15 Easy Ways To Make Your First Sale for Free
On a tight budget and looking for ways to market your product and brand and get your first sale without having invested a single dime? From strategies involving social media to simply using those around you, here are 15 easy and free ways to get your first sale.
Jessica: Hey everyone, I'm Jessica.
Magda: And I'm Magda. You’ve heard the saying: “You need to spend money to make money.” But is that true? And is there any way that you can make money without spending anything at all? If you're looking for the answer to those questions, this is for you. Jessica and I are gonna give you 15 super easy ways to get your first sale for free.
Jessica: And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to advice and tutorials and case studies that we share with you on this channel. So if you're not subscribed yet, what is wrong with you? Just kidding, no, if you're not subscribed yet, welcome to the channel.
But we hope you do subscribe because we've got a lot of great videos coming out and you won't know about them unless you hit subscribe and turn on the notification bell. Okay, the call-to-action is done, and Magda, this is a long list. So let's get into it.
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1. Use Reddit
Magda: We're here to help you hustle. So let's get started. The first way to get your first sale for free is on Reddit. Now, Reddit is a huge community forum website where there are…
Jessica: I think it's called the front page of the Internet.
Magda: Yes, it is. Reddit actually has lots of paid advertising options. However, you're here to make your first sale for free. And to be honest, there are a lot easier ways to do it than paying for ads on Reddit. And that's with lots of different subreddits, like r/iwantthat or r/shutupandtakemymoney. These are subreddits where people share different products that they are obsessed with and that they can't wait to purchase.
Now, you can't just go around spamming your product on Reddit.
Instead, what I would suggest and what's personally worked for me before is actually posting your product in one of these subreddits and just expressing how cool you think it is. Once you do that, there is no doubt that a lot of people are gonna be commenting below asking where you got it, and just link your store.
I've had, in the past, a lot of success with this strategy. And normally, if someone suggests that it's also available on Amazon, I just tell them it's cheaper there.
Jessica: I'll just add a cool... Actually, I've tried this hack too, Magda, using Reddit to get a sale. One interesting thing is that even if people don't make the purchase, there are gonna be a lot of responses and people will tell you maybe what's confusing about your product page, whether they've seen this before, whether they haven't seen it before, what they like about the product.
And that is a great source of information to edit your product page, edit your ads so that your offering is clear and compelling when you do start paying for marketing.
2. DM People on Instagram
Jessica: Okay, the second way to get your first sale or your 50th sale is by DM-ing people on Instagram. Don't click back. I know what you're thinking. You think you need tons of followers to get Instagrammers to respond. No, no, no, I'm not asking you to DM influencers.
I'm asking you to DM average, everyday people who might be interested in your product.
Here's what I did when I used this strategy. I DM the person. I'm not looking for a certain follower account, I just wanna know they're active on Instagram 'cause I want them to read my DM. So I DM the person, and then I say, “I just started this store, love your profile, maybe you'd be interested in letting me know what you think about the store.”
The fact that you come out and say you're new usually makes you endearing to the person who's receiving the message. And in my case, they would go check out my store, tell me that, in this case, they loved the leggings that I was selling, and then if they responded and it seemed positive, I
would say, “Thanks so much for taking that time and for the feedback. Here’s a discount code.”
That was how I got my first dropshipping sale. So it works. Even if you don't have any followers on our Instagram account, you can still use this method to get sales.
Magda: And actually, it probably works even better if you don't have that many followers because they know that you're just getting started, you're genuine, and you literally just care about what customers are saying about your business.
Jessica: Yeah, totally.
3. Use Twitter
Magda: The third strategy for making your first sale for free is with Twitter. Now, if you start a business on Twitter, you probably won't get any responses, any likes, or any sort of engagement.
Jessica: That’s not very encouraging, Magda.
Magda: I know, but I just wanna explain the strategy a little bit more. And it actually comes from Kamil, also known as the Ecom King, who's been on our channel before. Now, what Kamil realized is that you can actually make sales on Twitter, but you need to be smart about it. And when we say being smart about it, we're referring to viral tweets.
Now, if you're just posting tweets about your product, nobody is going to check it out.
However, a lot of times, tweets go viral from other people and whenever people check them out, they click down to read all the replies and what other people are saying. Kamil noticed that if you took a viral tweet and then responded with a link to your product, tons of people would go and check out your store because your store would just be attached now to this viral tweet.
And if someone was checking out the replies and wanted to just see what other people were saying, they would just naturally check out your store.
4. Friends and Family
Jessica: The fourth way to get your first sale for free is via friends and family. No, this is sneaky. This is how you do it. You set up your Facebook page as if you're gonna start marketing on Facebook. Don't worry, I'm not gonna tell you to market on Facebook.
