All successful business owners have been where you are right now. Looking for a way to market your company online with no money, or a very low budget.
Don’t worry. In today’s digital age, there are a plethora of tactics you can use to promote your business for free, or at a low cost.
In this guide, we will discuss the best ways to market your company online for zero dollars. Those with small marketing budgets can also align these strategies with their paid marketing efforts.
Let’s get to it!
1. Leverage the Power of Content Marketing
The number one free way to market your business online in 2019 is without a doubt content marketing.
Everything about your business’ online success depends on content in one form or another.
From traffic, to sales, to engagement, to conversions, content marketing helps drive quality leads to your business, informs them of your company and story, presents a solution to their problems, and then guides them through the sales process.
Essentially, content marketing is the line that guides your potential customers through your marketing and sales funnels.
Without going super in depth, content marketing is the process of establishing a relationship with your potential leads through engaging content. The goal of this content is to:
- Help solve their problems
- Answer your audience’s questions
- Establish trust in your brand
- Build authority in the space for your brand
- Drive organic search traffic
This content can come in many forms, the most effective being:
- White Papers
- Case Studies
There are many other mediums through which you can deliver value to your audience.
Once you have created your content, the rest of the ways you can market your business on a shoestring budget become a lot easier and more apparent. On top of that, creating high quality content increases the efficiency of your marketing efforts substantially.
Content marketing has been shown to drive 62% more leads over time than paid traffic at just 32% of the cost (if outsourced).
If you are looking to learn more about how you can create a content marketing strategy for your company, we have plenty more of insightful and helpful blogs covering topics from:
- How to find out what your audience is searching for
- How to upgrade your existing content
- The advantages of content marketing vs. traditional advertising
- How content marketing drives sales
And much more…
Be sure to check out our blog, where you can find all sorts of tips for marketing on a low budget. If you find our content helpful, feel free to join our email newsletter for updates on the latest ways to generate sales with $0 in marketing by leveraging high content.
2. Leverage Social Media Channels
Once you have created content, combining your content marketing efforts with social media is one of the best ways to promote your business for free online.
Identifying which social media channel is best for your business ultimately depends on a few factors:
- Are you marketing to B2B clients or B2C?
- Who is your target audience?
- Where do they hang out online?
- Is your product or service one that is highly visual?
- What is the main goal of your content?
- What type of engagement are you looking for from your audience?
There are other factors to take into account, but for the most part, answering these questions helps you to find the ideal social media platforms to utilize for your business.
There are a few ways that you can utilize social media to market your business for free:
- Personal pages
- Influencer relationships
- Brand pages
- Existing networks
These would each take a long time to explain in full detail. If you are looking to learn more about what social media channel is best for your business, or how to find out where your audience is hanging out online, we recommend that you check out this guide:
How to Combine Social Media with Content Marketing
Another thing that might help is creating a buyer persona. This is an ideal representation of your target audience, complete with problems, occupation, salary range, etc… Buyer personas help to create relevant content on a consistent basis, and market it in the right places.
Creating a buyer persona is a completely free marketing tool you can use today! Click this link for a full guide on how to create buyer personas for your business.
3. Utilize Communities and Networks
Much like social media, your content can be easily marketed to your existing network and community.
People who support you, groups you have been a part of, prior business contacts, networks in your industry, previous clients/customers, etc… can all be targeted with your content.
While this may not have the same effect or generate as many leads as some of the other $0 marketing techniques on this list, the power of word of mouth should not be underestimated, especially as a small business or startup.
Simply going to free networking events can have a very positive effect on your bottom line, and the only cost you pay is your time.
