5 More Best Free Marketing Ideas
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the thriftiest of them all? Me? I’ll take that title gladly. As a lover of things free and cheap, I shared five best free marketing ideas and it was one of my favorite blog posts. Now, it is time to give out some more free marketing ideas.
1. Tell Your Story, and Get Others to Tell It Too
We talk a lot about the power of content marketing, but there is another well-tested way to tell your story and get others to tell it, too – media relations. Cultivating good relationships with newspapers, magazines, online news outlets, and bloggers can create great free publicity for your company.
Here’s how this worked for a recent customer in the construction industry: In our monthly marketing meetings, we always take a few minutes to talk about what is new or important in the company, and what is happening in the industry. This helps us find potential stories that we can share on their website and e-newsletter, and in this particular case, with the media. As we talked about an advanced piece of technology they had purchased, we began thinking about the trend of technology in construction and how many companies were using technology to be competitive. From there, we pitched the idea of a story about technology in construction to a statewide industry publication with which we had a good relationship. They liked the idea and ran a full-page article about the company’s new piece of equipment and technology in general. That free article gave the company greater visibility than their regular paid ad in the same publication could ever produce.
Finding appropriate contacts, studying publications, and pitching stories can be time intensive, but the rewards of free publicity are huge.
2. Give Away (or Even Sell) Your Presentations
In my original post about free marketing ideas, I recommended that you share your expertise by writing articles and blogs. If you have done that, then this free marketing idea will be easy. You can now turn those same blogs and articles in presentations and e-books. Share presentations on sites like SlideShare to share your expertise with a much larger audience. You can even make money sharing your expertise by publishing educational presentations on sites like Udemy, a site with a vast amount of online courses. You can even publish your own e-book through services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
3. Band Together and Promote Others
There is indeed strength in numbers when it comes to marketing. While you are limited to your network of prospects and existing customers and your own social media efforts, banding together with others – even competitors – can often produce much bigger results. A local example of this is the Eat Decatur organization. Comprised of local Decatur restaurants, they are competitors and yet, they made a choice to collectively promote eating in Decatur. This means, referring customers to other restaurants, sharing other restaurants Facebook posts, sharing ideas, and being supportive of each other. Just through the Eat Decatur Facebook page, each restaurant is able to reach a larger audience outside of their own page fans. Another great example is the Got Milk campaign created by the California Milk Processor Board. This campaign promoted drinking milk and all of the milk brands benefitted from it.
4. Be a Host
In addition to collaborating with others on promoting your business, there is another way that other businesses and non-profit organizations can help you and you can help them – be a host. Here at Red Sage, we have hosted meetings and non-profit events at our office. We also annually host a Coffee Day event – this year with Tennessee Valley Pecan and Albany Bistro. Our friends at SCSWorx hosted a series of Be Happy Hour networking events. The Cupboard, a specialty store in downtown Decatur and one of my favorite examples of great hosting, allowed the Junior League to sell their cookbooks during Third Friday and hosted three restaurants in a battle of cooking with balsamic vinegar. Opening her doors for these types of events is free, and it gives her an opportunity to sell more merchandise.
5. Tap into Your Existing Customer Base
Often, marketing is about reaching new customers, but don’t forget about those existing customers that you’ve already won over. These customers are typically great for repeat business and referrals. Keep them up-to-date by using a free (or paid) permission-based email service like MailChimp. While you may want to invest in some initial email design services to make sure that the emails are attractive, creating and sending out the regular emails can be free. To keep your customers engaged with the emails, send out exclusive event invites, first dibs on new products, or other things of value that are available only to those on the email list. This exclusivity will help encourage your customers to opt-in to the email and keep them opening those emails.
More Free Things…
Looking for more free marketing ideas? Check out these great free social media resources, Katie’s post on harnessing the power of Pinterest, Amanda’s post about using your personality to get better social media results, and, of course, Ellen’s 10 Step Strategic Planning Process.
While free will always be number one in my book, don’t forget to invest some money in your marketing to round out your plan. Smart things to invest in…good design, a solid marketing strategy, and a well-designed website.