So you’ve taken the plunge, quit your job, and started your own business. Congrats! Your website looks awesome, you’re posting to your social media accounts, but for some reason, you don’t get as much traffic and sales as you’d like to see. And because you have a $0 ad budget you’re probably wondering how you can market your business fo' free..
If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place because in this article, you’re going to learn exactly how to market your business with a $0 ad budget. In fact, the strategy you’re about to learn is the foundation of many 6-, 7-, and even 8-figure businesses.
As an added bonus, you will find detailed examples for different niches at the very end as well as a list of steps on how you can implement this highly effective $0 marketing strategy in your business today.
Are you ready? Here we go!
Step #1: What's your message?
Let’s start with the basics: even if you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, it’s important to remember that businesses make money because they offer solutions to people’s problems.
It doesn’t matter what it is that you sell, whether it’s a coaching program offering a life changing transformation, a service business getting things done for people, or a product business selling products that make peoples’ lives better, in the end, it always comes down to you solving a problem that your customers are willing to pay for.
So first take away: in your message you’ve got to focus on selling the solution to a problem and “not just” showcase your product or service. It should always be a one-two punch: problem – solution.
Step #2: The CPR Strategy
People buy things from businesses they know, like, and trust. That's easy to establish if you're talking to someone face to face. But online, when there's a computer screen separating you from your audience, that's a whole different ball game.
That’s why it’s important to recognize that anyone doing business online is basically running a content business. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked.
Your content, photos, posts, stories, captions, etc… is what people will interact with when they connect with your brand online. It replaces the personal interaction that would occur in a brick and mortar setting which means nailing your content is crucial for a successful marketing campaign.
Here is how you create that “know, like, and trust” with content marketing, a strategy I like to call CPR strategy: Consistency, Proof, Relatability.
In order to know you, your audience has to come across your brand frequently and here, the motto is more is more. That’s why Instagram stories are so great, you can show up every day, show your personality, and the content does not need to be 100% polished like on your feed.
Before a customer gives you a share of their hard-earned money, they need to know that your business is legit and trust that you can really solve their problem. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to include social proof into your content: reviews, case studies, testimonials, customer features etc…
You’ve got to make sure that you connect with your audience on the same level. Talk to them in the same tone and voice they would communicate with each other. Introduce your audience to real clients and customers in your content – they’re people from their midst who’ve already committed to your brand and business. This gives you plenty of credibility and helps make your brand approachable and relatable.
Step #3: Distribution – aka getting eyeballs on your content
Now that you know how often you’ve gotta show up and what you’ve gotta post, let’s talk about the best strategies for getting your content seen.
The strategies for distribution will vary depending on the platform and covering all of the platforms would go well beyond the scope of a blog posts. That’s why we’re going to focus on distribution for Instagram.
Instagram is an insanely powerful platform and customers from pretty much every market segment are on there aplenty. The best part about Instagram is that you can easily target your ideal audience and I'm going to show you exactly how in the examples below.
How to market your business with a $0 ad budget if you sell information, coaching, or services
The goal here is to position yourself as an expert in your niche and attract your ideal clients with highly relevant, personal, and educational content. The key message is about the problem your audience is experiencing and the way you’re going to solve it. Focus on them, not on yourself in your copy.
You can improve your CPR by showing up IG stories every day. You could share educational content, behind the scenes, or show your audience how life looks like post transformation. Testimonials, case studies, and customers success stories are extremely important to create ‘proof'. You can share them to your stories (highlights!) or even write a post as an entire case study.
An effective distribution strategy for high-ticket offers is to manually target individuals who you know would be a very good fit. You’ll find them two ways:
(1) By targeting the people who’re already following some of your competitors. Just go to their followers and scroll through the list.
(2) By looking for people in the search bar. Example: if you’re coaching influencers on how to attract brand deals, simply look for the term ‘influencer’ in the search bar and start connecting with people who pop up and fit your criteria.
How to market your business with a $0 ad budget if you sell physical products (e-commerce)
People buy products because they make their life better. They make them feel prettier like Showpo or Frankbody or help them stay hydrated like the healthish water bottle. All of these businesses grew from 1-person start up to 6, 7-, 8-, or even 9-figures (Read more about Showpo!) in a matter of years, thanks to their content first mentality. And if they can do it, why shouldn’t you be able to do it too?
The content and CPR for product businesses look a bit different than for information businesses. Here, the focus is not on you but how the actual product will impact your audiences’ lives. Two things are important here. First, you should educate about the product (remember, one-two punch, problem, solution!). Second, you need to present the product so that customers can envision themselves using, wearing, or owning it.
Social proof through influencer collaborations, testimonials, reviews, press features, and customer features are incredibly important. There are many ways to maximize your reach and get seen by more people. Collaborating with influencers up to 150k followers works very well, especially in combination with a giveaway. Many of them will work with you for free to grow their account and credibility as well. Remember though, influencers also run a business, so don't be sad if some of them will ask for compensation.
Furthermore, you should encourage existing customers to tag you, e.g. for a chance to be featured on your account. These kinds of posts are called user-generated content and they are extremely effective to improve your CPR, they increase your reach, and they generate content for you to repost – fo’ free.
So there you have it, how to market your business with a $0 ad budget.
Remember, this works for any business in any niche and it has helped brands like Showpo turn into $100 million empires. Here is what you can do right now to implement this strategy and use it to grow your business:
Step 1: Clearly identify the problem that your offer is solving and make it your key value proposition. If you can do some customer interviews to use their terminology, even better.
Step 2: Sit down and identify how you can create CPR for your business. The examples above should help. Make a list of content that you will need.
Step 3: Distribution through collaboration or by manually looking for your ideal client (high-ticket offer).
Virginia is a copywriting expert and coach. Inside her 8-week accelerator “Content That Sells” she shows online coaches how to overcome content overwhelm and create persuasive social media content that attracts clients and sells their program with ease.
Virginia runs a boutique marketing agency called Attract Media Team which offers done-for-you social media content writing for 7-figure coaches.
The best way to connect with Virginia and learn more about how to create content that sells is via Instagram @VirginiaonInsta