s still a valuable free marketing tool but often gets overlooked in favour of techie solutions.

Does everyone in your network know what you do?

  • The mums at the school gate?
  • Your children’s teachers?
  • The post office counter staff?
  • The lollipop lady?

You never know who knows who. And even if your immediate network doesn’t need you right now, you never know who THEY know and who they might mention you to, in passing. Never pass up on an opportunity to let people know what you do (just don’t go overboard and pester people to buy – it’s not about that and you’ll soon find your network shrinking alarmingly…)

5. PR

PR is when you get featured in the media (magazines, trade press, websites, on radio, TV, newspaper) without paying for it. It’s not advertising or advertorials. It’s free coverage because you have a story worth covering and the media in question feels it’s a good fit for their audience.

You could pay someone to help with this OR you could make a shortlist of the media where you’d love to be featured (remember, you’re looking for the things your Super Customers read/watch/listen to), put on your big girl knickers and approach them. Twitter is a great place to find the journalists you need, you’ll find most magazines, sites, TV stations will show the journalist’s Twitter handle next to their name so it’s easy to follow them and get to know them.

Tip: Don’t harass/bombard them! I know you’re passionate about your business but they will just think you’re a weird stalky person and will hit the block button before you know what’s hit you.

No, instead think about building a relationship with them- help them out, answer their questions, retweet their requests, offer opinions. Get to know what kind of things they are looking for and then, when you feel like you are on their radar, ask them if they think your idea might work for their publication/channel. And if they say no, leave it a while and try again, their needs will change all the time depending on their content schedule.

6. Social Media

Social media is still free, despite what you might think with ad options appearing everywhere. Good content aimed at your Super Customers will always get people chatting and engaging, and the more engagement you can create, the more your business page will appear in people’s timelines.

It doesn’t matter which social media platform you use, always keep your Super Customer in mind and write posts and tweets that they will find useful, valuable and interesting. The more time and effort you put into this, the more you’ll get out of it. Don’t discount it, just adjust your focus and stop trying to attract everyone.

7. Competitions

Competitions are a great free way to market your business. Your only costs are whatever stock you are offering as a price or your time if you’re offering a service. The key with competitions is to offer a prize that will attract the RIGHT people, you don’t want just anyone, you want those people who are most likely to buy from you. Your Super Customers. Make sure your prize will attract them and filter out people who aren’t such a good fit.

In my business, I might offer a VIP coaching session with me – it will only attract people who want to work with me. Most people in the world will have absolutely no interest in winning it so I’m only going to attract those lovely people who would value a coaching session with me. They are the people who if they don’t win, are still likely to buy products or services from me – they are my Super Customers.

You can promote your competition at your premises if you have them, on your website, on social media or via your e-newsletter. Give yourself 2 weeks of solid promotion and market it like you mean it – the aim is to grow your list (people must sign up with their best email to enter) and make people aware of what you do. See what might work for your business.

8. Postcards In Shops!

Sometimes the old fashioned ways are the best! Depending on whom you’re trying to attract and whether you’re a local business, putting postcards or mini-posters in your neighbourhood or town can bring in loads of business. This will work well if your Super Customers are out and about during the day (think mums of pre-school children or retired people) or are fellow business owners. Postcard in the Post Office, local shops, supermarkets, library, leisure centre or community centres can get you in front of potential customers for free (or maybe a teeny payment) and if you’ve hit the spot with your marketing message, can bring lots of new business. The same goes for letterboxing – putting fliers through letterboxes, except you need to invest in fliers for that one and if the message, service or neighbourhood isn’t right, you could waste a chunk of cash.

9. Speaking gigs

Lots of people need regular speakers, from the Women’s Institute, local community groups, business networks and the business team at your local council to name but a few. Speaking about or teaching your topic is a great way to get in front of groups of potential buyers (again, choose your groups to focus on Super Customers rather than just anyone) and costs nothing other than perhaps a little for travel. If you think nobody would be interested, have a look at your local paper in the events section and see what groups are featuring speakers – you’ll be amazed at the broad range of topics covered. The easiest way to do this is to get in touch with a few groups that are a good fit for you and ask them if they need speakers. They can only say no, but they might say yes – so be prepared with one or two things you could easily speak about.

