When some bloggers are starting out, they have NO money to spend on getting customers. This can be very stressful, especially if they expect blogging to be their only source of income. However, over the years, many case studies and tools have been introduced into the market that allows you to attract customers without spending a dime. You might think this is impossible, but I’ll be going over some of them today. By building blog growth and attracting customers WITHOUT spending a dime, you’ll be able to be competitive in a market which might feel is impossible. Let’s get started, and explore some of the FREE methods available to you online.
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Leverage the Communities
Forums and other online communities have been around a long time, and are completely free. I’m surprised by the number of people who fail to NOT leverage what is available online. For example, I believe every niche has a forum and doing a quick search in Google will introduce you to a handful. Start by doing a quick search in Google, typing keyword + forum, and you’ll find some solid forums that you can start engaging in. The cool thing about forums is, over time, you can build a solid reputation for providing value, leading to a huge following. I know many SEO bloggers who got started on forums, later attracting them to their own blog. Forums tend to be solution-based, giving you an opportunity to showcase your skills and knowledge within your niche. Finally, you are able to add 1-2 links within your signature, which is another great way to divert people to your blog. However, it’s important you follow some important rules when participating in forums.
First, always provide value because these forums are being moderated, and you can be banned if you start SPAMMING. The positives outweigh the negatives so take your time and build a reputation for yourself over time because you’ll have an easier time attracting visitors to your blog this way. Secondly, the forum you choose should be as niche specific as possible, allowing you to leverage as specific people as possible to your blog. The more precise your audience, the more engagement you can expect on your blog. Third, always add a signature to your posts when you have an opportunity because this will help build a value link back and drive traffic.
Head over to Google and do a quick search with your keyword + forum. Create a list of 4-5 forums specific to your niche, then start skimming through each. It’s important you find 2-3 that have the following:
- Large membership or users
- Allow signature (not necessary)
- Are niche specific
- Have a variety of questions
In regards to other communities, try leveraging:
- Facebook groups
- Twitter groups
- Craigslist groups
These are all popular, and have grown enormously over the last few years. Not to mention, each year they continue to grow, attracting more people, which works in your favor.
Depending on the type of blog you have, it’s a great idea to leverage affiliate programs to generate a buzz. What are affiliate programs? It’s a system implemented in your blog, commerce site, or marketing where you pay others a fixed or recurring commission to promote your product. Affiliate programs are great because other people actually use them to generate profits through their blog. For example, over the years, I have used so many products, some of which I have found very useful. I would write content based on the product, and get a commission in return when someone buys through the website. How does this help the seller or blogger with the affiliate system in place?
First, it’s a great way to have others promote your content or product for you. Someone will copy their own designated affiliate link and promote it to their readers, within communities, or even paid marketing. Secondly, some affiliate systems are free to implement into your website or offer a free trial in the beginning. This means there’s very little initial investment from you when starting out. The turnaround is very quick and you’ll have a thriving business within a few short months. If you’re using WordPress, you can make use of their FREE affiliate plugins, however, the paid systems offer a better tracking interface.
Another cool thing. With affiliate programs, you’ll only pay when someone makes a purchase, so, again, you won’t be paying for dead conversions. If you are just starting out, and have no initial marketing budget, then why NOT have others promote your blog and products for you? Do a quick search in Google and you’ll be able to find some solid affiliate interfaces that can be set up within a few days. If you’re using WordPress, then do a plugin search to find what’s available in terms of affiliate program systems.
User Social Share Incentive
Social media has changed the way people interact with content, and is definitely a plus for those who are starting out with NO money. Social media allows people to share content they find valuable with others, which is awesome for engagement. For example, 2 profiles with 20,000 followers among them sharing content will generate enormous buzz quickly. This is even truer because niche specific people usually follow other niche specific people, allowing your content to be shared with those who’ll find it valuable. However, because we are talking about generating customers and readers WITHOUT money, let’s dig a bit deeper. Why is social media so important?
