Last Updated on February 5, 2023
Yes, You Can Promote Your Small Business, School or Nonprofit Online for Free
Forget paid ads. Forget contracting an agency. Do you have a website? Do you have access to email and social media? Then you can promote your business, and yourself, for free.
What do you need in order to promote your business online?
A lot of the time people think that marketing costs money. Marketing costs time, and energy, and often sleepless nights, but it needn’t cost money.
Are you on social media talking about your upcoming fundraiser? That’s marketing. Are you reminding people about your two for one sale when they come into your store? That’s marketing too. Even checking ourself in the mirror to make sure we still look amazing before we go to the grocery store is marketing
Everything we do sends a message out to the world that says “here I am, this is me, this is what I believe in.” We are all brands, and we market ourselves – often for free – every day of our lives. So why shouldn’t you market your small business for free too? How about your school? Or your nonprofit?
Your business is an extension of yourself. And you can market it online – and often offline – for free.
Does a school or university need marketing? Is it a business? Does it want students? How about faculty? Staff? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then your school needs marketing.Bridget Willard Does a School Need Marketing?
What About Google Ads?
Google Ads alone won’t save your business. Or your school, or your nonprofit. As marketing guru Bridget Willard likes to say; you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Advertising (selling water) is an integral part of marketing (explaining why water is good for you), but you can sell a lot of water without using a single ad.
Using Google Ads, and other PPC (pay per click) products are very useful, but they aren’t free. You can contact me if you need help with PPC ads, or have questions about them. I want to talk about how you can best use the free stuff.
Free Marketing Tip #1: Learn How to Optimise Your Website for Search Engines
The best way to ensure customers find you for the right reasons is to have good organic SEO on your website. Even for natural search engine optimisation, the value of specific keywords is still important.
SEO consists of three parts:
- + On-page SEO (your website).
- + Off-page SEO (social media and features on other websites).
- + Technical SEO (how your website is built, how fast it loads and how easily it can be crawled and indexed by Google) Here we are also talk about Analytics.
There are no quick fixes. SEO, like any form of good marketing, is a long game:
- + Step One — Who is your target market, and what are their objectives or needs?
- + Step Two — Why are they searching, and which keywords and phrases do they use?
- + Step Three — Analyse your website, and social media. Optimise both so you can be found! Why social media? Google indexes social media posts and images.
SEO is just one part of your online marketing – albeit a very important part.
Free Marketing Tip #2: Register For and Use Google’s Free Business Profile
Have you discovered the magic that is the free Google Business Profile? Google’s free tool gives you not only an SEO boost but allows you to produce free content marketing and a free website. Here is mine, as an example: https://warren-laine-naida-digital.business.site
Google offers every business, school, nonprofit, and freelancer a free tool to help promote themselves. Free posts, product placement, offers, maps, contact information, and reviews appear on the organic search page free of charge!
One of the more important facets of Google’s Business Profile are the customer reviews. Google sees your reviews, as do potential customers. Reviews matter!
When you search on Google, you often find someone’s business appearing on the results’ top right-hand side. That’s Google Business Profile. The tool is the middle ground between search and social media and is often displayed on maps.
Sign up for your free Google Business Profile right here: google.com/business
Free Marketing Tip #3: Connect with People on Social Media
Successful people and businesses know how to communicate. They connect with us even as we are bombarded with endless messages every day. We want to hear what they say, so we take the time to listen.
So many businesses simply publish on media and forget to be social. This is where you, as a small business, have a great opportunity on social media. Because large businesses ignore people and essentially forfeit the game, you have opportunities to win those customers!
Just like your Google Business Profile, Facebook offers you a free business page. Just like mine. You can use it in the same way as your GBP, or your website. It is indexed by Google and it is free.
Which social media channel should you use? Anwer these three questions:
- + Is my target audience here?
- + If so, how do they use this platform?
- + Can I use this platform to achieve my marketing and business goals?
Discover three most important things about your social media by clicking here.
Free Marketing Tip #4: Take Advantage of eCommerce Opportunities
eCommerce is much more than an online shop. eCommerce really means enabling all of an organisation’s operations.
You needn’t sell something either. You can give away free samples, and ask for an email address as payment. It’s okay to ask. If people really want your product they will want to contact you too.
