There are tons of awesome ways (54 to be exact) to market your business for free.
When starting any business it’s difficult to determine what to spend money on. And if you don’t have any clients, spending money is not a possibility.
I’ve complied this ultimate guide of free ways to market your business using tried and true tactics I’ve used to grow my own practice, and some good ideas I’ve found online. If you have any additions, please share in the comments!
A great way to reach large audiences and market your business for free is to reach out to journalists. Whether your company gets a quick mention or a full article, good press will drive visitors to your website and establish you as an authority in your field.
Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) emails. HARO will email daily digests of requests from bloggers and journalists looking for experts to interview. If you have something to of value to contribute, you respond to the request and the report will contact you. This is a great way to get your name out and get earn high quality links back to your website. Check out this great guide from Hubspot that will make you a HARO pro.
Create an Electronic Press kit. Include a high quality head shot, personal bio and facts about your business. The Rosen Law Firm has a simple but effective media kit that you can use for inspiration.
Contribute articles to industry publications and blogs. Kissmetrics has an awesome guide that will help you get started.
Online Directories & Review Sites
Claim your free business listing on Yelp. Encourage clients to leave reviews on Yelp and be sure to respond to both negative and positive reviews.
Sign your business up to Google My Business. Complete your free Google My Business profile and connect with customers on google search, Maps and Google Plus.
Register your business on local business directories. The most comprehensive list of directories I’ve found is Hubspots Ultimate List.
Blogging is a great way to market your business for free, establish yourself as an expert and educate potential customers. It can be time consuming, but worth the effort if you do it the right way. Although it’s possible to blog for free, a really good blog will could have additional costs.
Blog regularly. You should be posting from once a week to daily depending on the type of content you share. People won’t come back if you post inconsistently. I started with three posts a week, but found that I could offer better content by creating one epic post every week. Here are some ways to use blogging to get new clients.
Comment on other blogs. Comment on relevant blogs in your field and leave your URL. By adding value to the conversation, you establish yourself as an authority and people will click on your link to see what you are about.
Respond to comments on your blog. A responsive blog host encourages others to comment. If readers see that you always respond, they will be more likely to comment again.
Post link roundup. Roundups are a good way to share valuable content with your readers and give them a reason to return. Cornerstone content has some great tips on writing a roundup post.
Accept Guest posts. Guest posts are a great way to come up with fresh content for your blog. It’s also a good way to get new readers because the guest blogger will share the post with their audience.
Send your latest post to influencer bloggers. Here a great video from QuickSprout that on how to get into link roundups.
Get a Gravatar. A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar. This is very useful because it connects your picture and profile when you comment on a WordPress blog. You can get one here.
Social media is the most popular way to gain brand awareness and market your business for free. It’s possible to maximize social media awareness without paying for advertising, if you know what to do. And it’s a great way for introverts to network.
Build a Facebook Page. SumoMe has a massive guide on getting free traffic from Facebook.
Start a Twitter Account. This guide from CopyBlogger will help you use Twitter to grow your business.
Instagram. I’ve had great success using Instagram for my law practice.
LinkedIn. Linkedin is a great way to network via social media. Hubspot does it again with another great guide that will help you network on LinkedIn.
Have social sharing buttons on your blog. Readers are not likely to share if you don’t make it extremely easy for them. If your blog is on WordPress, try the SumoMe plugin which allows you to add beautiful share buttons for free.
Create a Pinterest. If you have a blog, you should use Pinterest. It’s a good way to share your posts in addition to sharing (and finding) other great content from around the web. Check out this popular Lawyers board on Pinterest for inspiration.
Use Stumbleupon to gain traffic to your popular articles. For very little effort you can get hundreds, even thousands, of extra visitors to your site quickly. This great article from Distilled has lots of good advice for using Stumbleupon.
Create Videos about your business and upload them to Youtube or Vimeo. You can also use Youtube to help you get found on Google.
Promote other people’s content on your social media profiles. This is a great way to let people know you are not just a robot and are adding value to your network.
Start your own Facebook group and/or engage in others. Facebook groups are perfect for engaging with a target group of people. Participate by sharing relevant information and answering questions. Go back to the SumoMe guide for more tips on this.
Comment on Online News Frequently comment on the local news website and social media, on stories related to your practice area. Keep it relevant and link to your website.
Try Newsjacking. Newsjacking is basically being the first to write a comprehensive article on a trending news topic and sharing it to social media and news outlets. The idea your article will be shared quickly and subsequent articles will link back to it. This only works best if you do a deeper analysis as opposed to just sharing the news. Hubspot (can you tell I love them?) has a comprehensive guide to newsjacking.
Create a YouTube or Vimeo channel. Video is hot right now, and if you want shareable content, video is the way to go. There are hundreds of ways a law firm can use video to market, and I plan to write a guide on that soon. I currently have a Vimeo account and plan on adding to YouTube soon. Law Firm Video Solutions has a great video on the lawyer’s using video marketing (whew!).
Answering questions is the most direct way to demonstrate your knowledge of a subject. It’s also a free way to interact with potential clients.
Participate on the Q&A websites Avvo and Quora. Avvo is is for lawyers and completing your profile on the site give you a lot of authority. Quora has questions on a variety of topics, but it’s less saturated by lawyers so you can stand out. For more tips, Lexicata tells you how to improve your Avvo rating for free and Kevin O’Keefe shares how lawyers use Quora.
