types-pf-marketing

8 Free Types of Marketing Strategies (SlideShare)

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

It’s REALLY hard to find effective, cost-free marketing strategies for your business.

Well, it turns out you can dramatically increase your audience of subscribers, leads, customers and fans by adding a few simple (and free) strategies to your marketing mix.

In this article, I am going to show you what those free marketing strategies are… and step-by-step how you can use them for your business:

1. Map content to the buyer’s journey. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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content-marketingThe “Buyer’s Journey” is an active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to purchases.

When you create valuable content that meets the needs of potential buyers in each stage, you can attract then acquire prospects and leads while driving profitable customer action.

Nowadays 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales. (SiriusDecisions)

That’s why you need to deliver consistent, valuable information to potential customers on the buyer’s journey. Prospects will reward you with their business and loyalty.

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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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ebookFurniture store maps content offers to each stage of their buyer’s journey:

  • What they did:
    • Created 10+ eBooks and 50+ blog posts on topics their target audience searches for
    • Each offer was mapped to a stage in their unique Buyer’s Journey
    • All blog posts have calls-to-action to relevant eBook offer
    • eBooks convert new leads and have calls-to-action to receive free expert consultations

 

  • Highlights:
    • New qualified leads in 12 months: 1.9K
    • Lead to customer conversion rate: 11.8%
    • Avg. sale per customer: ~$6,000.00
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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Step 1 – User behavior and research:

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Your content needs to differ through the stages of the Buyer’s Journey.

  • What does each stage of your unique Buyer’s Journey look like? How does that affect the content you need to create?
  • List the goals your prospects have for each stage as well as what they are looking for
  • How will you create a clear path for potential buyers to move from one stage to the next?

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Step 2 – Choose content topics and formats:

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Select the most relevant topics and formats for specific stages by using tools like BuzzSumo and Topsy to research top shared content.

buyers-journey

Step 3 – Leverage keywords and relevant terms:

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In each stage of the buyer’s journey, be sure to utilize the proper terminology and action words.

  • Use Google’s Keyword Tools and “Searches related to…” at the bottom of each Google search page to find popular keywords/phrases
  • Include those words/phrases in the offer’s title/sub-titles/copy, landing page, CTA, buttons, email copy and subject line

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Step 4 – Publish and promote your offers:

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Now it’s time to share your hard work with the world!

  • Publish your offer:
    • Proofread and review your work to make sure it’s perfect (just like you)
    • Create calls-to-action, landing pages and thank you pages, optimize them with appropriate keywords from step 3
    • Create promotion strategy

 

  • Share your new offer:
    • Publish to your social media accounts/groups, respond to all shares
    • Reach out to influencers in your niche
    • Email your subscriber lists and professional/industry contacts
    • Add obvious share button to content
    • Get more great content promotion ideas here >>

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Additional Resources

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2. Create and grow an email subscriber list. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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emailYou need to be on the top of your prospects and customers minds so when they become ready to make a purchase, your business is the first thing they think about.

Email marketing is still the quickest, most direct way to communicate with leads and customers.

You need to continuously collect prospect and customer contact information to grow your database and followup on a regular basis.

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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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Mobile accessory company uses email marketing to generate sales:

  • What they did:
    • Uses channels like social, PR and media outreach to grow lists
    • Competitions help generate tons of subscribers at one time
    • They offer consultation prizes in the form coupons to covert the competition participates

 

  • Highlights:
    • Number of subscriber generated: 60K
    • Revenue per email: ~$7,500
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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Step 1 – Start collecting emails:

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If you’re not already doing this, there are a number of very simple ways you can build a contact list.

  • Pen and paper in-store and at offline, in-person events
  • Clear opt-in forms on website
  • Publish “gated” content offers
  • Promote online contests
  • Add opt-in to email signatures
  • Encourage current subscribers to forward and share emails/content
  • Co-marketing with a partner
  • Leverage other marketing channels like social media and video

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Step 2 – Choose your email  marketing tool:

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Next you need to choose the platform that you will use. I recommend using MailChimp, it’s free, easy-to-use and integrates with every tool.

  • Sign-up for your free account
  • Add/import all current contacts you have
  • Utilize the “Singup Forms” MailChimp automatically creates
  • Connect all other opt-in forms
  • Segment lists based on interests, behavior, etc.

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Step 3 – Establish regular touch-points:

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Now that you have your growing list and email tool, ensure your business stays top of mind, by send these kinds of emails:

  • Emails that educate
  • Emails that share content offers
  • Emails that help people improve
  • Emails that asks questions which prompt responses
  • Emails that re-engage stale subscribers and leads
  • Emails that promote an event, promotion, sale, etc.
  • Emails that are personal and address individual needs

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Step 4 – Take email marketing further:

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popupIf you’re serious about using this strategy, we recommend researching various subscriber/leader generation tools and creating workflows.

