10 free media channels every business can use

Free badgeIn our digital age, marketers are getting used to thinking about three types of media:

  • Paid: the media placements you buy with cold hard cash, like newspaper ads, sponsorship and ye olde Yellow Pages ads
  • Owned: the media channels that are within your direct control like your website, newsletters, packaging and delivery vehicles
  • Earned: the media exposure your gain from others like social media followers, PR, and people talking about how great you are

No surprise, paid media is where most marketers spend their time. After all, why toil and sweat trying to get people to say nice things about you when you can just buy an ad and say nice things about yourself?

But savvy marketers are increasingly focussing on owned and earned media channels too, looking to ride on the back of the assets they control, as well as goodwill from happy customers. Here at ten free media channels that every business can tap into, right now:

  1. Your email signature should be helping you to sell, sell, sell. It takes seconds to edit and is there to make it really easy and appealing for people to get in touch with you
  2. Newsletters sent to customers who have opted-in to receive your marketing messages can be rich sales environments with dynamic images (that change based on your latest offer or stock levels), personally tailored offers, and creative subject lines that draw customers in
  3. Your business cards and other stationery can carry the latest promotional messages. And with printing costs plummeting you’re no longer tied to a 50,000 print run; with a little ingenuity, every invoice that goes out could be uniquely tailored to each customer
  4. Social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, where your followers congregate to chat about stuff that’s important to them give you a platform to find out what they like, offer advice and support, and help them see that there’s more to you than they probably realise
  5. Your website is a treasure trove of opportunity. Invest in skilled designers to make it sing and don’t scrimp; done correctly this is the most important advertisement your company will ever have
  6. Your packaging or other materials that accompany your goods can help turn a one-time buyer into a repeat buyer. Make your customers feel loved with loyalty discounts or invitations to pass on a voucher to their friends
  7. Your leave-behinds are things like leaflets, warranty stickers, and brochures, and often remain in your customers’ possession for many years after you first meet. Make sure these leave-behinds make it really easy and compelling for someone to get in touch
  8. Your answering machine or voicemail messages can do more work for you than you probably realise. Craft a nice message, drop in a discreet sales plug, find someone with a nice voice to record it, and those missed calls could soon be bringing in extra sales
  9. Your fleet of vehicles, even if you only have one car, offers valuable free advertising space. Adhere a company logo and offer to the side as well as a really simple call to action and see what happens
  10. Your face tells a story everywhere you take it. Smile, relax, be human. After all, it’s only business and, if we’re smart about this, no-one will die. We’re all just trying to be the best we can be, so enjoy what you do and your customers will enjoy being with you too