10. Networking

If speaking gigs aren’t your thing then why not try networking? Not all networking groups make you pay a monthly fee, some groups are simply informal get togethers where you meet and chat, cover your own cuppa and a cake or a glass of wine and do business. Easy peasy. Look for those options – search on Google and Facebook for networking events, ask around and see if anyone knows of any and if there aren’t any, how about starting one?

11. Email Signature

This is so easy but hardly anyone does it. How many emails do you send out each week? If it’s more then one or two then you’re missing out if you don’t have an email signature, it’s like stealth marketing . It’s easy to do with most email packages – just add your social media links plus a line saying what you do, you can even put time sensitive offers on there as long as you remember to take them off when they expire!

12. Blogs

My BEST free marketing tip is blogging. I love blogging. It works brilliantly for lots of reasons, not least because the search engines love blogs so you are helping your business to be found on the internet.

Think about what you could easily write about, pick 2 or 3 topics you know your Super Customers are interested in and that you can easily write about then brainstorm how many sub-topics you could make from those 2 or 3 – if your business was hypnotherapy then your big topics might be ‘what hypnotherapy is’ and ‘what it treats’. Each of those could give you a good few blogs if you go into detail and your Super Customers would find them really useful.

If your business is in fashion or accessories you could talk about trends, about looks and how to achieve them and give fashion tips

Blogs, especially if you can get yours embedded in your website like mine, help to drive traffic to your site. You can share blogs on social media and via your newsletter (my blog IS my weekly e-newsletter, I don’t write new content I just add an introduction and a few little gems of information to add more value). Blogs showcase your expertise, they help you build relationships with your readers and they can be turned into loads of different things, from videos to social media posts, newsletters to e-books.

 There’s No Excuse Not To Market Your Business!

So, you see there are loads of free marketing ideas out there, you just need to use your imagination and keep your Super Customers in mind at all times so you attract those people who are most likely to buy from you. Having no money is no excuse not to market your business if you can find just a little time, instead.

 

What are YOUR best free marketing tips? Why not share them in the comments?

6 BIG Reasons You Can’t Afford To Ignore E-Newsletters

6 BIG Reasons You Can’t Afford To Ignore E-Newsletters

I remember when I first started out in business, I had a big list of things I needed to do each week (get new clients, look after existing clients, send invoices, get money in) and to be honest, e-newsletters were not very far up my list. Actually, they probably weren’t on my list at all. They seemed to be a ‘nice-to-have’ for when I had time.

Fast forward a couple of years and my e-newsletter is probably my most important marketing tool, it’s certainly the marketing tool that drives the most sales and brings me the most money. Who knew?

The thing is, e-newsletters are brilliant for any business. Let me tell you why:

1. Relationship Building With E-Newsletters

Marketing is all about relationships. It’s about how you, the company, show your customers and potential customers that you understand what they need. It’s about how you show them you are a great fit for them. It’s about showing that you have the products and services they need to make their life easier or simpler, to save them money, to get their business insured, to make gift buying easier, to lose weight – wherever you fit in the world of business.

Relationships are what make customers pay more for a product or service rather than just shopping for the cheapest option. People want more than cheap – people want value. They want the right choice, the right service, the right delivery options, customer service attitude. They want to be listened to. They want to deal with real people.

And if you send them a regular e-newsletter once a month telling them how you can solve their problems and help them, showing examples of what you sell and explaining why it’s great value, answering customer questions, sharing great tips and advice and generally being a useful kind of resource, that’s going to go a LONG way toward building the relationships you need.

2. Staying Top Of Mind Using E-Newsletters

How often have you bought something from a company and then after a while forgotten what they are called? How often have you bought something online and thought ‘I love their website’ but didn’t remember to save it? In my case, it’s pretty often for both because I’m busy, I get distracted, I’m human!

In these cases the company I bought from probably hasn’t been in touch with me since. They haven’t emailed me or tried to show me what else they could do for me. If I didn’t buy but forgot to save the website, it’s because there was nothing compelling enough on the website to get me to hand over my email address, so they could keep in touch.