  • Subscriber Generation Tools: SumoMe, Bounce Exchange, Hello Bar, etc. can help convert more visitors
  • Email workflows are basically a series of automated emails that you send to lists with the goal of creating new customers

 

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Additional Resources

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3. Claim all of your online listings. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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You need to make sure prospects can easily find and reach you no matter where they are searching from.

Simply claiming your business listings on popular search engines and directories will dramatically increase your visibility.

Focus on the popular platforms first: Google Business, Yelp Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Local Listings, Yellow Pages, CitySearch, etc.

google-search

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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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Small business dramatically increases online reach by optimizing one listing:

  • What they did:
    • Realizing their business was incorrectly listed on Yelp, they claimed the listing and fixed it
    • By adding a service area, keywords, photos and a CTA, they saw significant results

 

  • Highlights:
    • Increase in organic search traffic: 455%
    • Increase in visitor click-through rate: 347%
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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Step 1 – Figure out where you’re listed online:

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To start, you need to figure out which search engines and directories your on and which ones you aren’t.

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Step 2 – Claim and completely utilize your space:

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Now it’s time to fill in your listings so the world can find you!

  • You have two options:
    • Do each one by hand (it’s not that bad)
    • or… Pay for a tool to do it for you ($50+)
  • Most sites let you to add images, descriptions, business category, etc. Google will even let you create a virtual in-store tour
  • Make sure to take advantage of all the tools these sites give you

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Step 3 – Check your work and keep listings updated:

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google-search2Double check to make sure everything works. Now make sure any future changes in your business are updated in your listings.

  • Search for your business on different platforms, does your listing look nice and have all the the correct info?
  • Be sure any changes to your business (phone, address, etc.) reflect in your listings

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Additional Resources

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4. Utilize social proof. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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In the battle for customer attention. Social proof is still a relatively untapped goldmine in the age of social media.

What is social proof? In short, It’s the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.

It’s most effective when using multiple kinds of social proof.

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Types of social proof:

  1. Wisdom of crowds: Highlighting popularity, large numbers of customers or online reviews implies many people are satisfied with your business.
  2. Customer social proof: Use client testimonials, success stories and case studies to show real world benefits of your product or service.
  3. Expert social proof: Approval from credible experts, like a magazine, popular blogger or industry influencer can create tremendous digital influence and trust.
  4. Wisdom of friends: Learning from directly friends online is likely the top form of social proof in terms of 1:1 impact and potential to grow virally.
  5. Celebrity social proof: Up to 25% of U.S. TV commercials have used celebrities, however this is too costly for most businesses. (Unless you’re friends with Brad Pitt)
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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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Interior designer uses social proof to generate leads and convert customers.

  • What they did:
    • After personally asking her clients, partners and vendors for a Houzz testimonial, she received over 60 five-start reviews!
    • She’s now one of the highest ranked interior designers in a highly competitive area with a flood of new leads

 

  • Highlights:
    • Five-star reviews: 61
    • Percentage of all new leads: 50%
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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houzz

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Step 1 – Social proof audit:

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Even if you only have one customer, any social proof can go significantly increase confidence in new prospects.

  • Collect and organize every piece of social proof you can find and use in your marketing
  • What influential people do you know in your industry?
  • Here are a few examples:
    • Customer reviews/testimonials
    • Case studies and success stories
    • Number of email subscribers
    • Number of social media followers
    • Number of “happy customers”
    • Influencers you associate with
    • Influential clients/customers/partners

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Step 2 – Getting more social proof:

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There are plenty of great ways you can generate more social proof for your business.

  • Business directories from the previous section three are great places to collect reviews
  • Create video testimonials
  • Create client case studies
  • User-generated content
  • Reach out to influencers to amplify your reach
  • Simply ask customer for reviews

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Step 3 – Give your social proof visibility:

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socialproof
Now that you have some social proof, you need to use it in your marketing to convert more leads and sales.

  • Repurpose positive online customer reviews for your website
  • Highlight impressive user statistics/numbers on product pages, opt-in forms, etc.
  • Use visuals to create a deeper connections (client pictures, before/after)

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Additional Resources

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5. Make social media growth a priority. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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socialSo much of the customer experience now lives on the web, with social media, brands can now be more involved in a customer’s online experience.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are referred to as the “Big 4.” Every business should have a presence on those sites.

