How do I do marketing with zero budget?

Originally answered on Quora

I love free marketing

Small businesses and people doing personal projects don’t often have a large marketing budget. Or any budget.

There’s still plenty of ways you can market yourself and your business without actually having a marketing budget.

To do this you need to leverage free people and tools to promote yourself and spread the word. Ultimately you want to reach enough people — and convince them to convert and buy.

Leverage Free Platforms

Free platforms — such as the site you’re currently on — mean that you can reach customers, demonstrate your experience, convince them to buy and lead them to the purchase.

The main one you probably have at least one account on is social media.

Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to promote your business. Most social platforms are free but offer paid advertising as part of their package. Unlike paying for advertising — if you want to reach people you’ll have to build those relationships.

This means you need to engage. You want to be talking to other influencers and businesses in your niche, responding with niche leaders as well as talking to your potential customers.

Now the methods you do this can vary based on the platform. I personally focus on Twitter and Instagram to market myself although you may already have established a presence on a site like Facebook.

Personally, I don’t use Facebook that much — organic reach is limited and I find I can build more of a portfolio (and an audience) on Twitter and Instagram where people can scroll back through my feed and see I know what I’m talking about.

So let’s engage

You probably have all the basics down for most social platforms — If you need any help there are normally long-form guides on how to market on mostly every social platform.

You should already be taking the time to make creative and amazing content. I use Pixabay (or my photographer) for images and Canva for graphics. I manage my photographer’s Instagram account so it goes towards the bill. (I’ll talk more about connections later).

Engaging is the best way to spread the word. Instead of just posting content) — you can be liking, commenting and sharing the content of others.

  • Doing this for high-level content that your audience will like will demonstrate you as a leader and a voice because you know what matters to them.
  • Doing this for people your own level can be a way of building influencer relationships and connections which are mutually beneficial.
  • Doing this for people below (such as giving them free advice) can be a way of getting them to trust you and pay you for more

Engaging is one of the best ways to grow without a budget because if you want to get noticed without the ads — you’re going to need to join the community to get noticed — there’s no spamming your way in

Let’s talk tools

I’m not going to list all the free tools here but I’ve linked a few guides that do. Instead, I’ll list (not link Quora moderation can be funny sometimes) all the free tools that I use with my marketing:

Graphics:

  • Canva
  • Pixabay / Pexels
  • Snapseed

Scheduling

  • Tweetdeck
  • Later
  • Buffer
  • HubSpot free CRM (occasionally)
  • Social Jukebox

Analytics

  • Audisense
  • Sumall
  • commun. it
  • Google Analytics / Search Console

Others

  • Grammarly
  • Anchor (podcasting)
  • Ubbersuggest
  • Trello

16 Free Social Media Management Tools That Will Save Time and Kick Ass

93 Free Twitter Tools & Apps That Do Pretty Much Everything

41 of the Best Free Marketing Tools for Smart Marketers | Buffer Blog

Let’s talk people

When marketing for free your most important assets are your relationships and connections. Look around you at the skills you can source from family, friends other employees. The more you can do in house the less you need to outsource.

For example, I manage the Instagram account for a photographer which means I can have free pictures. As a result, my services are discounted. Some of my friends are great at managing things, solving problems etc… I’ll ask them for ideas even if it’s not their subject matter.

Using the people around you is the most important way of marketing for free. Building those connections and pulling in all the resources you can still mean you can thrive online without a marketing budget.

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Jake Symons

Jake Symons

Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to help small businesses thrive on digital.