Let’s say you want to start a small business or build a personal brand and you have exactly $0 to invest in yourself.
In truth you probably have at least a few bucks laying around let’s assume for the sake of argument you can scrounge up enough to secure web hosting and that you at least have a Smart Phone and a Laptop or Desktop.
Here are over 100 things you can do to market yourself and your business that you can execute on with no budget.
These things require the commitment of consistency and overtime will yield results. They are not meant to work overnight:
Do Marketing in the Real World First
Before you rush to get online and start sending out email blast (and destroy your credibility), take the opportunity to first think like a human being. You already have contacts sitting in your phone and your email account. People you’ve built a personal relationship and trust with. Reach out to them in the real world and build the foundation of your communication strategy in person. Face to Face and word of mouth still has more value than you might think. Just be human.
- Use your existing network of real world contacts to your advantage to prospect referrals and new opportunities.
- Attend free local business events and social mixers where you can find potential clients/customers or build strong network contacts.
- Offer to be a speaker at local colleges and other events.
- Consider offering a free presentation or workshop at your local library.
- Take advantage of your local Small Business Association and use the free resources they provide.
- List yourself in free business directories in your local area.
- Volunteer your services when appropriate to non-profits and charities in exchange for some type of promotion or reference.
- Ask for referrals from previous satisfied clients/customers.
- Create a sales force by offering a commission structure.
- Host a free event at your local library, community center or even your home or at a school.
Using Your Website as a Marketing Hub
Your website and/or blog is the core of your inbound marketing strategy online. It used to be that if you didn’t have listing in the phone book or have a building you weren’t a real business. Now it’s, if you don’t have a website, you’re not a real business…
- Use your blog to post unique and interesting content that can create an inbound marketing funnel by solving the problems of your target audience.
- Use a free email marketing platform like MailChimp or one provided by your web hosting company to build an email list to reach your most engaged audience members. Setup the email opt in on your site.
- Use your website/blog to be discovered in Search Engines like Google using SEO properly.
- Setting up a website means having a professional email address. This will help people take you seriously during in person and online networking.
- Share content from your blog in social media platforms where your audience is likely to be active.
- Your website should be a place where your clients or customers can find out the information they need to make a buying decision. Design your website and your content with this in mind. Give them a call to action and way to contact you.
- Use your website as a hub where people can find out about your other marketing channels and social media presence.
- Host your media kit, resume, portfolio of work and/or samples on your website and make them accessible as downloads.
- Utilize your website and your email list in order to make people aware of announcement and events.
- Offer free resources and downloads to grow attention to your main offerings and to grow your email subscriber list.
Content Marketing and Networking with Facebook
While I understand that the kids are telling you nobody is on Facebook, one day they will grow up… and then they will be on Facebook. Facebook is one of the strongest places to market to the 18–35 year old demographic and even Gen X and Boomers. Facebook Groups are a huge networking and marketing opportunity if you use them properly.
- Facebook groups are a great place to building networking relationships and find new clients and customers.
- Create a Facebook group around your existing followers in other platforms or around a group of people you want to cultivate or collaborate with.
- Use a Facebook Fan/Brand page as a hub for content to distribute to your audience and as a lead generation funnel for your email list.
- Use Facebook long post to attract more interest in you and your brand/business.
- Leverage Facebook Notes to increase your reach.
- Post Native Facebook videos to engage with your audience and get valuable data from Facebook insights.
- Use Facebook Photos and Galleries to gain more organic reach and to promote yourself and your business.
- Distribute your existing content via Facebook post.
- Use Facebook Messaging to directly contact people as individuals or groups in order to have more direct communications with important network contacts.
- Comment on the post of others within Facebook pages, communities and groups to build relationships and generate interested in you.
Video Marketing with YouTube
If there are only 3 online platforms you are going to focus on YouTube needs to be one of them. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and so it needs to be a priority. Find a way to take advantage of it rather than an excuse to avoid using it.
- Offer free monthly webinars using YouTube/Google Hangouts on Air.
- Create Recorded Videos that will answer the pain points of you ideal clients/customers.
- Distribute your YouTube Videos in appropriate online communities and groups such as Google Communities and Facebook Groups.
- Comment on other YouTube videos (do not do this in spammy way), contribute to the conversation and offer your opinions.
- Interview others via YouTube/Google Hangouts on Air.
- Offer yourself as an Interview guest on other creators YouTube channel.
- Participate in collaborations with other creators in your niche or even in your local area if appropriate.
- Create a free short online video course as a YouTube playlist to demonstrate your knowledge and skills and create a possible lead funnel.
- Create a Brand Story video on YouTube and embed it on your website and distribute it in social media.
- Create unique video content exclusive to those who sign up for your mailing list or newsletter.
