Is your shop empty or website anonymous? Has revenue flatlined — or worse fallen?
Well, you’re in the right place!
For the past month, I’ve been collaborating with 43 world-class marketers to produce this! A list of 100 free marketing tips that will propel your business from absolute obscurity to the cutting edge of the industry!
Why should I keep reading?
Brilliant, actionable and proven advice from 43 of the finest marketers
Ideas covering all parts of marketing, including social media, SEO and communications
A free eBook version of the post to download and keep forever
Ideas from in-house and agency experts
The experts I’ve invited to contribute to this article are all at the very front of their fields. Some — like the contributors from Digital Impact — work in digital marketing, others in PR and some ply their trade for in-house teams.
No matter where they work, though, one thing’s for sure: they know their stuff.
Before we delve into the meat of the article, I’d like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who helped make this blog happen. Every single person who offered up a snippet of marketing knowledge to share with the world. This project simply wouldn’t be here without you.
Now let’s get going!
#1: Speaking Engagements // Callum Beattie, Honest Agency
Speaking engagements are a great and free way to market your business. It positions you as a thought leader and an expert and it opens doors to the right customers if you choose the right speaking engagements. And if you’re not speaking at an event, just showing up to the event works amazingly well (if you have the right attitude). Attend events in your industry with the mindset of meeting and learning about the people in the room. Don’t think of it as selling, think of it as building relationships.
#2: Networking Events // Una Doyle, CreativeFlow.tv
At some networking events you will get a 1-minute pitch, so ask for specific people or companies that you’d like to be connected with. It’s amazing how often someone in the room – if not several people – will have a connection for you.
#3: Host MeetUps // Steven Mills, PMC Telecom
A great way to boost exposure of your local business, get backlinks for your company or get clients is to host an event or MeetUp. The best way to do this? Just host one about what your business specialises in. Bar Owner, Shoe Maker, Onesie tailor or SEO agency, it’s all possible.
Getting your target audience under your roof and getting them all to shout about it on social media is a really cost effective way to get your business out there, or to increase your presence as an established business.
Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organise a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
#4: Tap into Local Events // Libby Bearman, Browser Media
A friendly smile and polite chatter at a networking event could be all you need to kick off a new business relationship. Make space in your diary to attend local, relevant events – while some may involve a fee to attend, many are free – and meet people looking for what you do.
Volunteering as a guest speaker or hosting a workshop will allow you to show off your talent and expertise as well as help people understand how you may be able to help them. Not only that, but the event’s organisers will reach out and build an attendee list, therefore promoting you and your brand.
#5: Get to Know Local Influencers // Una Doyle, CreativeFlow.tv
Pick 25 organisations or influencers that you’d like to get in front of and ‘nicely stalk’ them on social media. Build a relationship by adding value first. Share their content and comment on it. Then begin to engage with them, find out what’s important to them and over time create a conversation until you can suggest a call or a meeting – or maybe they do.
#6: Keep It Genuine // Carl Lincoln, Integrated Technologies Limited
It’s easy to forget that the interactions you’re having on social are still interactions with real people. When it comes to ‘influencer engagement’ that doesn’t mean spamming people you have no relationship with. By all means, use the tools and data available to target the people with clout in your industry but don’t assume they want to hear from you.
Put yourself in their shoes. If you have a genuine, mutually valuable reason to connect and interact with someone it’s worth doing. If you’re just after their followers you might be better off with a promoted post.
#7: Automate Reminders // Una Doyle, CreativeFlow.tv
Don’t assume that because somebody hasn’t responded to your request or quote that they don’t want to work with you. People get busy so keep following up until you get a yes or a no. Busy people appreciate the reminders and if they weren’t going to work with you, you’ve lost nothing anyway!
#8: Chambers of Commerce // Will Craig, Digital Impact
Attend local Chamber of Commerce events. It’s a great way of meeting other businesses and can generate amazing leads.
#9: Build a Circle of Influencers // Charlie Marchant, Exposure Ninja
There are many mid-level influencers who are producing great content and have an engaged audience, but haven’t crossed over into the world of insane stardom where their demands go through the roof like the higher-level influencers. What you want to do is find that influencer’s sweet spot (unless you have Coca-Cola’s advertising budget, in which case you can afford to be indiscriminate!).
Influencers who are producing content within a specific niche will often have a very targeted audience. If your brand aligns well with theirs, then you have a good chance of getting your products or services promoted. The benefit is that you get access to a highly relevant and targeted new audience who could be potential new customers.
#10: Sniff Out Influencers and Opportunities // Lucy Stevens, Datify
Looking at who influencers in your industry or chosen niche are following on social media can help to open up other websites, journalists, or bloggers you may not have come across otherwise. You can do all the Google searching in the world, but the backing from one respected influencer to another can help to cement credibility. After all, they must be following them for a reason so see what they could offer to you and your campaign.
#11: Invest in Imagery // Ryan Cochrane, SoDash
There are over 2 million blogs created every day, and over 500 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube each minute. Including billions of other outlets, it all together creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.
If we were to measure it, the amount of data would fill 10 million Blu-ray discs. Piling those discs together would measure the height of 4 Eiffel Towers. Suffice to say, that’s a major amount of cat pics.
