Is free marketing a thing?

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Who doesn’t want free marketing? I know I certainly do but is it really a thing?

I mean think about search engine optimization strategies. While you’re trying to get free traffic – a.k.a. free marketing – somebody still has to produce the content and the strategy which you have to pay for.

So in the truest sense, free marketing might not be a thing at all. Even think about doing product-led marketing.

Watch: What’s product-led SEO?

Somebody has to create a great product that can lead the marketing. That product-development isn’t free either.

But there are some strategies that at least don’t cost on an ongoing basis. For example, if you create search engine results they can compound over time. Of course keep in mind that just because your site is ranking high today doesn’t mean it will rank high tomorrow.

Listen: Are you doing word of mouth correctly?

The two-dollar bill

One example that I ran across in the off-line world is the free marketing campaign of the two- dollar bill.

There are businesses that give change and typically include a two-dollar bill. Few businesses or people in general are using that bill so every time they give it to me and they do it every time I’m there I pay attention.

Now when I use it at another store or to pay somebody else they usually ask me where I got it.

That gives that other business free word-of-mouth marketing. They entice people to talk about them by giving the two-dollar bill in the first place.

Of course, for digital businesses or in digital campaigns the two- dollar bill would not work.

But think about the concept. What can you give customers that they can easily pass along?

For conferences that could be attendee badge images that they can add on their websites and social media.

Maybe send them swag. Of course that’s not completely free either, but if people wear the swag that ongoing promotion is free.

Listen: Does your company need swag?

I wear swag from conferences all the time when the shirts fit well and are comfortable.

What are some free marketing strategies that you’ve used? Drop me a note on Twitter.