The best “free” way to market your business

When it comes to marketing your business, it’s almost like which comes first: the chicken or the egg? You need marketing so you can make more money in your business, but you need more money in your business so you can invest in marketing. When you don’t have angel investors, can’t get approved for a business loan, don’t have wiggle room on credit cards, or you may be bootstrapping your business and need to find out if there’s a “free” and efficient way to market your business, then stick around.

Where there is a will, there are possibilities – and it just so happens that this free way is one of the best ways to market your business in this growing digital and online business age.

Hint: It’s not word of mouth or referrals.

Since publishing a local magazine from the African American perspective about two years ago, I’ve been blessed to be able to meet so many different entrepreneurs and get to know more about their businesses. It’s through networking and having more in-depth conversations about advertising that I began to see a common denominator in the way people do business --- that may have been contributing to them not meeting their revenue goal or not being able to replace the income they make on their full-time job. That is, many entrepreneurs weren’t being intentional about their marketing.

The #1 thing business owners or network marketers told me when asked how they were getting the word out about their business was “Word of mouth or referrals”. The #2 way was social media marketing, but that was it. Many entrepreneurs weren’t doing much else, which I believe is a big mistake that is costing them business. While this wasn’t true for every business, this was the reality for many.

What the big dogs are doing…

In 2017, I started helping more entrepreneurs by applying the very same strategies I’ve used in corporate America as a professional writer and content marketer. In my line of work, and in working in corporate America, I get to see what the big dogs are doing. They’re doing some heavy lifting when it comes to content marketing and it’s getting them big results! Big companies are pumping out tens of thousands of dollars towards their content marketing budgets and it’s a game changer bringing them several returns on their investment.

Just last year, I helped a company generate over $7 million in revenue just through writing campaigns! (P.S. This revenue doesn’t count what was brought in through any of the other marketing efforts they were doing...) And the good news is: creating content is free.

The right words meshed with the right strategies can be a game changer. I remember one of the first promotional email blasts I sent (without warming up the audience first and not counting what was made through the follow up campaigns) brought in over $1,800 from just one email. At the time, the list size was under 500, maybe even under 300.

If you’re not implementing content marketing in your efforts, you’re missing out. Content marketing is an investment towards the assets of your business, and I don’t know if many new entrepreneurs get that.

How you can ride the wave…

The way the market is moving, and the way people are doing business now and in the future is shifting. It’s shifting to be more community-based. Content is king. SEO is queen. It’s shifting so that with smaller purchases, most people just google what they’re looking for, purchase from page 1, and choose the better looking of the first 3 to 5 options that pop up first or stand out the most.

For larger purchases, people are doing their research online first before they buy. They’re watching YouTube, they’re searching on Google, they’re “asking for a friend” on social media. They’re constantly searching for answers and they’re constantly visiting websites and subconsciously choosing to do business with the companies that are the most effective in their marketing and messaging that they know, like, or trust.

Are you playing to win?

You know, they say the best marketer wins. When people are on these sites, in their mind, they’re looking for answers to their questions. They want to know am I in the right place? Is this company legit? Do I like this company? Do I like their message? Do I trust their offer?

They’re going to skim over your content and they’re going to study your content. If it does not answer any of the questions that pop up in their mind at the time when they’re scrolling, they’re going to skip to the next site and the next site until they land on a site that can do that… that CAN answer all of their questions or soothe all of their doubts or give them the validation they were looking for during their search. So, if you aren’t effective in touching on the most important areas and answers for your customer, what you really end up doing is selling for your competition. If your competitors can answer the question, they’re going to end up buying from them… and that’s the game. Are you playing to win?

You see, it’s the best content marketer that wins. If a customer sees something they like or the company has done a good enough job of communicating their message to their ideal people, and communicating the value, then they’re going to stick around. They’re going to opt-in somewhere (email, social, or even your contact form). If you do a good enough job with the impression you make, they’re going to come back, they’re going to take that next step with you and the next step with you, and before you know it and if you’ve got what they want or need, they’re going to make a decision to purchase.