If you want your eCommerce business to grow, you absolutely need to invest in marketing it in some way. SMBs often have a tight marketing budget to work with, which can make promoting your business a challenge. The good news is, there are plenty of ways for you to market yourself to your customers without spending any or much money.

Free and fast marketing ideas

These strategies are free and don’t require a lot of time, since we know that time is money.

Create a free Google My Business account

For local businesses especially, a Google Business Profile has become one of the most effective free marketing strategies available. This free listing allows your business to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the right-side Knowledge Panel for branded searches.

But in order for your Business Profile to show up higher on Google Maps or local results, you need to optimize your Business Profile which requires you to have verified ownership through your Google My Business account. Here are 13 optimization strategies for your businesses: 

  • Claim your Business Profile

  • Complete every section of your Google My Business account

  • Be meticulous with contact information

  • Select primary and secondary categories

  • Mark off applicable attributes

  • Write a complete “from the business” description

  • Publish Google posts weekly

  • Upload new photos weekly

  • Answer questions

  • Collect and respond to reviews

  • Add your products and/or services

  • Set up messaging

  • Maintain your Business Profile

Post on social media

Building a community online is a free way to grow your business through expressing your brand’s personality and building trust with your audience. Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites such as: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Here are some useful tips for creating posts that get the attention of your target audience, and inspire engagement.

Do your research: If you want your audience to notice and engage with your social posts, you need to make them highly relevant to your target group. The more relevant your posts are, the more success you will have. In order to do that, you need to take the time to truly understand your audience. 

Speak their language: Take further research and learn what language your audiences use to communicate their needs or challenges. Use this language when writing your posts to ensure your content resonates with your audience. This will help to show them that you truly understand them and their challenges.

Develop your voice: Although you should write social media posts in the language of your target audience, the overall message should be written in your own voice. It refers to the personality and emotion infused into all your marketing activities and social interactions online.

Be positive: This doesn’t mean every post needs to be happy. The point here is to make your audiences excited, and inspired by your posts.

Keep it short and simple: People value their time. If you want your audience to give you their attention, you need to show that you value their time also.

Use images and videos: Use images, graphics and videos to tell a story where possible. Visual content is more engaging, and can often tell the story quicker and more succinctly than words alone. In fact, an image or video can often stand alone in social media posts while still conveying the full message to your audience.

Add a call to action: At the end of your content or social posts, consider prompting your audience with a call to action (CTA). Without one, most people won’t take any action after 

Tag people or brands on social media And use hashtags

Tagging

Tagging your loyal customers, brand evangelists on social media can broaden the organic reach of your business to a new potential audience, help you grow your following. You should also encourage your followers to tag your social media handle or business location in their posts.

To tag someone in the text field of a post, simply place the “@” symbol before the username of a person, organization or company profile. You can also tag people in images. Twitter allows for up to 10 tags on a photo post. Facebook and Instagram have a much higher limit to the number of tags on photos, but best practices usually keep to around 10 tags so as to not distract your viewers from the content itself. Here are a few extra tips:

  • Tagging works best when you are sending people content that they can agree with or that casts them in a positive light.

  • Don’t tag people or organizations who would have no interest or nothing to do with the topic or the post itself.

  • Don’t tag the same person too many times on posts about the same thing. 

  • Build a Tag Strategy, develop and divide it into different small strategies. Look over your social media analytics to understand what is working well for you and what is not. Test and compare different ideas and practices when deciding what to include into your strategy.

Hashtag

While it sounds simple enough to place a hashtag in front of your keyword, there is some other basic information that is important to know when you are trying to be found by using hashtags. Using them only makes a difference in your marketing strategy when done the right way. Here are some general tips:

 

  • Don’t get carried away using a hashtag every couple of words. The number of hashtags that can be used depends on which platform you are using, but in most cases, one or two hashtags have more impact than a high number of them.

  • Keep hashtags short and memorable rather than trying to use a lot of words in one tag.

  • Don’t try to be too clever or unusual. If you choose a tag that no one is searching for, it won’t benefit your marketing.

  • Using hashtags that are detailed and specific will lead to better results than broad or general ones. Broad terms are not likely to be searched, and if you use them, your content will probably get lost in a sea of unrelated content.

  • Don’t try to force hashtags onto every post. Instead only use them when they add value to your post and are likely to stimulate conversation and interaction.

  • Hashtags can not only attract members of your target audience, they can also be used to research your competition. Search using hashtags, and you will uncover relevant content related to your topic.

Free marketing ideas that require a little more effort

These are also a few free marketing strategies, but they require a bit more investment of time and effort. However, the more effort required, the more effective the strategy and the more sustained the success.

Do some local SEO

Optimizing your local SEO means more website traffic, leads, and conversions since the strategy is more relevant to your base of local customers. Investing in local SEO is your chance to get found by local consumers who are ready and willing to invest in your business instead. That means you don’t have to worry about competing against large international corporations to get your local business in front of relevant nearby consumers.

Local SEO is free, but it can take some time, so start now and keep working; the benefits over time can be huge. Here are some local SEO must-dos:

  • Add location-based keywords to the titles, headings, and body content of your main website pages.

