Free Marketing Strategies That Actually Worked for Me This Year

Jenna Kutcher 

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September 30, 2020


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When we were talking about different ideas for the Goal Digger Podcast, one of the topics that came up was what this year has done to our stamina as business owners. So many people are coming close to throwing in the towel. And I get it, we were all tested in new and challenging ways this year.

Maybe your marketing budget was slashed. Maybe you didn’t have one to begin with. Maybe what you were doing in the past isn’t hitting the mark anymore and you don’t know where to turn. This episode is all about free marketing strategies that you can start employing today.

With this year, we’re learning how we need to be ready to evolve and change and experiment. I feel like many people have lost the curious nature that comes when you start a new project because we’re beginning to lose stamina in a challenging year. Let this conversation on the Goal Digger Podcast spark new (and free) ideas to get your business, content, and message out into the world once again.

Get Back to Grassroots

When I first started my business, a lot of my marketing was one to one and grassroots. I reached out to newly engaged couples to congratulate them on their big life update and shamelessly shared about my wedding photography services.

As my business grew, I employed paid marketing efforts that shifted away from that more personal approach. I had a listing on a popular wedding site which allowed me to hit the masses with my offer, but it was really like throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping one noodle would stick.

This year, more than ever, we are so disconnected. So when I think about marketing in this climate, it’s not a one to many message anymore, it’s a one to one touchpoint. If I was just starting out today with a new business, I don’t think that style of paid marketing to reach the masses would be the direction I would take.

When we can speak so clearly to the right person or people that it’s undeniable we’re the right fit for them, I think that’s a way more effective long term strategy.

Kylie told me that speaking one-to-one can be scary. She said, “What if I’m annoying them?” But think about it — Why is it we’re way more comfortable shouting about our business to a massive audience rather than speaking directly to someone who is the perfect fit for what we offer?

Press play to hear a deeper discussion into the direct, 1:1 marketing approach that I find totally necessary and effective, especially during a year where we’re all craving more connection.

Video and Voice Messages

Earlier this year we had a massive launch for a high-ticket program that many of you may have considered investing in. I spent hours each day, over a 2-week period sending personal video and voice messages via Instagram DMs to speak with people who weren’t quite sure if it was the right move for them.

I answered questions, learned about the kind of work each person did, what kind of work they wanted to expand into in the future, and fully understood who they were before I tried to push them into an investment that didn’t align.

DMs is a really great (and free) place to connect with your potential clients or customers in a 1:1 way. But here’s the thing — We often forget to invite people to message and connect with us.

Use the question box on Instagram Stories and respond with a video or voice DM. Ask a question on Facebook and actually respond versus just using the feedback as direction for future content.

Guest Blogging

Continuing the free marketing strategies list is guest blogging. This year, so many creators are creatively spent. What would it look like if you approached the different platforms and bloggers you admire and pitch an idea they haven’t covered that you could create for them?

Creators are not experts in every single topic, so pitching your expertise to a blog or publication can help fill that gap that their audience would appreciate. Getting in front of new audiences via guest blogging is a great opportunity to expand your reach.

And blogging is not dead. It’s very much alive!

Podcast Ideas

Could you be a podcast guest on a show that covers topics in your niche? Pitch ‘em! Do you have a podcast that could use some more exposure to a broader audience? Invite a guest whose audience aligns with yours and after their episode is live, follow up to make sure they’re sharing that content with their people!

Podcasting has long been my favorite way to spread my message and increase my impact. Maybe this is the year you explore how podcasting fits into your own free marketing strategies either as a guest or a host yourself!

Partnerships on Social Media

Team up with other creators or business owners in your space and select one day a week to share about each other. Talk about why you love following their business and why you think your audience might enjoy following them, too.

This is not the same as an Instagram pod (I still don’t recommend those!) This is an opportunity to lean into that community over competition idea and lift up others while also receiving promotion and exposure for yourself.

Remember, cheering each other on is always free.

Creating a Facebook Group

Inviting people into a community is a great way to connect with your ideal audience, while also giving them a space to connect with others who share their passions and interests.

It doesn’t have to be a formal endeavor, it can just be a space to share and discuss the things you have in common. You can learn about your audience inside the group and also share your offer or product to a receptive crowd, knowing that they have shared interests that relate to your business.

More from this Episode

Kylie and I dig into the changes in social media that are making it more challenging to market your business for free, and why it’s not about “beating the algorithm” anymore. I also share what I think about giving away your product or service in exchange for exposure.

Thank You to Our Goal Digger Sponsors

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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