Are you trying to market a business with no money? Wondering if it can be done? The truth is, it CAN be done and I’ve done it!
I bootstrapped my first business to five figures in monthly revenue and this article is going to shine light on some of the tactics I used to grow it so I could quit my day job and run the business full-time!
When I started my business journey I was working a full-time job. With little time for outside projects and no budget, I found the time to work on the business and I employed free marketing methods to grow it.
And, it worked!
In fact the free marketing methods I tried were so successful, I continued using them, up until I sold the business a few years later.
Whether you’re in a position where you can’t afford paid marketing or you’re trying to save money everywhere you can, these tried and true tactics will help you promote your business well while providing the most value to you and your audience.
You will love that these marketing strategies are actionable and realistic. You won’t be scratching your head any longer, wondering how to market your business.
Keep reading while we share these 8 ways to market a business with no money.
What is Business Marketing?
This is about marketing or promoting your business. They are the strategies and tactics you use to share your business with the largest target audience possible, to help you gain more exposure and deliver your message, make money, and become a global company.
Marketing is a must in business. Without it, there will be a very slow (or nonexistent) trajectory for growth. What’s the point in doing this amazing work if nobody will see it, right?
How Can I Promote My Small Business?
There are many ways to promote your small business using organic and paid routes.
For new businesses, capital might be limited so it’s important to have free marketing methods available to you.
And that’s what we will be sharing down below.
How Do I Get My Business Noticed?
There are marketing tactics you can employ to get your business noticed. To execute them, you will need to:
- Be consistent
- Be diligent
- Measure the results
- Take action and be able to pivot when needed
Consistency and diligence is key in all this. Some marketing methods will explode from the very beginning and take off. Others may take some time to see results. Either way, stay the course and be consistent in your plan.
Measure your results along the way because how else are you going to know if your plan is working and how well it’s working.
It’s important that your marketing plan can be measured. You want to track your results here.
Then lastly, don’t delay, take action! Follow through and if things aren’t working, be flexible enough to pivot and make changes to what you’re doing. That’s what it takes to execute your marketing strategy well. You don’t need to be a marketing expert or someone with a corporate background. Anybody can do this.
Is This Marketing Strategy Really Free?
The good news is, these business promotion tactics are affordable. In this article, they’re actually 100% free so you won’t have to worry about raising money for a marketing budget.
As your business grows you can look at expanding your marketing reach by introducing paid marketing techniques but those ideas will be introduced in another article.
Check out these 8 strategies that I hope will inspire you to start marketing your business with no money:
1. Ask Friends and Family
This is first and foremost. A lot of entrepreneurs ignore this one but this is a source of untapped capital.
Make your personal network stakeholders in your business. They know you and they will want to support you.
My mom invested $500 in one of my early projects and she wanted to invest 5X that amount.
I was so taken aback and grateful. The truth is, other family members would have come on board, too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is a great source of interest-free (in many cases) capital.
2. Social Media
Social media was my bread and butter for business marketing.
It’s great because it’s totally free. The potential to go viral and explode your business is there. And, it’s a cool way to connect with your customers one-on-one, engage with them, poll your audience, and make real change, based on what your customers are looking for.
There are so many social networks out there. How do you know which ones to target?
Start by finding out where your audience hangs out. That means, using your traffic tracking (which you should definitely have), like Google Analytics, see where your traffic is coming from.
For my business, that place was Instagram. And, it made sense since I was hosting flash sales on my Instagram page, participating in giveaways and other events to drum up business.
Based on your findings, hone in on that channel, whether it’s YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram or another network.
Getting good on social media is all about consistency. Create a schedule and make sure that you post consistently.
Ideas for posting on social media for your business:
- Behind-the-scenes looks at production
- Office videos or photos
- Posts of your team
- First hand looks at upcoming products you’ll be launching
- Recognizing holidays and special events
- Hosting giveaways, be the buyer days and other events
- Polling your audience
- Asking open-ended questions and engaging with your fans
These are just a handful of ideas to get you started.
Take one day a month and plan out your social media content calendar for the entire month. Then, get posting. You can even use automation tools like Hootsuite to automate the entire process.
Lastly, track your results. You want to make sure what you’re doing is working. You can do this with built-in analytics tools that a lot of social networks have, along with your own analytics/traffic tracking tools, like Google Analytics.
