Once you have pinpointed your audience and understand their motivation, wants and needs, defined content and developed a media strategy then you are ready to use that information to get not only free but effective exposure for your business and your products.
1. Share your knowledge-Offer online free workshops and classes.
While this option may seem challenging, it doesn’t have to be nor does it have to be a big or elaborate production. Invite people for a class or workshop incorporating beneficial information with the services or products you sell. For example, if you are an auto shop offer a class in car maintenance or handling emergency road situations. Or if you have a thrift or hobby shop use classes as a way to incorporate your product as well as offering new and fun information to your audience. Tax preparers or accountants can offer seminars on tax tips or how to avoid an audit.
Offer classes or workshops that let customers incorporate your product, educate your target audience and/or learn how to use your services.
For inventive thinkers, the possibilities are endless.
2. Sponsor, donate or volunteer for a charitable event that you are passionate about. If there is not an event that you feel passionate about —create one.
There are numerous benefits both for you, your business, and your community in supporting a good cause that you are passionate about and dovetails with your company brand. Recently, with the Covid19 pandemic, companies like Patagonia, Outdoor Reseach and others have supported the healthcare essential workers by manufacturing masks and donating them. This action provides networking and marketing opportunities while also increasing your business’s presence in the community. If you want you can also encourage employees to participate, you will see workplace morale improve as each person feels as though they are making a difference in your community and people will remember your organization for giving back to the community.
3. Offer advice or tips.
Write about how your services or products can help everyday life and post them on your website and on social media. Become the expert your audience is looking for when they have a question pertaining to your products and/or services.
Add a blog to your website. Keep blog posts short and include visuals (either photos or videos) when applicable. Provide valuable content for your target audience, write consistently and provide the opportunity for your audience to add comments. Do this only if you have the manpower to monitor those comments and address them if necessary. Due to spam and perhaps inappropriate comments, be sure to enable your sites filtering devices so that you see the comment first and have the ability to post it if helpful or delete if not.
Repurpose blog posts by editing them for the use in social media outlets. With Facebook and Twitter, you can link to the blog post on your site. If Pinterest works for you that is another resource to add a company page and link the Pinterest pin to your site. Using the photos, Instagram is another option.
4. Periodically update your website.
It is a great business practice to keep your website fresh and updated. This is a good reason to incorporate blogging because it does keep your website fresh with new information and you can add your ideas, photos, videos, product updates, event notices, and company news.
5. Offer current loyal customers incentives and rewards.
I was at a seminar recently where a retail establishment I use and have been a loyal customer for years offered a 20% off on a one time purchase specifically for new customers. I understand the logic wanting new customers but it is a good idea to make offers also available to your ongoing, loyal customers. Remember that old saying “ a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.”
Consider giving your VIP customers access to a private membership page on your website that gives them even further advice or suggestions or form a users group. Ask for their feedback.
6. Speak at applicable events.
Where does your target audience meet either online or in a physical location? Does your target audience attend events that dovetail nicely with the product and services that you offer? Use this opportunity to establish your organization as the expert offering valuable advice and educating the audience. Leave the sales pitch and product demonstrations for another time unless that is what your audience came to hear.
7. Plan and implement a public relations program.
Develop a PR strategy that serves as a foundation for your PR activities. Get to know the editor and publisher of the local newspapers. Explore the online versions of those media outlets for “free” event listing areas. In many cases, you can post your events to the sites yourself. Target your news releases by providing newsworthy events or information that are important to your community.
Even with all the online resources, personal relationships are still key and need to be built continuously. In the changing media environment, the best way to build a relationship is through relevant content and the submission of interesting, educational content.
8. Social media offers a cost cost-effective way of interacting with current and potential customers and promoting your brand.
There are many ways to use social media and online resources to provide“free” exposure.
Combining an appealing, user friendly website, a social media presence and great content develops your brand positively in your customers’ minds.
Consider embedding your Twitter or Facebook feed on your website for more exposure to your postings. Use Twitter and Facebook to link back to your business website, promote your blog, educate, mention products or promotions and increase traffic to your site.
9. Host an educational webinar.
Hosting webinar establishes credibility and gives people the opportunity to feel like they personally know you and your company. And since people do business with people they know and trust—it can be a plus for your business. Once you’ve created your webinar, you can repurpose the material as a series of You Tube videos and post to other social media outlets.
The advantages of creating a webinar includes offering a cost-effective way of communicating to your target audience. – either live or on demand – quickly and efficiently. A webinar can be viewed on a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. User-friendly for participants: no travel or accommodation costs involved, and webinars can be searched and referred to for specific content afterwards.
10. Offer free samples.
If your business can make samples of your product for consumers to try, this is helpful “free” exposure. Two rules apply—be sure your samples are well made since people will assume that the samples reflect your best work and make sure they align with the work you want to do. For example, if you want to attract more branding work it would make sense to publish an ebook on branding. It wouldn’t make sense to release a photo retouching kit. With Covid19, food product sampling has become a thing of the past but offering sample or sample packs allows customers to buy and try without offering in store sampling.
Free exposure is a powerful way to boost your business. And, there are many interesting and fun ways to get your business organization and potential and existing customers to learn from it.