Six seasoned location independent entrepreneurs share their most cost-efficient marketing moves and their best advice for success.
The Experts’ Best Marketing Moves
As a marketing and sales specialist I often get asked what the most efficient marketing moves are. Since budgets are limited, these marketing hacks are usually expected to be low cost and high impact.
To offer the best possible answer, I relayed this question to six successful location independent entrepreneurs. All of them live off their websites’ incomes, and all of them happily shared their knowledge.
The two questions asked were:
- What was your most cost-efficient (or free) yet successful marketing move to date?
- One word / sentence of advice for startups / founders.
The years and years of first-hand experience these location independent entrepreneurs sharing resulted in a precious compilation of expert marketing advice.
Decide for yourself which one you opine to be the most valuable. Then share your thoughts in the comments below or in our Facebook discussion on startup marketing advice.
Related: 10 completely free marketing strategies for freelancers and entrepreneurs
Deb & Dave – The Planet D
Deb and Dave from The Planet D were my first point of contact. I have been in touch with them before and knew them to be quick to respond and super helpful in any aspect. Besides answering the two questions their contacts also proved to be extremely valuable to compile further marketing hacks.
The reason for their helpfulness lies in their philosophy, which helped them to grow a huge followership since founding The Planet D in 2008 after cycling the continent of Africa.
Deb And Dave’s Most Efficient Marketing Move
Asked for their most efficient marketing move, Deb replied:
“I think the best marketing moves we have made that are free is to write guest posts and answer interview questions no matter how big or small the website.
At the start of our careers, we wrote for as many people as we could in our niche to get our name out there. And whenever anyone asked us to join a podcast, answer an interview or host a chat, we said yes. The more we could get our name out there, the better. It really helped establish us as experts in our field early on.”
The Planet D’s Startup Advice
Deb’s one word of advice for startups is “Perseverance”. She then went on to elaborate:
“Today many people want overnight success. That rarely happens. We have always felt that startups and new businesses need at least five years to gain a foothold. When we started our blog, we made a plan to travel non-stop for five years because we knew that is what it would take to make a name for ourselves and gain credibility.
We weren’t looking for overnight success, we wanted longevity.“
If you learn only one thing from this article, then please let it be this. If you’re looking to get rich quick, go to Vegas.
Related: Why I’m not filthy rich yet. Or am I?
Learn more about Deb and Dave and follow them on their inspiring journeys across all 7 continents on their award-winning blog The Planet D.
Earl – Wandering Earl
I love Earl’s blog for his extraordinary understatements. Read his screenplay-ready account on the dude who stole Earl’s car to understand what I mean.
Others would have turned the hostage-taking or the gunfight at the border crossing into a whole book, while Earl just casually mentions them matter-of-factly as side products of having his car nicked.
Besides being super down to Earth, he’s also been all around the planet. Traveling since 1999 you can learn an awesome lot from him.
But his success not just comes from the incredible stories he has to tell. Earl has an almost scientifical approach to marketing.
Earl’s Most Efficient Marketing Move
Asked for his most valuable marketing hack, he replied:
“Creating a spreadsheet over the course of several months that listed and categorized all of the topics/questions that my audience asked me via email, blog comments, social media, etc. This helped me figure out exactly what my audience was looking to gain from following my blog/social media and exactly how to market to them in the most effective manner possible.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your audience might be, paying close attention to how they communicate with you and what they ask you (even if it’s a few dozen people) can provide excellent insight to help you improve your marketing.”
Wandering Earl’s Startup Advice
His best advice for startups and founders aligns with his marketing advice:
“Don’t assume you know what people want – instead, spend significant time figuring out what they want first and then tailoring your product/service to those specific needs.”
I fully agree. That is why the first question I ask when people sign up to my newsletter is “What do you want?”. The answers I receive are often unexpected, yet always very valuable.
Related: How Much Sex Sells. A Super Short Case Study. (Based on audience feedback.)
Learn more from the man who has been traveling since 1999 on Wandering Earl.
Erin & Simon – Never Ending Voyage
Erin and Simon are a British couple on tour since 2010. Their slow travel philosophy perfectly aligns with my idea of exploring the world, and it allows them to offer in-depth advice on all the destinations they visit.
Besides this commonality, they also are vegetarians and travel with nothing but a carry-on backpack. I can’t wait to get to know them in person!
Slow travel also has its costs, and Erin and Simon have found excellent ways to cover these. They are very open about how they make money, regularly share great hacks on saving money and have developed an App for travelers to track their expenses.
Erin And Simon’s Most Efficient Marketing Move
To drive people to their website and generate sales, Erin recommends
“Focusing on SEO. The vast majority of the traffic to our travel blog Never Ending Voyage comes from Google and it sends readers that are very targeted as they are searching for the topic we have written about (unlike social media). In the last year I have focused on SEO even more by updating old posts and searching for high traffic/low competition keywords.
