Marketing your business just isn’t what it used to be.
And that’s a good thing.
Because it used to be time-consuming, expensive, and exclusively for businesses who could afford to hire experts to do it for them.
Now, we have free and inexpensive tools that are readily available to help us get the word out about what we offer. As Ben Franklin once said:
“A penny saved is a penny earned.” –Ben Franklin
In today’s post, I’m sharing my ten favorite resources to help you save money as you market your business.
They’re not all free, but every one of them is a bargain. At the end of the post, I’ll invite you to learn more about the resource that’s near and dear to my heart — email marketing. (Scroll down to see the invite and register).
These tools aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty darned good, and you’ll discover how you can use them to market your business yourself.
10. Online image creation tools
Visual marketing is hot-hot-hot right now, and Kelly Kingman and I are feeling like prophets for creating a full-fledged visual marketing program and having it ready for this boom.
Why are visuals so hot?
We think it’s because with the rise of content marketing, businesses are generating thousands of words for their prospects to read. Between blog posts, email newsletters, ebooks, magazines, special reports and white papers — we’re drowning in words.
That’s where visuals cut through the noise like no words can.
“More than 50 percent of the cortex, the surface of the brain, is devoted to processing visual information.” – David Williams, University of Rochester Center for Visual Science
If you want to get started using this powerful means to communicate, try the three tools below.
- iPiccy.com: iPiccy features a super-simple interface which allows you to edit, crop, re-size, and apply text and effects to your images. Free.
- PicMonkey.com: PicMonkey features easy-to-use tools and sophisticated effects you can use to create stunning sharable social media images. Free and paid versions.
- Pixlr.com/editor: The editor tool at Pixlr.com is perfect if you’re ready to take your image editing to the next level. Complex and almost Photoshop-like, it features layers, transparency, and more. Free.
If you want to learn more about using visuals to market your business, sign up for the free 12 Days of Visual Buzz series.
9. Online printers
Print isn’t dead. As a matter of fact, marketing with print materials can be a radical way to stand out in our digitized world.
And if you’d like to save money, you’ll use an online printer. Online printers “gang up” print jobs on one large sheet. If your printing requires exact color matching (because you sell jewelry, cosmetics, or clothing, for example), online printing may not be the best bet for you.
But if you’re not in those businesses, you can save hundreds and thousands of dollars using an online printer for your print materials.
My favorite is PSPrint.com. Their website features ongoing specials on commonly printed items like business cards, stationery, postcards, and brochures. You can check and approve your print job right on-screen, and their shipping is fast and reliable.
8. Social media
All the social media sites offer us a way to reach our prospects and customers for free.
Well, not completely for free — we spend our time creating content, posting it, and responding to comments.
The trick to getting the most out of social media is pinpointing which sites make the most sense for your business, and then using them strategically so you get results.
I have a product in development now that will help you do just this. It will be ready mid-2014: stay tuned!
My favorite open source, free, cross-platform-compatible software is better than ever. The OpenOffice Suite features software to write, create PDFs, design basic graphics, build presentations, craft spreadsheets, and more.
It’s easy to use, well-supported, and features solid help files. Free yourself from expensive office suite software once and for all with this powerful alternative.
It’s not perfect — no webinar software is — but compared to others I’ve used it’s easier for the attendees to log in to, and easy for the webinar creator to set up.
There’s a free plan that will let you check out how it works with a small group, and paid plans you can use to invite larger groups to your webinars.
If you’d like to use conference calls as part of your marketing, Free Conference Call HD is reliable, easy-to-use and full-featured. You can record your calls, mute and un-mute, and field questions from the dashboard. The audio quality is nice and clear, too.
For a simple, free, powerful audio editor, nothing can beat Audacity. It’s cross-platform compatible, and you can use it to edit, trim, combine, and clean up any audio recordings you decide to use on your website.
2. WordPress + Premium themes
Self-hosted WordPress software is free, which you know if you’ve ever watched the no-cost Love Your Website on-demand class.
But to really make your WordPress website shine, I recommend you install a premium theme like Dynamik Website Builder, which I use here, or the Prose child theme. Both of these themes are built on the rock-solid Genesis Framework, and both feature design controls which make it easy to create a unique style for your site without having to use any code.
1. Email marketing
Why is email marketing #1 on this list? Because it’s a direct-to-profits tool that — when used correctly — gives you the highest return on investment of any marketing technique currently available.
I have a free Brown Bag Webinar on the topic of email marketing. Register below to get instant access to the replay video, and discover how this powerful tool can transform your business in the year ahead.