You know your stuff. You’ve got a great product. But how do you get people talking about it with a budget of, well, nothing?
Well, in order to tackle this nuisance of a challenge, we’ll show you how you can start doing exactly that with 5 marketing hacks that will cost you … nothing.
In this article, we talk about the following marketing hacks:
- Embedding Yourself in the Online Community
- Being Controversial
- Making Tutorials
- Getting Your Customers to Market For You
- Sending Email Newsletters
Let’s get started!
1. Embedding Yourself in the Online Community
I’m not talking about Twitter, Facebook or Instagram here, as important as these channels are. I’m talking about the places that people go when they’re actually looking for information and answers, or where small communities of people germinate around something they’re all seriously interested in.
Take Reddit, for example. Reddit calls itself ‘the front page of the internet’ and if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a ginormous network of people posting about and discussing interests that are often very niche and defined, through subreddits (kind of micro-topics).
Obviously, if you just start posting blatant advertising from the get-go, you’ll annoy people… but if you spend a bit of time hunting down the most relevant subreddits to your industry and business, and you start contributing to those conversations and getting to know how your potential user base thinks, you have a wealth of free market research, right there.
As you build connections, you can then start asking people their advice on what you’ve created, get them involved in its development – and before you know it, you have your first nucleus of a loyal, invested following, who then become invaluable word-of-mouth supporters.
2. Being Controversial
Do you have strong opinions on where your sector is going wrong? Are you trying to do something radical? Are you flying in the face of conventional wisdom? TALK ABOUT IT. Loudly!
Posting bland, don’t-rock-the-boat content feels safe, because you don’t upset anyone. You don’t get comments telling you that you’ve got it all wrong. You don’t provoke controversy. But that’s because your content is so forgettable that it doesn’t provoke any kind of response. What’s the point of marketing if you’re trying to stop people from noticing you?
To be clear, you shouldn’t start saying things you don’t believe in, because it feels inauthentic. Neither should you start attacking or insulting other people or competitors just to get a rise out of them. But if you make big, bold, forceful statements that make people sit up and listen? That’s the holy grail… especially if these then trigger a bunch of shares on social media.
3. Making Tutorials
What do you do when you have a problem you’re not sure how to solve or a question you don’t know how to answer? I’m guessing that, like 99.99% of internet users in your position, you start by Googling it.
This means that someone out there is Googling questions that you – yes, YOU – can answer. If they’re looking for answers that you and your colleagues are uniquely qualified to provide, chances are that they are also the kind of people that could become your customers. This makes them incredibly valuable.
Start publishing tutorials that answer these questions. Upload video tutorials to YouTube. Post step-by-step guides on your company blog. Just make sure your CTAs always link back to your company website or product pages.
Not sure what questions to answer? Join Quora, where people post questions on just about anything, find some you can help with, and start positioning yourself as an expert by answering them.
4. Getting Your Customers to Market For You
We touched on this in the first point, but the most powerful way to market your brand is through word of mouth. Study after study shows that people simply trust a recommendation from someone they know over any other kind of marketing.
It makes sense, right? So don’t fight it, use it to your advantage! Ask your existing companies to refer you to their friends and family, and offer them perks in return.
5. Sending Email Newsletters
Once you’ve put in the hard graft of persuading people to hand over their contact information, don’t let it just languish! Maximise its value. The great thing about your email list is that you already know these people are interested in what you do – which means they’ll be a lot more receptive to hearing from you than from total strangers.
Don’t just wait until you’re specifically trying to sell something to them, though. The idea is to build up a rapport over time so that your company is the first place they think of when they need what you do.
A great way to do that is with regular email newsletters, where you briefly talk about some of the most interesting projects your team has been working on, new developments to your product and service, and so on. Often, this gentle nudge is the thing that makes someone on your list say, ‘ah, I was meaning to call them…!’