A recent study from Buffer showed that Tweets with images received 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites, and 150% more retweets than those without.
To give yourself the best chance of standing out, make sure you have a visually strong image with your posts. Photos added to a URL can boost Twitter retweets by around 35% on average. And for the bravest of brave, don’t shy away from a video or Facebook Live stream!
#12: Convert Content // Becky Livingston, Penheel Marketing
When creating one piece of content, such as a blog, take the bullet points from that and make a simple, 30-second video clip, tip sheet, or infographic. There are many online tools to help you make it amazing, like Canva and Haiku Deck. Use PowerPoint slides to make a simple video by saving the file as “video”.
#13: Understand Your Customers’ Problems // Una Doyle, CreativeFlow.tv
Have content on your website that demonstrates that you know more about your client’s problem than they do. Help them by adding value and they’ll want more.
#14: Befriend Contributors and Editors // James Tilford, Castle Smart
Having articles published on big publications such as Forbes and Mashable is a sure fire way to gain quality brand mentions. However, it’s not so easy to get your work published on these sites. Become friendly with some of the guest contributors on these sites, ask them how they gained their position and if they would be able to introduce you to the editor.
#15: Tumblr // Finn Hayden, Ace WorkWear UK
To me, Tumblr is a hidden gem in the world of social media marketing. Most of us tend to associate the platform with emotional teenagers and bad fan art, but for marketers Tumblr can provide a wealth of everything that we need for effective digital marketing – social signals, traffic and even powerful backlinks. It’s an especially good platform for businesses operating in slightly more unusual industries, as the anonymity of the users means that there they have no shame and will quite happily interact with your content regardless of what it is.
#16: Leverage Your Family // Amanda Murray, seoplus+
People love a family atmosphere – and it’s totally free! Last year, our Director of Web Marketing had an adorable baby girl! Sharing updates as she grows has been a great way to give clients a peek behind the curtain and show them the family atmosphere of our company.
She was promoted to Director of Cuteness and every time she comes in for an inspection the staff experience a wave of joy.
Happy Monday! The director of cuteness LOVES Mondays. 😜 pic.twitter.com/dh2dGOtLj2
— seoplus+ (@seopluscanada) April 4, 2016
Posts featuring our Director of Cuteness do very well and generate a lot of engagement. Every time we post a new picture of her hard at work at the keyboard or taking a break with her Starbucks sippy cup, we gain new followers. We’ve even had clients say they choose us because of the family nature of our business.
#17: Join Forces With Others // Nicole Fu, Nicole Fu
Leveraging the reach of a company with a similar target audience, but who’s not in direct competition with you. Free co-marketing strategies include guest blogging on each other’s site, taking over each other’s Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
#18: Research, Research, Research // Victoria Spall, Browser Media
There are loads of great tools out there that can help you to research content your audience will find valuable. My personal favourite is Buzzsumo, as it shows social metrics for the top performing content for keywords and domains, making it easy to see what works, and what doesn’t! Answer the Public is a resource that can help you to discover the questions being asked about your products and services – and best of all, it’s free!
#19: Republish Old Content // David Vallance, Digital Impact
The internet is a big, busy and competitive place. If you leave something lying around for any length of time, it can easily get lost in the noise. If you want to keep your content delivering results, you’ve got to pick it up, dust it off and breathe new life into it.
Chop and change your content, republishing it in different costumes. Read a blog post aloud and release it as a podcast, publish a transcript of a video as an article or cut up an infographic and release it on your social media.
#20: Reverse Image Search // Lucy Stevens, Datify
Reverse image searching is a great way to see what site has featured what, especially if you’re looking to place an infographic or creative content piece. Google the kind of thing you’re looking for such as ‘fitness infographic’, then right-click the image and select search Google by image to see all the places the infographic has previously been featured. You’re then left with a list of sites relevant to your niche. 9 times out of 10 the site is more than likely to take a similar piece you’re offering and it helps to make your outreach pitch a lot stronger too.
#21: Tap Into Specialised Hashtags // Alex Roberts-Harbour, Browser Media
Make the most of social media as a marketing tool to get your brand and business in front of as many people as possible. To help target your communications, use targeted hashtags on Twitter (such as #prrequest or #jourorequest, for example) and find relevant groups on Facebook to contribute to (Suffolk Business Stars, for example, is a group of Suffolk-based SME owners, and is a great resource for virtual networking). Post regularly and relevantly to maximise reach and stay top of people’s minds.
Still looking for a handful of free marketing ideas for an eBook. Full credit given! #JournoRequest
— David 🖋 (@JayVeeDeeVee) July 18, 2016
Being active on social media (in the right way) can be pivotal in powering your word of mouth marketing – invaluable.
#22: Use Twitter Lists // Ellie MacDonald, MacComms
Utilise Twitter lists. Segment your key audience (clients/customers, prospects, media and competition) into Twitter lists to keep an eye on them and engage with key contacts accordingly. This is key to working with the media and building relationships to gain you more press coverage and exposure.
#23: Create a Positive Buzz // Diana Lopez, ePageCity
One of the great ways that we’ve utilised free marketing is with our client testimonials. Our business relies on word of mouth and positive reviews so it only makes sense to include such testimonials with our prospective clients. Not only can testimonials and reviews be used across a number of review websites, such as Yelp, but we’ve also realised great success using these testimonials in a variety of marketing materials.”