First, it’s FREE to use and sign up unless you are paying for advertising space through their program. Secondly, you have almost every niche using social media to connect with others who have something in common. Third, people are always on social media throughout the day, which gives you an open window of engagement. You can post content, go to sleep, and the next day, it’s an international hit. Social media tracks statistics or allows you to implement a tool to track data. This will give you insight into the people reading your content and how they interact with your content. Finally, social media is growing each year, and gives you a chance to explore other content relevant to your niche. This leads to further content ideas, traffic, and conversions in the future.
How to get started on social media:
- Register a FREE account on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +
- Set up your profile or page, describing your business so others know your niche
- Start adding relevant people and also join others to create a mutual connection
- Share your best content because it is the only thing that goes a long way when on social media platforms.
Blogger Outreach (AMAZING)
When I first started in the blogging industry, one of my partners mentioned the importance of blogger outreach. Unfortunately, I neglected the advice for several years before actually setting up a proper outreach campaign. What is blogger outreach, and how can it get you ranked quickly with very little money? Let’s take a quick look.
First, blogger outreach is networking with influential people within your niche who have made a huge difference over the years. It’s about connecting with bloggers through a solid email marketing campaign so you can leverage their popularity and traffic. If you have been blogging for some years, then you know who to reach out to, however, those getting started can start by doing the following:
- Doing a quick search in Google, looking for relevant powerful blogs within your niche.
- Create a list of the MOST influential blogs within your niche. You can also look in forums, communities, and ask other bloggers for their input.
- Writing to each one of the top bloggers, asking their input on a specific question or just a general introduction email. I’ve noticed that if you ask them for an interview, then they’ll MOST likely help you out because it gives them a chance to showcase their products.
Here’s what you should be focusing on going forward. Start by finding the MOST influential people within your niche, and create an easy to follow list. Then start gathering some questions you’d like to ask them or even creating an approach to initial the conversation. Ask yourself these questions:
- What can I do to open the doors of communication?
- What content format do I think they’ll be attracted to? i.e., how-to, interview, expert opinion
- What is the best way to contact them?
- How long should I wait before writing another message to them?
By answering all these questions, you’ll be able to gather the right type of data that will help in your campaign. For example, these questions will make it easier to construct a plan that increases the chances of response time going forward. Once you have created a solid network of influential bloggers, you can then proceed with guest blogging, social media, or general feedback from them.
When you have connected with them and created a relationship, then you can pitch them some awesome content ideas. You’ll end up getting published on their blog, which will lead to traffic, conversions, etc.
If you’re a blogger providing services, then offering a free trial can be your best friend. Who doesn’t want free products, especially when things these days are very expensive? I’ll admit this doesn’t seem too enticing because you’re not making any money, but it’s a great way for people to understand the quality of your work. Setting up something like this doesn’t have to be time-consuming because it starts with a simple opt-in. When a visitor arrives on your website, then have the following set up:
- A pop-up appears
- Visitors inputs email address in return for the free trial
- You contact them directly and make service arrangements.
With this setup, you’re doing two very important things:
First, you’re collecting email addresses, which can generate enormous return visitors long-term. This can lead to further conversions and business. Next, you are able to promote your business for free WITHOUT spending any money. I’ll admit you’ll have to work for free, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
Get started now with Aweber.com, which I believe is one of the best email marketing interfaces available.
At one point, starting a business without any money would be impossible, but these days, it can be done with very little investment. The Internet has blown up, connecting people from all over the world, which is an amazing thing. I remember 7 years ago, when I first got involved in the industry, it was tough trying to make ends meet. I needed a few hundred dollars a month for marketing, which delayed progress. This is especially the case when you expect online blogging to be your main source of income with very little help from other outside sources. Either way, I think the Internet has grown for the better and we should all take advantage of the ways discussed above. With that said, it’s time to get started by implementing the following:
Read through the main points again, understanding the points mentioned above. Only then will you be able to implement the strategies when necessary. If you have no clue what was discussed above, then I advise you to Google marketing with no money, and you’ll find a handful of awesome resources. Next,
Start compiling a list of niche relevant sites that will help you in your journey. This means focusing on forums, communities, other blogs, etc. Make sure you target high quality authoritative sites because the better the site, the better engagement you’ll get back. Third, start implementing the strategies discussed above and keeping track of results. This will ensure you know what’s working and what’s not so you can then focus your attention on effective strategies.
Making Affiliate Money