This traffic then earns us an income from advertising, affiliate commissions, or sales of our Trail Wallet budget app or packing book, The Carry-On Traveller: The Ultimate Guide to Packing Light.”
Related: 9 ways to make money online.
Never Ending Voyage’s Startup Advice
Erin then summed up her advice for novice entrepreneurs short and sweet:
“Keep on going.“
And keep on reading. There are three more experts to come.
Learn more about Erin and Simon on their website Never Ending Voyage.
Tim Leffel – Writer, Author, Editor and Publisher
Tim is an award-winning travel writer, author, editor and publisher, preferably based in either Florida or Mexico, and always up for a face-to-face meeting. He has authored and co-authored several books and maintains various websites, one better than the other.
Tim’s Comment On The Most Efficient Marketing Move
Despite having won a ton of awards, Tim amazed me with his humbleness and his honesty when replying
“Sorry, but I’m at a loss for such simple answers to such complex questions. I have done 50 different things to get to this point, grinding it out year after year, and this sounds like a quest for magic bullets. I haven’t found any.
Marketing is mostly a matter of experimentation and adaptation, with almost nothing working over the long term in the online world. Though good, authoritative content has been more consistent than most things.”
Tim’s Startup Advice
His two sentences of advice were similarly humble and honest.
“I’ve got no one-sentence advice for any aspect of what I do I’m afraid. You’ll have to ask Yoda for that.”
My only issue now is that Yoda keeps ignoring my emails…
Related: The three best free newsletter programs for startups and freelancers
Learn more about Tim and his websites or shoot him an email to meet up face to face via Tim Leffel.
Katie & Geoff – Wandertooth
It was my first time contacting Katie and Geoff, but they got back in an instant – and their email footer image looks fun, so I hope we’ll keep in touch. Shoot them an email to see which photo I’m talking about.
Their blog focuses on ‘cautiously-adventurous travelers’, and they create incredibly beautiful coloring books for adults along the way to finance their journeys, while dishing out lots of travel guides for free.
Katie And Geoff’s Most Efficient Marketing Move
But not just their financing approach is different, also their marketing hack for startups and freelancers was one I hadn’t received before in this roundup:
“Responding to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) requests has been an effective (and free) tactic for us, and we’ve gotten media mentions in large American media outlets, such as Forbes and Fox News, through HARO.”
Wandertooth’s Startup Advice
I also loved their one sentence of advice for novice entrepreneurs, as it speaks of efficiency and can save you a massive amount of time.
“Don’t get caught up with what your competitors are doing!“
Exactly. Focus on your own stuff. Then the competition needs to get caught up in what you are doing.
Related: How to succeed as freelancer and beat the competition
Learn more about this lovely Canadian couple on Wandertooth.
Amy & Nathan – Two Drifters
Amy and Nathan met in a dorm in Scotland, an encounter that completely changed their lives. Despite temporary geographical separation they were never really apart. Since they moved in together in 2013 they have literally been together 24/7, as they either work from home or travel together. You should definitely check out the entire story on how they met.
In line with their romantic relationship, Amy and Nathan focus on traveling as a couple, and besides all their travel stories they share a massive load of tips and tricks for happier relationships.
Amy And Nathan’s Most Efficient Marketing Move
With me, Amy shared their best free marketing hack compressed into two simple sentences. The efficient German in me jumped for joy.
“I think the best marketing move for our blog has been really learning about and focusing on SEO. It’s a total game changer, and the most reliable, straightforward way to build traffic.”
The Two Drifters’ Startup Advice
And, since their path was completely different to any other I have heard of to date, they encourage you to try the same.
“Don’t be afraid to do things a new way. Everyone’s path can be different.”
Can. And should. For if you only step in other people’s footsteps, you’ll never leave your own mark.
Related: The Responsibilities of a Digital Nomad
Check in with Amy and Nathan on Two Drifters.
Cee Kaiser’s Comment
SEO, HARO, spreadsheet analysis, interviews and guest posts – the variety of possible marketing hacks to get your location independent business off the ground are endless.
Which one to choose is up to you. As Tim pointed out, it may well be worth trying different approaches, then analyzing which one yields the best results for you.
There surely is no one-fits-all solution. Which is a good thing! As Amy stated, don’t be afraid to do things in a new way.
As the famous American poet and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner said:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Whichever strategy you opt for, one thing they do have in common: They only work if you get started. And then keep on going.
Which you should do. Right after posting your favorite marketing hack in the comments below or in our Facebook conversation on startup and freelancer marketing.
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