- Post any of your speaking engagements to your YouTube channel
- Demonstrate your product and/or services and communicate their value.
- Post video testimonials from your satisfied customers/clients.
- Create videos answering your most frequently asked questions from clients/customers.
- Use YouTube to announce new product releases or any major events or changes regarding your business.
- Great YouTube playlist to increase your chances of being discovered and to create repositories of valuable content for your target audience.
- Create videos around industry events and changes that effect your market.
- If you are operating in a local market specifically, create content that is targeting that community and geo tag it. Also use the location in the title and description to make sure it gets more exposure where it matters.
Content Marketing and Networking with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not a platform to underestimate. You need to make your LinkedIn Profile be as attractive as possible. It is not just your online resume, understand that this is a content platform and it is a visual one.
- Connect with colleagues and clients on LinkedIn.
- Setup a LinkedIn Business Page.
- Build out your LinkedIn Profile visually and use that to make it more interesting and attractive.
- View LinkedIn profiles on a regular basis, the more you do the more likely others will view your profile and want to connect with you.
- Offer recommendations to friends and colleagues within your network that you have a positive relationship with. Ask them to do the same.
- Participate in LinkedIn groups that will either help establish your authority among industry peers or will allow you to speak to your target market directly.
- Post articles in LinkedIn both natively on the platform and share content from your other platforms. Also share the content of others.
- Post case studies that might hold valuable insights for your potential client base or present your expertise and the results you can produce.
- Share infographics and or whitepapers within LinkedIn Groups and on your profile as a post, this will build credibility and can refer people to your main website.
- Take advantage of Slideshare and use this to post Presentation Decks and Portfolios and other usual content to market yourself and/or your services.
Networking with Blab.im
Blab is probably the most important networking platform today, even beyond LinkedIn. It offers more organic human to human relationship building in it’s networking opportunities. It let’s you do this face to face in a way LinkedIn just doesn’t. It is the new networking platform of choice for those who are aware of it and aren’t romantically clinging to the platforms they know best.
- Engage in Blab.im sessions with others active in your market and niche to build relationships and make people aware of you.
- Host your own Blab.im sessions on topics that would be of interest to your target market and can establish your credibility.
- Repurpose your Blab.im video chats on your YouTube channel.
- Repurpose your Blab.im sessions audio on a podcast or as an audio download on your website/blog, or as an audio whitepaper.
- Host a weekly show on Blab.im to build a following in the platform as well as twitter and use it to market your products or services as well as build authority in your industry.
- Use Blab.im to build strong networking connections and meet potential collaborators.
- Co-host a Blab.im show with another creator or act as their moderator and community manager during the live stream.
- Before a Blab session ends ask the host if they mind if you continue the conversation with the audience in a Blab of your own and post a link.
Content Marketing on Medium.com
While it is important to have your own hub for content, using other platforms can be useful as well. There are even advantages to using established platforms such as creating a funnel traffic to your own site you’d never get organically.
- You can create original content on medium.com that can potentially be featured by the editorial team.
- You can use medium.com to post your video content from other platforms while adding additional context through text. Creating more discovery opportunities and increasing your organic reach.
- You can grow your network and spread awareness by commenting on articles within medium.com
- You can link out from medium.com post to your existing content elsewhere. This can be a great traffic funnel for your main site.
- Use Medium.com as a content writing portfolio for topics outside your target market that you are still qualified to speak on and use this to raise your public profile or grow a new audience segment.
- Leverage your medium post to attract guest blogging or paid writing opportunities so you can spread your reach and your brand.
- Directly promote your Medium.com post to your follows in Twitter and Facebook.
- Sign off in your medium articles with an option to join your email list or newsletter for more content.
- Use Medium.com as a proving ground for content you’re not sure about posting on your own blog or website.
Creating Information Products
Information products can help not only establish your reputation as an authority or influencer, but can also lead directly to revenue, both in terms of product sales and new clients.
- Create free and paid ebook products. You can use free ebooks to grow your audience and or mailing list and paid ebooks to build your credibility and generate revenue.
- Create online courses in platforms like Udemy and Skillshare. A free course can establish your credibility and upfront value, while a paid course can generated revenue.
- Leverage audio guides as a way to engage with people passively while informing or instructing them. This can be shorter than an audiobook but have a different tonality than a podcast and doesn’t have to be recurring.
- You can take advantage of offering simple video downloads or even long format videos as paid downloads to promote your brand and create revenue.
- Free whitepapers are a great way to establish your authority within an industry and can be sued to grow your mailing list.
- Infographics and slide presentations can be very popular in platforms like LinkedIn and can make you a valuable resource. Use this for generating qualified leads and redirecting traffic to your website.
