How to advertise for free

Advertising business for free

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Advertising, in one form or another, has been round for hundreds of years. And over the years, the advertising prices have been rising again and again, year after year. Today, while the costs of starting a business are minimal compared to what they were 20 years ago, advertising your business can leave a big whole in your budget. So, what are some of the ways to place yourself on the map without spending like a madman?

Free advertising channels

1. Use your personal network.

This is the easiest starting point – if you have something that others might want, why not offer it first to your family, friends and colleagues? You may have to do quite a bit of persuading, and sending out some emails to your least favourite friends and colleagues (you don’t have to speak to everyone face to face to persuade them). However, at the end of the day, that’s how you get your first customers, feedback and a chance to see what demographic your audience may narrow down to.

2. Choose a business owner who is not your direct competitor, but whose clients may benefit greatly from your product.

Offer the business owner a cut if they advertise your product to their clients. This is not easy, and 90% of the time businesses would not sell other people’s products. However, you never know – if you have a commission fee structure in place, where you pay them out of profits, then it’s a win-win. They may see a benefit to bringing a new product to their clients and earning extra cash without putting too much effort in, and you get that sweet free advertising.

3. Facebook groups and pages.

Just as in the case with business owners (see above), admins on medium-large FB groups are just the same – but working out a commission-based arrangement could be much easier here. Once again – majority of people would prefer an up-front payment, but especially with Facebook groups and Instagram influencers – do NOT agree to it, unless you know that you will get a minimum result to cover your expenses.

So, talk to admins and then post to groups that are relevant to your business.

4. Instagram influencers.

As of 2019, the prices for influencer posting are greatly inflated. Be very careful about the type of arrangement that you agree on with the influencer: check that they have genuine followers by looking at the comments under their posts, see how many comments they have compared to the total number of followers, and make sure that their account has been around for a while (so it wasn’t just “boosted” in the past 1-2 months).

You can send free sample of your product/offer free service to the influencer in return for a mention in their story/post. Try to go for the post. Stories disappear by the next day, and no one will remember your “incredible cream” within 24 hours. This is not a completely free method, because you have to account for the cost of the product and delivery cost, but if it brings you at least 1-2 sales – it is well worth it!

5. Reddit.

Reddit is notoriously known for its hate for ads and self-promotion. However, you can ask genuine questions and offer something to sub-reddit readers that they actually need, in order to gain their trust and attention. Browse this platform, engage with users and participate in discussions before offering your product/service.

6. Organic reach.

This is the most tedious and longest way to success, but if done properly, it will start to yield results over time. Write content. A LOT of content. Publish it on your website, blog, social media and other free publishing sources. Start getting tractions, because people would begin to recognise you on the “World Wide Web”.

Once you start to reach people organically, they will either buy your stuff or…

7. Retarget leads.

…or they will leave vital information about themselves – in particular their email on your website. If they do, you can retarget them using free email services, to try and convince them to spend hard-earned cash.

You don’t need complicated CRMs and other pricy tools to do this. A simple lead funnel can convert a warm lead into a paying customer, practically for free.

8. YouTube.

If you are particularly good at making videos, or you have a lot of content to share about your business, YouTube is a no brainer. You can reach thousands of people organically – the only downside is that it will take time to build up your channel and followers’ base. If done properly, you can definitely grow it to 10k in under a year. (But, it will take a lot of work).

9. Shout-outs on other blogs/websites.

Offer website owners/bloggers in your space some reward. It would either be commission on sales or part of your service as “payment”, which would actually cost you nothing upfront.

We are almost in 2020, and people are still reading lengthy blog posts and engaging with online experts, so their word could mean a difference between 0 and 100 sales.

10. Fairs and events.

Every single industry has some kind of event associated with it that takes place on a regular basis. Go to these events and get in touch with potential clients. Don’t be an annoying salesman… but have an annoying salesman’s persistence and ability to approach one person after another to see if one of them might be the golden ticket. As with groups, influencers and bloggers, make sure that you are attending event with the right kind of people – decision makers, who could buy your product or service, otherwise you will be wasting your time.

11. Quora.

Quora is an interesting channel that we began to explore not so long ago, and that we are still testing out. You can answer literally hundreds of questions a week on Quora, and technically your answers stay their forever and link back to your product/service forever too… This means that you could play the lead game with this platform (See option 7). Just make sure that you don’t get lost in the spiral where you answer 20 questions a day, and you get no leads from the platform. Your answers need to be quality, and they need to link back to your product or service one way or another.

Make sure that questions that you answer are relevant to your business.

12. LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has become a huge source of information for professionals worldwide. Publishing content on LinkedIn can help reach audience organically, although just as with Facebook nowadays, you would not get far with it, unless you manage to achieve a viral effect with your post.

13. Viral networking effect.

That’s how social networks became popular. Experiment with different topics when publishing your articles and other content on all of the above platforms – at any point, one piece could lead to sudden influx of visitors to your business page, which in turn would lead to sales. Word of mouth is quite possibly the strongest advertising tool out there.

If you get enough people to talk about your business, you will make more sales from that, than the savviest advertiser in the world.

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