Free marketing methods can be a powerful and cost-effective tool to promote your knowledge business. But how can you stand out in a crowded world?
In this guide, we’ll cover lots of free marketing channels and include some specific best practices on how to be successful with them.
Check out our video covering the results of 2021 Knowledge Creator Marketing Study. We report on some helpful marketing benchmarks and popular strategies:
How to maximize free marketing methods
Despite many influencers and brands having hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, it’s still possible to gain an audience. You just need to know how to prioritize and effectively produce the right content.
Free marketing methods on social media rely on two core tips:
- You must have high-quality content to consistently share.
- You need to optimize the content to appeal to various platform algorithms.
These two tips will help your content come up to new people that may be in your target market.
How to leverage organic marketing platforms
Using free marketing methods cost your time rather than money. To leverage these channels for free, you need to create content that will resonate with your target demographic.
Having a presence across multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is ideal. But, remember that this requires a lot of time to maintain.
Even medium-sized companies have teams of content creators. Don’t underestimate the amount of time that goes into planning even a few months of content for one channel.
For knowledge entrepreneurs, here is a basic breakdown to maximize your marketing efforts:
- Work on a platform that you already have some audience on
- Choose a platform that best aligns with your business and brand
- Recycle content across other platforms
- Batch create content to have materials in the pipeline.
Now, let’s take a look at the options you have to market your knowledge business for free.
Community-based social networks
LinkedIn is best known as the professional social media platform. This makes it a natural fit for many knowledge commerce entrepreneurs.
What’s great about LinkedIn as a marketing method is that posts will get shared into others’ feeds. This means your posts can reach many outside of your network. Some posts will go semi-viral with thousands of reactions and comments.
This post has reached over 33 million views:
Content that resonates on LinkedIn includes stories about all things work. Share about coworkers, working styles, challenges at work, company-related content, and of course, announcements of new products or services.
Having a larger network helps to get your posts seen by more people. The more connections you have, the more people that could interact with your post to get it in others’ feeds. Go to the Connections tab and send an invitation to connect with as many people as you have actually met.
On LinkedIn, it also helps to be active in relevant groups by industry, location, and educational institutions. Start conversations and comment on others’ posts. Make a combination of self-promotional and non self-promotional posts.
If you gain some organic traction, you can later amplify it with LinkedIn advertising.
Nextdoor is a hyper-local social network platform designed to build your community. It requires location verification and groups users by neighborhoods. People primarily use it to gain information on local happenings and recommendations.
You may be able to appeal to local community members by asking them to support your independent business. Post a blog post or your website and ask fellow users to click the website to boost your SEO. People feel good about supporting local entrepreneurs, and you just might find someone who is interested in your course.
Facebook is one of the most established social media platforms with roughly 2.8 billion monthly active users. Having a Facebook Business Page is worthwhile if you ever plan to use it for paid advertising in the future.
But, getting your organic business content seen can be very challenging. Neil Patel shares this is because there is so much content being published in the feed.
Having a Facebook Business Page is free, and can be a great source of information about your business. It’s connected to Facebook Messenger, comes with the ability to edit Calls to Action, and comes with reviews.
However, getting people who Like your page to see your organic posts is challenging. Since Facebook wants businesses to pay for advertising, often only 5 - 15% of your page followers will see a post.
One possibility is to repurpose content for other channels to Facebook for your organic feed posts. If you know the content won’t be seen by the majority of your followers, recycling rather than optimizing may be the most efficient choice. If you’re posting on Instagram, you have the option to link to your Facebook Business Page and automatically post the content on Facebook as well.
To drive organic traffic, make sure you’re using all of the Facebook features, like Stories, Watch, and going Live. Join relevant groups and interact as your page rather than a personal account.
How one Kajabi Hero uses Facebook
Starting a Facebook group related to the industry is another way to leverage the channel. Kajabi Hero Rachel Brenke of The Law Tog is an intellectual property lawyer.
The firm hosts a Facebook Group as a community for professional photographers to discuss the legal aspects of their business. This drives business to the firm’s website where she sells digital products like contracts.
Trade shows allow you to meet new people and find new opportunities. Many trade shows offer free visitor passes to their exposition hall to encourage attendance. Look for a discount code or ask exhibitors if they have free passes to give out - they often do.
Before attending, do some research and be intentional to maximize your experience:
- Look up the exhibitor list and floor plan to map out your visit
- Ask your network if they will attend the show and connect or reconnect with those people in-person
- Bring lots of business cards to exchange
- Use a scanner app to load cards into your contact list faster
- Invite people to connect on LinkedIn soon after meeting
Trade shows can also be great speaking opportunities if you are a credible source. Typically, the show organizers will invite speakers, so position yourself as a subject matter expert.
