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4 Ways You Can Market Yourself Without Spending A Dollar
When it comes to establishing your own business, simply selling your product/service isn't as easy as what you thought it would be, especially if what you are offering is somewhat complex. First and foremost, you have to build up that brand awareness—let your target audience be familiar with you, so that the awareness of knowing about what you offer can eventually lead to a sale.

This phase is very important and must often be nurtured. That is why businesses from tech, communications, education, healthcare, retail wholesale, banking, manufacturing, and energy spend up to 8-15% of their revenue just on marketing alone. This means they could be spending from tens of thousands to millions just to keep on marketing themselves to their target audience.

However, if you're just starting out on your own business, it may be a stretch for you to shell out this kind of money. Maybe the best choice for you is to live by your current means and maybe not even spend a dollar at all!

So for this week's blog post, we will be discussing how you can market yourself online and offline WITHOUT having to spend a single cent from your own pocket with these tips below!
1. Be visible on social media
We are all about maximizing our current resources, especially if you are on a budget and you want to focus more on the production and distribution, but you do have one thing that is free and it is right at your fingertips—social media. In this digital age, it would almost be a crime if you are not on social media. With the way how it can easily connect us to other people other than our friends, such as our target audience, how could we not maximize the various social media platforms?

While you can create a Twitter and Snapchat account for multiple posts a day, having a Facebook and Instagram page are two of the most important social media platforms to interject because 

1.) Your target market can easily give you free marketing,
2.) You can easily sell your products/services with its current User Experience(UX) options that are business-friendly, and
3.) Marketing yourself in those two platforms is really easy just as long as you: 

  • Remain consistent with your posting schedule
  •  You continue to interact with your target audience
  •  Always publish interesting posts
  •  Remain relatable
  •  Always find new connections
Aside from Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is also a great place to make professional connections. Here, you can find potential partners in business in the near future. In here, you can gain more knowledge about competitors in your area. LinkedIn is a good social media platform strictly for business only with the passion to connect with other business entities—so start building connections now.
2. Create a blog
I have always been vocal about how keeping a blog can help you connect with your audience more. There are just some topics that cannot be communicated and visually-portrayed well enough through a simple Facebook status or an Instagram post with a specific character limit.

With your own blog, you can customize your fonts to highlight important ideas, insert necessary links, related videos, and visual imagery to help emphasize the message that you want to relay. Aside from that, those who will see your blog post will not only be limited to your current audience, but you can easily share a link to it on your social media platforms, email marketing campaign, and can promote to appear on Google through the application of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by using significant keywords that can make it easier for users to find similar content to what you are posting. That is why local searches would lead 50% of mobile users would visit stores within one day through the help of SEO.

While some entrepreneurs worry that their efforts to generate their SEO better may be all for nothing, the statistics would say otherwise. In fact, organic SEO perform 5.66% better than paid search ads. With enough strategy and consistency, the one-up that you have against artificial promotion is that you didn't have to whip out your wallet for yours.
3. Join an online community and interact with the members
Right before social media platforms took everyone by storm, there were forums where like-minded people can discuss certain topics. It was also a place wherein your most curious questions can be answered without any certain prejudice—everyone was just out there to help each other out. With social media connecting us now more than ever, online communities are more widespread. Online forums are still there but they have taken an entirely different form which are more user-friendly even to those who are just starting to learn how to use the Internet.

For starters, Reddit is a great platform for an online community wherein specific topics of your preference are discussed in a forum thread. In there, you can ask questions, answer questions, raise a concern, as well as promote your products and services freely.

The same goes for LinkedIn and Facebook, there are groups that you can join to discuss business, tech, agriculture, real estate, and entrepreneurship. Even more famous entrepreneurial figures create their own groups so they can easily huddle and notify their audience regarding a new blog post, new video, a book about to be published, or a new podcast to be uploaded.

Online communities are the go-to places to discuss problems you may encounter along the way as you venture into the world of entrepreneurship. You are bound to find the answers to your questions. It's also important that you just don't post on the groups for the sake of promoting your business, because like an actual community—it's all about contribution. So it's important that you build a rapport and actively contribute to the community without having to mention your business every single time.

Q: "So when can I promote?" 
A: You have to find the balance wherein you are contributing to the online community as well as actively and passively promoting your business when the context is appropriate for it.

Oh, and of course, you can join these online communities for FREE! That's the beauty of everything I have listed here, how you don't have to spend a dollar just to promote yourself.
4.Create your own elevator pitch
When you're an entrepreneur, having self-confidence is very important in order to assert yourself and promote your business at the same time. It's quite natural for entrepreneurs to promote their businesses in a slick manner without you even noticing it, somehow it just rolls off their tongues so flawlessly. The secret to that is they have constructed and perfected their elevator pitch.

So what is an elevator pitch?

Just like riding an elevator, it lasts within seconds. Spend a few minutes more and the person you are talking to may start to become bored. A good elevator pitch should have the following characteristics: 

  • A clear goal
  •  A brief and concise description of what you do and how it helps other people and business entities
  • A clear unique selling proposition (USP)
  •  Lasts 20-30 seconds
If you know your company like the back of your hand, there shouldn't be any problem for you to create your own elevator pitch, one you can whip out anytime during a networking event, during a dinner party, when you're dealing with clients or talking to a potential business partner. Perhaps on the next blog we can discuss how we can construct the perfect elevator pitch for you? Sounds like a plan!
CONCLUSION
Lack of funds shouldn't discourage you from marketing yourself, no matter how limited your resources are, you can always maximize it for your own benefit. With enough well-planned strategy and creativity, you should be well on your way to building that brand awareness for better sales!

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