Most entrepreneurs, paid experts, or consultants don’t have a lot of cash to burn on marketing. For those whose goal is to monetize their expertise, an online marketing strategy and self-promotion is a must! As a personal brand strategist and online marketing consultant, there are various free or minimal-cost ways to market and promote your company and/or services.
Here are some free or low cost marketing tactics you can do today to quickly start building reputation, authority, as well as generate leads for your services.
- Search Engine Optimize your website. It’s worth the investment to hire someone to help you optimize your website for Google searches. You don’t need to spend a fortune. You can find top people on fiverr.com or upwork.com. Don’t forget clients may exist in your own backyard, so SEO your website for local search rankings, as well!
- SEO blog posts for keywords. Make sure to SEO blog posts for key search words which help build your Google search rankings. WordPress plugins, such as Yoast and All In One SEO Pack Pro) makes it simple to do.
- Be consistent with content publishing schedule. It doesn’t matter how much you publish, just try to be consistent in your content schedule. Stick to what works best for you – daily, bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly. Just be consistent and SEO content!
- Crowd source for writers. Have great ideas for content? If you have the ideas, but not the time, don’t fall into the trap of writing everything yourself. Even NY Times Bestsellers have collaborators and editors. Hire affordable and professional writers/editors for content (i.e. blog posts, copy, social media posts, and eBooks) on sites like crowdcontent.com and fiverr.com.
- Start your own digital newspaper. Curate content that’s aligns with your customers’ interests and automatically share that content on social media, and own your own website. For example, I have The Personal Brand Buzz.
- Interest breeds authenticity. All your competitors are looking for customers in the same places. Stand out from your competition. Find out what your clients and prospects like to do for fun or social causes. For example, maybe they like to surf. Write a blog post connecting that interest with what you do. Write about some of your own personal interests. You never know when something you have an authentic passion for will also build a connection with a prospect.
- Leverage personal connections. Identify 10–15 people on your LinkedIn account who can recommend, refer, or hire your services. See if you can determine who they might know that can be a good fit for your services. Be specific on who you are looking to connect to, and most importantly ask them “How can I help build your success?” Reap the benefits by paying the favor forward.
- Build an email list. People love free stuff! Write a book, white paper, or tip sheets. Create a pop-up or lead page on a website and offer a free download after people enter their email. Use Evercontact.com app to capture contact info in emails.
- Stay in touch. Use Mailchimp.com and send an email to your list at least once a month with a new blog post, link to a relevant study or article, or tools that your think you people find helpful in their day-to-day work or personal life.
- Join and attend Meetup.com. Meetup groups are a great way to meet and connect with prospective clients as well as fellow peers. And, if there is not one near you, create your own Meetup.com group.
- Offer pro bono services. Is there a non-profit or charity organization whose members are ideal clients for you? For example, I do pro bono marketing for my daughter’s PTA fundraiser, which has a number of parents who are consultants and entrepreneurs.
- Attending an industry or networking event. Connect with the speakers and panelists at the sessions. They tend to be industry influencers and have extensive personal and professional connections. Make sure to follow-up by connecting on social media, or see if you can meet for coffee.
- Get free PR. Find opportunities to serve as an expert source for media by signing up for FREE at haro.com or bottlesource.com. One client who did this was successfully featured in press such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.
- Who doesn’t like free publicity? Interview a client, a follower, or influencer for your blog or a video and share on social media. Make sure to include their handle in the social media post. Helping them look good will only have positive effects for your reputation.
- Think like a spy! Use Spyauthority.com or Klout.com to find top influencers by topic. Follow to see what they write about. Write comments on their blog as a way to build relationships and strengthen your influence.
- Express yourself. Read an interesting blog, article, or watched a compelling news segment? Write a comment about what you liked or counter point. Add to the conversation. A friend made poignant commentary on a CNN blog post and ended up later being featured in a CNN segment story.
- Speak up! Speaking is a great way to build your reputation as a paid expert, as well as generating word-of-mouth marketing leads for your services.
- Where to speak? Connect with planners for events, chapters, or local professional organizations to see if there are opportunities for you to serve as a panelist, a presenter for a live event, or webinar guest. Also, check out expertfile.com and speakermatch.com where you may find some great opportunities.
- Do more than speak. Stand out from your competitors by adding extra value as a speaker. Offer to promote their event on your own social media, write a blog post or vlog for their website, or do a free webinar to help them promote their event. Added value for event organizers enhances your repeat opportunities.
- Don’t let people go away empty handed. Most adults learn visually, so offer a free tip sheet or link to your slide presentation via slideshare.com. Share your session with the event #hashtag or twitter account with a link to a free download of additional content material. Organizers and attendees LOVE THIS!
- Offer a free webinar. A great way to showcase your expertise, promote your brand, build social proof, and generate leads.
- LinkedIn is a Must! A LinkedIn account is a must to build your authority and reputation as an expert. Publish your blog posts on LinkedIn, join relevant groups for target markets, and offer advice or comments for group questions, or ask questions for fostering further discussions
- Manage your social media. Social media can be a time sucker. Post 5 times a day on social media. Plan out and schedule your content using tools like Buffer.com or klout.com to manage, as well as track analytics.
- Don’t forget to share your blog post. For each blog post create 5 different tweets about your blog post to go out at various times within a 24 hour span, as well as post to other social media accounts..
- What’s hot today? Each day look at what is trending on twitter. Join in the conversation by retweeting, adding a comment, or creating at tweet. Find ways to connect the topic discussion back to your brand.
- Make a video on your smartphone. People love video. Create a 90 second “How To” video using your smart phone and share on social media. Need a video editor? Check out upwork.com or thumbtack.com.
- Build followers:Refollow.com is a great tool to help you build your Twitter audience. You want to try and keep your Twitter follower and following to a 1:1 ratio. Clean house periodically and unfollow those who don’t follow to keep your Twitter feed fresh.
Questions: What marketing tactics have you tried that have generated good results? What is the one thing you struggle with the most when marketing your expertise and personal brand? Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.
About Andria Younger
Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.