At Colibri, we think that launching a website is just the beginning of a long journey. Once you go live with the website you want to bring in some traffic, to sell your product, idea…
This is why we decided to invite inspiring companies to come and share their wisdom with us about UX design, marketing, and sales tactics so that you can grow your website and business.
Our first guest is Creatopy (ex-Bannersnack). Since 2008, the Creatopy team has built a design platform that is trusted by more than 3M users.
This article is the beginning of our “Learn from” series, so stay tuned for awesome topics brought to you by awesome companies.
Bannersnack, the stage is yours!
There’s an old saying that you have to spend money to make money. But what should small businesses or startups do if they don’t afford to invest in advertising yet?
Luckily, there are a few (not so) secret techniques to get your brand out there, that mostly require time and a clear perspective while applying them, without breaking the bank.
Free Advertising Ideas to Make a Name for Your Brand
Be Active on Social Media
Almost everyone is on social media these days. My grandma is an avid user of Facebook, and so are other 2.5 billion active users.
To boost your social media campaigns’ effectiveness, you have to be present on more than one channel and invest time in the platforms that are popular among your target audience.
Try to post regularly, and make sure that your content does not come off as too promotional by mixing informative and promotional posts.
Use Google My Business
If your company has a physical store, try listing it on Google My Business to promote it and attract new customers. By doing so, customers can find basic information about your business, such as the address, schedule, phone number, and website URL.
Moreover, listing your company on Google My Business has a significant impact on SEO, helping you rank for branded Google searches and also on Google Maps.
Find out more about how you can optimize your listing and get free, local advertising here.
Besides Google My Business, there are a few other listing websites where you can advertise your business for free. Focus on finding the ones that fit your business best to increase the chances of being discovered online by your target audience.
Look Into User-Generated Content
Talking about achieving more with less (or almost zero) effort? User-generated content is one of the best ways to accomplish this.
Through user-generated content, you can showcase the products that make customers happy while convincing others to try them. The best part of this tactic is that your company is perceived as customer-oriented and trustworthy.
You can even claim a hashtag around your brand or a particular campaign for your clients can take over to promote your products.
GoPro is really killing it at hashtags.
Run Online Contests and Giveaways
Running frequent giveaways and contests is a great way to increase brand awareness.
Create giveaway and contest rules directed towards engagement, asking contestants to share or mention your brand, submit fan content, follow you on social media, or subscribe to your newsletter.
Check out this example from a contest started by Adobe on their Instagram.
Start a Company Blog
A blog can be one of the most efficient ways to advertise your products and services online, more so if the content is SEO-optimized. Keyword-based articles improve your rankings and bring more traffic to your website.
The main difference between a blog post that advertises a brand and a simple ad is that the first one allows you to inform and educate your target audience on a specific topic. Plus, readers can find the content helpful and share it on their social media platforms.
You can also try submitting guest posts to other websites to increase your domain authority while also showcasing expertise on topics that are related to your niche.
The best part of guest blogging is that you can repurpose your existing content, which is both simple and effective.
For example, the Colibri blog features a lot of useful information on WordPress.
Create Remarkable Visual Content
Whether we talk about blog articles or social media posts, creating engaging visuals to back up your text brings many benefits.
Featured images, banners, cover photos, and infographics keep your audience interested, and if they’re well-optimized, you also stand a chance to rank in image searches.
However, the real visual hub is on YouTube, where you can post free ads, how-to videos, which are among the most searched videos, and other content bits to keep your audience engaged and entertained.
Besides setting up a YouTube channel for your business, you can also consider posting on Pinterest, which seems to be thriving these days, to boost brand awareness.
Bannersnack creates how-to videos and also videos for every feature release.
Accept and Embrace Online Reviews
Online reviews are an essential part of your brand as they can help you build trust in the eyes of your potential customers.
Moreover, positive reviews are considered free advertising. All you have to do is encourage the customers to leave reviews on social media, Google, listing sites, or directly on your website.
Negative reviews should not be neglected. Respond to them, and this way, your customers know you’re open to suggestions and have the certainty you’ll help them in their future brand encounters.
Engage in Forum Conversations
People engage in conversations and share their insights on given topics on forums and platforms. It’s best to find forums related to your industry and be part of the conversation.
Reddit is one of the most popular networks for communities, and there’s a subreddit for almost everything. You can interact with other people on subreddits related to your industry, or answer questions on r/AMA (Ask Me Anything) to showcase your expertise on topics that are related to your niche.