#24: Conduct Surveys // Lorraine Wolfe, Aware Creative Solutions
Use SurveyMonkey! Yes, they have free accounts, too. And we were able to use them in a few different ways, namely as part of our customer service satisfaction follow-up email. We added survey links to our templated follow-up email message and were able to get a clear idea of how happy/unhappy our customers were with our service.
— Sync or Swim (@sync_or_swim) July 11, 2016
If they were happy, we followed-up with a request for a review or testimonial. If they were unhappy, someone was able to reach out to try and fix whatever it was they were unhappy with.
#25: Refer a Friend // Andrew Reeves, Luxe Translation
One free marketing strategy is to offer a refer a friend program for your business. Whenever someone refers a friend and the friend converts, you can give the referrer a coupon or something of intrinsic value.
— PureGym (@PureGym) July 16, 2016
#26: Viral Content // Max Robinson, Fish Tank Bank Ornaments
One of our most effective (and fun) ideas was creating free viral content and sharing it through reddit. Most viral content starts its journey on reddit, and it’s the perfect place to quickly generate some traffic to your site. A simple article that we shared on the site a few months ago generated over 2,000 views within 24 hours, plus a handful of valuable social signals.”
#27: Curate Content // Brandon Schroth, seoWorks
Providing industry related blog content on LinkedIn is an excellent strategy for gaining exposure from new audiences, while catering to your existing network. The goal is to provide shareable content. Something that your followers would be genuinely interested in seeing, and would consider sharing to their own followers. The result is exposure that increases exponentially, particularly when a piece of content goes viral.
#28: Ask for Reviews // Lorraine Wolfe, Aware Creative Solutions
We were also sure to ask our customers for REVIEWS on major review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook. We did this right away when they signed up, we reminded them in almost every email communication we sent out, and we asked for reviews whenever they called in for support. Many customers didn’t know how to post a review on certain sites, so I put together visual how-to guides on how to post a review on various websites.
In this industry, positive reviews = credibility = more sales. If we ever received a negative review, I promptly responded with an offer to help and always made sure to take accountability if we’d made a mistake.
Check out this awesome post by friend of the agency David Sawyer on how to generate reviews the easy way!
#29: Chase Up Testimonials // Nathan Barber, digitaladvertisingWorks
Leverage your existing relationships with customers by asking for reviews for their positive experiences. Getting 5-star reviews will send signals to other potential customers that your company is trustworthy and competent in creating a friendly shopping experience.
People are lazy and want to find results quick so having the 5/5 stars in itself draws the customers eyes to your company that will get people clicking on your website.
Higher reviews also send signals to search engines that you should be ranked higher on the local search results that will increase your online search engine optimisation and visibility.
#30: Comment on Blogs // Becky Livingston, Penheel Marketing
Comment on high-profile blogs in your industry and clients’ industries. Share your knowledge and comments on blogs that are rated well within your client’s community. In your post, be sure to add a link to your website.
Search Engine Optimisation
#31: Business Listings // Annie Dalby, Browser Media
Claiming an online listing for your business is a quick and easy way to build your online presence. For example, registering your business on review sites with good authority like Google Places or Yell.com will let potential customers know you’re a real organisation they can trust.
#32: On-Page Optimisation // Mark Hughes, Tutora
Add title and description tags to your webpages. Many potential visitors to your website will first search on a search engine such as Google or Bing. By adding a title tag and a description to your webpages, you give the search engines a helpful hint of what your website is about, and visitors will have a good idea of what to expect when they click through to your site. Well written title tags will therefore result in more website visitors and a more relevant audience.
On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page [Infographic]
— Brian Dean (@Backlinko) May 23, 2016
#33: Branded Accounts // Ross Dempsey, Digital Impact
Claim all your branded accounts. You don’t want to have to deal with trademark infringement and account squatters so make sure you sign up for all major social networks and communication channels to claim your branded account for your business.
#34: Monitor Mentions // Steven Mills, PMC Telecom
You can do some great link building for a client using “mentions”. This is free, and super easy to do. It’s super simple, you get a free brand monitoring account, and when somebody references your content, you can be really responsive in contacting them. This can open a ton of opportunities but best of all you are able to turn those citations into backlinks, thus making this quite an effective link building strategy
#35: Write Reviews // Amy Jordan, POP Content
Getting good backlinks is one of the most important factors in achieving good SEO results. But how do you really get featured on top quality websites?
One really helpful tip I have is to write a great review for one of your suppliers; send them a photo of yourself and let them know you’d be more than happy for them to use it in their marketing materials. As long as they could kindly pop a link back to your website when they use it online. Reviews are seriously powerful – but good reviews are hard to get hold of, so most companies will jump at the chance to display a happy customer story on their site.
#36: Guest Posting // Jessica Elle, Forest Giant
Need to up your citations and links? Use the following search command to find and refine bloggers willing to accept content from contributors:
target niche + “write for us”
While “write for us” is a common term in the blogosphere, you can easily swap the phrase out for “sponsored post”, “guest post”, and even “contributing author” to find online publications that are open to posting your work. Most guest opportunities will limit your links and brand messaging to the author bio section, but strategically publishing content to blogs that your target audience reads will add an additional brand awareness factor.