4. Utilize Influencers
While this fits into the social media category, we thought it deserved its own spot on our list of best ways to market your company with zero dollars for a few reasons:
- Influencer marketing is highly targeted
- It is extremely cheap compared to other online marketing tactics
- Relationships over time can pay off very well
- Every influencer is unique and can present your brand in a unique way
- One of the best ways to gain free brand awareness
When it comes to influencer marketing, the key is to really find the best people to represent your brand. Often times, the best influencers fit into a combination of factors:
- They are approachable and easy to work with
- Strong promotional skills with prior results
- Not too expensive to work with
- Have an audience that your product / service resonates with
- Are willing to grow with you and your brand
- They promote your business in a discrete and memorable way
Above all else, when searching for an influencer to help you market your product or service on a low budget, you want to make sure that they have good engagement.
Too many times, business owners spend time and energy working with influencer’s who have large audiences, but very low levels of engagement. This is not what you want, considering the idea is to drive people to your site, and make them aware of your brand. Love for their audience and subject matter
The beauty of working with influencers is that they can also give you key insights into segments of your audience who each have their own nuances of what works, and what doesn’t.
5. Guest Blog on Someone’s Website / Channel
A lot of times, this can cost money. However, if you are able to find other small sites that have relevant content to yours, you can sometimes find someone who is willing to let you guest post on their blog for free.
While in the process of creating high quality content to market your business online with a low budget, you want to make your best effort to get the most out of the time you are putting in.
Guest blogging is an excellent way to do just that.
It has a few advantages that really help connect you with your target audience, both long term and short term:
- Guest blogs are highly targeted
- The people reading your post will likely visit your site
- You usually receive a backlink from them
- You gain exposure to new audiences
- They have the chance to leverage the network effect
While a non-paid guest blog may be hard to find today, they are still out there.
Chances are you will have to start small, you will not be able to network your way into a Forbes guest blog (and if you can, you probably don’t need tips for marketing at a low budget). But, you can still find a lot of value in the smaller sites out there that have similar audiences to yours.
If you take a good enough approach, you may even be able to forge long term mutually beneficial relationships with the owners, and help each other grow along the way.
6. Improve Your Website SEO
Regardless of how cheap you are, you need a website.
And, if you are going to be marketing to potential clients and leads through content on your website, you need to make sure that your website is healthy from a search engine’s perspective.
For those who aren’t familiar with SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. Essentially, it is the art of giving your content the best chances to be seen and ranked highly on Google Search.
There are literally hundreds of factors that make up SEO and Google’s ranking algorithm, and with them, thousands of techniques for improving your site.
As a result, telling you how to improve your SEO in one section like this would not do the field of study any justice, and would take away from the main point of this post.
Ideally, the most important things that you can change on your site that are easy to perform are:
- Page load speed
- Optimizing title tags and meta descriptions
- Adding alt text to images
- Creating good URLs for your pages
- Optimizing your keywords
To learn more about how you can easily optimize your on page SEO on your website, please check out this comprehensive guide we wrote on it.
Or, if you would like help optimizing your existing titles and meta tags, check out the awesome content marketing tools we have created to help you market your business online with $0 needed.
For those looking to learn more about how to optimize on page SEO, check out this comprehensive guide we created:
7. Leverage Your Own Testimonials
Too many business owners miss out on the value of their own satisfied customers explaining to their target audience the value that their service was able to provide.
Did you know that testimonials help convert 380% more leads, and increase click through rates on calls to action by over 25% on average?
Talk about a free way to market online!
If you have a website, you should absolutely have testimonials up on it. And you should also make an effort to fit your testimonials into your social media marketing strategy, as well into some of your blog content.
Lastly, you might even want to turn some of your client testimonials into a piece of video content, which can even further improve your conversion rates.
For help growth hacking YouTube, check out this awesome guide we wrote about the most important ranking factors in 2019 in this comprehensive guide.
8. Apply to Business Listing Sites
While this may not always generate immediate leads, it cannot hurt to list your business on any relevant local and national directories in your industry.
This will increase your chances of generating organic leads to your site, and also help you to improve your search rankings over time by generating backlinks.
On top of that, it adds a bit of legitimacy to your budding business when someone can type in your brand name and find listings for it in directory sites such as:
There are many more sites that fit into this category. One thing you want to make sure you do not do is go overboard and apply to every site you can find thinking it is your key to hoarding all the backlinks and ranking better.