Like r/AMA (Ask Me Anything) is Quora, where people ask questions and get valuable information on various subjects. Answering questions on Quora can also help you establish an authoritative figure in your industry, convincing people to trust your brand.
Send Email Newsletters
When users sign up for newsletters, they want to be in touch with brands and find out everything new related to them.
Whether people sign up on your mailing list after making a purchase or after reading your blog, email marketing is a highly effective marketing technique, proven to be even more powerful than social media.
There are plenty of stats to backup email marketing’s effectiveness, which you shouldn’t overlook.
Repurpose Your Content Into Webinars
You probably know a thing or two about your industry. Try turning your ideas into webinars, where you can be a host or a guest, and share your knowledge with your audience, and also establish trustworthiness.
There are many free webinar platforms you can choose from. For example, Zoom offers basic features, for free, for up to 40 minutes, as long as you have under 100 attendees.
Expand Your Reach Through Podcasts
Being a guest speaker on a podcast is like being a guest writer on a blog, which means that you can repurpose your content for those who want to stay informed, but choose to do it on the go.
Contact podcast hosts from your industry and pitch them interview ideas. Do your research thoroughly and convince them that you can bring value to their podcast. By doing so, your audience specter can increase even more.
Partner up With Other Businesses
Partnering with other businesses that complement yours can be a successful sale tactic for physical stores and online brands alike.
You can run co-marketing campaigns to advertise products and services offered by a brand that matches yours, and they can do the same. It’s free yet useful.
Tools That You Can Try for Free
So far, we talked about how you can advertise your brand just by investing time into it. Now let’s see some useful tools that can help you put those ideas into action.
For your giveaways based on contests, the Agorapulse Timeline Contest tool allows you to run free contests or quizzes directly from your Facebook timeline.
Invite your page visitors to like and comment on a post to enter the contest, then Agorapulse picks a random winner based on the rules you set.
AnswerThePublic is the tool that helps you find the most searched questions and queries based on a particular keyword. Just type in the word and get an idea of what to include in your articles to answer most people’s questions.
Creatopy is a free banner maker that helps you create professional ads for display and social media ads, and also for print (flyers, posters). Their template gallery features designs for all shapes and sizes, and you can also add elements of your brand to personalize your visuals fully.
Creatopy has a free version that allows you to create ten visuals, and if you’re looking for more features and elements, you can upgrade the plan.
HootSuite can help you organize your social media channels, manage multiple accounts, create and schedule posts, curate content, get valuable analytics, track topics of interests, and more.
HootSuite offers a limited free plan with three social media profiles, 30 scheduled messages, and one user.
Since we talked about the importance of email marketing, here is Mailchimp—the tool that’ll help you send emails to your audience of choice. Its automation feature sends welcome emails or abandoned cart emails, which surely make a good impression on your subscribers.
You can also set up campaigns and A/B testings and see what works best for your target audience and, ultimately, your brand.
Mailchimp offers a free plan for up to 2,000 contacts, making it a great choice if you’re looking for free advertising for small businesses that are just getting started.
You can also try some Mailchimp alternatives.
Trello is a great collaboration tool that can help you stay connected to your team and tasks. You can create boards for every project and add details to each of them to track everything, and you can assign tasks to various team members and monitor their progress.
This tool also allows integration with various apps such as Twitter, Dropbox, Google Docs, SurveyMonkey, and Evernote.
Jotform Quiz Maker
Jotform quiz maker allows you to build interactive and multiple-choice quizzes, which will come in handy for running online contests. You can either choose a readymade quiz template or create a custom one that fits the theme of your contest. You can also easily embed the forms on your website, or share them with a link and start collecting answers from your contestants.
PhotoADKing is a design-driven Graphics and Ad maker that’s entirely cloud-based. It is used to create impressive posters, banners, and attractive flyers for social media, marketing, or website within minutes. PhotoADKing provides thousands of pre-defined templates for many different categories. You will also find intro/outro makers and YouTube thumbnail maker in this tool which is hard to find in other online graphic design tools. PhotoADKing comes with free, standard, and pro plans. With a pro plan, you can download unlimited graphic designs and videos in high quality and also get priority support for your queries.
Since these marketing tactics we covered are pretty much free, requiring just your and your team’s time, you can try them out and see what works best for your business.
The truth is, applying more than one strategy naturally brings you more exposure and more traffic, resulting in a growth of both sales and brand loyalty.
Bannersnack, over and out!