Can you market a business with no money? Is that even possible? These are some of the questions that you may have in mind, and it’s understandable. It’s akin to the old chicken or the egg debate i.e., which one came first—the chicken or the egg?
If there was no egg, how can there be a chicken? And if there was no chicken, where did the egg come from? It is a very confusing scenario. Similarly, if you don’t have any money, how are supposed to market your business? It’s like trying to get a job that requires work experience, but you can’t get that job because you don’t have any experience.
So, where do you start? Fortunately, you're not in that situation. Instead, you are in a situation where you are trying to generate more leads, customers, and sales for your business in a cost-effective way. You don’t want to spend a fortune to get the desired results.
There’s no point in marketing if you've got to spend a million bucks just to make a million bucks; it doesn't make a lot of sense. You want to make sure that your marketing investments produce a positive return on investment or ROI and what better way to do that than spending nothing and still making a whole lot of money. That’s what this post is all about. Here, I am going to cover 4 innovative, effective, and proven ways to market a new business with no money.
4 Ways to Market Your Business Cost-Effectively
There are a few proven ways to successfully market a business without having to spend an arm and a leg in the process. As I cover these steps, I want you to be as aware as possible about which ones are the most relevant to you, your business, your market, and your industry. Take from them and put them to use.
This is important because the results won’t come from consuming the information I provide here but from taking it and applying it in the real world. Whether one marketing strategy resonates with your business or all 4, just make sure to use them. That is the most important thing. So, let’s dive into the first of the 4 ways to market your business cost-effectively.
Come Up With a Compelling Offer
This first way to market your business cost-effectively is by coming up with a compelling or irresistible offer. You need to describe the transformation that prospects will experience after purchasing your product or service—in a way that immediately catches the attention of and is irresistible to your ideal target market or prospects.
What job does your product or service do for them or make easier for them? Remember to focus on benefits and not features. If you are having problems finding the benefits try asking yourself “so what”
For example as an internet provider having the fastest upload and download speeds is a feature. But by asking so what. I see a benefit “connect all your family devices without worrying and still stream your favorite TV shows with the fastest download speeds available.
See how that works. Nobody cares about the download speed, but they do care that they can stream a movie without it having to buffer in the middle of it.
There have been so many occasions where I’ve had conversations with potential clients or prospects or done an audit on a client's business to understand their offer. After this, I sometimes have no idea what they do or what their offer is all about, or worse yet why anybody would purchase it—it’s confusing or ambiguous.
I either just don't get it, or I do get it, and it's just not compelling enough to get me or their audience to take the desired action. This is a decision to purchase or to engage their services. Therefore, the very first thing I tell my clients, which you need to do as well, is to make an effort to craft out what you do, who you do it for, and why they should care. It requires no money and just a little bit of your time and energy.
A good place to start is with identifying who your ideal customer is. If you need help, then check out this article on creating an ideal customer avatar.
You’ve got to make sure that all three of these are in alignment. If you get any one of them wrong, you're not going to end up with that compelling offer and you will end up wasting time and money.
Here’s a piece of advice before we move on to the next step. The clearer you're able to make your offer, the better it will be for your business. People often get overly creative and try to be fancy; they use all these fancy words, jargon, and lingo. This is the stuff that nobody understands and you end up confusing your prospects or customers.
As a result, your prospects or customers don't take any action, which hurts your business. So, spend a little bit of time to make sure that you're communicating, in the clearest way possible, what you do, who you do it for, and why they should care. Doing this costs you nothing but can make you a ton of money in return. A confused prospect doesn’t buy, instead they hit the back button and go to your competitors website. So, remember clarity converts and cuteness confuses.
Make your marketing message easy to understand so they know what they need to do next.
Leverage the Power of Content Marketing
The next way to market yourself or your business without spending too much money is using content marketing. Content marketing is one of my passions. I think it is just one of the most powerful forms of marketing available today; it allows you to get out there and provide value.
You can use content marketing to help people while showcasing your expertise and your knowledge. So, it's a win-win for you and your audience.
