How can I market my business online for free?

Even if you’re a seasoned strategist, it’s no secret that building brand awareness can be expensive. Curious how to market a business online for free? You can save big on advertising without dipping into your savings in a few simple steps. 

From free promotions to smart content strategy, read on for our go-to guide to market your business on a budget. These tactics will help you to expand your customer base, improve client retention, and increase revenue without breaking the bank.

10 ways to take advantage of free advertising

At first glance, online marketing may seem like an expensive way to promote your business. There are a number of free ways to advertise your business on social media platforms and local business listings. Read on for our top 10 tips and tricks to market your brand on a budget:

  1. Build a website
  2. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  3. Get ad promo credits
  4. Update your Google Maps listing
  5. Social media marketing is key
  6. Create a hashtag (or three)
  7. Try out tutorials on YouTube
  8. Embrace email marketing 
  9. Layer in digital surveys
  10. Develop industry partnerships

First, build a website that works for you 

With 78% of businesses advertising on websites, a web presence is critical to building a brand online. With the right tools, you can fully optimise your web platform free of charge. Add visual interest to your homepage with photos of your business or products. Experts also suggest including customer testimonials on your website to further connect with your client base. 

Take into account your specific business needs when choosing a web platform. Tools such as Ucraft let you connect to a custom domain, while others, such as Carrd, are best for one-page websites. Take advantage of ecommerce builders with free plans such as Ecwid or Big Cartel for selling products.

Embrace search engine optimisation 

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is key to increasing the visibility for your business on a budget. Research suggests that 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence remain their top inbound marketing priority. 

SEO involves targeting specific keywords related to your product or service that people are likely to Google search. Updating your “Google My Business” and Google Maps listing will also improve your search results in the long term. 

Lean into social media to engage customers

Remember, organic social provides a personal way to add visual interest to your brand and instantly connect with clients. A recent survey revealed that social media marketing ranked as the number one digital marketing channel that businesses use. WIth 81% of companies advertising on social media, the platform is continuing to grow in popularity across industries.

Consider creating a hashtag for consumers to find more information about your product or service. From a branded term to a call to action, hashtags are known to improve brand awareness across platforms. Plus, you give users an opportunity to connect directly with your business on social media. 

In addition to scrolling through Instagram and posting on Facebook, YouTube is another great option to advertise for way less. Microsoft says 9% of small businesses use YouTube to increase brand visibility in search engines and attract new customers. 

Social media can drastically extend your brand reach and help your company to connect with a wider and more diverse customer demographic. 

Dive into email marketing to drive sales 

Almost three-quarters (72%) of US adults prefer companies to communicate with them via email. Email marketing can drive sales, improve customer acquisition, and promote customer retention. There is a range of free email marketing tools out there that can save you time and money

Once you have created a baseline for email marketing, you can also outline a monthly or bi-monthly content plan. Be sure to explore A/B testing your email copy to better understand what types of content your subscribers engage with. 

So free advertising is key. Here are 10 ways to recycle content, too

Another secret to cost-effective marketing lies in repurposing high-quality content across platforms. Don’t be afraid to repost stock photos from last season, or republish a blog post updated with current style trends. Repurposing content will help you to reach new audiences, reinforce your brand message, and improve your organic visibility in minutes. Read on for 10 ways to repeat and refresh your content today:

  1. Update old blog posts 
  2. Turn blog posts into podcasts
  3. Refresh old data
  4. Build your own infographics
  5. Layer in customer reviews
  6. Use statistics social media
  7. Repost photos for your feed
  8. Repost customer tags
  9. Target your website
  10. Source customer input on products

A little design goes a long way

You don’t need a web designer to build a professional website that’s eye-catching to potential customers. Try free design tools that are totally user friendly. Canva is a great option to build simple assets using existing templates to market your business for free.

Plus, free photo archive sites are an ideal way to source millions of photos in the public domain. Tools such as Unsplash are a great option for free images from creatives around the world. 

Blog posts are always beneficial

Self-publishing great content is a highly effective way to engage customers and establish your brand voice in the digital space. Every month, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion blog pages. The average blog post takes just 3.5 hours to write, and there are seemingly endless possibilities to engage consumers online. 

Additionally, only 38% of bloggers are updating older articles. If you’re looking for a quick refresh, revisit past content and update it with relevant keywords to improve search results. This is a simple way to generate new interest in a wide range of content that you’ve already written. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even turn an on-trend blog post into a podcast

Repurpose data for the win

Go ahead, transform insights into inspiration today. Data is a relevant and low-cost way to connect with customers and showcase key brand metrics. Highlight how many customers you added this year or the percentage of people who loved a certain product. A couple of numbers go a long way on social media and other platforms to generate clicks. 

Refresh and re-use content on social media

Organic social is a strategic goldmine for boosting engagement. There are a number of simple ways to update your social media content. Experts recommend using statistics on social media posts, or sourcing customer reviews from product pages to include on your Instagram page. 

Consider partnering with an influencer or industry leader to guest post on your account for the day. This can be an interesting way to connect a thought leader to your platform and widen your client base. Additionally, invite your customers to comment with their product feedback on social platforms to engage with your client base online. 

Find more fun ways to connect with clients

You don’t need to meet your client base in person to make a big impact. When it comes to digital marketing, sometimes it benefits your business to think outside the box. Read on for five ways to connect with customers on another level in a virtual context:

  1. Create a customer referral program
  2. Host events or online tutorials
  3. Bet on a business card drawing 
  4. Develop industry partnerships 
  5. Social media contests

Go ahead, host an event (or three)

In the digital landscape, online events can go a long way in fostering long-term loyalty with your client base: 45.7% of marketers say that the primary goal of virtual events is to generate a pipeline. Meanwhile, 65.9% of event organisers make their virtual events available on demand after they take place. Try a simple business card drawing or host a virtual tutorial to teach your customer base a relevant skill. 

Discounts are always a good idea

A loyalty program offering discounts can spark interest and boost engagement. Experts also suggest offering promotions with other local brands for clients through industry collaborations. Consider if your product or service pairs well with that of another business. You could develop a partnership that can benefit both companies with a combined loyalty program.

Whether you’re sending an email or posting on social, marketing your business on a budget isn’t always easy. However, the right tools are out there to set you up for success. Try these 25 ways to market your business online for free today, and build your client base for tomorrow.

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Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.

Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.