10 Ways to Market Your Business (for $0)

Add a screensaver and wallpaper with your logo on your computer screen.

I learned this one from when working in coffee shops. People would walk by and often remain staring at your screen. By placing hot corners on your screen, you can quickly switch to a desktop when you walk away for a brief moment or simply to establish brand presence (and make sure someone no longer is staring at your work.)

Always ask for business cards.

I was taught this trick by a local legend and it’s one that has stuck with me. I used to believe that business cards were antiquated, unnecessary, and pointless. However, for clients that are older than 35, they’re still a necessary piece of business in my local market. Make sure to ask for the business cards of others. (It allows for an immediate point of contact and typically has a stronger conversion rate than sharing contacts on a phone, where they can get easily buried or following each other on Instagram.)

Update your LinkedIn Profile.

If you aren’t looking for a job, why would you update your LinkedIn profile? For most creative entrepreneurs, we look at this platform as the awkward stepchild of social media. However, here’s the honest truth. Most companies, people in high level corporations, we would love to work for are active and making daily connections on LinkedIn. Start by updating your resume, work samples, and then posting relevant content to your profile.

Show your work on social. Then show up, with original and engaging content for 2 years.

I know this comment sounds crazy and a bit nuts. “2 years?!?! You’re crazy.” When it comes to building accounts, brand loyalty, and a compelling narrative, it takes salt of the earth, grinding it out kind of work in the current digital age. This year, we’ve been focusing on scaling the design studio and bringing clarity to the question we are constantly asked, “So what is it that you do???” After 5 years of running the blog and studio, we thought it was clear. It seems we can’t stop telling our story enough. This year we’re thoughtfully showing our work, on all our social media platforms, providing amazing and engaging content. Every. Single. Day. It means playing with type, sharing moodboards, adding testimonials behind the design process. While we absolutely love bringing beauty to the everyday, we love working with small business owners and watching them flourish.

Create the least amount of steps for someone to work with you.

I know this sounds crazy, but here’s the shocking truth. Prior to this year, I booked zero clients through Instagram. That’s right. You heard me. 0%. Outside of engagement and collaborations through the blog, I was bringing in minimal revenue on this app I was investing hours in a week. This year, I book 1-2 clients a month through the same app. What changed? I asked people to send me a DM if they were interested. I’ve used the same templates every single time and it’s generated phenomenal results. WHY? Because through an Instagram Story, people can immediately DM you without having to navigate off the app. It’s easy and makes getting a client process started SIMPLE.

Become active in industry Facebook groups.

Does it make sense to engage in Facebook Groups? Yes, a thousand times over. I find in these Facebook groups, focus on adding value, offering freebies, and serving others. There’s a community component, but with 5 years of content on this site, we most likely have a post that is directly related to someone’s question. I have watched my website and email list conversions skyrocket due to answering peoples questions and giving advice. (Not to mention, it’s phenomenal for lead generation, potential client conversations, and positioning yourself as an expert in your industry among other like-minded professionals.)

Own your Instagram Stories strategy.

Gone are the days for a need of professional video 24/7. Use a variety of curated and uncurated Stories to engage your audience. We use this both to send engagement to and from our feed, but we’ve seen countless feeds filled with people sharing the behind the scenes of their products, business process, and even their date nights. It’s fun, entertaining, and keeps us coming back for more. Never underestimate the power of showing up consistently on your Instagram Stories. (Learn how we plan out 30 Days of Instagram Content in a Single Day here.)

Collaborate with others.

What is better than you talking about yourself? Simply put, it’s others talking about who you are and what you do. When it comes to collaborating start by approaching others in your community that you respect. Meet up for a cup of coffee, ask them how they are doing, and then begin a working relationship through collaboration. Depending on the individual and their industry, it can start through content and organic cross collaboration on social media accounts. Tip: Time is the only non-renewable resource we possess. Until you have a pitch ready or concept in mind, wait to meet or pursue a collaboration. 95% of the time when I have collaborations and concepts in mind (with existing relational equity), people are willing to collaborate and do organic cross posting that serves both parties. (It’s a win-win for everyone.)

Show, don’t tell.

When it comes to reading, most individuals are reading less and less. When it’s an option choose to show, not tell. We live in an era of soundbites and 15 second Instagram Stories. When possible, create stunning visuals with a compelling narrative.

Offer a compelling narrative.

Every week on Friday, we see a fresh rollout of #fridayintroductions. At times, it becomes shameless plugs for accounts, businesses, and services. Other times, there’s a story you discover that compels you. Over the years, one of my favorite components of the blog, is an interview feature we offer of local makers, artisans, and creatives. In the process of drafting these narratives we’ve found people who battle depression through craft, a woman who processes loss through flowers, a multipassionate creative obsessed with beauty, or a family owned creamery who chose the simple life to retain their core values. We chose each one of these makers because their stories are absolutely phenomenal. There’s a moment of crisis and a breaking point, that forced them to create a new way of life and a new way to be human. Their narrative is compelling and grabs you immediately. If you don’t know how to own your story, it’s time.

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