As budgets get squeezed, here are my top 20 free marketing tools you can you use to grow your business in 2023:
1. Search Engine Optimisation
Ability to generate consistent and relevant traffic to your website over a long period of time, this should be top of your list in 2023.
Now, I appreciate this is a technique that has been around the block so the question is how can you stand out?
Well, I would say the first thing you need to do is invest in a SEO content tools like SEMRush, RankIQ, Surfer, Yoast SEO or Frase (all external links at the bottom of the page) as these tools help you build your content in the right way, using the right keywords and have the right structure in order to get ahead.
You also need to consistently be making clear improvements to your website’s technical back end and ensure that the Googlebot can actually crawl, render and index content.
Finally, creating novel and unique stories that is likely to be picked up by credible publications is very important to build those backlinks on your website.
Do these three things with passion and consistency and watch your rankings begin to really take off. Take a look at some of the key trends in storytelling to really make your content zing.
2. Youtube (long and shorts)
Create regular content and grow a Youtube channel in your niche. There is a real opportunity right now to build out your channel using Youtube Shorts. I think it presents creators with a window of time to get on this. In addition, you should once again be investing in tools like VidIQ, as it will help you optimise your content for the algorithms in order to be listed in search results.
Youtube is the second largest search engine after Google and so treating it as such and invest time in understanding how to rank in the results will boost your channel like no other.
Read about why is important to become a Creator in this super article:
Write regular long form articles and information pieces that are of interest to your audience.
This is the mother of all tools since its benefits span far and wide. Its an ideal SEO tool and can be the primary driver of traffic to your site. In addition, if can fuel your short-form social media content, email content, engage in PR etc.
There has been a lot of evolution in this area, particularly at the hands of AI content machines, such as Jasper. At this stage the jury is really out on whether they can deliver the goods on authentic, noteworthy and publication-worthy content. However, there is nothing wrong in running your content through AI generated platforms to see the type of descriptions, meta fields, headings etc. that it can help you optimise.
You can also post your articles far and wide to get extended reach on places like Substack or Medium.
Take a look at this article on why blogs are really the king of Content Marketing:
Build up your email list based on your audiences preferences; send them regular, relevant and non-spammy emails.
The list bit is the most important; don’t spam your readers. It will only lead them to not engaging or even calling spam on your email (which will impact the deliverability to your entire list). Keep it short, sweet and really to the point.
There are a load of techniques to consider when it comes to email deliverability, but if you want to negate all the hard work it may be worth using a tool like Mail Chimp.
Two email newsletters that I really like are: 1. The Marketing Meet-up and 2. The Friday Club by Knowlton Marketing (I have put the links at the bottom of this post.
5. Organic Social
Post regular short-form content that engages and directs people to longer form content.
This is a channel where you can build both a community as well as get new audiences interested in your content and brand. The key is to post regularly with relevant content that will add value to your audience.
Depending on which platforms you are using you should determine the right tools to help you determine which content is resonating. However, one important point to note is that in order to achieve a level of reach, you do need to understand how the algorithms work so invest time in this area.
It’s likely that for most purchases your customers will do some research on you and your products and service. Having solid positive recommendations is a sure-fire way of getting to the top of their consideration set. It’s likely that it will take a while to get the right number of recommendations so its important to build this in at key part of your journey.
Referral programmes are a valuable way to generate a huge amount of incremental value for your organisation. One great example of a referral comes from Huel, the supplement company (link at the bottom).
8. Google My Business
Set up a Google My Business account that gets you my visibility across the search engine.
Read about a great way to generate Local SEO using Google My Business here.
9. Niche Communities
Engage with Communities that have an interest in your area; seek engagement and followers of your content whilst doing the same for others.
Simply go onto a social media platform or even places like Meet Up in order to find relevant communities to join.
Have a look at this article on how to assess a partnership opportunity:
Form win-win partnerships to amplify your offering across partner platforms on a revenue share basis.
Here are the top affiliate programmes to consider (links at the bottom):
- ebay partner network
- Rakuten advertising
PR is one of the most important channels to earn credibility for your brand and should be considered carefully.
13. Shared media
Shared media is where you ‘share’ media space with other brands in order to make the communication more effective and efficient. For instance, here is an unlikely match – Lego and Louis Vuitton!
It created quite the buzz and stir and they were able to share media platforms plus benefit from a whole load of PR from the partnership.
How do you review, reflect, refuel and recharge?
I find that listening to podcasts is one of my secret sauces, it takes me into a new world, provides me with new inspiration, new direction and allows me to relax into wonderful content.
Have a read of this article on our experience as podcasters:
Go onto Match Maker to find new podcasting opportunities.
15. Business Awards
Business Awards are a great way to both get recognition as well as exposure for your brand. Although, it may be competitive they are worth throwing your brand’s hat in the ring at the right moments. I have included a website at the bottom that lists the majority of business awards in the UK.
16. Online Directories
This is also a top SEO tip. Including your company in a variety of listings not only gives you incremental exposure but also counts as backlinks from an SEO point of view.
Taking advantage of offline events and then amplifying it through your socials is a great way to get exposure for your brand in both the online and offline realm.
Getting a (high profile) sponsor on board can help to amplify your brand to a large extent. As part of the sponsorship deal, you can ask them how they can leverage their existing channels to help highlight your brand and the work that you do.
19. Guerrilla Marketing
This form of marketing is about doing local stunts that you can amplify on social media. These are usually very cost effectively done but have a certain shock factor that draws your audiences attention.
HSBC recently engaged in this type of activity to highlight financial abuse: