FREE marketing strategy

Our free marketing strategy is aimed primarily at startup businesses with little to no budget for targetted marketing campaigns. Most of the items below cost nothing and ultimately come down to time and admin. We hope you find the information below useful, we would be happy to help with any of the aspects along the way!

 Shoe-string marketing

Be working

For service providers: “The best way to get work is to be working.” If you are struggling with insufficient work or just starting out, offering free (or in-kind) services might help to:

  • Solidify your experience and provide you with a portfolio/ case study.
  • Help you make a few mistakes without it being too big a deal.
  • Get the word-of-mouth wheel turning and provide you with opportunities to network.

Word of mouth and referrals

This is by the far the best form of marketing!

  • Your clients are the ones who reach out to you.
  • Someone has already vouched for your credentials and abilities – you don’t need to do the “hard sell.” Just be professional and on budget and the likelihood of a conversion is high.
  • Treat every customer like gold as they may be your ticket to your next client/job/sale.
  • Share your customer reviews to make your business more trustworthy.
  • Create feedback prompts for your customers to build positive relationships with them.

Increasing word of mouth opportunities

  • Incentivise your current client base with a % discount on repeat business or if they send someone your way.

  • Offer a finders fee for referrals.
  • Make it easy to share your credentials/show off your work with shareable assets.
    • Website
    • Facebook page
    • Business card
    • Email newsletter
    • Forwardable email/PDF of your services

Incentivise new customers with a % discount

This can be done for free through your social media channels or you can provide a set budget for social media or Google ads.

Early bird discounts/ loyalty programmes

Early bird discounts are a great way to create excitement around your brand/ event and offer your loyal customers a bargain. It is also a great way of increasing your short term cash flow. Creating special loyalty programmes for your customers will also ensure their happiness and retention. 

Basic search engine optimisation (SEO)

Most aspects of SEO you can do yourself, it ultimately comes down to time. There is a host of online information on how to create and implement an SEO strategy.

Public relations (PR)

PR is editorial content – i.e. websites and magazines writing about you or your service. Publications are always looking for fresh content, as long as you or your service is current/ newsworthy, they may write an article about you. This is easiest when you are new or have a unique offering (preferably both). Research which publications cover your field, make a list and contact them with a press release.

  • You can engineer the press release to what you think they want to hear.
  • Make a list of relevant publications and contact them.
  • A discounted offer of your services attached to the article will make the proposition more attractive. 

Innovative ways to reach your target market

Understand who your target market is and try to figure out how best to reach them. Contacting customers directly might be difficult but try to figure out who does have contact with your potential customers and reach out to them. For example, if you are a tour guide, connect with Concierge staff at hotels as they could be able to recommend you to their clientele. Make a list of potential partners, create a simple two-sentence pitch (it can be an email) and communicate with them.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask people to help you – maybe someone would be prepared to display your flyers or business cards on their front desk or send an introduction on your behalf.

Existing customer base

Your existing customer base is a tangible source for new business.

  • Offer your existing clients discounts for repeat business.
  • Consider how you add value to your existing customers by marketing new products and services to them.

Quid pro quo

Favours for favours

  • Find  people would be prepared to display your flyers or business cards on their front desk and offer to do the same.
  • Offer to do social media posts/ shares in return for them doing the same for you.
  • Offer to include them in your newsletter/ media posts in return for them doing the same for you.
  • Offer to link to their website from yours if they do the same.

Email newsletter

Email newsletters are a good way to periodically send relevant information to your supporters, past, and potential clients and most importantly to remind them of your existence. Here you can:

  • Keep yourself at the top of people’s minds.
  • Launch new products and services.
  • Competitions (discount/free service) are a great way to get people to engage.
  • Offer deals and specials to them.

Ways to collect subscribers are:

  • With a sign-up feature on your website.
  • Incentivise submission to your database with a discount.
  • Posting engaging and informative content on your website could naturally entice people to subscribe.

