Elaine's Advice Column Marketing Tips Social Media Tips

10 Ways To Promote Your Business For Little Or No Cost


I’ve been marketing my own business for the past two years. During this time I’ve racked up 100K followers, 10K email subscribers and got media sites to notice me. I’m here to share with you how I’ve managed to accomplish that in such a short period of time.

I spoke at the “Promotion 101: Tips and Tricks for Marketing Your Small Business” event on August 25 where I talked about, you guessed it, the best promotional ideas for businesses… especially if you’re on a shoestring budget!

For those who couldn’t make it in person, I promised to write a blog post with my answers, so here it is!

Below are the questions that the host asked the promotion panel and my answers to them. I also listed out 10 Awesome Small Business Marketing Strategies And Ideas that is located below my answers at the very end of the post as a summary of what I talked about.

Related posts;

10 Ways To Promote Your Business With Little Or No Cost LadyBossBlogger.com

Effective Marketing Strategies To Promote Your Business

With the internet, there are unlimited ways to get yourself out there, but with limited time and money, you need to make sure to focus your time and energy on the best ways. For each person this looks different, so pick and choose the points you like!

Introduce yourself and tell us one secret to marketing.

I’m Elaine Rau, founder of LadyBossBlogger, a blog for current and wannabe female entrepreneurs to get the resources they need to start, grow and scale their own online businesses and blogs.

The secret to effective marketing lies in consistent and daily action taken versus big action taken inconsistently. Click To Tweet

Every single algorithm out there from Google to Instagram to YouTube and everything else in between favors consistency and likes to promote new content that is popular.

My blog just turned 2 years old, yet most people think I have been in business for much longer because of all the content I have produced. For two years straight, I didn’t fail to publish a new blog post every single day at 6PM CST to my blog, that is 730 days of consistent action… and some days I published even more than one post!

Challenge yourself to be consistent, it’s going to be REALLY HARD, but super worth it.

Pin the image below if you agree!

The secret to effective marketing lies in consistent and daily action taken versus big action taken inconsistently. Elaine Rau founder of LadyBossBlogger.com

What advice can you give someone who is just starting out?

Before you know HOW you’re going to market to someone, you must know WHO you’re marketing to. Everyone always says they “need more clients”, but if you don’t know who your ideal clients are, you need to take a step back and learn about them first, otherwise any marketing efforts you take will be pointless.

What does your target persona need specifically and how can you help? Notice how I said PERSONA instead of AUDIENCE. If you narrow it down to one sample person in your mind who has feelings, thoughts and a personality, it will be much easier to market to them than to a vague “audience” you created in your mind.

Find people's pain points then swoop in to solve their problems with your solutions! Click To Tweet

There are two types of Marketing;

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Promotional marketing

BRAND AWARENESS

First you need to get your brand out there so that people are AWARE that your brand exists. Create business social media accounts on all platforms that your target peeps use, then sign up for a social media scheduler that not only helps you auto-post but also RECYCLES your content for you! I use SmarterQueue for this.

Recycling your content is very important, because instead of filling your queue all over again, SmarterQueue reuses your content after either a 30, 60 or 90 day schedule depending how you set it up. I’ve been hands off on social media for more than 6 months because I set everything up to auto post and recycle itself.

It’s an INCREDIBLE time saver and will make you look like you’re everywhere all the time, when in actuality you’ve just been smart about your time and invested in software to help you as you focus on other aspects of your business.

If you don’t have enough content to fill up your queue for 90 days, there is a search feature that will help you find relevant content related to your niche that you can share. This will help you get noticed by the top content producers whose content you’ll be sharing – use this to start building relationships with top bloggers in your niche.

To save even more time on social media posts, you can get pre-made graphics from Creative Market instead of having to make everything yourself and schedule out 365 days worth of your content in literally 5-10 minutes.

The best tools to invest in are the vehicles that will help you get to where you want to go faster.Click To Tweet

For example, if you don’t have a logo yet and don’t have the funds to hire a professional, but still want some creative control and want to end up with an incredible logo, use DesignEvo.

For additional help read: How To Create A Logo For Your Brand In 5 Minutes (No Graphic Skills Needed).

