101 ways to promote your business for free

There’s a thread on My Local Forums that links to an article that lists 100 ways to promote your personal brand for free.  (It says “personal brand”, but it applies just as well to businesses).  Subsequent posts on the thread noted that some of the items were quite tenuous and it seemed they had stretched a point in places to make it to the 100.  I had a quick scan through and spotted a glaring omission, which then prompted me to see if I could get to 100 myself, from scratch and without referring to that list.  I wanted to list free, genuinely useful ways of marketing a business.

And so here’s my list.  I’m not saying you have to do all of these – not all marketing tactics will be right for everyone – and besides, you probably won’t find the time.  But I hope it will act as a checklist if you’re struggling to think of new ways to promote your company and are in need of some inspiration.

Oh, and I got to 101 – just to prove a point!

WEBSITE

  1. Add your website’s URL to the main search engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo!
  2. Optimise your website for the search engines.  (There are plenty of web tutorials about on-site SEO).
  3. Add an on-site sitemap to your website.
  4. Create a Google webmaster tools account and add your site and follow the advice.
  5. Do the same for Bing webmaster tools.
  6. Add a sign-up feature for people to subscribe to your emails.
  7. Ensure you add links to your social media profiles and presences.
  8. Add social share and like buttons on your web pages and blog posts so that others can promote them for you.

BLOG

  1. Add a blog to your site – search engines like refreshed content.
  2. Guest blog on sites that share an audience (but not a product or service) with you.
  3. Approach others that have a complementary audience and ask them to write guest posts for your blog.
  4. RSS feed your blog and add links for people to sign up to it by email.
  5. Add your blog to blog directories.
  6. Add your blog to RSS feed directories.
  7. Ping the blog search engines. (You can do this automatically in some website content management systems like WordPress).
  8. Optimise your blog using categories, tags and descriptive titles.
  9. Add your blog post links to blog carnivals.

CONTENT MARKETING

  1. Write and place unique articles on content sharing or syndication sites (eZine Articles and the like).
  2. Approach editors of relevant online magazines and sites and offer articles of interest.
  3. Join relevant business forums and regularly post useful, relevant information.
  4. Add relevant comments on others’ blogs.
  5. Create and publish podcasts.
  6. Set up a vodcast.
  7. Write a white paper.
  8. Create a survey or poll.
  9. Write an e-book or guide.
  10. Run a webinar. (GoToMeeting offers a free 360-day trial).
  11. Join Squidoo and create lenses.
  12. Join HubPages and publish content.
  13. Add an article or content to Knol. (It’s owned by Google, so has to be good for SEO!).

DIRECTORIES AND CLASSIFIEDS

  1. Add your company to the main business directories, including Google Places for Business.
  2. Add your company to local directories, for your towns and towns you service, and for your county and/or region.
  3. Add your company to directories that specifically cover your industry.
  4. Add your business to classifieds sites such as VivaStreet.

FACEBOOK

  1. Create a Facebook business page and detail your web address and info about your company.
  2. “Like” prospective businesses using your page.
  3. Regularly update the page with interesting content (links to your blog pieces; links to other’s blogs; links to industry news, and so on).
  4. Create a personalised landing page using iFrames. (This requires some technical knowledge, but there are plenty of web tutorials to show you how).

TWITTER

  1. Create a Twitter account and list your website and info about your company in your profile.
  2. Create a personalised Twitter background.
  3. Tweet relevant content and links.
  4. Follow prospects on Twitter. (Add competitors to lists so you can assess their activity without them knowing you’re following).
  5. Run a hashtag or retweeting competition.
  6. Add your Twitter address to Twitter directories such as WeFollow and Twellow.
  7. Create a twtpoll or twtsurvey.

LINKEDIN

  1. Create a company page on LinkedIn.
  2. Add your blog to your company page.
  3. Add links to your website and Twitter accounts.
  4. Create product/service pages.
  5. Answer questions on LinkedIn’s “Answers” section.
  6. Join and contribute to discussions in groups that your target market would be in.
  7. Create your own group.
  8. Recommend others.  (They will probably repay the favour).
  9. Promote your webinars or other events.