Networking

Always be looking for ways to gently tell people you meet about what you do and offer them your business card. Consider the events you can attend where you can network. Remember, be passionate but not too pushy 😉

Social media marketing

Most major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are free to set up and have the potential to take your business to new levels if implemented effectively by creating relevant and engaging content.
Social media is also a useful tool for creating user-generated content (USG) and sharing the content your clients create/ the electronic word of mouth (eWOM) about your business.

Budget marketing

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Basic SEO comprises of research, creating a strategy and then implementing that strategy. A basic SEO strategy will include:

  • Determining suitable keywords for your website.
  • Writing text content to support those keywords.
  • Implementing technical SEO elements to your website.
  • Link building.

SEO does require periodic updates and results can take months to show. For the above services, you will need to pay a fee.

Google & Facebook advertising

You can target specific demographics of people in your city and set a budget that you can afford. This type of marketing is useful as you can use analytics to track how effective the spend is and how many inquiries lead to sales.

Associations and business networks

Registering with these types of organisations usually carry a small annual or monthly fee but can be a good source of contacts for future business.

Join a networking group – be proactive and attend networking sessions.

Flyers & posters

This is an inexpensive way of raising awareness about your brand or product offerings and can work perfectly instore or on your premises. The challenging part is distribution if you plan to have your collateral seen by the outside world. Unfortunately, you cannot measure the results. For that reason, we would recommend a digital campaign through Facebook, Instagram and Google.

If you do decide you need to print flyers, please ensure you print on recycled paper using non-toxic vegetable inks. See http://www.theethicalagency.co.za/ethical-suppliers for a list of ethical printers in South Africa.

Enlist your own sales force

Enlist the help of people you know to help sell your services/ products for you – offer them a referral fee/ commission for each lead that turns into a sale.

Guerilla marketing

This form of marketing can be executed without a large budget and involves creating innovative and unconventional activations to make more consumers aware of your product offering and create viral conversations about your business.

Contact us now for a free consultation

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World-class branding and graphic design services for both digital and print. Specialising in brand development, stationery, publication design, social media, digital and website design.

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Experienced WordPress website design and development, website maintenance and renewable energy powered hosting. Ensuring security and stability of your robust website at all times.

Satisfied clients

Katharina Gihring
Katharina Gihring
2024-03-20
Wonderful team to work with that goes out of their way to create a beautiful digital product.
Kia Kids-innovate-africa
Kia Kids-innovate-africa
2024-01-11
We received an impecable service from Brett and the team. We received exactly what we've ordered at a really good price. As a rising social impact organisation, every penny spend without the exchange of value could paralise our mission. But, The Ethical Agency, even though they work with global organisations, they were flexible to support us and we are very happy with their service. Bret went above what the briefing required, by taking his time to call/ virtual meet with us to provide added support. The team live up-to their organisation's name and values. A big thanks to you Brett and the team. We hope to work with you guys again in the near future!
Christo van Schalkwyk
Christo van Schalkwyk
2023-12-13
What an absolute pleasure working with the TEA team! Professional, friendly and always willing to help. Highly recommended.
Scott Peter Smith
Scott Peter Smith
2023-12-13
We've worked a number of times with the Ethical Agency now and they have always delivered, on time, on brief and have been available for any tweaks. Lovely to work with
Just SA
Just SA
2023-12-13
Fabulous, committed team! TEA are always willing to go the extra mile to do what is right.
Michelle Shields
Michelle Shields
2023-11-08
I have really enjoyed working with The Ethical Agency. They have been professional and friendly and really helped elevate the brand identity of our new venture. Thank you to Brett and his star team.
Evariste Umba
Evariste Umba
2023-08-18
Good feedback from the Switchboard and CEO
Joette Emerton
Joette Emerton
2023-05-23
I've worked with The Ethical Agency for a few years now, the team is always friendly and helpful and they produce great work! They're always mindful of costs with us being a non-profit, which we really appreciate. All round a great design agency that I highly recommend!
Kira Erwin
Kira Erwin
2023-05-20
The Ethical Agency recently designed and developed the Africa Zero-Waste Hub. They were very professional and responsive. I was really impressed by both the creativity and development skills. I would use them again in a heartbeat!