How-To-Create-A-Logo-For-Your-Brand-In-5-Minutes-No-Graphic-Skills-Needed-written-by-Elaine-Rau-founder-of-LadyBossBlogger.com-1

PROMOTIONAL MARKETING

Once you have your brand awareness systems in place (social media automation), it’s time to focus on creating, developing your product or service. The systems you set in place are already working hard to create an audience for you so once you’re ready to launch your products/services, you’ll have a pool of people waiting for it!

Remember, you never want to just be promotional or start out in this manner, especially if no one knows you. You need to build trust first!

This is why having a blog is so important, you can create content that is promotional without it coming across that way because you are also educating them on a topic they’re inquiring about. That is the definition of what CONTENT MARKETING is. Additional reading: How Strategic Content Converts To Email Subscriptions And Sales.

  • If you have a product, you can write about it in comparison to other products that it may relate to and link to your affiliate or other shopping link. If you don’t have a personal store yet, build one easily on Shopify.
  • If you have a service, you can write informative pieces on how to solve certain problems then reference your services in the middle and end of your blog posts as a way to generate leads. Then create courses using Teachable as your platform.

If you can provide people with something valuable that is also transformative, such as a blog post that changes their way of thinking on a certain topic, oftentimes they will be the ones to reach out to you and inquire about your services.

Off the blog or website, the best thing you can do to promote yourself is to focus on building RELATIONSHIPS. And the best way to do this is by creating a Facebook or LinkedIn Group where you can facilitate conversations that showcase your expertise.

When creating your group, make sure to set the ground rules so people know what to expect. For example, I run the Facebook Group called Female Entrepreneur + Blogging Resources.

I have a pinned post where I ask everyone to please introduce themselves then ask a question to start networking – it can be either personal or business, but people usually prefer to ask business related questions, which I love to answer!

This immediately creates engagement and I get to help people right off the bat with their questions while learning what questions they may have! Our newest member, Daniella Bella asked a question right away, she said;

ladybossblogger facebook group for female entrepreneurs and bloggers

Then I took the time to respond in full to her question.

ladybossblogger facebook group for female entrepreneurs and bloggers (1)

Notice how I’m not selling anything or promoting myself per se, however I DID include my affiliate link in there so if she wanted to sign up I would get a tiny cut.

But mostly the purpose of having a facebook group is to become the go-to person that people feel comfortable asking questions to so that you can showcase your expertise so people can start to trust you.

Here is another example from today that I literally just responded to;

ladybossblogger facebook group for female entrepreneurs and bloggers (2)

And then the conversation continued…

ladybossblogger facebook group for female entrepreneurs and bloggers (3)

Now, how did people find out about my Facebook Group?

I PUT IT IN MY EMAIL SIGNATURE!

A lot of people forget that their email signature plays a vital role in their marketing strategy.

I recently added a line to my email signature that says “Chat with bloggers in my Facebook Group” and all of a sudden I started getting new requests to join my group every day with zero effort or additional time on my end!

When you send someone an email with your offer or simply an email to introduce yourself, you want to make sure your email signature acts as your hype man.

It should include;

  1. Your name – with a link to your personal website or social media channel
  2. Your photo – so people can start to get used to you
  3. Your social media – with icons linked to all your social media outlets
  4. Your accolades – with a link to one of your biggest or proudest achievements
  5. A freebie – so people can join your list if they are interested in your offer
  6. Your website – so people know where to find you

It’s also very important to put your freebie in your signature because not every one you email is your subscriber, but if they like your freebie and sign up, they probably are your target audience. Once they are in your list, you can market more of your content to them specifically.

This is what my email signature currently looks like;

email signature elaine rau

(You can grab my 22 page freebie by clicking on the image above or clicking here).

Can you offer one way that we can make a substantial difference using the platform of your expertise?

I like Instagram and have been able to brand my personal brand @elainerau and professional brand @ladybossblogger on there, however, email is my platform of preference because I don’t get to own my contacts on Instagram.

Every single person in business has an email, however not everyone has social media, therefore this is the most important channel to focus your marketing efforts on. It’s also the most checked platform. This is what I mean by that;

I asked the audience to raise their hands if they checked their email account every day. Every single person in the room raised their hands.

You want to be where your audience is, and everyone is on email, so prioritize it and it will work wonders for you.

I personally use ConvertKit because I have found that it’s the easiest and cheapest method for people who are making money with their email lists. 

