Whatever your side hustle or business is, your marketing efforts are going to be crucial to your success.
To find out what’s working today across a wide range of industries, I’ve crowdsourced some wisdom from Side Hustle Show listeners.
I asked listeners to share a marketing tactic that’s working well for them this year, and I got back a ton of great responses.
Here are 16 of the best marketing tips that were submitted, many of which you can apply to your business today.
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1. Podcast Guesting
MatchMaker.fm is a platform that connects podcasters with guests, and Jeremy has been using it to get booked on shows.
Jeremy said he searches for shows he’s interested in, sends them a message, and has been seeing a success rate of about two in every five.
“It’s really empowered me to kickstart podcast guesting, and it’s a great way to get off the ground,” Jeremy told me.
2. Post Updates on Your Google My Business Profile
Nicole said that a lot of people are not aware that you can post updates under the “What’s New” section of your Google My Business profile.
A marketing colleague told Nicole that posting regular updates can have a “major impact on your traffic and the number of leads you get.”
Nicole manages 24 Google profiles for her clients. She decided to do her own testing and started posting updates within the Google My Business feed for all of her clients.
“I was able to see that month over month, my traffic has been steadily increasing to the point where today it is the channel that delivers the most traffic to the site,” Nicole explained.
Nicole said she posts about 3-6 updates a week. She typically creates batches of posts and uses SocialChamp to automate publishing so she can “set it and forget it.”
3. Think of Marketplaces as Your Advertising Budget
The marketing tip Seth Kimble of IrongateBP.com shared is to leverage existing marketplaces to find clients instead of spending money on ads.
Seth runs a bookkeeping business that he’s recently taken full-time. To build up his client base, Seth used popular platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to find his first clients instead of paying for ads.
If you can find industry-specific platforms and marketplaces, you’ll also be able to find more targeted, higher-paying clients, Seth explained.
Seth has done this and uses a platform called Paro.ai. This is a platform aimed at accounting and finance businesses and has been a very good source of leads for Seth.
4. Take Advantage of Niche Platforms
A marketing tip Vanessa LaBranche shared was “to be open to possibilities.”
A lot like Seth, Vanessa has been leveraging existing platforms as a marketing tool for her business.
Vanessa has a background as a chef educator teaching chef’s how to cook healthy meals and she runs a coaching business.
Vanessa has been using a platform called CozyMeal.com to take her teaching classes online and reach a much wider audience.
She’s been able to tap into the large audience already using CozyMeal and grow other areas of her business while teaching people online.
Vanessa said she’s had a number of happy customers leaving good reviews on the platform, which has helped her gain more momentum.
She has also had other companies reaching out and asking her to teach on their platform, too, such as BurnAlong.com.
Both platforms take a percentage of any revenue, but Vanessa said, “it’s a great way of getting noticed and getting traffic and receiving internet credibility.”
5. Consider Offering a Free Trial
Marketing tip number five comes from my brother, Chris of SouthCoveTutoring.com and it’s to consider offering a free trial to build trust.
Chris has a local tutoring business. He started it as a side hustle, with the goal of replacing his job.
The problem Chris faced was that he didn’t have a foothold in his local community, and he knew he needed to build trust with parents if they were going to pay him to tutor their kids.
A company Chris worked for offered free consultations, which is helpful. But Chris didn’t think that was enough to establish trust and demonstrate what he had to offer.
So, Chris decided to give away a free trial session in addition to a free consultation.
This way, a family could sit down and talk with him about their needs, and then their kid could have a tutoring session and see how they liked it.
This has worked wonders for Chris. In one year his business grew from a few hundred dollars a month to almost $10,000 a month! (And along the way, he was able to quit his job!)
Chris said this model could work for any recurring-client service, like house cleaning, dog walking, or nannying, for example.
6. Get Repeat Customers
Lynette Guy of FreedomFinderVacationRentals.com shared a marketing tip to help keep your customers coming back again and again.
“The marketing strategy that I’m using is not to get new business, but to get repeat business,” Lynette told me.
To do this, Lynette is making sure that when her guests stay at either of her cabins, they have a personalized experience and get to know her brand.
Some of the things Lynette lays out for her guests are:
- Hand-written notes welcoming them
- Welcome baskets with some branded items to take home
- Leaves her business cards out
- Provides robes and cornhole boards with the cabin name monogrammed on
- Flies flags with the cabin name on in the yard
Lynette said she gets a lot of repeat business and referrals from adding these touches.
7. Run a Viral Giveaway
Marie B from Nevermind.Media, a Generation X humor blog, shared a tip on how to expand your reach by tapping into your existing audience of fans.
Marie ran a contest in her private Facebook group for 10 days. She had a caption competition, song name quiz, best joke contest, and loads more fun contests.
While entering the contests, Marie asked people to like her Facebook page, join her email list, share her blog posts, and invite more people to the group.
Marie said she was surprised by how many people took part, and the result was loads more interaction within her community and brand awareness.
Potentially helpful tool: KingSumo
8. Low Competition, Stellar Content, Appealing Design
Borys created BikeDriven.com as a small side project about two years ago as cycling is a passion of his.
After writing more than 50 articles himself, Borys is starting to see some success in terms of organic traffic from Google.
