So that was pretty much my initial hurdle. What did I do? Well I found ways to market or promote my company and its services by spending nothing (in some cases) or as little as possible. 10 years ago you might not have been able to do this, but because so many on-line companies are now using the "Freemium Business Model" it is possible today.
Before I list some of my invaluable, free (or very cheap) marketing tools, I want to mention that some of them may no longer be free, or are no longer available. The purpose of this post it to create awareness of the various ways you can market your products without spending a fortune. It will then be up to you to begin searching for these tools and establishing a portfolio which you will update with new ones and remove the ones which become expensive or are no longer available. Some things that sound too good to be true do exist but they do not last forever.
So here goes:
- Free Website: Create your website using Yola (free), pay GoDaddy £5 to register your .com domain (using a promo code for 25% off - Google search), host for free using Yola and get free e-mail for your domain (as in: firstname.lastname@example.org) using Google Aps - TOTAL COST of WEBSITE & EMAIL: £5/year
- Search Engine Marketing: Use the Thirty Day Challenge (Free) to get to the top of Google for your market organically, but in the mean time get yourself some free Google AdWords and Yahoo credit (usually around £30-£50 worth) to drive traffic through to your site - just search for them on Google... there are loads out there - TOTAL COST of SEO: £0
- Printed Materials: Sign up to VistaPrint's newsletter. They send out one every day or so that tells you: "You have been selected to win, blah blah blah". In most e-mails you see links to claim your free business cards (250), free flyers (50), free brochures, letterheads, a banner, t-shirts, etc etc etc. All you pay for is delivery so do all of the above in one go and it will save you a fortune. Use this, it is AWESOME! TOTAL COST of PRINTING: £8
- Facebook Marketing: In their attempt to compete with Google and Yahoo, Facebook is giving out loads of coupon codes to get your started on using their advertising platform, which is different to all the others because you can narrow down the people you want to reach using: gender, city, interests, age, relationship status etc. Sign up to the Visa Business Network before the 15th of October and you'll get $100 of Facebook advertising credit to mess around with. Don't forget to make a Group AND a Page for your product/service. A Group so you can message your members, a Page because it gets indexed by Google and comes up in search results. TOTAL COST of FACEBOOK ADVERTISING: £0
There are loads of ideas out there, but I think I have covered the basics for now. If anyone has any other free tools, share them with us.