Maybe a neon sign isn't exactly the type of marketing you had in mind. Photo Credit Thomas Hawk, https://flic.kr/p/7F7RAQ
Maybe a neon sign isn’t exactly the type of marketing you had in mind. Photo Credit Thomas Hawk, https://flic.kr/p/7F7RAQ

We know your type. When it comes to computer repair, you’re a wizard. Virus removal? It’s a cinch. Screen replacement? A breeze. Networking? Troubleshooting? You’re a pro. But when it comes to marketing strategy, you can sometimes struggle.

Recently, Gillware conducted a survey of our Partners to see how they thought their marketing abilities stacked up. Of the 100 Partners surveyed, 39% said they had no marketing strategy whatsoever. 50% of all Partners surveyed graded themselves at a “C” or below on marketing abilities. When asked about their most effective marketing tools, most respondents said word of mouth worked best for their business. The most common marketing challenge the survey respondents named was a lack of time and resources for marketing and advertising.

As a marketer myself, I’d love to swoop into all of your shops and help you out with your marketing efforts. But since my swooping abilities are limited, I’ll settle for creating this list of free marketing tools that you can use to get your business noticed on a budget. Fortunately, most of them also require a very low time commitment. Do yourself a favor and kick start your marketing!

Boost Online Presence

  • Start a blog: For most, having a website is the basis of your online presence (although I know not everyone has one). If you don’t have a website, or if you just want to increase your presence on the web without too much effort, starting a blog is a great way to do that. It might seem like a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be! There are tons of free blogging sites out there (I’m a fan of WordPress). Content creation can be challenging, but many tech blogs (including Gillware’s blog) are happy to let you reproduce content as long as you attribute it properly. Even a free blog with reposted content can be enough to get you started.
  • Social media profiles: According to our survey, as many as 28% of our respondents didn’t use social media at all for their marketing strategy. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are easy ways to connect with your customers, when they need your services and when they don’t. Maintaining these profiles can help you build name recognition and brand loyalty. You can learn more about setting up and maintaining profiles, as well as paid advertising options in our eBook.

Creating and designing content

  • Canva: Let’s face it, Adobe Creative Suite programs like Photoshop and Illustrator are super expensive, and can take a long time to learn. Canva is an awesome site that allows you to use predesigned templates and images to create professional looking layouts without the cost and effort of upscale design programs. As an added bonus, it’s super quick to use, so you won’t have to spend forever working on design projects.
  • Infogr.am: Infographics and charts can help you represent data in a visual way. If you want to help your customers (or even your staff) understand some more complex topics in an easier way, this could be an easy way to do so.
  • Free icons and stock photos: When looking for materials for your website, blog or design projects, icons and stock photos can get expensive. Check out Hubspot’s free icons and finda.photo for some free options.

Research, Performance and Analytics

  • Google Analytics: A smart marketer makes decisions based on data. You can use Google Analytics to see how your website pages are performing, and use that information to decide what types of content you want to create in the future.
  • Hubspot Marketing Grader: While our survey showed half of respondents giving themselves a C or below as an overall marketing grade, Hubspot can grade your marketing based on your website and give you specific suggestions as to how to improve.
  • Google Alerts: If you want to keep an eye on your business or even your competitors’ businesses online, set up a Google Alert for certain keywords. You’ll get an email when they’re mentioned so you can check in. There are also a handful of other tools available to “spy” on your competition, so you can stay ahead of the game.

Aside from the tools we’ve mentioned here, there are plenty of other free or low cost marketing options out there. What do you use for marketing? Let us know in the comments.