Borys wanted to share his three key SEO tips:
Target Low Competition Keywords
Borys said most of his first articles were big failures, and it’s because he didn’t know how to find low-competition keywords.
Once he started using Ahrefs to find keywords with a difficulty score of 20 or less, Borys said he started to see his content ranking better.
Write Stellar Content
Borys said he also noticed that the more value he added to his articles, the better they ranked.
He tries to buy all of the items he’s reviewing, and some of his articles take 40 hours to write due to all the research Borys puts in.
Have an Appealing Website Design
Borys also thinks that having high-quality images and a well-designed website has helped.
“I believe that in my case, content design and visual aid really helped with the overall SEO success,” Borys said.
9. Just Keep Publishing
For anyone already doing what Borys recommends but isn’t seeing results yet, Astrid from SeekScandinavia.com has a tip that‘s worked well for her.
And that’s to just keep publishing content.
Astrid said she was having indexing issues with her site earlier in the year, as many webmasters and bloggers have also experienced this year.
Instead of trying to figure out the technical side of things, Astrid said she decided to just carry on publishing as much quality content as she could.
“One day, it all seemed to suddenly turn around,” Astrid said about her indexing issues.
She’s also seen a number of other bloggers say the same thing.
So, the morale of the story here is to stay on course and wait for Google to resolve any issues they’re having.
When they do, you’ll have a lot more content on your site to get indexed and should hopefully see more traffic as a result.
10. Maximize Your Paid Ad Results
Over the last six months, Andy from PPCPitbulls.com has seen a lot of success transitioning companies over to Google Ads “Performance Max” campaigns.
This is a newish campaign type that basically consolidates all of the separate Google ad campaigns together and allows you to access all the data from a single campaign.
It’s also a lot more automated, so it’s easier to manage. Andy said it’s especially great for smaller companies with limited budgets.
By switching over, Andy said he’s seen up to a 2x increase in the amount he’s able to invest for his clients while maintaining the performance level.
If you’ve tried Google ads in the past and found it too complicated, Andy’s tip is to give Performance Max a try.
Jason Greenlees from RegionalWebDeveloper.com.au builds stronger regional communities in Australia by providing quality, vetted local marketing networks.
Jason’s marketing tip is to create a marketing strategy that has a cause people can get behind.
If you can create a marketing strategy that has a mission and inspires people to get on board with your mission, you have the potential to grow a community exponentially, Jason explained.
In his own business, Jason set out with the clear message that he wanted to improve regional business in Australia.
He wanted to help connect people with small, local businesses, so they didn’t have to look overseas or work with large corporations to find success.
This resonated with local businesses and has helped Jason create large, well-connected regional communities.
A tool Jason also wanted to share is called Bardeen. This is the Chrome extension Jason has been using to quickly scrape contact data from websites and export it to Google Sheets.
12. Let People Know What You Do!
Dom’s tip is to make sure you’re getting the word out and letting as many people as possible know what you do.
“A closed mouth will not eat,” Dom told me.
When Dom is looking for scrap metal or books to sell, he lets everyone know through all of his social media channels what he’s up to.
Dom uses Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and his Google Business page, and said this is what made his business possible.
Dom said he is making around $2,000 a month selling scrap metal, and $1,000 reselling books. Much of his inventory comes to him through putting the word out on his social media.
13. Add Your Branding When Sharing Facebook Posts
The next tip is also to do with social media and branding and comes in from Stephanie of PoppinSmoke.com.
PoppinSmoke is a site for members of the military community who want to take advantage of their benefits to travel.
Stephanie said that when you’re sharing your content on Facebook, instead of using the default preview that pops up when you add the URL you should create your own image and title.
You can add your logo and branding and it’ll make your content more eye-catching and shareable.
You can see examples of how Stephanie creates her shareable Facebook content on the PoppinSmoke Facebook Page here.
14. Mindset First
Pia Edberg helps people write and self-publish their soul-aligned or dream books.
A marketing tip Pia shared is “getting into the body and feeling safe, and not letting the brain take over.”
Whether it’s exercise, meditation, yoga, or something else that helps you center yourself, Pia said it’s important you find a way to take care of yourself first. Only then will you be able to put your best work out into the world.
15. Look at Your YouTube Analytics
A couple of tips from me; the first is to look at your YouTube analytics for your most popular videos and use this data to create another video on that topic.
Bonus points if you create a playlist with the video that’s already popular as video number one and the new video as number two.
My understanding is that this helps your new video “draft” off of the traffic of the first video and signals to Google that they’re related.
I did this for a recent video and that video already has over 10,000 views and has already earned $500 in YouTube ad revenue.
16. The Instagram “Sneak Attack”
I picked this up from Gill Tietz at Podfest. Gill runs a show called Sober Powered, and what’s working really well for her on the marketing front is something she calls her Instagram “sneak attack.”
The norm in the podcasting space is to announce your latest episode on Instagram, either as a static image or maybe as an audiogram.
But doing this, you don’t really share any meat of the episode. Not surprisingly, these posts don’t do very well.
What Gill proposed instead was to create a carousel post with 5-7 of the big ideas or cool points from your episode.
You can then include a call-to-action on the last slide to go listen to the full episode for more.
You can see some examples of these in action on Gill’s Instagram profile here.
Links and Resources from this Episode
- Bardeen Chrome Extension
- PoppinSmoke Facebook Page