When it comes to your business, marketing your brand, products and services are crucial. These days, spending hard earnt cash on advertising can be hard for some businesses, especially start-ups! So, I have created a list of 15 things you can efficiently do online YOURSELF, that will not cost you a single dollar to help efficiently market your business.
- Create your social media pages
Without a doubt, creating social media pages and using them to market your brand on a daily basis are one of the key strategies you can do in 2017 to market your business. These days regular Facebook pages and Instagram accounts are considered the norm, but have you tried utilising Pinterest or creating a Facebook group? In my opinion, Pinterest is an absolute goldmine for building extensive amounts of web traffic and leads and forming your own branded Facebook group promotes brand loyalty.
- Implement and schedule a full month of social media posts
Social media doesn't have to be difficult if you implement a strategy, stick to it and turn your thinking into working smarter, not harder. My favourite tools for implementing an active social media automation strategy are;
CoSchedule - CoSchedule is a service that offers complete automated marketing in ONE single platform. You can schedule social media posts for Facebook pages and groups, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, schedule blog posts from website platforms like WordPress and even create projects with your team with tasks, comments and deadlines. SERIOUSLY THE BEST PLATFORM. I don't promote anything I don't personally use. They also offer a 14-day FREE trial and after the trial - plans start from $40USD per month you can sign up here!
CoSchedule Drop and Drag Marketing Calendar Image provided by CoSchedule.com
Plann - Plann is a phone app that allows you to drag and drop your images to create visually appealing Instagram accounts and schedules your posts for you! A little different to CoSchedule's functionality as Plann helps you create a stunning Instagram feed based on the best visuals you can create. Plann is available on the Apple, and Android App store for FREE with in-app purchases and best of all was created in Australia by a fellow Like Minded Bitch Drinking Wine, Christy Laurence.
Plann Drop and Drag Visual and Scheduled Instagram Phone App Image provided by Plannthat.com
Now that you have the tools to implement an automated social media strategy, you can access 32 days of innovative and engaging social media content posts for the month here.
- Create a referral program for existing clients
Even in 2017, one of the MOST EFFECTIVE marketing strategies is WORD OF MOUTH advertising. Majority of my digital marketing clients come from my work with Banaban and word of mouth marketing through the many employees I have worked with over the years. Creating a referral program for existing clients to utilise to their connections can significantly help boost your business and can work for any service or product based business.
For a service based business you could implement a referral code on a business card with a special offer for new clients that they hand out the cards too or if you have an e-commerce based product you can check out Santu.com (an affiliate/referral platform I have been using with Banaban for the last seven years!) http://santu.com/en/.
- Create a free online resource library
I first learnt about online resource libraries from the online Queen B - Melyssa Griffin. I enrolled in her Pinfinate Growth Course and loved her use of Free Online Resource Libraries within a website to drive email list growth.
In a nutshell, creating a Free Online Resource Library is like building a password protected resource hub filled with exclusive free content for your subscribers. Instead of offering a free small eBook for signing up as a subscriber, on my Going Coconuts food hobby blog this is what my resource library looks like with a whole range of free eBooks, printable's and downloads.
Going Coconuts Free Resource Library Image provided by GoingCoconuts.com.au
Creating a resource library and using Pinterest and other social media channels to promote it, helps push your list growth tenfold. After using Melyssa's method on my food blog, my subscriber's skyrocketed significantly, and my resource library received more than a 50% higher sign-up rate than my regular subscriber's list.
You can create a resource library on WordPress by viewing Melyssa's video here or if you are using WIX as a platform just create a Members Only protected new page where they will need to sign up as a Member to access your library. The best part about the WIX function with this page is that they can sign up using their Facebook profile, and you can have access to more detailed information about your members.
- Create a one-month email marketing plan
Now that you have created your month-long social media and schedule plan, you can create an email marketing campaign based on your social media plan to showcase your posts, articles and content to your email subscribers.
Email subscribers are SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT to your business. According to MailMunch.com "66% of online consumers purchased as a result of an email marketing message". It doesn't matter how many social media followers you have, I have always been a firm believer that it is how many email subscribers you have and how many inboxes you can relay your email marketing message too.
Using a platform like Mail Chimp - create a template for your email message and send out weekly or fortnightly emails to your subscribers. One of my favourite things to do is create a weekly newsletter wrap up of content from social media posts in one email with articles and blog posts and using your email analytics, gauge what is most clicked and tweak your A/B Testing from there. You will find what content your audience is interested in by analysing these results.
I use Microsoft One Note to create my Mail Out Calendar (calendar of key dates and what I want to post/promote etc.) and use Mail Chimps Automation system to set up multiple emails at once. Mail Chimp is a FREE service for anyone with under 2,000 subscribers.
Microsoft OneNote Image provided by SlideShare.net
- Host a webinar training event
If you are in a service based business, like digital marketing, for example, webinars are fantastic sales funnels for gaining clients and selling services. In fact, some of the BEST sales funnels I have seen online are webinars, in particular, those in which that sell e-courses. Just remember that a webinar needs to be at least 90% informative with an overload of information on the topic of the webinar. Right at the end, you can have a small gap for promoting your product with an offer to gain new clientele or leads. Just remember - don't overdo it on the hard sell, you don't want to turn off prospective clients or come across as desperate. After every well-presented webinar I have watched, I have purchased from, and that is indeed an indication that webinars are THE BEST SALES FUNNELS if done correctly. Trust me!
- Network in Facebook business groups
Networking in Facebook business groups is a fantastic way to interact with prospective clients or customers. Two of my all-time favourite Facebook groups are Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (LOVEEE!) and Online Business BFFs - If you haven't joined these, I would highly recommend. I have been in these groups for around a year now, and the opportunities that have come from these groups have been astounding. I even met my business partner Gen (who is a competitor) in LMBDW!