This can actually have a negative effect on your business because Google will notice a large influx of backlinks at once which will raise concerns. On top of that, you could potentially be listing your business on malicious sites or ones with bad reputations, which can actually hurt your search rankings in the long run.
9. Give Free Trials
Nothing turns someone from lead to buyer like a good old fashioned free trial of a product or service to display the value that your company can bring to them.
Even in the digital age, this is still one of the best ways to market your company with a low budget.
In fact, you can do it even bigger and better than ever before!
Targeting your audience with high value pieces of content like webinars, ebooks, guides, instructional videos, etc… can have an amazing effect on your users and their likelihood to convert.
This is especially true for any company offering professional services.
10. Become a Forum Expert
While this may not be the first place you think about marketing your business online, forums do offer an effective way to reach your audience for free.
The two best forums to join for any business owner are:
Why are they so effective?
Well, people come to forums to find answers to their questions and engage in community chats about specific subject matters.
They are not only looking for answers, but to actually engage with the people who are providing them. This makes forums an incubation chamber for organic search traffic and people who are willing to advocate for your business on social networks.
Over time, consistently answering questions and engaging with people on forums will help you to:
- Establish your business as a thought leader in your industry
- Build brand awareness
- Connect with long term brand advocates
- Generate organic search traffic
- Build traffic to other social channels
Overall, taking a bit of time to read through a few feeds related to your industry a day can also have these positive effects:
- Gives you a broader understanding of problems your audience faces
- Shows a myriad of questions you can build content around
- Helps you learn more about your subject matter
- Allows you to learn from experts in very specific parts of your field
For these reasons, we strongly recommend working with forums as a way to promote your business online for zero dollars.
11. Utilize Google’s Suite of Tools
Usually, Google AdWords runs specials throughout the year which offer $150 for people who are first time users.
While this isn’t a game changing amount of money, if used wisely, it can generate a small amount of traffic to your site for free, and potentially convert into paying customers.
Also, it gives you a taste of the other types of marketing that are available out there. While your marketing budget may not be up to par quite yet, it is always good to gain exposure to new ideas and free marketing strategies that can help grow your business.
For those who are not familiar with Search Console, it is essentially a portal where you can view data from your website that Google tracks in order to understand how your visitors are interacting with your content.
More importantly, you can use it to measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts. Sometimes you may make a piece of content that you think is absolutely killer, and it may flop. Other times, you may think of a blog as just an average post, but check in on it to see that it is absolutely crushing it.
This tool is great for finding the little tweaks that you can make in order to take your content to the next level. This includes upgrading and repurposing old content to make it more effective and rank better in the SERPs.
Google Analytics is yet another amazing tool offered by the King of the internet. This tool also shows data for your website, but instead features user based data.
This is where you can find how many people have visited your site, how long they stayed, how many pages they visited, what pages they exited from, and much, much more.
This is the quintessential content marketing tool that every beginner should have. It is entirely free, and is an insanely effective way of improving your marketing with $0 needed.
To fully explain how to use Google Analytics would take an entire post in itself, so we wrote about it here:
Marketing Your Business Online With $0
When it comes down to it, you can go through dozens of lists about how to market your company for free, but the one thing that none of them can give you is a hustler’s attitude.
The attitude to take things by storm, learn as you go, and continually outpace your expectations by putting in the work it takes to build a foundation for your business online.
If you have these traits, and are willing to do a bit of learning about the world of content marketing, you will always succeed in the long run.
For those of you who are up to the challenge, we wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. If you found this blog helpful, please comment below which technique you found most helpful, and which one you plan on applying first.
Also, feel free to join our email newsletter for weekly updates on the latest in content marketing. From tips, to guides, to comprehensive marketing strategies, we have you covered.
Lastly, if you need help with your content marketing efforts, such as optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions, or coming up with fresh marketing ideas, we have a whole suite of content marketing tools to help you along the way. Check them out below!