Now, let’s look at this another way.

How often have you thought about buying something and then an email popped into your inbox offering the exact thing you were looking for and you bought? In my case, several times and it’s no coincidence. The likelihood is that when I’ve been browsing online I’ve found a website, loved their stuff, not been ready to buy but because they were offering some kind of download (a voucher or coupon, a top tips list, a free e-book) I signed up to their mailing list.

[Tweet “E-newsletters keep you top of mind with potential buyers #tgmb”]

The best combination is to

  • Have a website that really shows what you can do for your best customers,
  • Give people an enticing little freebie in return for their email address
  • Send a regular e-newsletter that keeps you top of mind, reminds your subscribers who you are and how you can help and that makes it easy to get in touch and buy.

When I send out my weekly e-newsletter to my 20k+ subscribers, I get great feedback. I share stuff I think they will love and will find helpful. I rarely sell. But when I DO send out an offer for something they can buy, I sell LOADS. That’s the power of an e-newsletter.

3. Positioning Yourself As An Expert Through E-Newsletters

You ARE an expert, in case you were in any doubt. You know far more about your business than anyone else. You know your topic inside out. You could talk for England about your company and what it does. The thing is, you now need to show your customers and subscribers what you know and how it can help them.

E-newsletters are a great way to show what you do. They are a great way to share valuable information, help, tips and advice to your subscribers. You can include blogs, videos, articles, tips, quotes and anything you think  your subscribers will love – the aim is to show them that you’re a great fit for them and you know your stuff.

4. Showcase Your Products And Services Using E-Newsletters

E-newsletters are brilliant for reminding your subscribers what you sell. They might have bought loads from you, or they might not have bought from you YET. Either way, it never hurts to let your fans know what’s on offer. There’s a good chance that lots of your customers are buying stuff from other people that they could be buying from YOU, just because they’re not aware you sell it. What a waste! A monthly e-newsletter with a different product/service spotlight each time (along with the benefits it brings, how it helps, why your subscribers should care) can remind your audience why they need to come back to your website and have a good look around.

5. E-Newsletters Versus Social Media

Social Media is fickle. The rules change regularly. Facebook’s algorithm is one of the great mysteries of the Universe and it’s getting harder and harder to be seen and heard as thousands of new people every day flood onto Social Media. What’s a girl to do?

Well, if you’re clever (which you are) you build a subscriber list as we’ve outlined above. You get really clear on whom you’d love to have on your subscriber list – not just anyone and everyone but those people who are MOST LIKELY TO BUY – your SUPER CUSTOMERS! They are where you need to be focusing your energy, efforts and time.

[Tweet “Stop trying to market to everyone – focus your attention on those most likely to buy! #tgmb”]

Build a subscriber list of Super Customers then send them regular e-newsletters showcasing what you do, showing them you’re a great fit for them, demonstrating that you’re an expert and you know your stuff and making them feel like you care – building a relationship with them. You’re not at the mercy of Social Media. You send your emails direct to their phone or tablet. You include a juicy, enticing headline that makes your subscribers WANT to open your email and you wow them. You can do that. Just keep in mind why they are a brilliant fit for you, how you can help them and why they should care.

E-newsletters bring your marketing back within YOUR control rather than being at the mercy of a crowded timeline.

6. E-Newsletters Create Sales

If I haven’t convinced you yet that e-newsletters are a necessity rather than a nice to have and that they are a brilliant business tool, let me share a secret with you. Twice this year I sent out an offer to my subscriber list. The first email brought me £12,000 of business. The second email a month later brought me £18,000. £30k from 2 emails. Convinced?

Make it a top priority to build your subscriber list. Come up with an irresistible freebie that will attract the right people onto your list. Then keep in touch with them – regularly! Don’t just send one or two e-newsletters and give up because you think no-one’s reading them. Keep at it, it can take 3-6 months before your subscribers even register you’re sending them – by that point they will look forward to them if you’re doing it right.

Let me know how YOU are using e-newsletters to build your business. What do you include? How often do you send yours? What works best for you? Why not comment below and we can see what’s working best for different people.

