Even if your business has a huge marketing budget, you can still take advantage of our top 10 free things you can do to promote your business. Marketing for professional services is very different from marketing products, but we can learn a lot from B2C marketing. Social media has enabled companies to grow their businesses to far wider audiences than ever before. But how can you do it on a small budget? Free tools are always a bonus but the one caveat is that they can take up your valuable time. If time is scarce, these tools can still be a part of your marketing strategy but outsourcing them to marketing professionals may be the sensible answer.
What can you do?
1. Social Media
There are a raft of platforms you can use to promote your business. Whatever the level of professionalism your company wishes to portray there is a platform with a suitable tone of voice to meet your needs. However, at Consortium we would recommend you don’t stick to just one platform. Try a mix of Twitter and LinkedIn for professional updates and perhaps Facebook for general company news. People like to do business with people, so don’t be afraid of showing your personality or the human side of your business. Does it all seem like too much? Well yes, it can be, Social Media can take a lot of time. Thankfully Social Media is also one of the more cost-effective activities you can outsource, Consortium can put a social media strategy together for you.
2. Free Directories
You have to exercise a bit of caution here, as not all free directories are created equal. You could do damage to your website’s SEO with links from low-quality directory sites. However, there are still plenty of reputable directory sites that still do a valuable service. Try to pick quality sites serving your niche market. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself “If a potential client saw my business on this site, what would they think?”. If the answer is negative, stay clear. A 10-minute Google search will pull up plenty to get you started.
3. Networking events
There are lots of free-to-attend events out there, this need not be an expensive activity. While not everyone is comfortable being a Social Butterfly, meeting at events with like-minded folk should be enough to put you at ease and make the most of networking.
4. Start a blog
Nothing drives internet traffic better than a well-written blog, search engines love them. Believe it or not, there are lots of real people out there that want to hear your thoughts and ideas and many of those people will be potential customers. Again, Blog writing is something that can be outsourced if time is under-resourced.
5. Speak at industry events
This is definitely something you can’t outsource – people will want to hear from you, not your stand-in. Speaking at these events will give you the opportunity to promote your business, network with others, but also give you the chance to hear other speakers in your field.
6. Free money
Apply for government grants where possible to help with your marketing strategy and to deliver tactical plans. Local government will often have independent schemes that vary from nationally available grants, so make sure to check both local and national schemes for opportunities.
This is a complete subject in its own right and is dependant on the nature of your business as to how many cross-selling opportunities there could be. Set up procedures in-house which means that existing and new customers are regularly exposed to other products and services you provide. Share contact lists with other departments and make sure they are following them up. There are no leads warmer than customers you already have.
8. Customer reviews
Nothing sells like a glowing happy customer review. In fact, the modern online trading environment is completely based on customer views and feedback. When a happy customer sends a note of thanks, tell the world (use your social media channels) it will hold a lot more credibility than any carefully crafted PR campaign.
9. Customer Referral Schemes
Reward customers for their new customer referrals. Word of Mouth is still the mainstay of successful companies even offline. A reward scheme to encourage existing customers to put in a good word for you will pay dividends.
10. Be an expert
Promote your business through your experience and expertise. We have already mentioned speaking at industry events but the opportunities don’t end there. Join forums and actively join in and comment. Continue your networking online. Offer your services and guest write blogs. Be yourself and let your personality and expertise shine through. Your credibility online will grow and naturally spill out into the real world giving customers the assurance you are indeed the expert they need.
We’ve given you the 10 top things you can do for free to promote your business (or nearly free), and whilst these things don’t cost money, they do cost time. If you find that your time is more valuable to you, or you want to explore the many more strategies available, let’s have a chat. Call us on 01903 530787 or email Lara.
Editors Note: This article was originally posted in 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.