3 Free Ways to Start Marketing Right Now
By John Welch on August 12, 2020
Marketing is a cloudy subject for most people. It can be tricky to know what you should be doing or how you should be doing it. For many people, marketing is just a big black hole that sucks in their money, along with their hopes and dreams.
The best way to get your feet wet with marketing, and make the most of your marketing dollars is to start with things that don’t cost you anything. There are lots of options for ways you can start marketing yourself and your business, right now. These won’t cost you anything but your time. The best part is, they work.
- 1. Make Connections on Linkedin
- 2. Solve Client Problems with Blogs
- 3. Build Engagement with Email
- What’s Better Than Free Marketing?
Let’s dive into the top 3 FREE marketing activities you can do right now to grow your business.
1. Make Connections on Linkedin
LinkedIn is a powerhouse for growing your business. We get asked all the time, “Is LinkedIn worth it?” The answer is an emphatic YES. Yes, LinkedIn is worth it. Yes, you should be spending time growing an audience on LinkedIn.
The people who don’t think LinkedIn is useful are people who don’t know how to use it! It’s not hard, but it takes time and patience to grow an audience. I promise its one of the most effective things you can do for your digital marketing.
Here’s the really cool part, it’s not that difficult! You just need to start doing a couple things.
The first thing you need to start doing is posting every day on LinkedIn. Yes, post everyday. I’m not going to lie to you, this is time-consuming, but it will start to pay dividends.
The easiest way to begin posting on LinkedIn is to use a scheduling app like Buffer.
Buffer allows you to schedule out your LinkedIn posts far in advance. You can do a whole month at once! Automating your LinkedIn posts is the best way to make sure you don’t forget. Set a calendar reminder every Monday to schedule your posts that week, and you won’t forget.
Write High-Quality Posts
This is almost as important as posting daily. I say almost because the frequency is REALLY important, and it helps you stand out from others who are less committed to the platform. LinkedIn loves a daily poster.
BUT, the quality of your posts is also a big deal. The best way to write really high quality posts is to think about the problems your own customers are dealing with and then share the answers to those problems on LinkedIn.
Also, make sure you’re using emojis! Emoji’s can be a touchy subject for some people, but they make a big difference in the readability and engagement of your post. You’re competing with all the other people putting content up on LinkedIn, you better stand out!
Start A Video Podcast
The next thing you need to do on LinkedIn is start a video podcast. This sounds like more work than it actually is, and it is so worth it!
Starting a video podcast is huge for a number of reasons.
It helps you build relationships in a casual manner, without bothering people.
It provides a ton of value to your audience while using other people’s ideas.
It attracts people to you who want to connect and ask you for help and advice.
It’s really easy to start a vidcast. All you need to do is get a pair of earbuds with a microphone (Apple buds work great), a laptop webcam, and a recording software (this is the only thing that may need to cost money, but it’s pretty cheap). We use Streamyard, but there are lots of options available, most are going to run you somewhere around $20/mo.
The next thing you do is start reaching out to people in your network and inviting them on the show. Pick topics that are relevant to your audience and create a list of questions for each guest. Make a catchy name for your show (ours is called Humans of LinkedIn) and start releasing episodes!
It’s super effective if you cut some short clips out of each episode and post those to LinkedIn on their own. Make sure you tag your guest to get maximum reach. Also, upload the full episodes to YouTube and embed them in a page on your website. That way you can send people the link to your show when you’re inviting them on as guests. Your vidcast page is also great for SEO!
Connect With Everyone
You’ll find that as you start writing high-quality posts and releasing video content on LinkedIn that you start getting more and more people who want to connect with you and follow you. Some people that use LinkedIn subscribe to the idea that you should only connect with people that you know or with people who are “ideal customers.” This is complete nonsense.
Let me share a quick story to illustrate why you should connect with everyone. I run live webinars periodically, and I share them on LinkedIn. Someone I didn’t know at all and I wasn’t connected with signed up for one of my webinars on storytelling. After it was over, she connected with me on LinkedIn thanking me for the information and saying that she would like to keep up with my content. I accepted her connection immediately and thanked her for attending my webinar.
The very next day, this person tagged me in a post from someone in HER network, someone I was not connected with at all. This person was asking if anyone in their network knew a good storytelling consultant. My new friend tagged me in the comments, and I immediately connected with this other person. I sent them a video message, and we set up a phone call. Two weeks later, we had agreed on a proposal to work together.
Here’s the important part, this person who connected with me after watching my webinar was not someone I would have ever classified as an “ideal customer.” They were just a person on LinkedIn who had a job and liked my content. If I had refused to connect because they didn’t look the right way or check my “connection box,” I would have missed out on a new client.
Connect with everyone. You never know who is going to connect you to a new customer or share your post with someone who needed to see it.
2. Solve Client Problems with Blogs
I used to hate writing—I never imagined in a million years that writing would actually become the majority of my professional livelihood.
When I started writing blogs, it was out of necessity. I was a marketer and wasn’t practicing what I preached. I knew the general ideas behind writing blogs, but I had never really pursued blogging for my own business or for clients.
The first blog I wrote was around 500 words. It was not a good blog. It was broad, generalized, and pretty unhelpful. Fast forward a few months and I was cranking out 1,500 - 2,000 word blogs in 3 or 4 hours.
You’ve Got The Time
Most businesses know they should be blogging, but they all say the same thing, “I just don’t have the time.”
I call shenanigans when I hear this. I see so many people wasting time on LinkedIn, Facebook, and many other prevalent tools of procrastination. According to Inc.com, the average business owner wastes 21.8 hours per week.
