If you’ve decided to start a side-hustle, then well-wishes and congratulations are in order! But before you get too settled into that bottle-popping champagne life, there’s some hard hustling and grind required.
The early stages of any new business venture are exciting, daunting, and satisfying all at the same time.
But of all the gruelling tasks a founder of a new business faces, it’s getting the business noticed. With new brands springing up every 30 seconds, it’s simply impossible to create a project then sit back and wait for customers.
The “build it and they will come” mindset won’t work today, so a pro-active and forward-thinking strategy to promote your wares is critical!
While there’s always a place for traditional and offline marketing tactics, of course there’s nothing more effective than promoting on the internet.
Aside from pricey ads and other paid promotions, marketing products and services online is still considered a more efficient and less costly investment compared to traditional marketing methods.
While those with deep pockets will always find ways to invest large sums of money in “digital” promotion, thankfully there are various ways to utilise online marketing for your side-hustle that cost little to nothing.
Here’s 8 ways you can promote your side-hustle for free* (well, next to nothing).
#1 – Content is king.
Content is king, and the “content-first” strategy is a solid one if you’re looking to launch a side-hustle in 2019 and beyond. Educating readers on a particular topic or niche is a great way to build authority in your space, and be seen as an expert.
With many low-cost and free platforms available such as Wix or WordPress, there is no need to splash out on fancy website when you’re just starting out. Even novices can get a website up and running in less than hour which saves time for other more important tasks like actual content creation.
Of course, if you want a particularly unique design, or want to wow visitors with cutting edge functionality, then hiring specialists is another option.
#2 – Be active on social networks
Love them or loathe them, there’s unfortunately no escaping the necessity to be active on social networks when running a business.
It’s free to create profiles for your business on all the major platforms, and the rest just comes down to maintaining those pages consistently.
It’s important to develop a clear tone of voice and create an aesthetic that remains the same across all platforms. Keeping what you say, and the images you post “on-brand” will create a coherence that attracts potential customers and fans.
#3 – Add to online directories
An often overlooked way to promote your new business for free is via online business directories. For example, Yandex, Yahoo, and Google offer ways to place information about your company, and there are there are more specialist websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and others.
#4 – Write catchy press releases
Another great (and free) way to promote your new side-hustle is by sending a press release. A press release is a short overview on your product or service that is geared to editors, writers and journalists in your industry.
Ideally, it will include an interesting angle or offer a unique aspect on your offering to catch the interest of those you are sending it to. You can simply track down the email addresses of relevant writers in your niche and send the press release to them.
There are also sites that allow you to post press releases for free. If you’re not sure on how to write an effective press release, then Edubirdie can help with essay and press release writing that’s ready to go.
#5 – Be active in online communities
Online themed forums, groups on Facebook and LinkedIn – these communities provide many opportunities for you to get your new business in front of potential customers.
By interacting with other users on these sites and communities, you can gain valuable contacts and grow your network while you provide important and useful information.
#6 – Craft a clever email signature
Whether you post to an online forum or send an email, be sure to use the opportunity wisely by including a link to your website and social channels. You’ll be surprised how valuable the information in your signature can be when it comes to spreading information about your brand.
#7 – Build your email subscriber list from Day One
While it can sometimes be annoying to see those pop up boxes spring up on websites, they are super-useful to the website owner or brand!
Irrespective of whether they’re annoying, collecting the email address of interested customers and visitors to your site should be done from the very first day.
That’s because having access to these email addresses means you can stay in touch with customers and warm-leads without having to rely on social media (or hoping they remember your business later on). An email subscriber base is very valuable to any business.
#8 – Lure with specials & gifts
Discounts and gifts are forever a great way to attract attention to your new business and give things a little boost when times are slow. There is no need to offer anything big – it’s often just the mention of a gift-with-purchase or small discount that is enough to turn a visitor into a shopper.
These techniques are great starting off points to help get your side-hustle off the ground without a huge financial investment or a great deal of risk. Regardless of the ideas being more or less free, it’s always best to kick off with some serious marketing research. Once you crack the formula, you’ll have a great opportunity to increase traffic, build profit and pop those bottles.