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Guest Blog: 50 Free Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners by Shona Chambers

Marketing is something we must constantly pay attention to as small business owners. It pays to promote yourself, so here are my 50 free marketing ideas for you! Let me know if you try any of them, and what results they generate. 1. Use your email signature to advertise your latest project, commonly used by iPhone, its really effective for getting click throughs to your event or page. 2. Create one piece of big content each day or however frequently and use that to feed the rest of your content, for example create a video, use that for YouTube, then strip the audio for a Podcast, the quotes for Instagram posts, short sentences for twitter, and other parts for Facebook, Facebook groups, etc etc, even to your mailing list. There is really no need to ever run out of content if you regularly create a big piece. 3. Look for PR opportunities. Check which local paper or magazine offers a business owner profile for free. 4. Check the hashtags #journorequest and #prrequest on a daily basis preferably first thing in the morning. You could find yourself supplying an article for a daily paper because of this. Huge PR for free. 5. Make sure every single social media profile you have is optimized. Have you got the right links in it, have you used #hashtags otherwise this is a wasted opportunity. 6. Make sure your personal Facebook profile has your business name clearly in it, When you post to groups, people will often click over to your profile for a quick look at who they are talking to. This is a great opportunity. 7. Create your own social media challenges using a branded hashtag that people can post with. This creates engagement around your brand and introduces new people to you. 8. Ask other relevant people if they will swap a social media post with you, so you each enjoy the reach of the others audience. Hopefully you will end up with new followers. 9. Look for opportunities to guest blog for other people. This will improve your SEO and domain authority. 10. Get onto Google My Business if you are not already there. You can generate leads, and gather reviews which make it more attractive to use your business. 11. Turn your customer recommendations and testimonials into visually appealing posts using something like Canva, and share them on your profile. 12. Always try to harness your existing networks for business purposes. You are connected to more people than you think. School PTA, Kids Sports clubs, Church, all provide lots of people to talk to and get in front of. Don't make the mistake of thinking these people are not possible leads, they are. 13. Create a competition where people have to comment on your post. This really pushes up your engagement and can earn you more new likes than paying to boost a post from my own experience. 14. Think of everything as a content opportunity. In a coffee shop, take a photo of your drink and tweet it from your business account. The coffee shop may RT it to a wider audience, cheap and easy advertising.

15. Go low tech. Print small flyers and put them up in local places. Sainsburys, a coffee shop, the library, church hall notice boards. Anywhere that people look is a good place to put one. 16. Find influencers in your field and ask them for help in exchange for products. Ask a lot of them. Some won't reply, but others will. 17. Go to a lot of events, you won't meet anyone at home, always try to connect with just one person, you are bound to do better than that! 18. Think about how you can create viral content. What could you think of that would be shared by a lot of people? Usually funny posts do well. Make sure whatever it is your brand is in it clearly.

19. Everyone has a network. To grow yours you need to get other people to share theirs. Consider how to do this, sometimes it is as easy as asking but other times consider your why. 20. Set up a podcast and invite people onto it. Podcasting is so popular now and could really open up a huge market for you. 21. Use every single function you can on all your social media. The tools themselves are set up to reward the use of all the features. Lives, stories, posts, links, video and pictures. Using everything will increase your views and engagement.

22. Bring yourself to life as well as your brand. As a person you may have many more networks to tap into, you are a parent, a dancer, a crafter, a DIY expert, a football fan, etc. Each of these gives you content opportunities and new people to reach out to.

23. Look for opportunities to sponsor an event in your niche, it may not cost you loads but its worth investigating.

24. Ask a larger brand to sponsor something you are doing. This will bring clout to your brand, and audience too.

25. Ask for items to giveaway in exchange for running a reciprocal competition.

26. Set up a good Facebook group and grow customers loyalty by including them in decisions you are making.

27. Visit your local area hashtag on Twitter and Instagram on a regular basis, and interact. You are promoting your business when you do this, and hopefully gaining followers too.

28. Use Pinterest to create really useful boards for your customers. And make sure you tell them about these.

29. Write a weekly blog that is useful within your niche. It will be shared and you can use it for other content too.

30. If you use Facebook Events for your events, be sure to post inside them on a regular basis. In doing so this will be shown to everyone who selected 'interested' on the events notification.

31. Collaborate with others on events, it will widen both of your networks.

32. Send a letter in to a relevant publication if you get published it could give you a massive boost.

33. Look for opportunities to speak at relevant events within your network.

34. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with two - five recent recommendations.

35. Look for current themes of relevance to your industry & consider how you can piggy back on them.

36. Look at what is happening in the news. If you find a topic of relevance, get a press release ready and send it in, you may preempt a journalist request. 37. Plan for awareness days - Blue Monday, Valentines Day, World Book Day. Have content ready for them all. And think of your angle

38. Read the latest books for your industry and write a comment to the author on twitter, you may be shared with a much larger audience.

39. Find Facebook Groups where you can visit regularly and build up a reputation for being a useful and trusted voice. When people think of a requirement, there you are!

40. Try to get onto a local radio station, these are still popular and a good way of raising awareness.

41. Make sure you build up a mailing list. Slow and steady is fine but it will help you sell more than social media ever will.

42. Get involved with local charities in an authentic manner, help them fund raise and raise awareness. In turn this will be something that generates media attention for you, in a positive way showcasing you as a community member. It should always be a real relationship you are looking to build though.

43. Google yourself. Be sure you do this in incognito mode or you will only see what your computer wants you to see. Its important to know about anything that could be damaging to your brand, or to find and reply to any positive comments on blogs out there.

44. Look at the local school network around you. If you have a child at school it is a massive opportunity to reach a large number of parents in one place. Sponsor a banner at the school fair, donate prizes to the raffle, be a speaker at a themed day, donate your product to your childs class. Ask to be in the newsletter, to advertise on the school notice board, etc.

45. Buy some low cost marketing materials that customers can keep with them. Fridge magnets, calendars, a pen. Don't underestimate the drip effect of people seeing a brand on a daily basis, when it comes time to using a company it may well be you.

46. Always ask every customer to leave you a review on Facebook/Google. Every sale is an opportunity for good PR if you use it that way.

47. Consider your branding opportunities locally. Could you put an Ad in the local football team programme, or a banner ad up near your house if you work from home? Branded cars and vans are also worth looking into.

48. Don't forget to consider branded clothing if you have a business that is relevant. Fitness brands, child minders, dog walkers, all of these are perfect for branded clothing.

49. Encourage customers to do your Marketing for you. Ask people to send in their photos and include your company hashtag, in exchange for a feature on your page.

50. Buy balloons for your event! Balloons are always a great way of drawing peoples attention to something :)

I really hope that these tips were helpful, why not share them on your social media platforms using the sharing links below. Thanks so much for reading! Shona

Would you like more help with your marketing? My new book is out now If you would like a book of 100 Marketing Tips written just for small business owners then do have a look here. I wrote this book to be easy to read cover to cover or to be kept as a reference to dip in and out of! What to read next Networking a Successful Small Business About Me Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in SE London. Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing.

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