MARKETING IS HOW YOU COMMUNICATE YOUR VALUE TO YOUR TARGET CONSUMERS.
And the beautiful thing is you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do this!
There are 6 main categories you can begin with for free!
This post may be one of the most valuable things you read if you are new to marketing or if you feel like you’ve been spending money on marketing with little return. I would encourage you to get the free download of this information here and apply all these tips.
My advice to all my clients is to ALWAYS start with the free and low-hanging fruit.
And there is a lot of it!
Take a look at the list of 6 free marketing efforts you can start applying today! And work your way through all of these items before looking to spend a single dime on any marketing.
The biggest cost associated with applying any of these free marketing tools will be the time it takes.
If you want additional guidance on any of the following items, download the free guide here, and then check out the marketing guides, content planners, and metrics trackers I’ve created for you in the Self-Guided Materials shop. You can purchase pre-built planners and trackers - excellent tools to help keep you on schedule and to understand the performance of your content.
SO, WHAT ARE THE FREE MARKETING TOOLS YOU CAN APPLY TODAY?!
NO. 1: DEVELOP YOUR BRAND/BUSINESS FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS. This drives all other marketing decisions because it tells you who your customer is, why they would value you, and how you connect with them. The key components of your brand are:
Market and competitive landscape analysis
Values to consumer and benefits
Tone, Beliefs, Purpose
When looking at this list, you may feel as though you can rattle each of these off quickly. I would challenge you to take the time to write them each down using a brand pyramid template and focus on their connection to each other and how they deliver value authentically for your customers. For more information on developing brand foundations, check out my post on building these foundational elements and follow along with the download template linked above in this paragraph.
NO. 2: BUILD YOUR OWN CONTENT. There are many different applications of content and content marketing. Content marketing can be free if you use organic content rather than paid content. The most essential component of all good content is a strategic plan. So before diving into your content creation, develop your strategy and clearly outline your tactics.
For more information on developing strategies, check out my post on Strategies and Tactics. Then download your own content planner and get to work outlining your marketing. Inside each planner and guide, I create, you will see a section dedicated to strategy development.
If you're really looking for a leg up, you'll want to get a copy of the BOM Content Repurposing Guide. It's pure magic and accelerates all content development. It will show you how to turn 1 piece of content into 10 or more and how to make it stretch for an entire month.
After building your content marketing plan, you’re ready to start applying those plans to individual channels and building content specifically for the audience you hope to reach through each channel.
So let’s talk about the most basic and free ways you can use the content you create.
Create Content For Your Website!
A website is crucial to doing business in this day and age. Yes, we’ve all heard that you can make money without a website, but there is a cap to your earning potential if you do not have a place you are driving your audience that is uniquely yours. The last thing you want is all your content to live on a third-party-owned site because not only are you beholden to their rules, but you are drastically limiting yourself by only being on 1 channel.
At the beginning of this post, I said everything was free. And I am making the assumption that, if you have a business, you already have a website. However, if you do not, then there is a small cost associated with building a website. You have to purchase a domain name and you will need to pay a fee to whoever is hosting your site (WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, etc.). These fees are usually very low so this should not be a deterrent. But there are zero costs associated with creating the content for your website and ensuring it reaches your target audience.
Write Blog posts on your own site. For a complete guide with templates, content tips, content ideas, and more, check out my Guide to Building Your Own Blog. You can also guest post on other blogs.
Provide Freebies. People LOVE free things. And I mean LOVE. So you can use this to your advantage by getting their contact information to get them the freebies. We call this a lead magnet. Because you are attracting potential leads for you to try to convert to purchasing customers. Remember that free download I linked for you at the beginning of the page?
Use your content on social media! There are 7 primary channels I recommend businesses evaluate. Ultimately, the channels a business uses depend on the type of audience it is trying to reach. You should pull this info from your strategies and Brand Pyramid. The 6 social media channels I recommend you consider as part of your marketing strategy are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube.
While there are specific best practices for each channel that are too extensive to dive into in this article, a few key content marketing best practices span across all of them:
Have a plan and track your progress
Be consistent with your branding
Join groups, follow topics
Create freebies to post about and give-away
Host chats, groups, or virtual events
Create ideas to test and continuously optimize as you gain insights from your data
NO. 3: SET UP SEO. SEO can be confusing and some people dedicate entire careers to SEO and SEM. You do not have to be one of them to use it. Instead, you can set yourself up for success quickly and easily and FOR FREE with a basic understanding and a few simple steps.
This is really about removing the roadblocks so your target audience can find your business. There are a few easy steps to add to your process.
Check out the SEO and keyword checklist in the image to the right and use it as a way to get started and stay on track if you are familiar with SEO.
And for those of you who are SEO newbies! I created a thorough yet straightforward guide: Guide to SEO and Keywords. This guide is designed to provide you with all of the information, tools, and templates you need to build your own SEO.
This is low-hanging fruit people! And anyone has access to it. You just need to talk a deep breath, set aside some time, and be willing to learn for a bit.
NO.4: ASK FOR REVIEWS & REFERRALS. We are conditioned to be nervous to ask for this. But in truth, you have to! We all work hard for our customers and clients and they may not always know how impactful their reviews are to you.
So as a small business owner, entrepreneur, or someone trying to build a brand, let them know! Your existing customers or clients should be your biggest advocates. If you are unsure of how to do this, I dedicated an entire post to this topic because I feel so strongly about it. Give it a read here.
NOTE: I never let my clients spend money with me until they have reached out to people within their network for reviews! They are VERY important.
NO.5: GET LOCALLY INVOLVED. Depending on your type of business, this can look very different. But essentially, this means networking. Form connections and get your business out there for the world to see! Think PR, partnerships, directories, etc. This can mean locally geographically or topically.
NO.6: PLAN. TRACK. ANALYZE. LEARN.
I intentionally saved the most VITAL one for last. That may seem counter-intuitive, but I want you to get excited about all the opportunities above before I dropped the cold, hard truth of marketing.
The key to successful marketing is planning and tracking.
It is always amusing to me when someone tries to see that marketing is “intuitive” or that they create content based on “feelings”. It is perfectly okay for you to run your personal social platforms like that if you want, but marketing is a business practice. If you apply that principle to your marketing, you will not succeed. It is really just that simple.
Before you think I am just being harsh or that I do not understand that structure, planning, or data do not come naturally for some, I have got you covered! And trust me when I tell you, I am the furthest thing from a structured human being. I taught myself all the structural-based tools needed to succeed in marketing. And so can you!
To make your life infinitely easier than mine was in the beginning, I built multiple complete templates for you in excel that are dynamic and all you have to do is drop in the information you need. Not to worry if you are not experienced with excel either! These are easy to use, color-coded, and have directions. I encourage you to check them out using these links:
The bonus part of each of the trackers is a summary tab that helps you analyze your data! You will be able to see averages, maximums, and trends over time.
You don’t have to be detail-oriented or an excel wiz to do any of this - you just have to be patient with yourself and decide to provide the best value you possibly can for your business and ultimately for your customers. In other words, you have to care about your business succeeding.
Now that we have covered all 6 of the free marketing tools available to you, I want to remind you that you always have the option to put more emphasis on any of these plans with paid advertising. So if you used this list as a way to check yourself and are ready to start planning your marketing budget, I’ve built a templated marketing budget for exactly that purpose.
Thank you for reading this post and for choosing to learn a bit more about marketing! We need more good marketers out there and you're taking steps to be part of that elite group. If you have any questions or want to learn more, feel free to check out the rest of the free articles published on this site and shop through the self-guided materials created for you.