#37: Recycle Content // Becky Livingston, Penheel Marketing
Recycle outdated content with a new image and updated information. Then remember to update the time stamp on the piece and update the description, title, and keyword tags to reflect the new content. Share the information in social media and email channels to help drive traffic to the new content.
#38: Google’s Free Tools // Ashleigh Brown, Browser Media
Ensure that you utilise Google’s free tools; Google Analytics, Search Console and Google’s Keyword Tool (if you have an active PPC campaign). These tools provide priceless data regarding your website and your target audience. They allow you to: find out what people are doing when they get to your site and how many people are visiting, if there is anything wrong with your site that’s affecting its visibility and what people are searching for, in relation to what you have to offer, respectively.
#39: Tag Manager // Maria Soleil, mhs homes
Google Tag Manager doesn’t often get many mentions but it’s a fantastic free tool for marketers to track clicks, downloads and more on their site, without having to get developers to constantly make changes to your site code. Set up your Google Analytics using Tag Manager and you can manage everything through the platform. Get started with the free Google Analytics Academy Tag Manager training module.
#40: Track, Tweak and Optimise // David Vallance, Digital Impact
Get some tracking software installed on your site and start watching what your users are doing. Is that new banner catching the eye? Are your product pages enticing users?
If you aren’t tracking and testing, you’re getting left behind.
PR & Communications
#41: Enter Awards // Ali Cort, Browser Media
Winning an industry-relevant award, even just being nominated for one, will showcase your organisation’s talent, plus award ceremonies are attended by other like-minded and relevant guests just waiting to swap business stories. The more high-profile an award is, the more likely it will be covered by the press – however they are less likely to be free to enter.
#42: Build and Protect a Consistent Reputation // Farzana Baduel, Curzon PR
PR is about gaining trust. It is about creating, building and protecting a reputation and not just about exposure – so never forget your brand positioning. The PR industry is changing and it has never been more important for a brand to innovate whilst being authentic and transparent across all its platforms. Manage and protect your digital narrative by creating the right digital space for you and show your following that you care by tailoring your content to suit different digital platforms. For example, if you create a video don’t stop at uploading it to your website, shorten it for Instagram, embed it into an email, turn it into a series, or into text for a blog post for those who might prefer to read. Its not enough just to be out there, it’s about communicating and communicating your message well.
#43: Pitch Your Content // Lorraine Wolfe, Aware Creative Solutions
I was able to connect with publishers across the board – from niche/industry specific all the way up to CNN Money. When one of our pitched stories was picked up, we received a huge boost in website traffic. A few times, one major mention in an article resulted in more media outlets contacting us for further coverage. Pretty cool waterfall effect.
#44: Help a Reporter Out // Eric Brantner, Scribblrs
The free marketing strategy I use is answering HAROs. Each day I receive 3 emails full of reporters looking for sources. I assign time each day and answer as many relevant queries as I can. As a result, I’ve received tons of coverage in national publications, setting myself up as an expert in my niche.
#45: Q&A Sessions // Brandon Schroth, seoWorks
Another strategy is participating in Q&A sessions related to your industry. This is a powerful way to build stronger connections and put your industry expertise on display. The key is to make sure you’re adding value to the conversation, and not just blatantly pitching your company or product.
#46: Thank You Days // Becky Livingston, Penheel Marketing
Give clients a free item on a designated client Thank You day. For example, if you own a doughnut shop, maybe you give away a new flavour doughnut. I’ve seen this work with my clients ranging from hair salons to chocolate shops. It’s a great way to friends and family test, as well as give back to the customer.
#47: A Voice for the Radio // Amy Jordan, POP Content
If you’re on a radio show or podcast, focus on enunciating.
Being on the radio or a podcast can be an amazing honour, but equally nerve-wracking. You want to come across as an expert in your field and likeable, which you probably are, but public speaking can be nerve-wracking at the best of times.
To avoid speaking too fast and sounding nervous, try focusing on being clear and enunciating. It will help you avoid stammering too much and will usually result in you sounding more confident. It doesn’t hurt to take a moment to pause to think before you answer either – no one expects you to have your answer word perfect as soon as the question’s given.
#48: Quick Response Times // Hana Ballard, The Bridge Marketing
Answer the phone, social media and emails quickly. Don’t hide behind clunky telephone systems or a string of people who don’t have the power to help. Help your customers to engage with you, and build your brand through great customer service and strong communication. Often a complaint can be turned into an opportunity when handled with empathy, accountability and a genuine desire to be helpful.
#49: Interview Experts // Matt Goolding, Matt Goolding
There’s nothing better than unique insights, straight from the horse’s mouth. Especially for B2B marketing, an audience will want to hear directly from experts in their field. Ask intelligent questions about their perspectives on a profession or industry, their hopes and dreams for the future, and what lessons they’ve learned over the years. By featuring prominent influencers, you also extend the reach of your content to their followers when the interviewee shares it. It’s a win-win.
#50: Editorial Calendar // Ellie MacDonald, MacComms
Build an editorial calendar: research key dates and events including national awareness dates and seasonal trends in your sector and plot newsworthy content for press releases, features for trade publications, regional and industry awards to enter, conferences and trade shows to be aware of, and you can then tie in your marketing, PR and social media campaigns accordingly. This will ensure you have a well thought out plan of action and will achieve the most impactful results.