You can start off using MailChimp but once you hit 1000 subscribers and have to start paying for it anyways, switch over to ConvertKit because it stores incredibly useful data on your subscribers such as what they purchased, how much they have spent with you, plus everything they clicked on and more all in one place.

Additionally, email should be on the top of your marketing priorities because everything revolves around it, or at least it should. It’s the base of your strategy for EVERYTHING.

  • When you go LIVE on social media, in order to retain the people watching (since not all of them will be acquainted with you), make sure to include a link to get into your email list so that your time is well spent. Make sure to have an enticing freebie because people won’t sign up if they have nothing to gain.
  • When you write a blog post, one of your main goals should be trying to get people to sign up for your email list by offering additional incentives, resources or bonuses.

Sign up below to learn the 3 Things Every Single Blog Post Needs In Order To Succeed (wink wink).

  • When you send an email, you want people to sign up for your email list which is why your freebie should be in your signature! This helps build your personal brand because you’re letting your email do the hard work of hyping you up for you.
  • When you post a photo on social media, include a link to sign up for your email list along with it (as long as it’s relevant). But more importantly, make sure to have the link to the landing page to your freebie in your bio.

I like to say that your TRUE FOLLOWERS are in your email list because those are the people who actually want to stay in contact with you. They took the time to sign up and read your emails, that is HUGE. That means they value the content you produce and what you have to say and more than likely also like you!

This is the process of the KNOW, LIKE and TRUST factor.

  • KNOW – Brand awareness through social media engagement and outreach
  • LIKE – Sign up to stay engaged with YOU
  • TRUST – Because of your quality content, they trust your opinions and thoughts

Once you get to this point, making money is easy!

READ: How To Make Money Blogging: The Most Comprehensive List Online.

How-To-Make-Money-Blogging

When people trust you and you deliver amazing content all the time, it literally doesn’t even matter what you sell anymore, people want to buy it because of YOU.

I’m coming out with a blogging course on “How To Start A Blog Built To Make Money” that I’m currently working on because so many people have asked me the same questions that I knew it was time to compile it all together in a massive college level course.

One of my long time readers emailed me and asked me when it was coming out because she wanted to buy it for a blogging group she was a part of so they could all learn how to “do it the right way”. HEHE 🙂

That was very flattering, but it was also a sign of my hard work over the years to earn her trust in this way!

Everyone is all about “LIVE” videos, how frequently should someone stream live videos?

It’s less about frequency and more about consistency. I would recommend going live once a week, but have a plan before you do so.

  • What do you want to get out of going live?
  • Are you driving brand awareness?
  • Getting subscribers?
  • Trying to make sales?
  • Or simply want to practice getting more comfortable in front of the camera?

Video has always been something that has stumped me. No matter how hard I tried, it was really hard for me to record myself. So what I did instead was reach out to my audience and ask if anyone would join me for an instagram live interview series, (this way I couldn’t back out of it and forced myself out of my comfort zone). The response I got was overwhelming and I was booked out for an entire month after sending out just one email.

Needless to say, I got over my fear of video from all that practice and now I’m ready to tackle some strategies!

How you start and end a live stream are very important.

You must set the audience up for what you’ll be doing and not drag it on too much for those eager to start. When you close make sure to mention your downloadable freebie and where to get it so they have even more resources to reference, or you state how they can stay in contact with you!

In the middle of your live stream, it’s important to give call to actions as well. For example, you can ask people to comment on something you said or to comment a specific word (such as “yes”) if they resonate with what you’re saying. You want to engage the audience and have them engage back with you.

If your live stream is attracting a lot of attention and you’re able to hold that attention, this triggers the algorithm in a good way and tells it that people are interested, therefore your stream will be promoted to more people!

Are there any “No-No’s” for streaming live on social media?

  1. Don’t wait for the 1-3 stragglers who might join in the next few minutes, jump right into your content right after your introductions. The ones who were there on time are the ones you’re interested in. Just make sure to have a replay for others.
  2. Don’t overdo making a sales pitch. If you have something you want to offer, say it, but don’t drag on about it. People will either accept it, tune out or exit your live stream.

When using social media to capture data, what are some tips to help with this?

Use social media schedulers such as;

  • Tailwind to track your Pinterest stats
  • SmarterQueue to track your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook stats
  • Planoly for your Instagram stats

It’s also extremely important to track your email stats with ConvertKit so you can see what campaigns are the most effective. To track your gmail account without an email service provider, you can download the free chrome extension called MailTrack.