Like all good things, growing a valuable social following takes time and patience, but it is essential to the long-term success of your business:

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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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Old Spice’s marketing agency creatively uses social media to increase sales:

  • What they did:
    • Created personalized videos for fans, influencers and celebrities, most of which then shared with their audiences
    • While they are a top body wash brand, their campaign proves that social media can drive real ROI for businesses

 

  • Highlights:
    • Increase in sales at campaign peak: 55%
    • Increase in sales over 12 months: 27%
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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oldspice

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Step 1 – Research and choose social networks:

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Next, choose which social networks you need to be on based on where your target audience spends time.

  • Identify people who have the audience you want to attract
  • Listen, analyze compare. What works? What doesn’t?
  • Aside from the “Big 4” not every one needs to be on every network
  • Make sure to define a clear purpose for each network
  • Know how your approach will differ for each network
  • Keep branding consistent across all profiles and pages

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Step 2 – Choose content you’ll create/curate:

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It’s important to research popular content and conversations to direct your tone and topics.

  • What content do other people in your niche create/curate? Let that help guide what content you create in section one
  • It’s important to be fun, unique, personable and give fans an inside look into your brand as well
  • What content performs best in you niche?
  • Use BuzzSumo and Topsy to research top content
  • How can you leverage what you already have?

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Step 3 – Automate efforts while remaining “human”:

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Remember that social media is about being social! Here’s how to not seem like a robot.

  • Ask influencers and fans questions
  • Monitor all social interactions so you can engage with people who share and discuss your content
  • Join communities and groups to create new relationships
  • Write like you talk, be spontaneous, transparent and reachable

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Step 4 – Nurture the growth of your networks:

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Finally, you need to build your toolbox, select metrics and continuously analyze the numbers to improve results.

  • Make sure to build a “toolbox” with research, monitoring, automated posting and analytic tools to make your life easier
  • Depending your business goals, what metrics will you track to measure social media success?
  • Engagement, Traffic/Leads Generated, Content Views/Shares, Sales Metrics and Online Reviews are all important metrics to track
  • Track growth using your analytic tools and the insights provided by each social network admin page

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Additional Resources

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6. Develop your personal brand. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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Building a personal brand can create countless opportunities for your business.

Personal branding allows you to establish a recognizable reputation while increasing your level of influence, trust and interaction, usually through social media.

There are different ways to expand your personal brand. Learn how in this section:

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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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Business consultant creates online show to interview experts and build influence.

  • What they did:
    • Interviews influencers, becomes one of them through association and the immense value his show has created
    • This creates a greater sense of influence and trust in new prospects
    • Converted show guests into customers

 

  • Highlights:
    • Show views per month: 150K
    • Guest to client conversion rate: 100%
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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cultureshock

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Step 1 – Determine your area of expertise:

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Before you can get started, you need to decide what you’d like to be known for. Make sure it is specific and relevant to your industry.

  • There’s lots of generic experts, for example “leadership” experts. You need to be more specific so you’ll actually be relevant
  • Stick with what you know, it’s likely you’re already well versed in your own industry
  • This will help you direct the tone and topics of content you create

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Step 2 – Optimize your current channels, create new ones:

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Now it’s time to make your mark on the world by creating and optimizing channels to attract your audience through.

  • Find a “signature” image you’ll use as a headshot on all your work
  • Claim and build your personal website and blog
  • Develop a branding strategy: colors, fonts, visuals, logo, etc.
  • Use social media as a tool to share your expertise and connect with other experts
  • Get creative, for example: create an online show or co-market with other influencers

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Step 3 – Attain and grow influence in your niche:

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Unless you create some awesome, viral videos, there is no overnight secret that will propel you to stardom.

  • Public speaking
  • Write and publish books
  • Content marketing is the best way to build a brand and value online
  • Associate with other influencers
  • Develop case studies on how you’ve helped other people
  • Use social proof creates trust and credibility

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Step 4 – Start doing some serious networking:

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Simply being associated with other influencers and leaders in your industry can significantly enhance your authority and personal brand.

  • Keep a list of all upcoming (online and in-person) industry events
  • Again, it’s CRUCIAL that you forge with other experts in your niche
  • Build relationships with other key people in your industry (not just online influencers)
  • People like to work with people they like, don’t be a jerk!

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Step 5 – Monetize your influence:

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You can take your personal brand a step further by monetizing your expertise and content.

  • Live speaking events/workshops
  • Book and eBook sales
  • Paid online courses
  • Affiliate / reseller programs
  • Google AdSense
  • Advertising Space
  • Create/sell products and services
  • Site memberships

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Additional Resources

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7. Create strategic partnerships. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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It’s important to continuously seek out new potential partners for your business so you can help each other succeed and drive new business to each other.

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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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Marketing agency doubles revenue after partnering with SaaS company.