But, many exhibitors host speaking sessions and panels. Leverage connections with exhibitors and pitch that you’re available if they need a panelist.
Directories and Industry-Specific Platforms
There are many general business directories like Thumbtack, Yelp, Yellow Pages, or websites tailored to a specific industry. Having a profile or listing with these websites can help provide exposure. However, many of these websites sell premium placement on their directories, so it can be hard to stand out from the competition organically.
If you’re looking to sell knowledge products rather than services, these platforms may also not be an effective use of time. If you’re looking to teach lawyers about how to run their law firms, you don’t want to spend time on a platform advertising legal services.
But, for some knowledge entrepreneurs, the people coming to these platforms may also be in your target market for your knowledge products. For example, a fitness coach may offer both in-person sessions and online courses.
If that’s a possibility for your business, quickly create a free profile. Populate it with some basic business and contact info to possibly drive traffic back to your website.
Email marketing is making a comeback. It can be a great way to nurture potential clients and close sales.
To make this channel work, you need subscribers. Generate these from website opt-in forms and lead magnets.
Kajabi Hero Giselle Ugarte shares how to use email marketing when launching a course. She credits Jeff Walker for the inspiration.
She recommends, "Send at least 10 emails (with three on the last day alone). Think: announcement, status update, testimonials, FAQ/objections, bonuses, scarcity, etc. Include at least two pieces of free ‘pre-launch content’ before you even start the sequence. And please, do not use a template. Speak your words out loud to make sure it actually sounds like you, and not a message bot!”
If you’re looking to send true mass marketing emails, Mailchimp has a limited but free plan for lists under 2,000. Looking for more features, or have many contacts? Email marketing is included as part of every Kajabi membership.
Video and image-based social networks
Video and image based platforms are popular with users because the content is visually appealing and often entertains or teaches. These can be a great fit for knowledge entrepreneurs to gain fans and nurture potential clients at the same time. Let’s cover what it takes to be successful:
Instagram is a hugely popular platform that is great for branding and driving traffic, and known for creating internet influencers. In order to stand out and gain traction, try to follow the ever-changing recommendations to please the algorithm. Here are some examples:
Don’t stop after posting Feed posts. Utilize IGTV, Instagram Reels, and Instagram stories. Plan to post multiple times a week on each.
Kajabi Hero Kelly Leveque successfully leverages Instagram Reels and IGTV. Her content garners tens of thousands of views and has consistent branding throughout.
Use both competitive and non competitive relevant hashtags. Experts say that 11 is the target number of hashtags to use. A few minutes before posting Feed posts, search for posts with the same hashtags you plan to use and Like them.
Add a location to all posts for additional exposure. In your feed posts, ask viewers a question to spark them to comment, as comments are some of the best engagement for your posts.
Brands will often use Instagram to host giveaways with rules to follow the account and tag a certain number of friends to grow the audience. Make sure you’re in compliance with all laws governing contests and promotions.
Check out the official Instagram for Business getting started guide to get more tips straight from the source.
Lots of knowledge commerce and subject matter experts use the platform to build their brand. For example, lots of doctors and finance experts are on the platform.
TikTok, like LinkedIn, will boost posts outside of the account’s audience. TikTok does this on the For You Page, and it allows people to grow an audience quickly.
Kajabi Hero Gwen Lane of The Spark School says, “I stick to my niche but add fun and personality as well and hop on trends when I can. Grew super fast, I was able to get to 24,000 followers and 1 million views in just over a month. Plus, I’ve even seen them convert to sales.”
Here are some tips for getting started on TikTok:
- When first joining, plan to post frequently. Social media expert and computer scientist Dr. Jen Golbeck recommends posting up to three times a day.
- Get familiar with what’s trending. Understand the popular sounds and the context of memes before trying to replicate.
- Plan to use closed captions. There are services that can automate this, or you can do it by hand.
- Many people repost TikToks to Instagram Reels and vice versa. But, Instagram has shared that they will not make recycled content with TikTok logos as visible, so be mindful of this strategy.
Youtube is synonymous with online video. It’s the second-largest search engine and has billions of videos. Knowledge commerce entrepreneurs are a good fit for this channel because they often have lots of material and the equipment for good production value.
