Marketing is a necessary part of running any business. But advertising, specialty tools and software, or hiring professionals can add up fast. Fortunately, there are loads of FREE solutions for small business marketing. Whether you’re a new service provider, or you’re looking for ways to grow your established business, check out these 6 free small business marketing tools you can start using today.
Google My Business
Google My Business is an essential tool for local service providers, like contractors, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians and other trade professionals. It is completely free to have a Google Business Profile, and it’s easy to get started. Once you claim your listing, you can optimize it with your services, hours, photos, and other information, and start collecting reviews from customers.
Best of all, when customers search for the service you provide with a location (i.e. “plumber in Detroit”) your Google listing will come up on the map so customers can easily see your location and business details at a glance.
LinkedIn is the preferred social media platform for professionals and B2B connections. Yes, connecting with potential customers is important, but it’s equally important to have a network of like-minded trade professionals, real estate agents, home inspectors, and facilities management companies you can swap referrals with. LinkedIn is a free and easy way to establish and grow that network.
If you already have a personal LinkedIn page, you can create a company page and unlock even more free small business marketing tools, like analytics, virtual events, articles, and product pages to further engage your network.
Every business needs graphic design work done at some point. Logos, social media images, email marketing templates, and even printed marketing materials are all more effective with cohesive branding and professional design. But design services can be pricey. Canva is a free (paid pro version available) graphic design tool with tons of templates for virtually anything. And don’t be fooled – “template” is no longer a dirty word in the world of graphic design. Canva’s templates are beautifully designed and completely customizable, so you’ll be able easily create exactly what you’re looking for – no graphic design degree needed!
Despite the social media giants’ best efforts, email marketing is still king when it comes to engaging your audience with timely, relevant, and personalized communication. And today, there is no shortage of ways to quickly and easily grow your email marketing list. Once you start accumulating email addresses, an email marketing platform like MailChimp is an easy way to start the conversation with prospects and customers. It’s free to use for up to 2,000 subscribers – perfect for a small business – and its built-in templates, ability to segment lists for personalization, and intuitive analytics make it the ideal platform for newbies.
Not sure what to send out? Assume your audience is always asking “What’s in it for me?” when deciding whether to open and read your email. DIY tips, buying guides, and special offers and promotions will appeal to customers and prospects of local service providers. After you’ve completed a job, consider sending a follow-up survey or request for referrals where participants are entered into a prize drawing.
We intentionally left Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram off this list because it’s kind of assumed that every business will be on at least one of these free social media platforms. Regular posts keep your business in your followers’ feeds, and keeps you top-of-mind when someone needs your service. Social media is an easy way to ‘put a face to the name’ of your business, engage directly with followers, and provide helpful content.
But staying active on social media is another story altogether. It’s time-consuming and easy to go down a rabbit hole when all you wanted to do was quickly post something. Buffer is a free social media scheduling tool that lets you manage up to three platforms and schedule 10 posts per week in advance. This one-and-done strategy lets you better manage your time while still engaging with followers every day of the week.
SimpleBids is a marketplace that connects local service providers with businesses that need service, repair, or replacement. Commercial facility service customers want a fast and simple way to find reliable service providers in their neighborhoods, but they’re often inundated with ads paid for by big companies that may or may not be qualified – or even local.
When you create your free business profile on SimpleBids, you gain immediate access to new work if your location and services match customer needs. You can join SimpleBids now for free and be one of the first service providers in your area, get in front of new customers at no cost to you, and get exclusive invitations to bid on new projects.