Free PDF: Simple 4-step system so more ideal clients find you every day... automatically

How to Market Your Business Without Ads (9 Simple Steps)

How do you market your business without ads? 

You’ve come to the right place. Today you’ll learn how to market your business – without having to rely on costly and unpredictable ads. 

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

How to market your business without ads:

  1. Get referred (+email template)
  2. Use social media in the right way
  3. Grow your SEO (the most profitable strategy)
  4. Learn to create high-converting content 
  5. Build your email list 
  6. Find partners to promote you
  7. Pitch podcasts and guest posts 
  8. Tap into your network (without being annoying)
  9. Upsell your clients (this can boost your income!)

Referrals

The 4-Step Automatic Attraction System

for attracting more clients daily... without paid ads, social media, or "hustle"!

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Asking for referrals is one of the most reliable ways to scale your business. In fact, more than half of small business owners say that referrals are their most successful marketing tactic.

Why?

Because referrals help you connect with your ideal clients and prove you can deliver on your promises. After all, they showcase the results you’ve already helped your existing clients get. 

Asking for a referral might feel intimidating (only 11% of salespeople request them), but it doesn’t have to be.

How you request a referral is up to you: It can be done by email or in person. Either way, keep things short and polite – you don’t want to appear needy or pushy.

I always recommend offering an incentive, like the standard 10% commission for services or 30-70% commission for products.

Here’s a template you can use:

Hi [Name],

I hope this email finds you in good spirits!

As I continue to deliver quality [specific task], I’ve begun to expand my client base.

If you know anyone in your network who could benefit from my services, I’d be thrilled to help them. To show my gratitude, I’m offering a 10% commission for every successful referral.

Feel free to share my contact details with anyone who might be interested. They can reach me at [contact info].

Thanks!

Best,

[Your name]

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. 

Social media platforms have over 5 billion active users, giving you an incredible opportunity to find new customers, increase business revenue, build brand recognition, and generate leads.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look at some of the statistics:

  • 46% of Instagram users made a purchase after seeing a post
  • 65% of Facebook users will visit a brand’s website or app after seeing their product
  • 90% of YouTube users find new brands and products on the platform

But it’s not as simple as posting here and there, hoping it’ll go viral. You have to create and post content regularly, engage with customers, and build relationships.

The easiest way to start is by choosing one platform to focus on and spending 30 minutes a day creating content specifically for it.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to which platform you choose – just make sure that your ideal clients are using it.

Learn more in my definitive guide to social media for business.

And here are the top 3 mistakes you might be making on social media: 

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization – SEO for short – is when you optimize your website with the right keywords, content, and links to rank higher on search engines like Google. 

Why is it important?

Because even though 66% of people do some online research before making a purchase, less than 1% visit the second page of Google results. 

So, it’s crucial to rank as high as possible to increase the chances of future customers finding your website and converting.

In fact, 61% of marketers say that SEO is the best way to find online success. When I invested in SEO for my business, it turned into a multi-six-figure marketing channel in just two years.

You can learn more about it in this guide.

Or take a look at this short video where I explain how to use SEO: 

Note: Even though it’s one of the best ways to generate traffic and get new clients, SEO is an advanced, long-term strategy that doesn’t offer immediate results – so I don’t recommend it to new entrepreneurs.

Content marketing

Creating great content is the key to growing your audience and nurturing your relationship with it. 

It’s also a great investment, costing 62% less than other forms of marketing but generating three times the number of leads.

Coming up with content can feel overwhelming to even the most creative entrepreneurs. I used to spend hours trying to craft the perfect email, write a great video, or come up with a blog post.

But I stuck with it and used content like live streams and social media posts to build my business to six figures, and now, I can create content in less than 30 minutes every day. 

It all comes down to a couple of things: Taking inspiration from what’s going on in your life and finding a structure that works for you

When it comes to structure, focus on starting with an attention-grabber, getting the right format (such as step-by-step guides or tips), and putting a CTA in your conclusion that drives your audience to take action, whether it’s subscribing or replying.

The most important part about content marketing? Make it a habit! 

By creating content consistently, it’ll become second nature.

And if you want to learn more, take a look at this short video: 

Email marketing

Despite what you might have heard, email marketing isn’t dead. 

In fact, 73% of marketers say using email to connect with clients and promote your products or services is important to the success of a business. 

Why is it so powerful?

The 4-Step Automatic Attraction System

for attracting more clients daily... without paid ads, social media, or "hustle"!

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Because people who join your email list want to hear from you — and that’s rare.

Email marketing allows you to foster your relationship with your audience on a larger scale, which in turn makes it far more likely that they’ll buy from you. 

Don’t believe me? The average email click-through rate is 15%, and email marketing generates $42 for every $1 spent.

So, how do you do it?

First, you have to grow your email list, which means getting people to give you their email.

I always recommend generating a lead magnet, such as a free PDF or video, that you highlight in content, on social media, and other outlets.

Once you’ve started growing your list, I recommend using Mailchimp or ActiveCampaigns to manage it.