3. Business Grants
A lot of people rule out grants but it’s a very real source of free money.
Grants won’t happen overnight and they take a lot of time and preparation. Not to mention, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get one so don’t rely on this as a true source of capital. Instead, put this one in your back pocket and couple it with the other strategies on the list.
4. Angel Investors
Get an investor! This is easier than you might think.
First, before you even start looking at investors, make sure you have a business plan. You should have your business plan in place period, but if you don’t, make sure to prepare one.
Your business plan lays out your goals and objectives for your business.
You will answer questions like:
- What business are you in?
- What is your marketing plan?
- Who are your customers (target market)?
- How will you reach your customers?
- What is the operating budget?
- What makes you stand out from the competition?
- Where will your business be in five years?
- And, more questions!
Although every angel investor may not ask for your business plan, a good number of them will ask so make sure you have this ready.
Next, seek out investors.
You can do this through networking. There are also angel investor networks you can find online that will allow you to virtually pitch your business and wait to hear back from interested investors.
To get more information about this, check out this resource on how to get angel investors.
5. Become an Expert in Your Field
Get on the internet and share your expertise. That means share your knowledge about your niche in forums, groups, on social media, in communities, etc.
Here are some places you can go to accomplish that:
- Subreddit communities
- Facebook groups
- Specialized niche forums
When you are making yourself an “expert” online, the key is to provide value and not ask for anything in return.
It’s called attraction marketing and it works.
It’s about putting out great information into the community and attracting your buyers or target market to you.
Last year, I joined a niche Facebook group in my field and I joined in on the conversation. I asked and answered questions, I shared my knowledge, I started threads, I talked to community members, all without dropping my website link or talking about my business.
And, what resulted?
People started asking me what I did. And when I told them. They asked how they could learn from me. So, I shared my online course and in one month, I made nearly $1,000! That was the same month that I started becoming very active in the group.
How incredible, right?
Attraction marketing works and it gets real results.
Practice this and make yourself the go-to expert in your field.
6. Collaborate with Peers in Your Industry
Get together with other industry leaders in your field and collaborate. Host an event, take over each other’s social media for a day or do other projects together.
It’s a great way to get to know others in your field and this can help bump up your income with little effort.
7. Host Free Events
A free event is a cool way to draw in a crowd and market your business. You can mix this in with #7, collaborating with an industry peer to get even more exposure.
Here are some examples:
- Be a Buyer Events
- Audience Polls
A “Be a Buyer” event is when you work one-on-one with your audience and ask their opinion about a product you want to buy or start carrying in your business.
So, if you have an apparel product business for men’s footwear, you can share a new style of men’s dress shoes that you want to carry in the store. Before making your purchase order, share some information about the product and images with your audience and see what they think.
This gives them an insider’s sneak peek at potential upcoming products, having a hand in what products you carry and it gives you great insight on an audience’s reception of a new product before you actually invest in buying it.
I used to do this a lot with my business and it got really great results.
Giveaways are when you give away a free product to your audience. This can be a product that you carry or discount codes. You make this free for you by ensuring that it’s valuable, without actually costing you money up front.
Then, games are next. These are fun events where you can play knowledge games, brain teasers or other fun games online with your customers. This can be done over email or social media.
Audience polls are a neat way to interact with your target market, too. You will get the opinion of your audience and to ensure you get good participation, attach an incentive to it, like participation gets a customer a discount code, etc.
Events are golden and an amazing way to market your business with no money.
8. Email marketing
Lastly, do email marketing. You will collect email addresses of customers or potential customers and use that email list to serve promotions, share information about your business and other news.
Email marketing is so powerful.
A single email can make you tons of sales and help you reach your sales goals almost instantly.
Always be collecting emails. You can do this on your business website.
Use a free email marketing tool like Mailchimp (free for the first 2,000 email subscribers) which will help you create a popup form on your site to collect emails.
This is super easy and one of the most effective ways to promote your company without money.
There you have it, our 8 strategies to market your business with no money.
I hope these ideas have given you some valuable insight. You don’t necessarily need to have a big marketing budget or a marketing budget at all, to promote your business well.
Did we miss anything?
Share any ideas you have, down below!