50 Free Marketing Ideas for Time-Starved Entrepreneurs

Free marketing ideas?

I mean, really?

Do these even exist?

Want to skip the queue? Download this PDF filled with all 50 free marketing ideas right now!

I can almost see the thought train running crazy in your head.

But before it crashes into “this-won’t-work-for-me” station, let me have you pull the brakes.

The thing is these marketing ideas are free and they do work.

You see, in the last 7 years of working with hundreds of time-starved, budget-conscious entrepreneurs AND building our own 6-figure business, if there’s one thing we’ve learnt it is this: marketing doesn’t {always!} have to involve money.

Yep.

On that note, here are 50 free marketing ideas that you can start testing and trying out right away.

Now, here’s the thing, every single idea may not be good for your business niche or service industry, but then again, don’t let the fact that something has never been done before stop you from trying. Mmmkay?

50 Free Marketing Ideas for the Time-Starved Entrepreneur

1. Optimize Your Website for Optimal Profitability

Do you sell online? Have a website? Is it tailored perfectly for boosting your profitability?

How do you know that?

Do you have Google Analytics installed? Okay then. Open it up. Let’s crunch some numbers, while I munch on my good-for-me granola bar.

What percentage of traffic do you get from organic search, like Google and the like? What percentage of conversions do you get from Organic traffic? Are ALL your sales coming only from ONE source? What happens when that dries up?

Knowing these numbers will give you an insight into whether your website is doing it’s job or not.

Also, as I shared in 31 Days to Get More Customers, have your site critiqued or reviewed by folks who fit your target customer profile or survey your audience and get their feedback.

If you’re an online business, your website, mon ami, is your numero uno salesperson.

2. Attend Live {Free} Events

Want to connect with people and share your business but lack the budget to attend high-end conferences and trade shows?

Attend free events instead. That’s right. Check out your area’s Meetup schedule to find events that connect you with like-minded people and your target audience too. It’s a great way to strike a work-life balance too!

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Not just that check out your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have any live events you can attend and network with business owners who may be great joint venture partners or referral leads.

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3. Speak at a Live Event

How about you speak at a conference or live event? Share your expertise in your industry at a networking event? A meetup? A conference?
Stretch yourself and think out of the box. If there isn’t one in your area, how about you organize one?

Have a local café volunteer the space, everyone buys their own coffee and cookie and you have a session sharing tips and solutions.

You can do this for a cloth diaper demo session. A style your wardrobe session.  Or even, a desk yoga class for busy entrepreneurs!

The ideas are endless.

4. Blog to Boost Business

You knew this one was coming, right?

If you have an online OR offline business, you need to blog, thank you very much.

Since I keep on harping on about blogging for business owners, this time, I’m just gonna leave these statistics from the marketing pros at Hubspot on the table and back away 😉

B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.

Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.

Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.

So, if you’re ready to get more leads, traffic and trust from your consumers at practically a $0 cost, you know what you need to do right?

Oh, and since we love serving up snackable delights for your business, you can dig into the business blogging buffet of tips and strategies right here to help you get started right.

5. Engage via Emails

Right after blogging, is email engagement. Not marketing, but engagement.

According to a survey by the Adobe guys, Americans are practically addicted to their emails. I quote, “On average, survey respondents report using email six hours a day, or 30+ hours a week.”

Not just the incredible usage of email, but also the fact that folks buy via email is proof that you need to really use this marketing tool.

Again, since I am on a numbers roll here, according to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message.

This, again, is something that I’ve talked a lot about in 31 Days to Get More Customers but it bears repeating…

If you aren’t using email to engage with YOUR audience, you’re losing a BIG chunk of their mindshare and your market share.

I don’t think you’d like that.

6. Stay Social on Social Media

And then, it’s the turn of social media to complete this biz building trifecta.

You need social media to connect, communicate and yes, also convert people from folks on the sidelines to raving fans.

Using social can be free and no you don’t need to always pay for advertising, if your social content is engaging enough.

7. Practice and Use Your Pitch

Did you know your pitch is a powerful free marketing tool?

Yep.

You meet someone at the grocery checkout and they ask what you do?

You’re chatting with a mom at the playground and she asks whether you work?

You’re in the elevator and the cute guy next to you wants to know if you work in the same building?

All these and many more random social interactions like these are opportunities for you to share your pitch. Your little speech about what you do, because who knows who may be a prospective customer.

8. Offer Free Consults for a Limited Time

So, yeah, everyone and their uncle will probably tell you never to give anything away for free because well, people don’t value free stuff. Hah!

If that were the case, we’d never have had tried out the Lunch’s On Us rewards program that’s been a HUGE success so far!

Anyway… tell me something… when you’re shopping around, browsing in the mall, don’t you love getting free samples of either cosmetics, perfumes or my personal favorite, the new cookie that your fave café has launched?

Yeah, so whether you have a product-based business or a service-based one, you can always offer free samples or if you don’t want to give actual product, give free consults.

Say, you sell natural, handmade, all-organic soaps and lip balms. How about you offer 30-minute natural skincare tips customized to your skin type for the first 20 orders?

See? You can do this. Regardless of business niche or industry.

9. Start a Podcast

Podcasts are the sorta new {old} kid on the block. It’s a great way to reach an audience, share your expertise and build a brand… for free.

The folks at Buffer have THE complete guide to starting your own podcast, so start there.

10. Get Featured on a Podcast

Don’t want to start a podcast? Stressed it would be one more thing to do? Get featured on it instead.