You have the time. You may not want to put in the work, but that’s different. Don’t hide behind the “I don’t have time” excuse.
You Need To Be Blogging
Writing blogs is not as hard as you think. Once you get the hang of it, you can pump out a couple really high-quality blogs a month without too much additional work. It’s really just a matter of prioritization. Here’s the hard truth, you can’t afford to NOT be blogging. Not only does it cost you nothing but time, it’s the most effective way to start capturing organic traffic off the internet.
How To Write Blogs
Writing a blog is pretty straightforward. The idea of a blog is to solve a problem. Your customers have plenty of problems and, if you’re any good at what you do, you should know how to solve some of those problems.
Pick a problem and then tell your audience how to solve it. This is where the rubber really meets the road when it comes to blogging. You need to be willing to teach your audience how to solve their problems without you.
When you do this well, your audience doesn’t go do the work themselves. Instead, they call you up and ask you for help because you’ve clearly demonstrated that you know what you’re doing. After you pick a topic, you need to come up with 3-5 subtopics to address under that main topic. This ties into your blog title.
The title of this handout is a great example of a high-quality blog title. “3 Ways You Can Start Marketing For Free Right Now.”
Businesses are afraid to spend money on marketing because they’re not sure if it’s going to work.
There are several different ways that businesses can start marketing without paying a dime.
Use Linkedin to build an audience
Write blogs to capture organic search
Send emails to promote your content
I’ve picked a problem (businesses are afraid to spend money on marketing), I’ve broken it down into 3 easy steps (Use LinkedIn, write blogs, and send emails), and I’ve written clear, detailed instructions on how to accomplish those things.
This is all it takes to start blogging. You have a huge amount of problem-solving information in your head. All you have to do is share it. Don’t get hung on up writing perfectly or sounding like a Harvard grad. You have clients right now, you clearly know what you’re doing. Simply tell your audience how to solve their problems.
How Blogging Works
There are only 2 reasons people don’t want to buy. The first reason is that they don’t know if you know what you’re doing. The second reason is they don’t know why it costs what it costs.
Blogging removes both of these barriers to entry for a new customer. You prove your expertise and show that you do, in fact, know what you’re doing. At the same time, you pull back the curtain and expose all the nitty gritty details that go into the work you do. This justifies the cost you charge because your readers see what you do and immediately understand that it’s too much work for them.
What Blogs Help People Understand
Show your audience you know what you’re doing.
Help your audience understand why it costs what it costs.
Blogging works because it shows that you want to help other people, you’re not just in it for the money. It’s totally possible for someone to read your blog, take your advice, and go solve their own problem without paying you.
That’s the magic of blogging, you can’t ever be accused of being self-serving. If you’re doing it right, then your audience can completely take advantage of you. It’s that possibility of losing that brings authenticity into your blogging efforts.
As long as your help is always behind a paywall, you’ll never build the trust you need to start new conversations.
Related: 5 Reasons Your Blogs Aren’t Ranking
3. Build Engagement with Email
Emails are a touchy subject. Ask almost anyone and they’ll tell you, “I hate email marketing!” My response is always the same, “No, you hate BAD email marketing.” People love email marketing when it’s done right.
We all have those few email lists we can’t unsubscribe from. Why? They’re too good! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with email marketing. There’s just a lot wrong with how almost every single business does their email marketing.
If you’re willing to put in the time and be patient, email marketing can be one of the best ways to engage your customers and potential customers and keep them coming back to you time and time again.
Write Good Emails
Writing good emails starts with a simple mantra, “less is more.” If you constantly remind yourself of this, you will have a much better chance of consistently writing high-quality emails.
Email marketing is really just an extension of your already existing content creation efforts. If you’re trying to make your emails some kind of brilliant masterpiece, you’re doing it wrong. Emails should simply be a way to gently nudge your audience whenever you have new content to share.
Using emails as a soft way to distribute your content helps you stay top-of-mind with your audience, but it also lets them see just how much value you’re constantly giving away.
The best thing to do is make your emails a short 2 or 3 paragraph summary of your latest blog post and then invite your audience to read more on your website.
Don’t Drive Your Audience Crazy
The real reason that so many people hate email marketing is because they’re getting way too many emails. We’ve all been on those email lists that send out 3 or 4 emails a week, sometimes even multiple emails in one day.
You should never send more than one email a week, and even that may be pushing it. We send two emails per month because we release two new blogs every month. Our email is simply sharing what our latest blog is and maybe includes a link to a video we’ve done recently. It’s all just pure value, no asks.
That’s the other thing, stop asking your audience for things all the time. Most email marketing includes a ton of asks. “Buy this product,” “review us on Google,” “share us on Facebook,” etc. You are there for your audience, not the other way around. Stay focused on providing real, actionable advice and help that your audience can take and apply to their business. Give things away, run contests, share videos, but stop trying to sell to your audience in your emails.
What’s Better Than Free Marketing?
Once you’ve started implementing some of these things in your business, there’s one last thing you need to do: BE PATIENT. And then, be patient some more!
We’ve been conditioned to believe that once we know what we’re doing, we’re only a month or two away from success. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that you’re looking at somewhere between 9-18 months before you start really seeing great results from your marketing. There is no replacement for time and consistency, it is a simple but difficult truth.
The only thing better than free marketing is the right mindset. Without a mindset that understands the value of marketing, the time required to make it work, and a genuine interest in helping others, marketing efforts will be dead on arrival.
If you apply these marketing strategies consistently, you will see results. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!Back to the blog