  • What they did:
    • Knowing that Hubspot, a large marketing software company, has the same target, this agency joined the Partner Program
    • After 12 months their business had doubled from Hubspot’s quickly growing customer base in need of agencies

 

  • Highlights:
    • Increase in average client spend: 91%
    • Increase in yearly revenue: 100%
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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Step 1 – Identify the “low hanging fruit”:

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lowNot familiar with low hanging fruit? Those are your biggest and most obvious opportunities.

  • Starting with your professional network and community, which businesses make the best fit?
  • Use the internet to identify businesses outside of your community

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Step 2 – Make partnering with your business easy:

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It’s important to make sure benefits and terms are laid our clearly and that potential partners can easily find info on partnering with you.

  • Have clearly defined agreement templates you can use (profit sharing, terms, metrics, etc.)
  • Create a website page to describe the benefits of partnering, clearly describing the shared benefits
  • Host strategic planning meetings
  • Be careful, informal partnerships leave the door open for any number of terrible legal or personal problems

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Step 3 – Deliver on promises:

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startNow both you and your partners need to make sure you deliver on the terms that were agreed to.

  • Evaluate training needs you and your partner’s staff
  • Agree on the measurements of success up front
  • Focus on creating “quick wins” so the relationship doesn’t sour if things move a little slow at first

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Step 4 – Nurture and extend your partnerships:

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A strong partnership network can create a continuous stream of clients and revenue for your business.

  • Create content just for partners
    • For example: Hubspot has a blog specifically for it agency partners
  • Speak with partners regularly to discuss progress and strategy
  • Stay honest/open with partners
  • Grow a partnership community by being useful, approachable and accountable from the start
  • Focus on great customer experience together, more than the value exchange

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Additional Resources

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8. Delight top fans and customers. (click to tweet)

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About This Strategy:

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Your fans and customers are one of your biggest assets. Turn them into brand advocates by delighting them throughout the Buyer’s Journey and especially post-purchase.

The concept of delight is to create a remarkable experience from their first interaction all the way to their purchase and beyond.

It’s not just customer support’s job, it’s everyones job!

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Example Of This Strategy In Action:

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Restaurant delights thousands of fans while driving new and repeat business.

  • What they did:
    • Through quality food and incredible customer experience: hundreds of positive online reviews
    • When people search “Italian food” in the OC, this place gets customers
    • I can vouch for them, the food and service rock!

 

  • Highlights:
    • Five-star reviews: 1890+
    • Top reviewed restaurants in area: 2nd
    • What it would cost you to do: $0

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Step 1 – Start with the customer experience:

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Some businesses still don’t realize how their offline experience affects how people perceive them online (even if that’s not fair).

  • Do you handle customer service requests swiftly and with a smile?
  • Do employees go out of their way to make customers feel special during every stage of purchase?
  • Set the bar high for customer satisfaction, people will go out of their way to promote your business to friends and family when you blow them away

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Step 2 – Create exclusive value just for customers:

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People like exclusivity, make your customers feel like VIPs by giving them access to customer only offers.

  • Personal notes and small gifts
  • Give them priority over others (advanced notice, early access, etc.)
  • Create content (eBooks, webinars, etc.) just for customers
  • Invite them into your culture
  • Host in-person events to educate customers and add value to their purchase (for example: a BBQ grill retailer should host regular BBQ classes)
  • Focus on the details of customer needs and “sweat the small stuff”

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Step 3 – Make it easy for them to share their story:

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It’s important that your customers and fans are given a clear, simple path for how-to share their story with the world.

  • Use social media to crowd-source content (for example: Starbucks help art contest and had people share their creations)
  • Have links to your online review pages (Yelp, Google, etc.) and instructions for customers
  • Send followup emails once they’ve become a customer
  • Simply encourage them to share their story on Yelp or as a written testimonial if they prefer (only if you exceeded their expectations)

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Step 4 – Use their stories to find new customers:

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Like in section four, this is a form of social proof that should be used when marketing to future customers.

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Additional Resources

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 Now it’s your turn…

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Now that I’ve shared my favorite free marketing strategies with you today, I want to turn it over to you.

Which technique from this list do you want to use first?

For example, your comment might look like this:

I run a business called ____. I’m going to use ____ first.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below right now.

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Brian Downard
bdownard@eliv8group.com

Brian Downard is the author of this blog and Co-Founder of ELIV8, a consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs and business leaders grow their revenue in a digital world. Brian writes about strategy, marketing, leadership and being an entrepreneur.

  • Thank you for this post. It is interesting as a person who helps run a fashion blog to read this post. We don’t have a “product” to sell to others but we want loyal fans and brand advocates who love our posts. A first step from this is to increase the use of engaging questions in our social media posts. Thanks for this resource.