The recent outbreak of the corona-virus has caught us all off guard. Many businesses find it difficult to keep clients or close new deals, let alone invest in marketing budgets. In fact, many companies have  cut their marketing budgets already.


But no matter how much the situation is tough, we have to find a way to be tactical.


Luckily for us, internet has provided us with many opportunities to market our services and products for free.


Of course, nothing is completely free. We devote our time and resources. But if we divide it smart, we could spare a lot and create some breathing space during the crisis.


We've compiled a list of 13 ideas for free small-business marketing for you to try out.

1.  Join Facebook groups and take part in discussions

a smartphone screen showing facebook page
Photo by Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash


Our team rarely uses Facebook, but when it does, it's to see what's new in groups. Groups can be a great resource for meeting new people and promoting your business for free.


However, don't forget one important thing.Promoting without giving any value is called SPAM.


Devote time to share personal experience, help others out, and then   look for a chance to offer something. A ratio between promotion and helpful actions should be 80–20, in favour of helpful advice.


Here's a list of fine groups to join:


Small Business/Entrepreneurship

eCommerce Growth Hacks | Facebook Ads, Creatives, Email & More | by Sugatan

eCom Dropshipping For Entrepreneurs

Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups

Business Owners

Small Business Owners United

2. Join Linkedin Discussions

LinkedIn has been on fire for the past 2–3 years. 🔥 There's no better place to build your personal brand.


Of course, the same 80-20 principle applies here as well.

  • Post relevant content.
  • Share a personal story. People like stories.
  • Engage in discussions.
  • Do a little research and offer help.


Check this guide out: 20 steps to a better LinkedIn profile in 2020

3. Answer questions on Quora


Quora may be the most underused marketing channel out there. If you use it wisely, it could boost your brand and credibility.


For those unfamiliar with this network, it's a platform to ask questions and get high-quality answers and insights.


We bet you've got answers to many questions related to your niche. Go ahead and share them. People will appreciate it and eventually, you'll be the first solution when they have a problem.


Check this article for Quora marketing: Are You Using Quora in Your Social Strategy? 8 Tips to Do It Right

4. Post and comment on Reddit


Reddit is a specific community. People here don't like self-promotion so it sounds counter-intuitive to suggest "promoting there".

Reddit Homepage
Photo by Kon Karampelas / Unsplash


But actually, when used correctly, you could attract the best leads you could imagine.

  • Actively take part in discussions
  • Share highly relevant content
  • Help others and earn Reddit carma


These are the subreddits you could follow:

/Business

/Smallbusiness

/Entrepreneur


And check these guides for marketing on Reddit


Foundationinc.co: We Studied The Top Posts In Business Related Subreddits (This Is What We Found)


Social Media Examiner: How to Market on Reddit: A Guide for Businesses


Neil Patel: A Business Owner’s Guide to Blowing Up on Reddit (Without Pissing Everyone Off)

5. Experiment with channels and content


Aside from Facebook, Linkedin, Quora, Reddit, there are also other useful channels.


Instagram. Pinterest. TikTok. WhatsApp.
Try them all out.


It's important to engage your customers and communicate with them. Show them you're still around. Offer them different type of communication channels.


Small-business owners tend to fool themselves into thinking that they don't need to experiment.


You have to test your market 24/7/365 and adapt to people needs. For example, in Serbia, since street markets are closed, sellers made online platforms and Facebook groups where they offer fruits, vegetables, other goods, and provide delivery door-to-door.

6. Host a free webinar or offer free 30 min consultations


You'll get to know a lot of people. All you need is a laptop/PC, a microfone, and a camera. There are various free platforms, so you won't have to spend a dime for organization.


Offer genuine help and advice. Talk with people. Learn their trouble at the moment of crisis.


Free platforms you should check right now:

Zoom

Skype

Whereby


Here's the list of 10 Best Webinar Software Platforms of 2020

7. Host a free podcast


As we said, experiment a lot. A number of podcast streamers keeps steadily growing. This might be the time for you to try it out.


Invite guests from other niches. This is great for 2 reasons – you learn along the way, and it builds credibility of your brand.

Combine it with other channels to maximize the effect.

a man sitting at his desk, typing on a keyboard, with a microphone beside him
Photo by ConvertKit / Unsplash


Here's the list of free platforms:


YouTube

Soundcloud

Anchorfm

Don't forget to promote your podcast anywhere you can.


And if you're looking for the best podcast hosting sites (paid and free), check Adam's article: 13+ BEST PODCAST HOSTING SITES FOR 2020 (WITH TOP 5 FREE)

8. Do weekly live sessions on Facebook

One thing we see many entrepreneurs do are weekly live sessions on Facebook. It's a great opportunity to engage live with your audience, your prospects and your customers.

  • It builds reputation and trust
  • It builds relationship
  • It allows you to stay in touch and in awareness
  • You can answer the questions in real time

9. Reinvent the wheel


Try to find another perspective for your service or a product. For example, look at how this shutdown theater turned its parking lot into a drive-in and sold out every movie.


Is there a way you could position your product or service on any other way?
If you were doing classroom tutoring, try shifting to online.

If you were selling disinfecants before, try offering a deep cleaning service instead.

10. Do a free email course or start a newsletter

One thing is sure – people will consume content during the lockdown more than ever.


Many people are looking for a chance to improve their skills or learn something new. At least to move their focus from the situation.


Try making it like a free magazine or a free weekly/monthly/daily newsletter.

Offer entertainment and build a relationship for a period after the quarantine.

If this appeals to you, check out these platforms:

MailChimp

MailerLite

GetResponse

11. Contact your competitors


Wait, what?


Yes, joint promotion is a thing. Just think about it. You're not the only small-business owner out there who's looking for a way to promote in these uncertain times.


Solidarity is the key. Help each other out. Build credibility together.

  • Host online workshops.
  • Podcast episodes.
  • Co-author a presentation or a blog post.
  • Do a live video together.

You might get a new business partner afterwards. We're sure that the audience in your niche will also recognize your efforts.

This is Max wearing a cap from LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR.ch
Photo by Nina Strehl / Unsplash


Check this article out: Reasons to Join a Joint Promotion and How to Make the Most of It

12. Publish that blog finally


Hey, we started a blog amidst the Corona crisis and we love it.Share your experience or just share a personal story.


People love when there's a bit of personality behind a brand.
Besides, writing relieves the stress. :)


These are free platforms you might use:


Wordpress

Wix.com

Blogger.com


Or you might even make a personal website.


We recommend reading this article as well: THE 5 BEST FREE BLOGGING PLATFORMS IN 2020 (100% UNBIASED)

We hope you liked our list of ideas for free marketing. Share it with your friends and drop us a comment on social media if you want to suggest more ideas.


Stay strong and stay healthy. We got this.