How to Market Your Business for FREE – An Idiot’s guide to Online Marketing

Let’s talk about leverage;

In the property world, investment in property works where the money you invest (or not) is geared to generate a higher level of return. In the case of property the ‘tool’ is a mortgage.

If you borrow money at a lower rate than you can get Return on Investment (ROI), then you are, by definition, gearing your money. In some cases that gearing or leverage can be infinite (that’s not for this article go to our blog for the ways to do this).

So how do you leverage your online marketing, and more importantly, get it done for free?

Please note that I did not say it wouldn’t cost anything, I said it was free.

As with anything in life, there is a trade off, in this case it is time.

So how can you leverage both?

Enter Social Media. Now don’t switch off, this is a catch all for everything that we do online in an interactive way. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to explain the difference between Sales and Marketing. Marketing is the journey from a want to a desire, and Sales is the conversion from desire to action.

Lecture over; Online marketing is therefore a journey and unless you have the ‘silver bullet’ a lot of what you do online is trial and error.

So how do you ensure you are using the right tools?

My advice is in two parts:-

  1. Choose Your Battleground

For smaller businesses (SME) it may not be appropriate to use all of the channels at once and in spreading yourself thinly across multiple platforms you could be damaging your brand. One esteemed colleague of mine made it very clear on one of his talks to a local business group when he stated’ “It is nice to be on all of the Social Media Networks, but if you don’t socialise with your network you can do some real damage. It is better to NOT be on a channel, than be on it and be silent.”

The important thing to understand is that your Social Media presence is your window to the virtual world. It is worth investing time in posting, tweeting etc so that the world can see what you do.

Social media means a SME can have the same impact in terms of marketing, as a large multinational, but without the large overhead cost if it is done correctly.

The only tip here is that SME should concentrate on TWO or a maximum of three channels, otherwise they will be spending all day on marketing on nothing on delivery. Unless you have the budget to hire an in-house specialist, but even then it would be prudent to be selective with the channels you pick.

  1. Be in the room!

The other thing to consider is only use the channel where the majority of your clients ‘hang out’. Some networks have a specific demographic and unless your clients fit within that demographic then you will find it difficult to gain any traction. According to Hootsuite, Instagram have a younger user base (53% aged 18 to 29) so if your target market is over 60 then this channel is not for you.

There is a chain of thought that a B2B company would do better with utilising LinkedIn, whereas B2C would do better using Facebook and Twitter. This sounds okay, but individual businesses would need to do their own customer avatar research before taking this as any form of guidance.

We have prepared out Top ‘5 Top Tools for Marketing your Business’ which you can download, that we use on a daily basis. They all have FREE versions which we use, and all of them allow us to leverage our time (and obviously money) to great effect.

If you need any help with configuring them or want to know how we use them, then drop us a line!

Remember all the tools are FREE, and we all like that, don’t we?

About the Author Matthew Moody

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