How to Successfully Promote Your Business Without Being Spammy or Salesy

I have been able to successfully promote my businesses online using guerrilla marketing.

Each time, my tactic was the same: connect with relevant communities, provide value and knowledge so that people see you as a go-to expert. This works well for both online and offline businesses, as you’ll soon see.

When I started selling my own private label on Amazon several years ago, I joined multiple Facebook groups related to selling on the platform. From my day job I already had experience buying from Alibaba and negotiating with Chinese sellers.

So after a few comments and answers to questions in those groups – which were full of first-time buyers on Alibaba – I was quickly seen as a guy who knows what he’s talking about.

I didn’t plan on promoting myself, but soon I started getting multiple direct messages from people asking for help. Initially I offered free advice, but as the number of requests grew I had to start charging a fee.

This wasn’t just about compensation for my time; it helped distinguish people who desperately needed immediate help from those who were just curious. If I had joined those groups as a course seller and tried to sell my business, I probably would have been kicked out quickly. But sharing knowledge freely can help you stand out among those willing to pay for expertise.

Something similar happened with this blog, which started as a hobby. Most of my target audience at the time was on Reddit and Quora, and so was I. Promoting my blog directly there would have been pointless and would probably be considered spam. Instead, I did what I had been doing with the Facebook groups.

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I started answering questions on Quora that were relevant to my niche. Within a few months, I gained over 2 million answer views and almost 2,000 followers. At the same time, I started writing guides on Reddit. In the first two weeks I had two top spots in r/entrepreneur, one of which was one of the most upvoted posts of all time.

This exposure led to journalists contacting me, and one of my posts landed me an interview on Yahoo Finance. The same Yahoo journalist has contacted me several times over the years for input, citing me as an expert on her stories. Even now, almost seven years later, people are reaching out because of that post and asking additional questions as comments are now closed.

Now how does this translate to an offline business? A friend of mine owns a small local aquarium store. He was doing well, but nothing spectacular. At the time, forums were all the rage (I’m not sure Facebook groups even existed) and he started getting active on a local online forum for fishing enthusiasts.

After a few months he had established himself as one of the most knowledgeable men on fish in our city. His business exploded. People came to his store to ask questions, they came when they had a problem with their aquarium, and of course they often bought something during their visits.

They started recommending his store to others because they knew they would get all the information they needed about caring for their fish. He wasn’t just a fishmonger anymore; he was seen as an advisor.

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The same principle can be applied to any business. But here’s the catch: If you’re selling watches and have no more knowledge about them than the average Joe, then good luck. The key is to provide real value and expertise that sets you apart.

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