Why is having some sort of eCommerce option as part of your website so important?
- + People are on your website longer: 1 click to view a page vs 3-5 clicks for an order funnel
- + There are more SEO (keyword and pain-point) possibilities
- + There are more opportunities to connect with your visitor
- + More conversion possibilities
- + Content Marketing chances, like How-To Guides and recipes
Click here for more eCommerce ideas.
Free Marketing Tip #5: Your eMail Marketing Begins with Your eMail Signature
How many emails do you send out each day? Five? Fifteen? Is there anything in your email signature that promotes your business? Email marketing is about more than sending out Newsletters.
You can use Mailchimp for free and send up to 2000 emails daily. They offer templates, newsletters, images, double optin functions, email campaign analytics. Free.
Are you using your own mail system? No problem. Take advantage of your email signature. That’s free promotional space in every email!
What your email signature should contain:
- Your name, job title, affiliation, department, contact information … of course
- Company Social Profile Icons linked to those profiles
- A Call to Action – to a product or service
- Booking Links – to make an appointment or reserve action
- Industry Disclaimer or Legal Requirements – these show your validity
- Finally a Logo. This may not appear until the recipient clicks “allow external images”.
Free Marketing Tip #6: Using Content Marketing to Help Others
What is Content Marketing? Content Marketing is using content to give added value to whatever it is that you are selling and your connections with the customers. That’s a really important part of marketing because it gives added benefit.
Content marketing’s focus is to offer added value while showing how our product or service will make the life of a customer better.
Do you have a blog? That’s Content Marketing. Don’t have a blog? Start today. IN fact, start a FAQ page. Answering the questions people ask you is the seed of a good blog. Why not answer people’s questions before they ask them?
- Begin with a phone call – answering someone’s question
- Add that Q&A to your FAQ page
- Turn that into a social media post
- Write that up into a blog post
Congratulations! That’s Content Marketing 101!
Click here for more content marketing ideas.
Free Marketing Tip #7: Keeping Your Marketing Clean and Up to Date
Marketing Hygiene is the process of maintaining the freshness and function of your marketing tools, processes, and strategies to preserve the overall health and wellbeing of your business.
What do we mean, specifically by Online Marketing Hygiene? In a nutshell:
- Social Media – engagement / respecting permission / pruning old posts
- Websites – pruning our sitemap / compressing images / updating content
- Emails – asking people to unsubscribe / segmenting our segments
- Analytics – cleaning our funnels / recalibrating those ROI checks
- SEO – are those search phrases from June 2021 or June 2020?
Find out more marketing hygiene tips right here.
Free Marketing Tip #8: Lifelong Learning – Take a Free Online Marketing Course!
The internet is very good in one important regard – free information. Like this. There are countless free courses, PDFs, eBooks, YouTube videos and more available to you in most every language.
I like what Google offers. A free Online Digital Marketing Certificate. Free. Right here at their Digital Garage.
In addition, they offer free certification for Google Ads, Analytics, and more on their Google Skillshop, right here.
Never stop learning! Even if you don’t do the work yourself in the end, you will have a better understanding about what you are being charged for – and how much you need to pay.
Discover More Free Online Marketing Tips for Your Small Business, School or Nonprofit on My YouTube Channel
Join Bridget Willard and I as we share tips and tricks for your success!
Success May Not Come Overnight
The Learning Curve May Take Time, but You Will See Results
You may have to learn some new skills in order to market your business. If what you have learned does not bring a new customer, at least you’ve learnt a new skill. Technology is always changing, and we are all learning every day.
You may not see results immediately either. However, you can’t eat a tomato until you plant a tomato seed.
Everything you do that promotes your business today, is something more than you did yesterday. One more person talking about your business is marketing success.
If you feel demotivated, or have questions about how you can market your business, school, or nonprofit for free, please contact me.
Contact Me with Your Questions
Are you excited about the free online marketing opportunities available? I hope so! If you want to dig deeper into how you can promote your small business, school, or nonprofit, my books can help you further.
Written together with marketing guru Bridget Willard, each book is specifically focused on a unique marketplace.
Available on Amazon as paperback and Kindle ebook.