#51: Livestreaming // Ronke Lawal, Ariatu Public Relations
Use live streaming such as Periscope and Facebook Live to build an audience and engage with them. You might be talking to the sound of crickets your first few times but keep going. Over time you’ll find your voice and build your tribe. Be yourself, people love authenticity – let go of the need to be perfect. This allows you to tap into the power of video which just keeps on growing…
#52: Repurpose Content // Will Craig, Digital Impact
Repurpose old content in video. For example export slideshows as video, layer on a narration and you’ve got a fresh piece of content. Or read out some longer blog posts and release them as podcasts.
#53: Write Quick Start Guides // Lorraine Wolfe, Aware Creative Solutions
We started out with detailed PDF Quick Start Guides about how to set up each credit card terminal we sold. Eventually, we decided to shoot detailed how-to videos to accompany those PDFs. The first video we created was scripted and shot by me in about 4 hours and has accumulated over 34,000 views. Other than already owning a camcorder (which you could totally use your smartphone nowadays), doing this first video and uploading it to YouTube was completely free. Due to its success, we hired a video production company to make higher quality videos for the rest of the terminals. The most popular video for a very common credit card terminal now has over 380,000 views.
#54: Broadcast Events // Ekaterina Matveeva, Amolingua
Another great way of free marketing that we’ve utilised is an online streaming from an event. YouTube streaming or Periscope could be great examples. If it’s a theme conference it already has a pool of potential customers who will watch you with attention. And if they like what you say, they may tweet it or share with their friends during or after the streaming. If the live video is saved as a recorded version, it should be on your social media. People love videos, this will make you closer to your customers as they will get an idea what kind of person you are. Remember, people buy from people.
#55: Sound is the Key // Phil Duncan, Sync or Swim Productions
If you are interested in investing in video marketing to start a vlog then one of you first purchases needn’t be a fancy camera or some expensive editing software but should actually be a good microphone. Audio is half of every production. Basic video editing software is pretty standard with most operating systems and these days almost everyone has a phone or webcam with pretty decent video recording capabilities (some phones even do 4K!) but these devices are always lacking in the sound department and clear and crisp sound will really enhance any video you make. Go for a tie-clip or a directional shotgun mic. Something that will capture your voice clearly and not pic up external sounds such as room echo, background noise etc. Your audience will thank you for it!
#56: Transcribe Everything // Una Doyle, CreativeFlow.tv
A lesser known way to repurpose your live or pre-recorded broadcasts is to transcribe them and upload them to PDF sharing sites. Google to find the latest listings of these sites and ensure you include links to your website opt-in offer, YouTube and other social sites.
(Remember to upload the transcripts to YouTube’s captions also and if you’re going to add the video to Facebook you might want to edit it to add the text because lots of people watch video on Facebook with the sound off.)
Of course, once you have a transcription you can use it to create a blog post and/or as an email opt-in for a ‘content upgrade’ (a PDF version of the blog post and/or extra content pertinent to the blog post).
#57: Podcasts // David Vallance, Digital Impact
Podcasts are finally hitting the lofty highs we all knew they were capable of. If you’ve got something to say, there’s almost certainly an audience just waiting to hear about it. Buy a microphone, block out an hour or two and just talk about your business.
— Paul Boag (@boagworld) July 7, 2016
People love the directness and honesty of podcasts and it can really help give your business an identity.
#58: TED Talks // Ekaterina Matveeva, Amolingua
Another free marketing tip that has come very handy is a TED talk. The trick is that you must be so good and unique in your area and simultaneously develop skills to deliver a great story. This type of challenge is rewarding, as this will help you to set a new milestone in your personal and company
#59: Turn Customers Into Salespeople // Phil Duncan, Sync or Swim Productions
Studies have shown that the most effective type of video is the customer testimonial with an effectiveness rating of 89% (WebDM). This puts it above your general promotional or explainer video. If you can entice your best customer to speak on camera then this video can really drive leads and sales as it gives prospective customers a lot more faith in your product/service.
#60: Set Clear Goals // Phil Duncan, Sync or Swim Productions
Whether you are doing a video yourself or hiring in outside help, always go in with a clear objective of what you want your video to do. Is it to sell, to start a conversation, to explain a product or service? If you try and cram too much in one video it will just become overlong and bloated and your message will be lost, meaning you have possibly wasted a lot of money and, more importantly, your time.
#61: Quora Questions // Tommy Johnson, Venture Storm
With two target users in mind, my co-founders and I follow a ton of different Quora topics related to our market, including Lean Startups, Co-Founders, Startups, and Non-Technical Founders just to name a few.
Then our feed of questions people are asking is very tailored to one specific target market or user.
We look for questions about how to find a co-founder, starting a tech company without the tech knowledge, hiring a software developer for startups, etc. Given that we have a great amount of experience solving these problems through VentureStorm.com, we leave a genuine answer that ties the website into it. After the first week of trying this unconventional marketing we were seeing users pop up in Asia, Africa, South America, and all over, yet we were based in Washington D.C. and had done no formal marketing to those areas.