What’s the best way to approach a journalist you don’t know to write about you?

There is a big difference between Marketing and Public Relations. This is a PR question.

  • Marketing generally revolves around promotional content and results in sales or brand awareness.
  • Public Relations is focused on reputation management through generating positive media coverage.

Therefore start with marketing to get yourself out there, then graduate to public relations once you’re established and actually have a brand, business and reputation to uphold.

Public Relations is also what the news or media companies find interesting, so if you have an interesting story make sure to share it on your website to potentially get the story picked up by a browsing journalist if you’re not actively pitching to get your story known.

I have my story on my front page which has been picked up by media outlets – check out my collaborations page where I have listed some recent companies and news sites that have mentioned me!

collaborations with elaine rau founder of ladybossblogger

If you’re pitching your story, it’s extremely important to know the journalist you’re pitching.

Research the journalist you want to pitch.

  • What kind of content interests them?
  • What do they like to write about?
  • Do you see a common trend in the stories they produce?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind;

  1. You must deliver on your subject line. Journalists get loads of pitches per day so you want to make sure that yours stands out.
  2. Keep it short and to the point. I wouldn’t go longer than 3 paragraphs. Know that if they skim your text, which 99% of the case they will, make sure to highlight the main points you want them to catch.
  3. Tell them what you want. Don’t be vague, if you don’t ask for what you’re looking for, you’ll probably not hear back. The creative work and pitching your desired piece is up to you, all the journalist does is accept it or reject it. Once they accept it then the conversation can start, but they have to agree first.

These three tips are what have worked for me in the past, but also as an online publication myself, I get hundreds of pitches a day as well and those three points are what I personally prefer to see as well.

How do you handle a call with them once you get them interested in listening to your story?

I wouldn’t suggest calling a journalist. They usually keep everything organized via folders in their busy emails, a call would be distracting unless the journalist specifies that is what they prefer. If not, stick to email.

10 Ways To Promote Your Business When You Have No Money

I am going to summarize what I talked about on the “Blog Promotion Panel” into top 10 points. But I would highly recommend reading the article if you just skipped down to the end for the top tips. If you don’t have time now, PIN THIS POST so you can read it in full later.

10 Ways To Promote Your Business When You Have No Money

Of course you’re going to have to spend a little money, but if you’re wise with your minimal investments, they will make you money.

1. Know who you’re targeting

Without a clear audience in mind, all your marketing efforts will be futile.

2. Be consistent with your content and delivery

Post daily branded images on social media.

3. Set up automations ASAP

Do the work once then let the schedulers do the rest.

4. Invest in tools that save you time

SmarterQueue, Tailwind and Planoly are all such tools.

5. Build trust, expertise and credibility using Facebook Groups

You can use LinkedIn Groups too, just make sure you’re building relationships around community. Join my group for Female Entrepreneurs + Bloggers here.

6. Your email signature should be your hype man

Your signature should direct people to your community group, email list, accolades, and social media outlets.

7. Write out your story for potential media coverage

To get picked up by the media you need a good story, make sure to craft one and have it ready!

8. Start your email list as soon as you start marketing

Everyone in business has an email and checks it every day, therefore, invest time in growing your list.

9. Everything revolves around your email list

Your email is your strategy and biggest money maker, only your truest followers become your subscribers.

10. Live stream with a purpose

Don’t do anything with a strategy and desired outcome.

10 Ways To Promote Your Business When You Have No Money by Elaine Rau founder of LadyBossBlogger

Related posts;

If you loved this post, please PIN the images you liked!

Email me at ladybossblogger@gmail.com if you have any additional questions for me.

Love,

<3 Elaine Rau 

*Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.

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Elaine Rau

Founder and CEO at LadyBossBlogger
Former National Wedding Sales Manager, Elaine Rau lost her brother-in-law, her job, and her home all in one week. Stuck in a developing country with no job opportunities, she had to learn how to make an income online... ASAP. So she spent her last bit of savings, $12.18 to be exact, and invested in a blog domain: LadyBossBlogger.com. Since its conception, LadyBossBlogger has garnered a massive audience of 150K in under 2 years. It's a platform that helps female entrepreneurs learn how to start, grow and scale their own online businesses and blogs. Email ladybossblogger@gmail.com to request the resources you need!

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