02 Oct 5 Free Marketing Tactics to Build Your Brand
In today’s world, the on-going development of your brand ultimately determines the long-term success of your business. We all know the saying, “People won’t remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel” — well when it comes to business, similar rules apply. The consumers of today engage with brands they feel connected to — they want you to make them feel something. They want to feel heard and understood. They want to understand and relate to your brand story, and your brand values. As Scott Goodson once wrote in Forbes, “Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products. Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. Brands are valuable. When Kraft bought Cadbury for $19.5 Billion what did they buy? The chocolate? The factories? The recipes? The candy makers? No, they bought the brands.”
With this in mind, building your brand should be the top priority of any business owner. So the question becomes — how can you better build your brand? Moreover, within a landscape that is heavily dominated by pay-to-play infrastructure, what free tactics can brands employ to expand their influence and effectively market their offering?
1. Google Testimonials
Business owners, if there is one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this — never underestimate the power of testimonials. Even further, never be afraid to reach out and ask satisfied customers to provide testimonials. A recent consumer review survey revealed that 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 82% of consumers look a business up online before using them.
Testimonials and reviews go hand in hand, and act as a powerful tool to increase the credibility of your brand. Why? Because happy customers attract new customers, and act as a built-in advertising method, only without the associated skepticism of a paid advertisement. After all, if a client vouches for a business that isn’t equipped to live up to that recommendation, the client’s reputation is on the line. With this understanding, we know that clients generally are only willing to provide their ‘seal of approval’ on business that have genuinely earned that designation. In a sense, this makes testimonials even more powerful, as they signify a continued bond between a business and their clients, acting as a testament to that partnership and the service(s) provided. Your clients are busy, but Google offers an extremely simplified process to provide testimonials (and if they truly are thrilled with your work), generating positive feedback around your brand becomes a relatively easy task, and well worth the effort.
After all, if a client is in the process of vetting a prospective business, and they consider a brand which boasts a variety of diverse, positive testimonials and one which has no client testimonials to offer alongside their curated brand promises, which brand is more likely to win that business? Ultimately, your clients are ambassadors of your brand.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing isn’t going anywhere — in fact, it continues to represent a powerful tool for business owners, if utilized correctly. In fact, email marketing boasts a potential return on investment of up to 4400%, according to studies. Regardless of your target market, email remains a great way to reach your audience. In fact, according to Adestra, consumers often prefer email for communicating with the brands they’re connected with.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a content marketing or IT expert to curate and deploy awesome email marketing initiatives. With tools like Mailchimp, you are able to easily create visually appealing, functional email marketing templates, manage mailing lists and newsletters, automate campaigns, track results, collect leads, and send emails to hundreds (or even thousands) or recipients at once. Even better, the platform has a free option, and can easily integrate into your website with built-in plug-ins (no complicated coding required).
3. Instagram Advertising
Social Media is a force to be reckoned with, in today’s day and age. Instagram finds itself at the top of the pack, representing one of the most popular lifestyle apps utilized today, across generations (500 million people access the app daily). Although the platform offers various paid advertisement opportunities to businesses, it’s important to remember that the app itself is free to use and, algorithms aside, offers plenty of free exposure for brands.
Ultimately, your social media strategy will depend on your target clientele, but there are a few understandings that remain consistent across the board:
– Consistently post great content (keyword here is ‘great’ — consistency is key, but so is quality)
– Use the platform to give your audience a closer look at your brand, your team, current or upcoming projects, and your core values (show them something they won’t see anywhere else)
– Develop a dedicated content plan to ensure your posts follow a regular, and strategic cadence
– Use the platform to engage, on a personal level, with your audience (don’t just think of it as posting, think of it as cultivating a genuine community)
4. Blogging, Including LinkedIn Blogs
Thought leadership — known as the creation of content that positions a brand or executive as an industry authority through thought-provoking, high-level content — has become an integral marketing tactic for businesses both big and small.
Consider this: Consumption of thought leadership has grown from 50% to 58% over the past year and 55% of decision-makers say they use thought leadership as an important way to vet business. This should come as no surprise, really, as content continues to rule the marketing landscape. In a value-driven landscape, brands are expected to continuously provide value to their audience — fortunately, this can be achieved with thought leadership.
Brands can easily upload thought leadership blogs to their website, share to social media, and utilize free platforms like LinkedIn to boost exposure to their personal brand. In fact, unlike other platforms, LinkedIn’s algorithm often works in favour of business. In the past two years, updates to the algorithm have spurred a more than 50% increase in viral activity. More than two million posts, videos, and articles are now filtered, ranked, and displayed in the feeds of LinkedIn’s 645+ million members.
5. Google Business (Posts and Offers)
Google My Business was launched in 2014, and allows business owners more control over what shows up in the search results when someone searches a given business name. From a (free) marketing perspective, this provides brands with the opportunity to curate offers and posts geared towards their service or product, that show up every time a current or prospective client searches for their business.
In fact, Google even offers businesses a free Google My Business Marketing Kit, which helps you create personalized posts, printable posters, graphics, and stickers for your business.