Getting your name out and in front of your target market is the best way to generate business. Getting a customer’s attention often comes at a hefty price, but it doesn't always have to be that way. Learn about different publicity tactics that won’t put a dent in your budget.
We asked 11 thought leaders to share the ways in which small businesses can get free publicity.
Answer Quora Topics Related to Your Industry
The tactic is simple: you randomly search questions related to your niche and try to find the results in which one of the posts on Quora is ranking in the top five. Open that and try to give a very detailed and helpful answer with stats and your personal experiences about the question asked. The better your answer, the better your chance to reach the top of Quora answers.
This works really well and, as I write this today, I already have two answers to questions on Quora that are bringing us around 25-30 visitors every single day. You may think it's too low but considering that the average ticket size of projects we do is $500, that easily converts to a few new leads every week without spending a dime.
- Ram Shengale, Fantastech
Generate Intriguing Data
People love facts and figures, and creating new ones is a great way to draw attention to your business with a little effort rather than a financial outlay. It is surprisingly easy to do, and it’s worked for me on several occasions. All you need is a poll or survey with a reasonable number of responses. As long as you have an established group of people to reach out to--like a social media group, an email list, or a customer database--that’s simple to achieve. Ask the right questions, share the data you create, and you can generate anything from social media mentions to press coverage.
- Ben Taylor, HomeWorkingClub
Combine Offers and Audiences
Collaborating with other companies in your area or online is a great way to broaden your audience and potentially gain new customers. Teaming up with a fellow business to give away free products or services is a fantastic way to get your name out there and gain some more publicity. Use your social media platforms to announce the collaboration and have users either follow you or tag your company to enter. You will get exposure to a whole new set of clients and gain new followers all while giving away products you already have.
- Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Team Up for Tabling Events
Collaborating with other small businesses for tabling events is a fantastic way to get your name out there without having to spend extra money. Using social media to announce the event will drive traffic to your page and direct people to your website to learn more. This is a great way for people to also engage with your organization and follow your organization’s journey via social media. This is a win-win because you and another company are combining your audience to bring awareness and give information to a whole new set of potential clients.
- Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Stay on Top of Trends
One thing that has worked really well for us is creating content around trending topics, and riding the organic search traffic that results in visits, comments, links, and mentions across the web. Specifically, we have found a lot of success in aggregating statistics into a big list. For example, when the coronavirus pandemic started heating up and many people started switching to work-from-home, we published a few blog posts with statistics on working from home.
- Jayson DeMers, EmailAnalytics
Whatever You Do, Watch Your Spelling
I use HARO to get free press for my small business. In 2019, I sent around 40 pitches and received over 20 mentions, including major publications like Business Insider and Forbes. My top HARO tip is to proofread your pitches (or have someone else proofread them for you). No matter how good your pitch is, reputable editors won't publish it if it contains spelling and grammatical errors, so it's worth taking the extra time to make sure your submission is polished.
- Chloe Brittain, Opal Transcription Services
Newspapers Are Not Gone Yet
You would be surprised how many small businesses are no longer sending out press releases. Newspapers in your state are looking to cover local businesses, so write a press release about something in your organization and email or fax it over to the newspaper. If you do this once per month, you would be motivated by how many times it will get picked up. Sometimes, a feature article will come out of it. In addition, Google search engines really value newspaper links to your website, and it will help with search engine marketing.
- Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions
Instagram Stories Are Tools
Getting free publicity for your business is easy with Instagram Stories. With a Swipe-Up link, you can take people where you want them to go. People love the countdown sticker. Promote your new product launch or discount with the countdown sticker. Even if people don't buy, you can DM them the information. People also love polls. Ask if they have already purchased and offer two choices: Yes and Send Me the Link. Many people choose option two.
- Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging
Whether you are a startup looking for R&D funding to take your product to the next level or simply wanting to organize a charity event, crowdfunding is a powerful publicity tool. For starters, you get to promote your company and what it does with the vision behind what you do. Second, people love crowdfunding and a well-thought-out campaign can get shared on social networks, multiplying its views and overall PR effect. I would recommend crowdfunding on platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo to get some publicity for free.
- Aleksandra Arsic, CapitalCounselor
Join Organizations + Attend Meetups
The best way to get publicity for your small business is to join organizations or attend meetups within your community. These are great ways to network with other business owners who may be able to offer strategic partnerships or collaboration opportunities. Within my community, there are tons of organizations for female entrepreneurs, marketing enthusiasts, and everything in between. Always remember that every stranger in that room is an opportunity for your business, so put yourself out there and get to know everyone.
- Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors
Optimize Google My Business Profile
Local SEO can help small businesses generate impressions and awareness for their services. One of the best ways for small businesses to appear on search result pages is to optimize a Google My Business listing. By optimizing your listing with relevant information, your business may be shown in the top three results for local searches. Google My Business is free to use and highly effective for helping businesses get their name out there to prospective customers.
- Brett Farmiloe, Pursue The Passion
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.