Another great thing about content marketing is that it comes in different forms. Some people love audio content and start podcasts. Others like text-based platforms and they write blogs or long social media posts. There is also a segment that is into video content because it gives them a chance to talk and potentially get the audience to take the desired action. The important thing to remember is it’s not about the media (print, audio, video) its about the message and connecting with your audience!
No matter what form of content you prefer, you will also have avenues available to communicate and market your offering. You have multiple social networks and content distribution channels at your disposal. Whether you decide to double down on video or audio or text or put your content on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn, make sure that everything is in alignment.
Create content that you like, have expertise in, and that your audience wants to consume. Also, make sure the platform you choose for content dissemination is one that you want to be active and present on. More importantly, it should be a platform that your audience is active and present on. When you ensure that everything is in alignment, you can get some great results from your content marketing and it won’t cost you a lot of money.
If you’re not confident about creating content yourself, you can hire a digital marketing agency with professional content marketers who can create that content for you. They will help you build up marketing assets that you can draw from and use to market/ sell your business 24/7, 365 a year. And this leads us to the next way to market your business without money: podcasting, which is another form of content marketing.
There are several benefits of starting a podcast, especially if you're afraid of jumping into content marketing and have no idea what to say, write, or film.
Podcasting allows you to leverage the experience and expertise of others; you can borrow some of that expertise and experience to promote yourself and your business. Now, there are a few different ways of using podcasting for your business.
The first way is to try to get onto other people's podcasts as a guest. You're going to need some kind of story or some kind of expertise or some kind of credibility for people to want to have you on their podcast. But, if you can do this successfully, it will allow you to tap into other people's audiences and grow your audience of fans.
If you’re just getting started, then probably the more realistic and easier way to get started to start your own podcast. You can do this using a ton of free services or some that are relatively inexpensive. After this, you want to do one of two things. You can start a podcast to either share your story, expertise, and everything you know about your business or invite a guest and leverage and borrow their credibility, expertise, and experience for your benefit.
You can ask your guests questions and have a conversation with them, which then becomes your content to share. The power of podcasts cannot be undersold here because many people today listen to audio content and even watch video content online.
With audio-only podcasts, your audience will miss all the hand gestures and light-hearted moments with guests, which can all create a positive image of you and your business in the mind of your audience. They will get the message in any case, but if you want some bonus points, I would recommend you find a way to film the podcast. You could use a screen capture tool if you're doing it virtually, or you could set up a physical camera or a few different cameras in your podcast setup area.
This will give a few different types of content that you can share. You can strip away the audio portion of the podcast and have that audio transcribed and turned into text. This can then be used as blog posts, social media posts, and so on.
Offer and Perform Audits
An audit here refers to an unsolicited opinion. This may sound like a terrible idea, but it can be quite effective. You take your experience and your knowledge out there and perform unsolicited audits on different businesses or different people or whoever your target market is.
For example, if you’re a social media marketing agency, you could review the different social accounts of a business to analyze its strategy and content plan. You will do this to make sure that they're on the right channel, saying the right things, and in the right places.
Additionally, you will provide some suggestions and strategies for improving their social media marketing. Typically, this strategy does work better in a B2B or business-to-business context. This is because performing audit for millions of different people is an unrealistic expectation. The time and the energy required for this are just way too high for this to be possible.
However, if you’re just getting started and are looking for a way to grow your business or brand without spending a lot of money, audits are a fantastic way to do it. The reason they are so effective is that not only do you prove your expertise by showing you know what you're talking about but you're providing value for absolutely free. The worst that can happen is that the people you reach out to will ignore you. You do not have much to lose here but a lot to gain.
The key here is to make sure that you do not come off as overly salesy or pushy. Understand that you are doing this unsolicited to provide value. So, don't be shocked or surprised if they ignore you or say thanks but no thanks. Just make sure that you're coming off as genuinely helpful as possible and you'd be amazed at what good things come from that.
You may have been told otherwise but marketing your business without money isn’t all that difficult, but it does require creativity. Instead, you can market your business cost-effectively by leveraging your expertise, utilizing the power of the internet, and making use of the 4 proven ways to market your business for free. As proven by these four marketing strategies, it does not cost an arm and leg to get your business in front of the customer. And with so many social media platforms around, it is easy to put these strategies to practice.