#62: Free Tools // Daniela Arango, Doitwiser.co.uk
The key to making successful low-budget strategies online is to take advantage of social marketing tools, especially the ones that are free. Most steps of a digital marketing strategy have an app that makes everything easier.
If you need to design images you can use Canva or Pictochart. Need to check the spelling and grammar of your blogs? After the Deadline and Grammarly are very useful. Analysing basic trending contents? Buzzsumo. Creating a social media calendar? Hootsuite.
Check out our Ultimate List of Free Marketing Tools here!
#63: Watering Holes // Ross Dempsey, Digital Impact
Get online and start looking for online communities related to your niche or places your customers hang out. Use these communities to research your buyer personas and guide your content strategy. A decent SME community on LinkedIn is a tremendous research tool and can even deliver the odd lead!
#64: Follow Key Blogs // Lisa Haynes, Browser Media
It pays to be in the know. The digital industry is always evolving and therefore marketing strategies need to evolve too. It‘s worth bookmarking a few blogs or news channels and take the time to catch up with them on a daily basis. Not only will this keep you in the know when things are developing (Google updates, for example) but it’s also a great way to identify and connect with key influencers in the industry, and inspire your own content creation, so you too can work to become an influencer.
#65: Slack Groups // Tommy Johnson, Venture Storm
There are a lot of open Slack message groups for different purposes. Similar to the Quora questions we found groups that were all related to our markets or where people would be posting about the exact pain point we aimed to solve. Some groups are related to bootstrapping companies, iOS development, Android, etc. This method is probably easier for B2C companies because they are usually a single person signing up and posting in these groups. But it’s a great way to see what people are complaining about and if your business solves their problem you can easily shoot them a message.
#66: Audience Research // Ross Dempsey, Digital Impact
Everyone says produce great content…but how do you know what that is? To find out what your audience really wants to hear about, jump onto related forums, Facebook groups and LinkedIn and listen to what your target audience is talking about.
Keep a note of common pain points, problems and questions then build your content around it. You know it’ll work because there’s people actually asking about it.
#67: Facebook Groups // Bryan Clayton, GreenPal
No matter your niche or vertical there is a Facebook group that you can participate in to contribute to the discussion, answer questions, and develop a presence to refer people to your business, often times when they are looking for exactly what you offer.
We have found this tactic to be very effective for our marketplace. We monitor local groups and neighborhoods groups and when anyone is asking for a recommendation on a lawn care service, we kindly let them know about the GreenPal community. We track the success and 60% of the time we make a recommendation, they signup for our service
#68: Reddit // Max Robinson, Cable Road Storage
One of the most effective (and cheap!) methods that we found success with was viral marketing, specifically submitting content to the website reddit.
Reddit is insanely viral and it is very easy to generate traffic to your content through the site. There are endless amounts of communities on the site (known as ‘subreddits’), and you’re bound to find one which is at least vaguely related to the content that you’re promoting. This is the perfect opportunity to drive some relevant traffic to your website and possibly even start to build an audience.
#69: Facebook Industry // Daniel Knowlton, KPS Digital Marketing
There are tons of amazing communities within Facebook Groups. The best way to be accepted into these groups is to contribute value-adding answers to questions asked. Once you’ve delivered value upfront, you can then start to share your own value-adding content within the groups. DO NOT just jump in groups and share your content, you will be kicked out. Follow these simple steps to get started:
- Type in industry related keywords to Facebook search, e.g. Marketing, Technology, etc.
- Click ‘groups’ and join the top 5 – 10 groups.
- Once you have been accepted, look for questions that you can answer within the group.
- Answer at least 1 question a day for 1 week.
- Share your value-adding content within the group (no promotion!)
- Rinse & repeat.
#70: Content Aggregators // David Vallance, Digital Impact
Take advantage of content aggregator websites like reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon. These websites have colossal audiences and, if your content gets picked up, can send millions of engaged readers your way.
#71: Giveaways // Nathan Barber, digitaladvertisingWorks
Do giveaways, and share through all of your social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, among others. Increase your following by allowing people to enter to giveaway for liking, commenting, following, sharing, and / or a combination of all. While you will lose money on the item or service you are giving away, the reward is much higher than the cost. You will receive a massive influx of user engagement, and visibility on people’s social media feeds increasing your brand awareness. Create a landing page for the contest on your website to allow people to learn more through a hyperlink through the social media post, and you will increase the number of users and sessions on your website.
Free aerial stills for Tourism/Property/Construction/Engineering. Tweet at us people! You like free stuff right? pic.twitter.com/eBzEGRTaWp
— Sync or Swim (@sync_or_swim) July 15, 2016
#72: Taster Vouchers // Rachael Dines, Shake It Up Creative
Recently we attended a series of events and gave away a free design & marketing tips sheet. However, on the sheet there was a ‘free hour’ that could be claimed in its own right or discounted from a bigger project. People are claiming these hours at the moment.
#73: Positive Culture // Haley Steed, Direct Online Marketing
Be a nice guy! As a digital marketing agency we offer free website audits or consultations for any business interested in our services. We advertise this on our site, on Facebook pages, if we’re hosting events. Everyone loves something for free, and the results from the consultation and audit create a great deal of value to prospective clients. Even if the person receiving the consultation does not sign up for our services, it can create great word of mouth buzz, and a feeling of indebtedness that can pay off in the long run.