Host regular Q & A hangout on Google+ or Periscope. My sister suggested I try this, but I haven’t done it yet. Schedule an hour a week or month where you answer general questions about your area of practice. Share it on your blog and social media and require people to share their email to get the link to to the hangout.
Create a FAQ for your website. Again, it makes you look knowledgeable about your area of practice. And you can direct prospective clients to it before you meet and save you both a lot of time.
Turn Q & A’s into blog content. Take the interesting questions from all of the sources above and make blog posts about them. I keep a list of questions in a Google Doc so I always have inspiration.
Creating an email list is an effective way to market directly to people who are interested in what you are selling. If someone signs up for your list it means they want to hear what you have to say. If done correctly, it’s a fantastic way to turn prospective clients into retained clients.
Join Mailchimp. Mailchimp is a super easy way to collect emails and manage email marketing. Its free until you have more than 2,000 subscribers. Blogger Regina has an easy to follow guide on using MailChimp to grow your brand. I use the SumoMe and Optinmonster plugins to collect emails on my website and blog.
Offer content upgrades. Offering something of value encourages to people to give you their email address. Backlinko gives a thorough breakdown on how to use content upgrades to grow your email list.
Promote your other Services in Emails and Invoices. Check out these ways to use your invoices for marketing.
Use your email signature to market. Here are some clever ways to accomplish this.
Have a custom email domain. Credibility is a huge part of branding and marketing and having @gmail.com or @yahoo.com at the end of your email does not scream credibility. Yola has post giving more reasons your business needs a custom domain. This is not necessarily free, but since you should have a custom domain name for your website anyway, it should not cost you more. I use Bluehost and highly recommend them.
Most lawyers, especially solos, get most of their business from referrals. This doesn’t magically happen, you have to go out and network.
Ask your clients for referrals. It’s as simple as asking. I like to ask after after a success in court when they are thanking me. And I add as a note on my invoices. Entrepreneur has a fantastic article on doing this that won’t make you feel awkward.
Reach out to other professionals that intersect with your practice area. I get a lot of referrals from therapists, accountants, real estate agents, and immigration attorneys. So I try to connect with people in these fields.
Ask people who know you for referrals. Your Facebook friends, church members, neighbors. People who know you and love you already can be big promoters for you. The key is to be specific about your practice area and the type of client you are looking for.
Join Meetup.com. Meetup is one of my favorite ways to meet new people. There is a meet up for every interest; from singles, to photography lovers, even groups for lawyers.
Contact one potential referral sources a week. Plan to meet for coffee, lunch or a cocktail. A lot of people will give you higher numbers but I think one is more realistic. No matter how busy you are you can reach out to one person. Even if its just an email of phone call, you have no excuse for not reaching out to one person a week.
Join one bar association and actively participate. Volunteer to be a greeter at events or join a committee. Anything that will force you to get to know other members.
If you want to get clients to refer, you have to give them something to rave about.
Make your customers feel special. Kissmetricas knows how to make customers fall in love with your business.
Send thank you notes to clients. Two times to send thank you notes to a client is when they send you a referral and when their matter has concluded. Handwritten is more personal if your handwriting is legible. Here are some examples.
Do Client Surveys. Getting feedback from clients is an excellent way to improve client service. If you know what you are doing wrong you can fix it. You should survey clients both during and after representation. Survey Monkey is my favorite way to get feedback and here is a great guide on getting started.
Build a team with other relevant service providers. Many clients want a one stop shop to solve their legal issues. That means being prepared to refer pre-qualified ancillary professionals.For example,my divorce team includes accountants, financial planners, therapists and real estate brokers.
Other Unique Ideas
Create distinctive business cards. Look to Pinterest for inspiration and get an inexpensive logo design from an Etsy. You can have your custom design printed by Vistaprint at very reasonable prices. I even got my first set of cards there free!
Create a free webinar or online workshop. This is low cost way to educate potential clients, build your email list and establish yourself as an expert. You can do all of this for free.
Self-publish an e-book. E-books are a great way to educate potential clients and possibly make a little cash. Amazon makes it easy.
Offer free discovery calls. I don’t offer free consultations, but I do offer free 15 minute phone phone calls where I won’t give legal advise but answer I’ll answer general legal questions and questions about my firm. This gives me and the potential client the opportunity to determine if an in person meeting is worth it.
Start a podcast. Lifehacker tells you how to do it here.
Offer specials or discounts to certain groups. Target groups that are likely to need your services.
Everything We Sell Sheet. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this one before, but once I added a sheet of all my services to my client intake packet, I’ve had an increase in clients adding additional services. This idea is stolen from insurance agencies and here is a great post on how to do it right.
T-shirts. Not free but just one tee for yourself will be cheap. My sister had a tee with my logo on it made for me and every time I wear it people come up to me and ask me questions.
Encourage Online Reviews When a client gives you positive feedback, ask them to write a review. AmEx has tips on how to get awesome reviews.
Try implementing a few of these free ways to market your business today. If any of these tactics have worked for you, share in the comments below. Did I leave anything out? Contact me and I’ll add it to the list!
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