Next, come up with a consistent email schedule and stick to it. I recommend sending daily emails (personally, I like to send one each weekday).

But if that’s overwhelming or you still need to get a large enough list, stick to one a week and gradually increase the cadence as your list grows.

Then, come up with the right structure. That means generating a catchy subject line and, within the email itself, sharing your experiences and insight while fostering personal relationships.

You can hear more about the ins and outs of email marketing in this video: 

Partnership

One of the biggest mistakes I see new entrepreneurs make is only showing up on their pages. 

A much better approach is to find a promotion partner.

A promotion partner is someone who will share you and your business with their audience and vice versa. You’ll share valuable information through things like blog posts or webinars to help each other grow. 

Spend 30 minutes, twice a week, searching for a promotion partner in your niche. Check out Google, relevant online communities, and your own network to find one.

Remember, your partner shouldn’t be a direct competitor. Instead, their business should complement yours.

Your audience should also be the same size or slightly smaller than theirs. 

Once you’ve identified potential partners, spend 30 minutes, three times a week, reaching out to them.

Let them know who you are, the value you can bring, and what’s in it for them (like exposure to your audience). 

You can learn more about partnership in this video: 

Podcasts and guest posts

Writing guest posts and getting featured on podcasts are reliable ways to build trust, gain exposure, and establish yourself as an expert.

For instance, I’ve been published on sites like Business Insider and interviewed on popular podcasts, including So Money.

Business-insider-article

That kind of exposure is priceless. 

But how do you get it?

By finding publications relevant to your niche and audience, regardless of size. It’s better to talk to 100 relevant people than 1,000 irrelevant people.

I also recommend identifying what I like to call the “gatekeepers” – people who have access to your ideal audience. 

Gatekeepers can be anyone, from the editor of an online publication to an admin in a relevant social media group.

Start engaging and offering valuable advice to get their attention. 

Then, when you ultimately pitch yourself, speak to who you are and how an interview or guest post would benefit their audience.

Here’s a pitch template you can use for guest posting:

Hi [Name],

I trust this email finds you well. My name is [Name], and I’m reaching out regarding a potential collaboration opportunity with [Publication].

As someone deeply passionate about [relevant expertise or interest], I can offer valuable insights to your audience.

I’d love to submit a guest post to [Publication], a platform I admire for its commitment to [relevant topic or theme]. Here are some topics I’ve researched that align well with your readership:

Topic suggestion 1

Topic suggestion 2

Topic suggestion 3

You can see examples of my work here:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Please let me know if any of these options interest you or if you have other ideas in mind.

I look forward to working together.

Best,

[Name]

And here’s one you can use for podcasts:

Hi [Name],

As a dedicated listener of [Podcast], I greatly appreciate your show’s valuable discussions and insights. I’ve been particularly inspired by episodes covering [relevant theme or topic].

Given my background in [relevant experience or expertise], I offer an engaging perspective to your audience. I’m eager to discuss topics like:

Topic suggestion 1

Topic suggestion 2

Topic suggestion 3

I’ve had the privilege of being interviewed on other podcasts, which you can listen to here:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Please let me know if any of these options interest you or if you have other ideas in mind.

I look forward to working together.

Best,

[Name]

Tap into your network

Believe it or not, your personal network is a great place to get new clients. 

Chances are, at least one person could use your expertise; if not, they can refer you to someone who does.

The key is making sure that they know about the services you offer. When you reach out, try doing it with a message like this:

Hey [Name],

As you know, I’ve been [specific task] for a while now, and I’m starting a business that helps people [specific goal].

If you’d like to work with me, please let me know! Or, if you know someone who might be, I would appreciate it if you could connect us. 

I’m happy to hop on a call so they can get to know me and learn about the process.

Thanks,

[Your name]

Once you’ve sent the message, be sure to follow up in a personal and polite (but persistent) way. 

Trust me, this works! I started my first online business when I realized that people in my network needed career advice.

Upsell your current customers

Put simply, upselling is persuading customers to buy into a more expensive version of your services. 

I see a lot of people balk at this suggestion.

Remember, upselling your clients isn’t scamming them. Upselling is about adding value and delivering better results.

It’s all about asking, “How can I enhance this relationship and improve results?”

When you upsell a client, you’re promising and delivering greater value. You deserve to get paid for it!

Trust me: If someone doesn’t want to pay you, they won’t.

The 4-Step Automatic Attraction System

for attracting more clients daily... without paid ads, social media, or "hustle"!

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When I started scaling my online coaching business, upselling was one of my most successful strategies. 

As soon as my students began to see results from the mastermind coaching program, I upsold them to one-on-one coaching sessions. It earned me $20,000 more in revenue.

Next steps 

There you have it!

As you can see, it’s possible to grow a business without ads as long as you follow the nine simple steps outlined above.

And if you want a more sustainable way to grow your client base that doesn’t involve ads, I’ll show you exactly how I did it in my masterclass, Clients Come to Me

Reserve your seat here.

Read more:

How to Build a Business Without Social Media

The Best Online Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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