#74: Quizzes and Trivia // Becky Livingston, Penheel Marketing
Create a series of trivia questions about a topic or theme related to your brand or client industries. Use some humour or stats to make it more challenging. Post the trivia on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to increase engagement among followers. Award “pride” stamps to exceptional players. They can download them and put them on their own social media profiles. Be sure to include your branding.
#75: Key Demographic Discounts // Ross Dempsey, Digital Impact
If you’ve identified key demographics to go after, design discounts or offers to catch their attention. Student discounts, service person vouchers, NHS deals and so on. If you want to attract a particular group, you’ve got to give them a reason to come to you.
Anyone in tourism or construction that would like some free aerial stills please get in touch (central Scotland please) #freebie
— Sync or Swim (@sync_or_swim) July 7, 2016
#76: Engagement Campaigns // David Vallance, Digital Impact
It can be tricky to get people engaged with your social media platforms. Consider running campaigns targeted at raising awareness, for example, caption contests, fill in the blank, etc. These tried and tested ideas play on your users’ competitiveness and creativity and can turn a disinterested audience into a mob of brand advocates.
#77: Social Media Competitions // Lucia Fella, The BIG Partnership
Running social media competitions is a great way to increase likes, comments or shares on your profiles. However, while a simple ‘like and share’ competition will bolster your social media stats in the short term, what value does this add in the long term?
It’s simple to integrate a competition with marketing objectives. For instance, if you have market research you want to carry out, ask people to answer a question or a short survey for a chance to win. If you’d rather build a customer database, you can use a form on your website or on a third-party app to capture data such as an email address. If you add an opt-in box to receive future marketing, then you have a whole new captive audience. Prizes don’t have to be expensive, but the value should correlate with the amount of effort the user will need to put in, so a simple ‘like and share’ competition could have a cheaper prize than a survey.
#78: Action-Specific Competitions // Daniel Knowlton, KPS Digital Marketing
Gleam.io is a great tool you can use for social media competitions. The tool allows you to set up a widget which gets competition entrants to take specific actions in return for a competition entry. For example, follow you on social media, share your social media content, sign up to your newsletter, take a survey, download an app, etc. The options are endless.
Once the competition is up, share it on social media and use targeted Facebook Ads to get some traction. For example, we set up regular competitions for one of our clients who sell kitchen gadgets. We targeted the competition Ads to people who are interested in cooking, recipes, kitchen gadgets, online shopping etc. The competitions get 10,000+ entries every single week!
#79: User Generated Content // David Vallance, Digital Impact
User generated content is great for businesses. It proves you’ve got an engaged audience and works as social proof for new users. A great idea is to use promotions to generate and collect user generated content for future use. For example, ask your audience to show you them using your product or service and publish those photos online.
— PureGym (@PureGym) July 18, 2016
#80: Collaborative Contests // Ross Dempsey, Digital Impact
Join forces with related businesses and run collaborative contests. For example, a joint trivia contest or hiding tickets throughout two websites. These sort of contests let you tap into new audiences and are typically mutually beneficial for all parties.
#81: Guerilla Marketing // Haley Steed, Direct Online Marketing
Go Guerilla! I am a sucker for guerilla marketing tactics. Do something outrageous (but not illegal). Are you a coffee shop owner? Grab some sidewalk chalk and take to the streets (think big arrows, directing the weary, caffeine-deprived souls to the coffee coated solace of your shop). Put up a hilarious sign in front of your business (make sure your company name and website is listed on sign, because branding) like one of my personal favorites: Soup of the day: Tequila. Take a picture, share it on social, encourage your regulars to spread the word.
#82: Neighbour Collaborations // Ross Dempsey, Digital Impact
All brands are engaged in a constant struggle for attention. While you might be able to generate some interest on your own, joining forces with nearby non-competing brands can multiply your reach many times over.
#83: Fresh Eyes // Hana Dickinson, The Bridge Marketing
Seek a fresh perspective. Inviting in a consultant or speaking to an adviser, mentor or coach can help you see your business, customers and staff in a new light, which, in turn, can help you to pinpoint areas where small changes can make a big difference. Knowledge is power and sometimes you’re too close to see what’s right under your nose.
#84: Branded Merchandise // Jennifer Burton, Steel City
Personalised, targeted campaigns engage with clients and get a great reaction. Being a branded merchandise company, we see first-hand how effective incorporating promotional products into your campaigns are. Whether it be as part of a direct mail campaign, a gift to loyal clients or an exhibition freebie, branded merchandise is a fantastic way to gain exposure, connect on a personal level with your clients and hence impact positively on your ROI.
#85: Business Card Flyering // David Vallance, Digital Impact
Handing out business cards at meetings and conferences is pretty standard stuff. Leaving a card along with a tip at a restaurant or in library books related to your niche, however, is a little more left field.
It’s all about casting the net wide and seeing what comes back.
#86: Hand Written Mail // Amy Jordan, POP Content
Address snail-mail campaigns by hand. Everyone hates junkmail; whether it’s in email or snail-mail form. If you’re doing a marketing campaign through post, spend the time to write out the envelope by hand. It may take a couple of extra minutes, maybe even a whole afternoon to write out the envelopes, but trust me – it will save you money.