5 Quick Tips To Get Your Email Marketing Selling For You

5 Quick Tips To Get Your Email Marketing Selling For You

You’ve decided you’re going to start sending e-newsletters in your business – how exciting!! And may I say, a totally brilliant plan because email marketing is a fantastic marketing tool that helps you build relationships with your customers and potential customers, helps position you as an expert and helps build your credibility. Also, email marketing keeps you top of mind – so when your subscriber is ready to buy, they will buy from you!

My e-newsletter helped me to build a six-figure business in less than 18 months – I am a huge advocate of email marketing and I really want you to use it in your business.

But before you jump in with both feet I want to share some quick and easy ways to make your email marketing work for you – after all, you’re putting all that work in, you may as well make it count.

It’s a great idea to have a plan before you start (yes, I know you want to dive in and get doing but whoa there girl! A bit of planning can save you a lot of work and frustration in the long run).

Here are 5 quick and easy tips that will help you set up your email marketing in the right way.

1. Define What You Want

What do you actually want from your e-marketing? Have you thought about it? If not, now would be a great time to do that. Do you want to get sales right from your e-newsletter? Drive readers back to your website? Encourage people to enquire? Get responses to a survey? What do you want your readers to DO when they read your e-newsletter? If you don’t know, don’t bother sending out your email because, frankly, it’s a bit of a waste of  your precious time. Let’s get really clear on the outcome and results you want from your lovely e-newsletter and then you can design it with the outcome in mind.

2. Speak To Your Ideal Customers

The best e-newsletters SPEAK to their readers and they do that by being really clear on who they are marketing to. If you write generic content, it won’t speak to anyone in particular. Instead, why not aim for an OMG moment – that moment when your ideal customers read your e-newsletter and say to themselves ‘OMG she is talking to ME! She knows me so well (I swear she’s a mind reader). When you get THAT kind of reaction to your newsletters, that’s when people realise you’re a perfect fit for them and buy.

3. Tell Them Why You’re A Solution To Their Problems

Remember that your subscribers signed up because they liked the look of your business. To move them from readers to buyers, you need to make it crystal clear WHY they should keep reading. People buy solutions to their problems so it’s your job to articulate why you’re going to make their life easier or better, how you’re going to help them look younger, feel more confident, save money, make money, lose weight, make their house look lovely, help their kids sleep or whatever amazing thing you do. Don’t make them guess – tell them how you can help them.

4. Make Them An Offer

Again, don’t rely on your readers being mind-readers too! If you want them to click here and go to the shop on your website to buy the gorgeous thing you’ve just shown them, then TELL THEM. Tell them to click here now! If you want them to fill out the enquiry form, once you’ve created that OMG moment and told them why you’re a perfect solution for them, tell them to complete that enquiry form immediately! If you want them to like you on Facebook – make it easy – tell them what they need to do and ask them to do it. You get the idea!

5. Keep Doing All Of The Above

It’s no use getting steps 1-4 right if you aren’t consistent. Irregular, sporadic e-newsletters are almost as bad as NO e-newsletters. The key to e-newsletters that sell is CONSISTENCY – decide on your e-newsletter frequency and stick to it. Religiously. Why? Well let’s imagine you send a few really good e-newsletters. You’ve got your readers used to you, they know you and your brand, they know you share great stuff and they like you. You’ve spent time telling them why they need what you sell and got them seriously thinking about it. Then you stop sending e-newsletters. But your subscribers know what they need now, so when a competitor emails them with an offer that matches yours, who do they buy from? The person who SENT the e-newsletter when they needed it, of course. Your competitor is top of mind. How gutting would that be? Exactly. Consistency is key and when your subscribers are ready to buy, they will buy – from YOU.

So, lovely lady – even if you’ve already been sending e-newsletter for a while, now would be a great time to take stock and review your e-marketing. If you haven’t yet starting sending e-newsletters, these tips will start you off in the right way, and hopefully you can see why email newsletters are a fantastic marketing tool. I want to see you turning e-newsletters into sales within the next two weeks – are you up for the challenge?