- Create an online competition or giveaway
Creating an online competition or giveaway can help promote your brand and products online significantly! One of my favourite online competitions to create, especially on Facebook, is a Review to Win Giveaway! By simply asking your followers and new followers to review your Facebook pages products or services and the best review wins the giveaway. These types of competitions help boost your 5-star ratings significantly and helps you gain more testimonies for repurposing on your website, social media or email marketing channels.
An example of a Facebook Review to Win competition we hosted which helped boost 287 - 5 Star Ratings for Banaban Virgin Coconut Oil.
- Attend networking events in your local area
Old school methods of marketing still work - especially network marketing! Join a local business group and start attending events or better yet, create your group and invite local business owners to attend. Only just last week I was asked to a business luncheon with local women in my area looking to gain entry into the Chinese market. For a group of like-minded local businesses, it was a fantastic afternoon to sit down with a meal and wine and collaborate on a common goal and interest.
- Start a blog
Blogging is such an important aspect of growing your online business. Here is a brief list of benefits of creating a blog on your website!
- Blogging helps your website SEO immensely! Search engines are always looking for fresh and relevant content, and blogging is one of those specific and inexpensive ways to help boost your business in search engines.
- A blog helps you share your knowledge on your products. For example, when we first started Banaban Virgin Coconut Oil in 2004, coconut oil was so unheard of that we had to blog to teach consumers why they should buy the product and how to use it. Blog articles like "100 Uses for Coconut Oil" became so popular; it was one of the highest traffic driving forces to our website.
- A blog can help you become an authority in your industry and helps establish you and your business as "industry leaders".
- Writing blog posts for your product or service help create social media and email marketing content for your business.
- Blogging helps build a community around the specific content you are writing and creates engagement amongst customers and fans.
- Blogging helps collect email subscribers for your email marketing database.
- Create a video for your website
Adding marketing videos to your website are a fantastic way to convey your brand's message and story. Here's a list of some of my favourite video topics for your website that you can create videos to convey your brand's message;
- Product demonstration videos - for example, recipe-based videos for food products or tutorial based videos for beauty products etc. Creating these types of videos for your product sales pages is a great way to help increase conversions.
- Brand storytelling videos - a video that tells your brand's story and message. These videos can help deliver your brand's story and message to potential customers and clients quickly and effectively.
- About Us or Introductory Video - a short video that talks about your business and what you do or products you create etc. These videos are great for adding to the front of your homepage and allows visitors a quick 30-second glimpse of what your business and brand is all about.
- Case Study Video - a case study video provided by a customer or client is a great way to market your brand. It is said that the most effective content marketing tactics are customer testimonials and case studies.
In the link above, is a recent Case Study Video I filmed for Alibaba and how it helped Banaban expand our export division using Alibaba.com
- Write effective press releases and send to media outlets
Having your business successes published in the media is a great way to gain traction and position your brand more prominently in front of your key audience. Writing an effective press release for the following scenarios in your business is a great way to get noticed in the media!
- Receiving an award
- New products launch or major updates to existing popular products
- Huge milestones in business, for example, a significant export order
- Write a catchy heading! REMEMBER - You only have seconds to grab the attention of the journalist or editor.
- Write the important points first, remember you need to keep their attention on your story. Be direct and straight to the point.
- Keep the press release on topic and relevant to your audience.
Above is a brief snippet of an interview Daily Mail asked me to do an interview on after news.com.au released a story about our family business went viral. Including a catchy title, key points and information relevant to the story and audience.
- Create your own branded Facebook group
Facebook groups are fast becoming one of the greatest resources for creating brand loyalty amongst customers. Facebook groups are incredible for creating an intimate space to interact with your customers and like-minded people. Not only does it create a loyal fan base but it helps you gain intimate interest surrounding your products or services.
Above is a screenshot of a Facebook group I created for my Going Coconuts Blog. There are over 2,000 members all that post content relating to food and my Going Coconuts brand. A great way to interact directly with loyal customers.
- Spend time on SEO for your website
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a marketing principle that focuses on growing the visibility of your website organically in various search engine results. SEO is made up of a mixture of technical and creative processes that helps your website significantly stand out organically or naturally on various search engines such as Google.
5 Ways to Spend Time on Technical SEO Principals are:
- Optimise all images on your website - Adding key alt tags to your website's images will help your website achieve far greater search engine rankings. If you have a website with a lot of images ensure that all of your images are optimised for maximum SEO exposure.
- Improve the speed of your website - Using Google Analytics, check the load speeds of your pages. If you are finding there are several pages with higher load speeds evaluate the type of content that is on that page including images, videos or animation etc. You can identify areas of your website that need improvement and identify what areas are doing well.
- Write much longer content - Writing content longer than 300 words not only does wonder for your blog it also is highly favoured by Google. So, check your posts and add a few more key sentences to up the ante!
- Write keywords in your blog posts URL - Writing keyword friendly URL's for your blog posts are the bee's knee's when it comes to SEO. It makes your website look and feel directly to the point or topic and helps show higher on search engine pages.
- Analyse Google Analytics weekly - every week, spend ten minutes gauging your Google Analytics and keep a running report of what is showing signs of great growth and what is not. Keeping track of your Google Analytics will also help gauge whether or not you are losing traffic from a certain avenue such as Pinterest for example or indicate whether or not your new blog topics are helping build traffic to your website.
- Speak at a local event
Speaking at local events can significantly help grow your business. It can help you spread awareness about your brand and story, showcase what product or services you sell and helps position you as an authority in that particular field. The next time you are asked to give a presentation at a local event, snap up the opportunity or write on your website that you love speaking at events to help gain more speaking gigs.