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Seven Free Marketing Tactics to Grow Your Small Business

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Most people think that marketing "has to cost money" in order to be effective. This article proves otherwise. These seven tactics have all been time tested and proven to work time and time again.

#1 Your Business Card

What does your business card say about you or your company? Is it on cheap card stock? Is there a message on the back? Is there a clear call to action? 95% of the business cards I have seen are ineffective. Did you know that business cards are among the few things that people actually hold on to when given? In Japan, for example, they are coveted. Make your card stand out and load it up with information. If this one item was the only thing a potential customer had, would it move the needle forward towards a sale or farther away?

#2 Free Public Talks

Speaking, in general, is a great way to build your status, but is also a great way to attract clients. Simply go to Google, type in your industry and then the phrase: "event", or "conference", or "expo," and you will start to find lists of all of the different events. Browse the pages and look for the page that allows you to apply to be a speaker at that event. Another great way to find events is to join a few of the Chamber of Commerce's and find out where the different local events that are coming up are being held. If there is nothing coming up in your industry, start something locally and pave the way.

#3 Mining Your Email List

Believe it or not, email marketing is still going strong (and actually increasing) as people continue to read their emails on their smart phones. In the next 24 hours, mine your list. Remove the bounces and the bad emails. Send out an email asking people to "re-opt-in" if they are truly interested in what you have to say; if not, goodbye. The only people you should keep on your email list are people that really want to hear what you have to say. Mine your list one to two times a year like clockwork. Don't be afraid if the number goes down.

#4 The Way You Answer the Phone

I understand that this sounds simple, but the way you answer the phone can make or break a sale. A simple hello just isn't going to cut it. Answering after six rings and then putting someone on hold will also not cut it. Why not answer on the first ring with something like: "Hey there, I hope you're having a great day, this is Michael, how can I help you accomplish your dreams today?"

#5 Your Follow Up

How do you follow up with a potential customer? An even better question is, how quickly do you follow up? You should respond to all requests within 24 business hours (if not sooner). If there is someone who wants a quote, or to chat, make sure to get back to them ASAP. After you have spoken, follow up at least four times, in four different fashions: an email, a physical letter, a phone call, and some type of lumpy mail. One of my favorite lumpy mail techniques is using SendaBall.com. I send a ball after I talk with every prospect saying "I had a ball chatting with them."

#6 Blogging

Blogging is back baby. Well, blogging really never went away. Now more than ever, consumers are looking to put a face to the companies they frequent, or are thinking of frequenting. Blogging is a great way to build rapport with your customers and your potential customers. Blog often and blog about topics that would be deemed useful to your audience. Yes, some personal blogs here and there are great as well, but keep it more informational than anything. Check out the blog at Keg Works for a great benchmark.

#7 Writing a Book

A book is among the best business cards you've ever had. A book helps take your brand or your companies brand up 10 notches the minute it comes out. Don't think you could write a book? Hire a ghost writer. Don't think there's a potential topic for the space you're in? Try me, and check out these examples:

● Lingerie store: How looking sexy can make you feel better and improve your marriage.
● Video Rentals: The top videos that improve mankind.
● Garage sales: How to spot a bargain at a garage sale and re-sell it for a hefty profit.
● Tree Climber: Crazy stories from a tree climber who has seen it all.

While eBooks are great, I still recommend having at least a hundred or so copies printed (check out print on demand by companies like amazon or lulu.com) Physical books command more attention and respect.

There you have it, seven tactics that cost you nothing more than your time. Pick one and implement it in the next 30 days.