Use Twitter as a Publishing, Listening and Real Time Communication Platform.
I’ve been on Twitter since the very beginning, though I didn’t take nearly as much advantage of it then as I do now. Twitter is one of my largest social media platforms and where I go to have conversations and where people ask me questions in real time.
- Monitor Twitter hashtags that are important to your industry/market to see what opportunities you have to create value and to engage.
- Use Twitter to promote your existing content to people interested in it.
- Engage in real time conversations with those in your industry or who have an interest in it.
- Participate in live Twitter chats and have meaningful conversations to establish credibility.
- Offer to answer questions in Twitter for those would seek your expertise.
- Leverage Twitter video to distribute short form content and showcase your personality and knowledge.
- Use Twitter to reach out to influencers and potentially get a response.
- Post images in twitter that are interesting and attractive to your audience. Consider tagging people you have a good relationship with.
- Combine Twitter with Buffer in order to automate your post when appropriate.
- Host your own Twitter Chat Q&A session to engage with your audience, build relationships with brands and other influencers.
- Share valuable links and information that was created by others, not just yourself.
- Engage with others by Retweeting their content or by Quoting and mentioning them.
Using Periscope/Meerkat Live Streams for Marketing
I’m live streaming on what platform or another, nearly everyday at this point. It makes me more accessible to my audience and establishes, authority, trust and likeability. All of these are essential to closing a sale.
- Use live streams to engage with your target audience or market and position yourself as accessible and an authority.
- Live stream platforms can help funnel people to your email list or website if you use them effectively.
- Use live streams as webinars to create value for your audience while promoting your products, services or your personal brand and spreading awareness.
- Use Periscope and Meerkat to do Live Product Demos and or Skill Demonstrations, unedited and in real time to prove credibility.
- Use these platforms to host Live Q&A sessions.
- Use live streams as a way to garner honest feedback, similar to a free focus group for your brand.
- Create Exclusive access and offerings by using real time live streams.
- Re-purpose your live streams to create “Fear of Missing Out” among your audience.
- Use Katch.me to archive your live streaming content and embed them on your websites or share them in other social media platforms.
- Use Periscope and Meerkat as practice for live speaking events.
Taking Advantage of Instagram/Pinterest for Brand Storytelling
I post nearly daily in Instagram now and try to post interesting and unique content that gives my audience a bit more behind the scenes stuff or some short advice and also show off photos and images that are engaging. Some of this is motivational, some of it is directly related to services I provide or products I’m recommending.
- Post images that show your products in a flattering light.
- Show your audience behind the scenes shots of your process.
- Make short format videos like time lapses in Instagram showing your process in a clever way such as a whiteboard video.
- Distribute your blog content and video content in Pinterest.
- Make memes for Pinterest and Instagram that can grab attention, you can use image editors like Canva.com and Pickmonkey.com for free.
- Utilize Hashtag strategies and geo-tagging to get more reach with your image post, and post at optimal times of day or when events that matter to your audience are taking place.
- Create Photo stories and share multiple photos in Instagram so the images in your feed flow together.
- Create multiple unique Pinterest boards that appeal to different segments of your audience.
- Offer short advice videos in your Instagram feed. You can also ask for and answer questions there.
- Create Images of Testimonials from satisfied customers or clients, or even ask them to send in short videos for you to post.
The Marketing Power of Podcasting
Podcasting still has power and is growing in popularity. The ability to passively engage with a podcast rather than interrupting your day to read or watch content is very powerful.
- Create a Podcast to reach audience that needs to engage with content passively, such as at work or while commuting.
- Become a guest on podcast that will be popular with your prospective audience and clients/customers.
- Interview guest that can help you reach your desired audience.
- Embed your Podcast content in your blog as supplemental content and include written show notes or transcripts.
- Repurpose your podcast as potential written content for blogs or even ebooks or an anthology.
- Distribute your Podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher Radio to reach a wider audience.
- By having your Podcast in Soundcloud you can engage with viewers through the comments and you can promote your website within the description of the podcast and each episode.
- Podcasting can help boost your search engine ranking through backlinks and through redirecting traffic to your main website.
- You can leverage your podcast to announce products or upcoming events.
So there you go. If you ever felt like money as a reason not to be marketing, you can leverage time and the over 100 methods I’ve given you here for free, to market yourself with no money.
If you found this information valuable and you want to get more content from there are a couple ways you can do that:
Watch my YouTube Channel: http://youtube.com/robertoblake2
Join my Community Newsletter: http://robertoblake.com/newslettter
Listen to my Podcast: http://soundcloud.com/robertoblake2
Read my Blog: http://robertoblake.com/blog
Watch me Live on Periscope: http://periscope.tv/robertoblake
Talk to me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/robertoblake