GOOGLE+

  1. Join Google+.  Google is using Google+ posts for its realtime feed, having ditched Twitter recently, and populate your profile, including adding links.
  2. Add content – much as per Facebook.
  3. Engage with users in your circles and also those whose posts you come across via others.

OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. Create a YouTube (and/or Vimeo) account and add some videos. (Create tutorials, how tos, testimonials from clients, interviews with staff, and so on).
  2. Create a Delicious (and/or Digg, StumbleUpon) account and bookmark your own site and blog posts.
  3. Add an about.me profile.
  4. Join Quora and answer questions.
  5. Create a SlideShare account and add your presentations.
  6. Add links to your content on Wikipedia and other wikis.
  7. Create a Flickr (and/or deviantArt, Photobucket, Picasa, Tumblr) account and upload photos.
  8. Create a Scribd (and/or issuu, docstoc) account and upload PDFs of your business’s brochures.
  9. Join Ecademy, add information to your profile and enage with other users.
  10. Set up a profile on Meetup and join or start groups .
  11. Create a Gravatar account, so that your blog post comments link to your account and show your photo.
  12. Include details of your website or blog, or other special offers and promotions, on your Skype portfolio page.
  13. Add your business to Foursquare.
  14. Create your own social network on Ning.
  15. Create a 4Networking account and add your business’s contact details.
  16. Create an account on Business Scene and add your company.

PR

  1. Issue news to the press via a press release.  (Make sure it’s really newsworthy).LINK
  2. Write a regular column for a magazine or website.
  3. Write letters to local newspapers.
  4. Enter your company into local and national awards.
  5. Put yourself forward to speak at national conferences and seminars.
  6. Release the results of a survey or poll.
  7. Call into a business radio show.
  8. Email an opinion to a news or business show on TV.

CAUSE-RELATED MARKETING

  1. Do something useful in the local community, as a one-off, or as an ongoing campaign.
  2. Support a charity, donating practical help, or your time, or free advice relating to your expertise.

NETWORKING

  1. Attend free local networking groups.
  2. Offer to make presentations on your area of expertise for local business and networking organisations, such as the Chambers of Commerce.

REFERRALS

  1. Ask suppliers and clients to refer you to their contacts that may need your services.

SALES

  1. Create a FreeIndex account, add a business profile and check for relevant leads.
  2. Create an account on wecando.biz and check leads.
  3. Add a marketing message or call to action to your invoices.

CRM

  1. Send “happy birthday” emails to clients and prospects.
  2. Send seasonal emails to clients and prospects, for example at Christmas or New Year.

TESTIMONIALS AND CASE STUDIES

  1. Ask happy customers to give you testimonials which you can then publish.
  2. Write and publish case studies about successful client projects.

SALES PROMOTION

  1. Create a special offer or discount, or set up a group buying special offer (on Groupon, Huddlebuy, and so on).
  2. Run a competition or prize draw.
  3. Create a loyalty programme.

EMAIL MARKETING

  1. Add links to your website and social media presences in your email signature.
  2. Create and send a regular email newsletter.  (Mailchimp and others are free for a certain number of users or campaigns).
  3. Email your case studies to your subscriber list.
  4. Email special offers and promotions to your subscriber list.
  5. Partner with a complementary business and agree to each link to or promote the other’s business in an email newsletter or campaign.

If you like my list, please share it on social media. Or sign up for future instalments of my blog.

© The image on this page is copyright to Kerrmunications – 2011

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7 Comments

  1. Top post! I think you’ve well and truly bettered our original list, so we’ll use this one as the new reference! Until someone writes a new one.. 102 ways…. :)

  2. 102 – Put on a promotion and post it to Quacking Deal

  3. Good ideas for marketing our websites and businesses. it will be particularly good for my businesses which is a small competitive business run on shoe strings budget. many thanks

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