I have found many great resources in building my marketing and event production business.
Some of the most useful resources I found have also been very affordable.
Here are some free ways you can grow your business. No credit cards are required and you can get full versions without trial periods.
Choose a few keywords/short phrases for your business. Use keywords that people will search for online. For my blog Greengirlstyle.com I chose: #greengirlstyle, simple easy DIY projects, leftover recipes,organic fashion and food.
Use your keywords/phrases and business name to create a short business description of about 50 words, and a longer description of 200 words. Include your keywords, phrases and business name. It’s good to have these descriptions open in a Microsoft Word document so that you can easily copy-and-paste. Save this file because as you make your social media sites and website you can make note of each url for easy reference.
If you feel comfortable, write five to 10 articles about your business or what you do. If you’re not skilled at writing, find great articles related to your business to share.
3.Offer a deal.
Make a super amazing, blow-your-socks-off offer that you will spread as you build your sites. Set a deadline to redeem the offer to encourage customers to respond quickly. You can also write an article about this deal. The more content you create and put out the more chance someone will see it and follow throw with a purchase.
4.Create a free, easy website.
Now you have all the information you need to make a really great site using Weebly.com. They offer a free site builder and free hosting. You can even attach your own domain and it’s all free. (You will have to buy a domain for around $14. I suggest Godaddy.com.) Of course, Weebly does have a premium membership but you don’t need it and you will never have to upgrade or give a credit card.
5.Take your free advertisements.
Get social. Make accounts everywhere possible. Include links to your site bio, rich in your keywords, and to your deal. There are so many ways to promote on social media each site has a different feel. I suggest researching good marketing practices for each site. After you have made all the accounts you can think about, focus on the top five sites. My top five are two for Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.
5 ½. Set up the easy way to share.
Hootsuite.com is another great free tool. If you’re not familiar with it, you will be soon. It’s a website and phone app that lets you manage five social accounts for free. This means when you have that awesome, last-minute deal you want to share, you can send it to five places as fast as one. Simply make a Hootsuite account and then add your top social accounts. In addition to maintaining my top five social accounts, I am able to monitor and share my blog post right from Hootsuite. A blog doesn’t count as one of the five free accounts.
A blog is a great way to increase your site’s rank if you post often because Google loves new information. When you post a new article, Google will increase your rank compared to sites similar to yours. If you write articles using your keywords it will not be long before you are on the top page of Google.
Now with a blog you have a choice of an on-site blog made on your Weebly site (add a page and choose “Blog:) or a super cool Tumblr blog. I love Tumblr because they do all the sharing and marketing for your posts for you. Tumblr also has a great free app for Windows phones. You can add your own domain for free, unlike with WordPress, which charges you for everything.
My suggestion for a brick-and-mortar store is to have an on-site blog (Weebly.) If your business is mostly online, then you would do well with Tumblr because it will draw more people from across the web versus locally.
7. Tell them what you have done.
Write a press release announcing your new sites, deal and upcoming event. The best free resource for this is PRLog.com. There are many other places to submit your press release though, and it doesn’t hurt to use them as well. The more it’s out, the more likely it is to been seen. I always add a press offer at the bottom. For example, a hair salon can offer free shampoo, cut and blow-dry to members of the press interested in reviewing the business.
8. Host an Open House.
Invite everyone to check out your store or site. Offer a great deal. Raffle off services or merchandise. It’s up to you how much you spend. You can go all out or be savvy and talk to neighboring businesses and have an Open House at the same time. You can offer your special in their stores and they can offer their specials in yours. By doing this, you are providing value to your customer while varying from the normal daily offer. You also have a better chance of reaching new customers from the other businesses. If you’re near a restaurant, ask for a sample tray with business cards and discuss an event in advance so that managers can get approval.
You can start using these great resources today even if you’re marketing with zero budget and want to grow your business.
Ashley Crossman is a writer, mom and business woman who lost more than 100 pounds and beat Stage 3b cancer. She is the creator of many popular sites, blogs and the cause Growing Awareness Regarding Diet & Exercise by Nurturing Seeds (G.A.R.D.E.N.S).
As a cancer survivor and an advocate for a healthier lifestyle, she often speaks to America’s youth in schools, and at events on eating healthy. She was named a Top 50 Business Influencer in Northeast Florida by Advantage in 2014.