Marketing your company can blow your budget and your mind. You have probably found many exciting options and services that can get your business in front of prospective customers, but most of them cost a lot of money. However, your marketing plan doesn't need to include expensive options to get started. Word-of-mouth requires no spending, for example, but it delivers amazing results.
Advertising through traditional channels often doesn’t provide suitable returns on your investment. Broadcast media, for example, reaches a broad audience, but it can’t target the people who need to hear about your products and services. Similarly, newspaper advertising might reach a lot of individuals who don’t need your company and only a few who do. The good news is there are other ways to pursue. Use the following five ways to market your business without spending money to get the results you deserve.
1. Satisfy your customers
Customer satisfaction opens marketing opportunities that extend beyond your reach. Every time you service clients with excellence, you get free publicity because people talk and spread the word.
Marketing via customer service requires that your firm has a substantial commitment to clients. You must value them as people, not as numbers. When you have such an attitude, you give customers the confidence they need to know that they will receive an excellent value whenever they spend money with you.
Satisfied customers make positive referrals by word-of-mouth both in person and online. Similarly, irate customers can work against you, posting complaints that might go viral and damage your reputation. Naturally, you want all your customers to feel satisfied right away, so there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
What to do?
Pay attention to every customer comment you receive either in person or on social media. Make an effort to express your appreciation both for their business and for the time it took them to leave feedback for your company.
In adverse situations, make sure that you show your commitment to your customer and work together to find ways to solve the problem. Every customer interaction gives you a chance to make you and your brand shine. Even if there’s a problem, excellent customer service can create a lasting relationship and an energetic advocate for your brand.
2. Connect with people
Connecting with people means planting the awareness of your brand in their minds, which is something you can do both online and offline.
Leverage the power of social media—connect with people for free, build relationships, and expose your company to your target market.
Your first step is to create a company profile on one or several popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. The best way to choose is to see which platforms your targets mostly use, and create your social media presence accordingly. Whichever platform you use, the important thing is to connect with as many people as you can.
Going beyond those initial connections will help you create meaningful relationships that can enrich both your business and personal life. Rather than nagging people for sales and making endless pitches, become friends with your fans and followers. Talk with them, get to know them, and find out about the things that matter to them. Like their posts, share their comments, and include them when you need to make decisions by asking for feedback and opinions. Make your connections all about other people, and they will become marketing agents for your brand.
Offline, you can participate in community activities and trade associations, host or attend social events, and so on. The important thing is to make yourself visible to other people. Connecting with people face-to-face will spread the news about your brand and put you in touch with influencers who can open new channels for you. For example, you might find future business partners or suppliers in addition to prospective customers.
Wherever you go online or off-line, try to build a community that will become a resource for growing your business. It takes effort, but it’s free.
3. Be friendly and approachable
Although this tip might sound too obvious to be listed, its importance cannot be overemphasized. Since your attitude and demeanor represent your brand, you need to make sure to always have kind words to say and a pleasant look on your face.
In live interactions, for example, nonverbal communication means more than your words, so make sure your body always says positive things. Keep an open posture, so people always feel comfortable approaching you to chat or get information. Work on having a solid handshake that you can use during face-to-face meetings, and always have a pleasant voice when you talk on the phone.
On the other hand, electronic communications including text messaging, email, and social media don’t transmit inflection and tone that would otherwise convey meaning. Recognize the limitations of such channels by always writing clearly and in a casual style. Communicate as you would with a friend, but carefully choose your humor and emoticons to ensure no one misinterprets your messages.
No matter the communication channel you use, always have kind words to say and make honesty your only policy when it comes to business. You can have fantastic products, but no one will talk about your business positively unless you come across as a nice and likable person.
4. Acquire and share knowledge
One way to market your business is to educate your customers and prospects. If you share valuable knowledge for free, people will more likely gravitate to your brand. But in order to share knowledge, you first need to acquire it. Let’s briefly consider why and how you should educate both yourself and others.
Educating yourself means constantly staying on top of your game when it comes to your business. When you’re aware of all the trends in your industry, you are able to speak intelligently with your prospects and customers. However, education also implies learning about things that might seem work-unrelated, but can become advantageous at some point. What if those French lessons pay off one day when you need to communicate with a client from France? You get the point.
Now, acquiring knowledge doesn’t mean spending money on expensive courses. Books from the library are free, and so are countless internet resources. Technology has made education available to everyone, making it easier than ever for people to commit to lifelong learning. There are free online degree programs, educational websites, downloadable application, and so on. With a little time and effort to explore numerous options, you can become an eloquent and educated person others will want to talk to.
Resist the temptation to hoard your knowledge. When you share the things you know, not only do you help others, but you also promote your brand for free. When people learn they can rely on you for honest and expert advice, they will trust you with their money. Moreover, they will start identifying your brand with knowledge and value, and thus more likely talk about you with others. Therefore, you should selflessly respond to everyone who asks you for advice or information.
What you can do is organize webinars and other events for people to attend. You can even try your hand at writing by answering questions on sites such as Quora or Yahoo Answers, or starting discussions on Reddit. As you share knowledge and value, you lay a foundation for your brand that will result in long-term success.
5. Offer valuable content
One means of sharing knowledge with people is by offering valuable content. As every successful business person knows, today there's no marketing without content marketing. In a nutshell, content marketing implies producing and sharing quality content in order to make people familiar with a certain brand.
This is where your education also kicks in. For example, you can use your knowledge to write informational how-to articles, tips and tricks, useful lists, and so on. For example, if you are in a restaurant business, you can write great recipes that people will want to try. If you own a digital marketing agency, you can write articles containing SEO tips. Furthermore, you can write useful instructions on how to use your products or make video tutorials. The point is to inform and educate people so they always keep coming back for more. Would you rather buy from a company which offers nothing except its products or from a company that gives you great and free articles? Exactly.
Now, the content you produce can be posted on your website and promoted on social media. The more valuable the content, the more people will want to share it. This is where the previous tip “connect with people” also becomes useful. The more people you have connected with, the more social media shares your content will get. When you follow this simple yet effective formula, bear in mind one more thing—you also want to entertain your audience because amusing content gets shared a lot. So, what you should also do is provide and share funny images, jokes, memes, and so on. It will establish you as a friendly figure and promote the awareness of your brand by means of social shares.
When you create and share versatile content (not only the one that revolves around your brand), you give people added value and form lasting relationships. If you give them something to come back for, they will reward you with loyalty and advocacy.
Marketing your business without spending money requires time and effort as well as creativity and knowledge. What you need to do is establish yourself and your brand as an authority, but also as a personable source of valuable information. If you keep in mind these five useful tips and apply them in practice, your new business will soon become very successful. And it won’t take you a lot of money to market it—the word will spread by itself.
This article was written by Taylor Moore from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.