Working with influencers and brand ambassadors can be another form of free advertising. While there are many different types of marketing you can employ, influencer marketing can help you build trust among your target audience because an influencer’s endorsement acts as a form of social proof.
Of course, influencer marketing, in general, is not free. Many of the top influencers expect some form of compensation. However, you can identify influencers willing to work for free in exchange for your products or services or because they genuinely like your brand.
The first step to working with influencers is identifying those within your niche. Micro-influencers have smaller, highly engaged followings, and many are willing to promote your brand in exchange for your products. Remember, you don’t need to find influencers with the most followers; sometimes, those with the most engaged followers will provide the biggest ROI.
After you’ve identified influencers you want to work with, the next step is to establish relationships with them. Reaching out coldly can work, but it’s always better to engage them first. You can interact with their content and show a genuine interest in working with them.
Then, once you have a relationship with them, you can begin using the partnership to your advantage. Influencer marketing takes many forms, from sponsored posts to product reviews and giveaways, so you should have a clear view of your strategy and the types of results you’re looking for.
Always set clear guidelines, expectations, and goals for your campaign. However, you should give your influencer as much freedom as possible because the content should align with their voice and personal brand.
Utilize email marketing effectively
Email marketing is one of the lowest-cost strategies small businesses can use to nurture leads and attract new potential customers. While you’ll need to pay to use a platform, many providers like Mailchimp offer free tiers for a limited number of subscribers per month. This gives you the ability to scale your email advertising efforts with your business when needed.
To effectively utilize email marketing for service or product advertising, you’ll need a quality email list. The goal should be to gather the email addresses of various individuals who might be interested in your brand or its products and services. You can obtain email addresses using website popups, lead magnets like e-books, webinars, and e-guides in exchange for email addresses, or through offline events like tradeshows.
What you should never do is purchase an email list. Your entire list — yes, every single email on the list — should comply with data protection and privacy laws like GDPR. Always get your subscriber’s permission before adding them to your email list.
Once you have subscribers, you can begin developing engaging email campaigns by creating relevant content. Your high-quality content can include informative articles, product updates, promotional offers, or personalized recommendations using a variety of automation tools.
Keep your emails visually appealing and concise while ensuring the particular offer is relevant to your audience. You can enhance engagement by personalizing your emails and segmenting customers for better results.
By segmenting your email list, you can send more tailored messages that align closely with your prospective customers’ interests, behaviors, and demographic profiles. Beyond that, you can personalize emails by tailoring the content to match these same characteristics. For instance, you can send product recommendations based on past purchasing behavior on your website.
Expand your reach through guest blogging
Guest blogging is another method of free advertising that allows you to increase your online visibility. Small and local businesses can use guest blogging to drive website traffic and strategically position their brands as an industry authority.
To begin guest blogging, you should find suitable opportunities. With a quick online search, you can identify blogs or media outlets within your niche that cater to a similar audience. Then, you can reach out to the site owner or editor with a pitch discussing what you’d like to write about.
If your blog post pitch is accepted, you’ll write a high-quality guest post based on the topic. Your guest post should be well-researched and valuable to the publisher’s readers. While your blog won’t be promotional, it can highlight your business in a positive light by making small business owners appear as thought leaders in their industries.
Guest blogging is a lot like public relations. For the best opportunities, you need to build relationships with media outlets and their editors. You can use guest blogging as a way to build long-term relationships with host blogs by sharing published posts on your own social media channels, responding to comments, and inviting the blog owner, writer, or editor to create a guest post for your site.
In addition, guest posts can enhance your global, national, and local search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, helping local businesses appear higher in Google search results, including local search results, by providing valuable backlinking opportunities.