'Free' is the most powerful word in advertising.
With all due respect to the other contenders (Guarantee, Save, New), there's no other word in the English language that will turn heads faster. You could, with zero advertising or marketing background, run into the street right now and shout "FREE __________" and people will listen. They'll be alarmed. But they'll listen.
What makes 'Free' so powerful? It represents a zero-risk, all-reward proposition. No 'buying decision.' No weighing cost versus need.
For a marketer on a tight budget, 'Free' is an oasis.
Before you tackle the tougher decisions about what to invest in for your marketing efforts, make sure that you're taking advantage of these 4 FREE digital marketing basics first:
Isn't it comforting when the person dispensing the advice is also taking it? Blogging is a free and effective way to establish a voice in your industry. Now, with traditional advertising falling on its face and new methods (like Inbound) on the rise, creating original content has never been more important. In a climate where tuning out traditional ads is an easy option, businesses need to offer potential customers something useful. That's what your blog should be: helpful content that organically draws an audience. Establish your business, inform your customers. Once you're a credible resource on the topics your customers care about, they'll come to you to help solve their problems.
2. Social Media
This is where your potential customers already are and where you need to be. One important disclaimer: there are wrong ways to 'join the conversation.' Instead of trying to be overly hip or uncharacteristically personal, talk to your customers in their language. If you sell heavy machinery, for example, try sharing relevant industry articles and sharing relevant content you've created. If you're using a meme or jumping on a trending hashtag, make sure you do your homework and tread carefully. No matter what, keep the focus on informing your customer base and sharing compelling industry news. That helps further build your authority and gives your potential customers more channels to reach out to you.
While your content and your social media activity will build an audience and attract potential customers, utilizing CTAs can be the difference between getting money and leaving it on the table. If people are reading your blog and finding helpful information on a product, service, or strategy they're considering, it's time to invite them to learn more. By installing buttons on your website (or even text directing them to an e-mail address), you're giving visitors the option of sending their information to you. That shows strong interest on their part and gives you a green light to contact them and make a sale that benefits both parties.
You don't have to be an SEO expert to optimize your website for better results. Optimizing your site is almost a mini sub-set of digital marketing basics:
1) Keep your headlines under 70 characters (so Google won't cut them off)
2) Include keywords in your content (so you can climb search rankings)
3) Include relevant internal and external links
4) Include images
Simple tips like those will make your content instantly more findable and thus, more valuable.
There's nothing to lose and everything to gain by incorporating these FREE digital marketing basics today. Once the ball is rolling, you'll have the momentum necessary to explore the next steps.