Free (and almost free) ideas to market your business, even if you’re not a marketer

Starting a new venture or side hustle is a challenge in and of itself, let alone getting the word out and spending time and money on promotion. The good news is, there are things you can do easily (and mostly for free) to set yourself up to market your business—a little now and a lot later. Here are a few of our favorite easy wins:

Add or claim your business on Google

Read more about it here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?hl=en

Registering or claiming your business on Google will generate a Google Map marker for your business and allow you to provide basic business information that will also be displayed in your business Google search results featuring things such as business hours, your phone number, your address, a link to your main site and will even allow you to add things like photos, virtual tours or collecting reviews from Google users.

Your marketing benefits will be:

  1. Build trust. As one of the most trusted brands in the world, when your business is listed on Google, it makes it easier for others to find you and provides you with an additional layer of free exposure. Positive reviews accrued through your Google profile will also assign a star rating to your business, making the best-reviewed businesses more trustworthy in the eyes of the audience.

  2. Help with SEO. Every time you claim your business on a site like Google, you are providing details to your company and providing a link back to your main site and social media outlets. This is a fantastic way to help you rank higher in search results.

  3. Free advertising. While you can also pay to appear at the top of a search result, simply registering your business means your business listing will appear when people search for local businesses in your general geographical area.

  4. Expose your business to local searches.

  5. Funnel users back to your site.

Add or claim your business on Yelp!

Read more about it here: https://biz.yelp.com/support/claiming

Similarly to Google, but with a far more negative reputation. Yelp is an important purchasing aid customers use for decision-making. The number of people using Yelp is incredible and you can bolster your Yelp reputation to your advantage.

Your marketing benefits will be:

  1. New business. Claiming your business and optimizing your Yelp listing can result in a lot of new customers because you can tip the balance in the consumer’s mind when they are looking for services like yours.

  2. $8,000. That’s the number of average revenue that business owners that claim a free Yelp business page generate versus businesses that don’t.

  3. Publicly respond to reviews. You have the ability to monitor and respond to reviews immediately. This allows you to correct errors posted about your business, thank people who leave positive reviews or demonstrate empathy to those who’ve had a bad experience.

  4. Privately respond to reviews

  5. Control your listing by uploading photos and other branding materials.

  6. Help with SEO. Like with Google, having a link back from their site to yours is considered beneficial and boosts your search engine rankings.

  7. Correct errors in your listing. You can only correct erroneous information if you have claimed your business.

  8. Access Yelp analytics

Start collecting emails

There are a variety of different platforms that allow for email collection. Whichever one you decide to implement, make sure your website visitors are being asked to provide with their email address to receive updates about your business. An easy way to do it is to use Mailchimp or Sumo tools to generate a pop-up. Also, collect emails in your customer-facing forms and make sure they are being fed into a master business contact list. This will come in handy whenever you decide to start paid retargeting or paid advertising efforts in the future. Sign up for the free Sumo tools suite here.

Claim your social media handles, even if you’re not ready to start using them right away

Similarly to your Google and Yelp listings, you will reap some SEO benefits from having links back to your site from these social media networks. The largest ones—Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram—will even let you share your profile with friends and accrue followers and business reviews. Lyfe Marketing put together this handy list of the best networks to join to promote your business.

Start a blog

Whether you write daily, weekly, biweekly or once a month, establishing a cadence of blog posts is an important discipline. You can then use the email list you have collected (see above) to share your latest creation with your following, and also share your new posts on social media.

How many words per post? Experts disagree. But the length of copy that provides SEO advantages has been getting longer as years progress. At Growth Guild, we strive to write ~1000 word articles once a week, and we share the writing responsibilities between all team members. This helps ease the workload and makes it so that someone is not in charge of coming up with topics and copy 100% of the time. This handy calculator will help you figure out how long your blog post needs to be depending on the subject you’re writing about to get the best SEO bang for your blog.

Add your website to your personal email signature

Sounds like such a simple thing, it cannot possibly have an impact. But think about the people you email in your day-to-day personal life. Hairdresser, mechanic, health care professional, friends who also happen to own businesses. Including your business name, logo and website information to your personal email signature amplifies the number of people who see your business name. You will never know if your dog walker will be your next client unless you make them aware that you own a business. Here are some guidelines to craft the perfect email signature.

Ask for referrals

The best business leads come from referrals. The words from a satisfied client cannot be bought with all the advertising money in the world. Make asking for referrals part of your sales and fulfillment process. Whether you request referrals in a post-sale email, or at the beginning of a pitch meeting, asking for introductions to potential clients is a great way to meet new clients. Here are some ideas on how to ask for referrals.

Ask for reviews

Similar to referrals, asking for reviews is a great way to establish trust and eliminate objections. You can add a link to your business profiles on Google, Yelp and Facebook in your email signature. You can also send an email to past clients with links to your business profiles and ask for a review.

This handful of ideas is only the tip of the iceberg! Stay tuned for posts with more free (and almost free) marketing ideas. And reach out to me anytime at astrid@growthguild.co. 

Astrid Storey