Blasting out leaflets on their own will most likely just cost you a lot of money with little in return. If you hand write the address at least, it shows you genuinely want to reach out to that person – they’re not just another number – and they’re much more likely to at least open up your letter and see if your offer is worth their time.
#87: Maximise Real Estate // Hana Dickinson, The Bridge Marketing
Print on both sides of a flyer or leaflet. For a fraction of extra cost you won’t waste the space and opportunity to communicate.
#88: Get Involved With Your Community // Angela Stairs, seoplus+
One of the easiest and often overlooked PR tactics for companies is to get involved with events in your industry and local community. Don’t underestimate the power of being involved with a local event that is unrelated to your sector. This could be having your team participate or volunteer wearing t-shirts or hats with your company logo, or it could be offering your services to the event in exchange for in-kind sponsorship placement. This exposure provides a perfect opportunity to spread brand awareness within new networks, and could very well lead to new clients and leads as a result.
#89: Samples // Henry Butler, CanIRank
Give before you get. By providing value to your prospective customers before they have committed to purchasing your product or service, they are more likely to convert into loyal clients. In terms of marketing strategies, small businesses should be open to giving away something for free. If you own a wine shop for example, this may mean giving away free samples.
#90: Industry Associations // Will Craig, Digital Impact
Get involved with industry associations! Joining these groups gives you access to a huge body of knowledge and experience.
#91: Free Services // Lorraine Wolfe, Aware Creative Solutions
Email marketing to our existing customer base using the free version of MailChimp. After working tirelessly to get our sales team to capture customer email addresses on new accounts (and getting customer service to do the same with existing customers), we were able to add these contacts to MailChimp and keep them informed about our seasonal promos, upcoming events, new services, eStatement software, and a host of other news that resulted in a lot of extra “upsell” type sales activities.
#92: Personalisation // Mark Hughes, Tutora
Personalise your newsletter. We’re all familiar with the idea of using newsletters to keep in touch with customers, but with most sites catering to a wide variety of customers, sending the same newsletter to every subscriber often results in low engagement. If you know what a customer purchased, or intended on purchasing, try tailoring your newsletter to contain content and offers that are more relevant to them.
#93: Segment Your Audience // Charlie Marchant, Exposure Ninja
The highest performing websites will often segment their visitors into multiple levels of ‘willingness to buy’. Those who are ready to buy right now can do so, but those who are in the research phase, curious or just killing time are catered for too. By offering lead generation ‘bait’ such as a free guide, sample or some other tasty tidbit, high converting sites collect the names and email addresses of people who, whilst they’re not ready to buy now, might be ready to buy in the future.
Creating this type of email database of existing and potential customers to market to (email marketing) is something that every business will need to do at some stage and most of them will say to themselves, “I wish I had started doing this earlier! It would have made life so much easier!” Collecting emails is useful on a number of levels, but the key reason is that it is a relatively easy way of retargeting old or potential customers that at one stage were interested in your business.
#94: Proof, Proof and Proof Again // Lindsay Ross, anteater marketing
Proof, proof and proofread again! Nothing will turn an audience off more than a poorly written email, with grammatical errors and typos. Send the email to yourself and some colleagues to proofread, prior to hitting that launch button.
#95: Keep Your Database Fresh // Libby Bearman, Browser Media
Ensuring your email marketing contact list is fresh will help make sure your awesome, targeted content is reaching the right people. Running an opt-in campaign will help sort the wheat from the chaff, and with plenty of free tools such as MailChimp, TargetHero and ReachMail, it’s a low-to-no-cost way of engaging your audience.
#96: Test Different Services // David Vallance, Digital Impact
Try out different email marketing platforms and see which you like best. MailChimp has an incredibly generous free tier but it’s worth testing out some of its competitors too.
#97: Audit Your Strategies // Hana Dickinson, The Bridge Marketing
Has your business been going for some time yet your marketing is just not getting the results you want? Stop and take stock. You’re probably doing 101 things where only a few are truly working for you. Don’t do things just for the sake of it. Make every pound spent and minute of work count towards your objectives.
For example, you might do a regular e-shot, but your time is taken up with the administration of that e-shot rather than looking at the results and tweaking and improving the content, design and user-experience. There’s no harm in doing less work better. It takes the same amount of time and yields far greater results.
#98: Lead Magnets // Daniel Knowlton, KPS Digital Marketing
One of the most effective strategies we use to build up a targeted email list is to use content upgrade lead magnets. For example, we have written tutorials teaching people how to write highly effective blogs. The content upgrade lead magnets we use are blogging templates etc. These produce the highest conversion rates because the lead magnet works hand in hand with the tutorial. OptinMonster is a really great tool to use to create great lead magnet forms.
#99: Tracking // Ross Dempsey, Digital Impact
Track everything! Use Google’s URL builder to create unique tracking URLs and find out what links users are clicking and what they’re doing afterwards. If you are linking out to other sites it also helps prove how much you’re helping them.
#100: Press Releases // David Vallance, Digital Impact
Be proud of your successes and shout about them via press releases. Make sure you build a relationship with journalists before sending your release out, though, or your announcement may end up in the bin. Good press releases can quickly turn into positive media coverage!
— Digital Impact (@DigitalImpactUK) July 13, 2016