  • Get listed in online directories, making sure your information is identical across platforms.

  • Publish pages or blog posts specific to the neighborhoods you serve.

SEO changes quite rapidly. You never know when Google will introduce new features on its SERPs for local searches, but you can count on these changes coming. That’s why it’s essential to always stay on top of local SEO. So climb the local SERPs by optimizing your website, producing great local content, acquiring citations, and earning reviews.

Develop an email marketing plan

Email marketing is a great way to get new visitors engaged with your business, as well as maintain relationships with your existing customers. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Put thought and creativity into your subject lines.

  • Make sure every email has an offer that encourages your readers to take the next step.

  • Track your performance and run A/B tests to see what copy and offers resonate with your list.

  • Get new website visitors to sign up for your newsletter by offering a bonus content piece or coupon/discount for subscribing.

  • Slowly nurture your subscribers via email until they are ready to become paying customers.

  • Start your promotional email campaigns with a free email marketing service like MailChimp.

There are several ways email marketing can work:

Use a CRM: Some CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools allow you to send email marketing messages to your contacts directly through your platform. A CRM manages your leads and customers, and you can set up automated emails to send based on triggers, events, or lead details.

Try an email marketing platform: If your CRM doesn’t have this feature or you want to personalize your emails a bit more, you can try an email marketing platform. There are some free email marketing services you can use like MailChimp. When you use one of these platforms, you upload your list, create your email, and send it from there.

Work with an email marketing service: If you want to outsource your email marketing, you can work with an email marketing agency to run this for you. An email marketing service can help by using email marketing best practices to create the right strategy and messages, segment your audience, and A/B test your emails to drive the best results.

Publish great content

Content marketing is a great way to  get people talking about your products, your services, and your company. Content marketing is also a great way to engage your customers. If done with care, it is a highly effective tactic that doesn't require a huge budget.

Focus on producing quality, engaging content that’s well branded and answers your audience’s questions, solves problems, and builds your authority.

Start a blog

SMBs use blogging to drive traffic to their website, increase user engagement, improve their online visibility, and strengthen their overall SEO. It’s a completely free way to promote your business online, through tales about your business and useful information your potential clients are seeking out.

Blog posts don’t have to belong and complex, speak in simple terms, target a different topic with each post, and incorporate the keywords you’re targeting into each post in a natural way.

Post helpful videos

Video is a highly popular medium for consumers. While it can cost you a lot to get a professional video produced and uploaded to YouTube, you don’t have to hire a professor. DIY (Do it yourself) video marketing is easy with today’s personal devices and social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Add a branding message or personal message, whichever is appropriate, be transparent and finish with a strong call to action.

Low-Budget Marketing Ideas

In fact, not every business has thousands of dollars to promote their brand. Most companies operate on shoestring budgets, trying to stretch what little they have as far as they can.

Fortunately, you don’t have to have a large ad budget to make a big marketing impact.

Collaborate with other businesses

Teaming up with a business related to your industry is a great way for you to introduce your business to a whole new audience. You can do this by collaborating online with a webinar or offline through an exclusive event.

If partnering with a local business, you could simply place business cards, flyers or brochures at their physical location.

Work with affiliates and resellers

Instead of marketing your business yourself, work with affiliates and resellers. They’ll generate leads for you in return for a commission on sales. If you do go this route, make sure that your pricing structure takes into account these fees and commissions.

 

Apply for business awards

It’s common for industries and organizations to have business awards.” This not only generates some free buzz for your business, if you win, you can place a badge on your site or storefront to boost your credibility.

Offer coupons

Coupons are great at attracting new customers, while also driving loyalty among your existing customers. 

Hand Out Promotional Items

If you’re setting up at an event or want to have something to give people in person, consider investing in branded promo items or merchandise. 

The key is to choose products that people find beneficial, such as pens, bags, or cups. Most consumers will pick up a branded promotional item if they thought it was useful.

Create awesome business cards

The business card provides an additional touch point and can help the people you meet remember you when you reconnect later. Today, with the development of the online printing service, you can create your own unique business cards that stand out at a decent price.

Optimize your website 

Your website is your storefront online. Whether you’re selling a brand, services or actual products, your website tells your potential customers who and what your company is about. If you want to increase profits, make sure your website best reflects you and your company. 

Send Handwritten Thank You’s

Never underestimate the power of a handwritten gesture. When you connect with a prospect or business owner, send them a thank you card in the mail with a personalized message. It shows you took the time to thank them properly, and given the lost art of letter writing, it’s likely to stand out in their mind.

Conclusion

By tapping into these free and low-budget marketing ideas, you can invest in your business and promote your brand without losing money. Then as your business starts to grow, reinvest in marketing strategies that work best for your brand and produce the highest results.

For more marketing ideas to try at your new business, you could leave your comment, send us an email or contact directly with our consultant via below contact. 

Cmsmart is here for all of your digital marketing needs and would love to help your business create a game-winning strategy.

 

Ms. Flora Nguyen

Email: flora@cmsmart.net 
Skype: live:hoa.nt_18
WhatsApp: +84 354 816 268