For example, Kajabi Hero George Gankas, a golf coach, hosts many videos on Youtube to help promote his business. He’s gathered over 68,000 subscribers and many of his videos have tens of thousands of views. These videos can help drive relevant traffic back to his website.
To find success on Youtube, do research about relevant topics. See which garner views and where there may be gaps you can fill.
When creating videos, use SEO best practices for titles, such as putting the primary keyword at the beginning of the video title. We can see from GG SwingTips Golf that many of the top videos start with “Golf Tips” - something users are likely to search.
Make sure to use a robust video description and include links to your website. When uploading videos, go to the Show More section to add up to 500 characters of relevant tags.
Youtube Shorts is another medium similar to TikTok with short videos created on mobile devices. These have their own section within Youtube. Upload and create short video content here for more visibility.
Plus, some creators are eligible to be part of the Youtube Partner Program to earn money from their channel. Check out our guide to monetizing your Youtube channel for more in-depth recommendations.
Regardless of the Partner Program, Youtube is a great marketing channel. The content is easy to share on your other marketing channels. So, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of it.
Search engine optimization is an important marketing strategy to help your website pop up when people search for services or products that you offer. Let’s cover two important channels that can impact your SEO.
Google My Business
Google My Business is your business listing that helps you show up on Google Search and Maps. Having a complete profile helps your reputation management by being in control of what customers see when they come across your business. You can add the address, hours, phone number, photos, and it will show reviews.
For example, Kajabi Hero Hope Flower Farm has filled out their Google My Business listing, and when someone searches for their business, this side bar pops up. This allows potential customers to get much of the information they could be searching for.
Be sure to collect reviews as well. These populate on Google Maps and Search, help your SEO, and build confidence with potential clients. Plus, because many people already have an account with Google, it’s easy for past clients to leave a review.
Blogging allows you to educate your audience, define your brand, and demonstrate your competitive advantage - all while giving information to search engines to help your website rank higher. Blogs can be casual or formal, short or long, but there are some general guidelines to help any blog be successful.
Aim for consistency. Hubspot recommends one or two blogs per week for brand recognition and up to five times a week if you’re optimizing for organic traffic. Choose an amount and cadence that you can reliably produce and stick to it.
Batch produce. Dedicate time to creating multiple blog posts and aim to have content in the pipeline for a few weeks. Batch your brainstorming, research, outlining, and writing.
Get specific about topics. This helps you pop up for unique keywords, generates multiple blog post ideas, and makes it easier to write brief posts that still have value to the reader.
For example, a relationship coach could write one blog post on resolving interpersonal conflicts. Or, she could generate multiple posts by discussing how to resolve specific areas of conflict.
Answer a question in your blog post. By framing the topic as a question, that can help your post show up when people search for that same question.
Use tools to find keywords or topics to take on. Prioritize topics that may be easier to rank for and require fewer backlinks.
Be a guest writer on other blogs and cross promote those posts. Team up with fellow entrepreneurs in your network and exchange posts to share traffic and give each other helpful backlinks.
The best part of royalty-based marketing platforms is that they drive revenue which can add another income stream. Unlike social media, they don’t necessarily require frequent and consistent posting to drive traffic. Plus, having content available on these platforms gives you another easy thing to post about on your other platforms.
Many knowledge commerce entrepreneurs have already produced enough content to fill a book. Self-publishing a book or eBook to host on another platform can be a way to get brand exposure and another income stream. Check out these platforms:
To save time, you could use an aggregator service to handle the legwork of formatting and uploading for you.
Kajabi Heroes will sometimes use eBooks as lead magnets to collect email addresses. You can get more mileage out of that content by uploading it to other self-publishing platforms.
Redbubble and Society6
On Redbubble and Society 6, content creators upload designs, then shoppers buy various products with those designs. These include shirts, tote bags, prints, water bottles, shower curtains, phone cases, and more. Both platforms handle production and fulfillment so they are passive ways to earn commission once you upload the design.
If you have interesting or inspirational quotations that come from your knowledge commerce courses, you could upload them as designs to make money. Most artists on these platforms need to self-promote to generate sales. But, if you have time and some graphic design skills, both platforms are worth checking out.
Tying your marketing to sales with Kajabi
Free marketing methods are great and can generate lots of interest. Then, it’s important to have a solid platform where you can direct that traffic to convert into paying customers.
With Kajabi, you get everything you need to run your knowledge commerce business and sell your video or audio courses. You get a customizable website, landing page builder, sales pipelines, and email marketing to help nurture your newfound audience.
Ready to learn more? Check out this demo,our pricing, then start your free trial.