Most podcasters love getting experts to share their best advice with them. Reach out, ask if you can share your advice and strategies and then, do just that. Be insanely useful, share your stories and offer great value.

11. Create a Free Contest or Challenge

A free contest or a challenge, like the 31 Days to Get More Customers one that we did are brilliant marketing tools, that take little to no money to set up and run.

They build your brand, expert status, are incredibly fun and engaging for customers and you can do them single-handedly, so don’t let the fact that you may not have a big team hold you back.

My friend and persuasion specialist Bushra Azhar is a master at this.

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Her latest #SoldOutChallenge is a ripper designed to help you validate AND succeed with a business idea. She runs these in her free Facebook group {which in itself is a great free marketing idea!} so hop over and join in the fun to see a challenge in action.

12. Sign Off Right

Yep. What does your email signature say about you? Do you have it all nice and spiffy with your biz details? Or does it just have your first name?

It’s super easy to prettify your email signature with a free tool like, Wisestamp.

Wisestamp

Imagine the number of emails you send from your personal account.

Now imagine the amount of traffic and interest you can generate using something as simple as this. That’s right.

13. Send in Testimonials for Products and Services You Use

You know how in 31 Days to Get More Customers, I talk about inviting folks to give you a testimonial. Yeah, so how about we turn the tables here and YOU send in a testimonial for a product or service you use.

That’s right.

Took a course and loved it,  let the creator know. Use a tool to help with your business? Send the folks behind it a quick thank you note.

Most people would showcase that on their site or Testimonials page, along with a nice picture of you and a link to your site.

Now everyone who comes to their site may check yours out too. You see where I’m going with this, right?

14. Blog Commenting Can Build Business

Actually, that point should read “Blog Commenting Done RIGHT Can Build Business.”

Quality comments on a blog are always, always noticed, both by the blogger and the fellow commenters.

Is there a high traffic blog you read regularly?

How often do you participate in the discussion?

Set yourself a target to comment on at least 5 blogs this week. You can do it.

But ensure that you’re leaving quality, value-adding comments and not just “Great post!” But you already knew that, didn’t you? 😉

15. Start a Video Blog or do Live Video Streaming

Video blogs and live video streaming are still hot, especially with Facebook jumping on the Live video train too.

It’s a great way to put a face to the brand and connect with your community for free.

Vicky Lyashenko of Mompreneur Community, a dear friend, mastermind buddy and fellow parentpreneur, launched her awesome Live Video interview series interviewing successful mom entrepreneurs. Not only is she sharing incredibly useful content, she’s also building a much bigger brand with this cool {and free!} marketing strategy.

Lauren Hooker of Elle & Company is another stellar example of using live video chats to build her brand while sharing great tips too.

16. Hashtags Can Have Huge Impact

On Instagram? Tweeting on Twitter?

Make sure you use the right hashtags to get your content found by prospective customers and clients.

You can find the best hashtags for your niche using a tool, like Hashtagify.

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17. Love Your Locals

Are you connecting with your local community and letting them know what your business is all about?

You can do this by collaborating with a local business owner. Volunteering at community drives. Contributing product or services for a block giveaway party.

Don’t forget your locals while you build your empire;)

18. Participate in Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are a fantastic {and yes, FREE!} way for you to market your business. There are Twitter chats for just about anything under the sun.

Use a tool, like TweetReports to find a chat for your niche and then, join in the conversation.

19. Host a Twitter Chat

Feeling brave?

Host a Twitter chat of your own. That’s right! You can get to create your own branded hashtag, share your expertise straight off the bat and build a solid brand presence as well. I did mention, for FREE, right? 😉

Again, the folks at Buffer come through with their in-depth guide for starting and hosting a Twitter chat.

20. Create or Launch a New Product or Service

THIS is one my personal faves. Whenever we need to spice up the marketing strategy, we launch something. LOL!!

I’m serious. It’s a great way to have something fresh and new on the menu and also, gets your momentum going.

Try it!

21. Host a Live Event at Your Office or Store

Do you have a brick-and-mortar store?

A physical office?

How about you host a fun and free walk-in event for your customers and prospects?

You could do a Coffee Chat with Want-preneurs if you’re a coach.

You can do a book reading by a local author or yourself if you have a kids’ store.

You can even, do a High Tea-style event if you own a fashion or clothing brand.

22. Contact Local Media for News Features

Just like, your local community is important, so is the local media.

Even if your business maybe online and dealing with customers worldwide, contacting the local media and getting invited to a TV show or getting featured in the press can bring some good business your way!

23. Pop Your Products in for Giveaways or Swag

Loads of fellow business look for things to give away in contests and as swag at events.

Tap your entrepreneurial community and find out how you can get your products into gift bags and giveaways. Our client and product business genius, Andreea Ayers has an amazing resource called Get Media Happy that lets your products get picked up by leading magazines and publications.

24. Submit Your Site to Free Business Directories

Sure, free business directories may be on their way out, but there is no harm in submitting your business to them.

They’re free, after all, right?

Here’s a BIG list of all the free business directories you can submit to. You’re welcome 😉

25. Create an Affiliate Program for Your Product or Services

Want an army of people promoting your products or services?

Create an affiliate program and give them a percentage of each sale. Boost their sales powers with customized, ready-to-use affiliate email and social media swipe copy and then, watch the sales roll in.

For marketing ideas 26 through 50, head here.

Don’t forget to download ALL 50 of these epically easy-to-implement , sales-boosting strategies right here. A nifty little printable PDF guide just for you.

50 Free Marketing Ideas for Time-Starved Entrepreneurs