But when you set your Facebook page, you'll notice that on the right, you'll have the option to invite friends and family to like your page. And you can even format a message there that will go out as a message to everyone that this Facebook page sends the invitation to to like that page.
This has worked for me so many times to get sales. And it's not from close friends or family. Instead, it's the distant people in my network who see that I'm starting a business, and they get curious, and they respond, and they say, “This is so cool, I'm going to buy one,” and then they buy one and then I had a sale for free without paying anything on marketing, which means I get to keep all of the profits.
5. Combine SEO and Influencers
Magda: Technique number five is a little bit sneaky. Now, we all know that SEO is good for business. But SEO is so slow. Instead, you wanna more of the power of SEO with the speed of influencers.
Now, if you're just getting started, it's gonna be really hard to convince an influencer to actually advertise your product for free. However, influencers are usually into themselves, and that means that a lot of them are really interested in doing interviews.
A great strategy I've seen a lot of business owners use is interviewing influencers.
Once you interview an influencer, you can then add that interview into your blog posts on your store, and it's most likely that that influencer is gonna share that they were interviewed by your company. Now, once they share that, they'll post it on their website and will drive website traffic naturally to your store.
This is a great strategy and an amazing way to get around paying an influencer to just advertise your product.
Jessica: It's really sneaky. I've never heard of that before. By the way, you can be really lazy with interviewing. You can literally email them three to five questions and say, “Send it back by the end of the week, thanks so much.” You don't need to set up a Zoom call or anything. You're not Barbara Walters. You don't even know who Barbara Walters is. You’re too young.
Magda: Who’s Barbara Walters?
Jessica: Exactly. Oh, are you being funny?
Magda: No, I’m being serious.
6. TikTok Compilation Video
Jessica: Oh ok. That proves my point. How did we get so far in the list without talking about TikTok? Well, now we're talking about it and this is a really easy post idea that you can put together without even appearing on the camera to get your free sale.
You've probably seen products splashed all across TikTok by now. But the thing is, if you just upload a video of your product and tell people to buy it, no one's gonna do it.
You have to make it fun, you have to make it viral.
And one of the ways to do that is to make a TikTok trending products compilation video. This is also known as “TikTok made me buy it.” Is that the hashtag you would use?
Magda: It's what they write at the beginning. So if you were browsing TikTok, before you click on it, it would say, “TikTok made me buy this. Part one,” and it would be like ten different products. And then it’d be like, “TikTok made me buy this. Part two.”
Jessica: Do that. Add that text box, “TikTok made me buy it.” That’s the key to it, so that they see it when they're browsing. That's so smart, I didn't even think that. And then it probably doesn't hurt to have a hashtag too.
Jessica: Put that hashtag on there. But the key to this is you're actually going to take videos that other TikTokers have made and give them credit and share them in a compilation video so that people can like your video because it compiles all the hot products in, say, a given niche or related to a given season, or what have you.
Within the compilation video, that's when you sneak the video of your product in there and then direct people to go to your store to check out the products they saw. They'll see your product, they’ll buy it, you'll have spent nothing on advertising
7. Facebook Groups
Magda: The next way to make your first sale for free is with Facebook groups. Now, if you're someone that's a little bit on the younger side, you may not be using Facebook that much. You might be hanging out on Instagram and on TikTok, and you might be wondering who hangs out on Facebook.
But people do, a lot of people, and particularly in Facebook groups. Facebook groups have exploded in the last few years as huge communities rally around a specific topic or a niche. Now, these Facebook groups really get into the nitty-gritty of topics. They are the perfect place to find your first few customers.
Now, to give you an example, when I was trying to sell some paint-by-numbers products, I found that a lot of people who were interested in paint-by-numbers hung out in Facebook groups. Of course, you cannot just be dropping in your link because you will be banned for advertising.
Instead, what you can do is show pictures of the product.
If you have it yourself, use it and take pictures. And once you do, people will just naturally ask you where you got it from. It's a little bit similar to the Reddit idea, and as soon as they do, then you're allowed to drop in the link.
Once you do, you'll have the perfect audience members checking out your website and beyond your sale, these are the perfect people to ask for feedback about your website, what they like, what they didn't like, and what confused them. Do not miss out on this opportunity.
8. Email Marketing
Jessica: The next way to get sales for free is scalable, which means if you get one sale for free from this method, you can scale it and get tens, thousands, hundreds of thousands of sales for free from this method. Okay, hundreds of thousands might be a lot.
Businesses do it. That's because I'm talking about email marketing. Hold on, do not try to make your emails look super slick and corporate. We already talked about some other tactics we're using. The fact that you're a new entrepreneur is in your favor. That kind of honesty really plays well with early customers.
As soon as you launch a store, start collecting customer emails.
Promise them a ten percent discount code if they just share their email. Once you have even one email that's not your mom's email, go ahead and send them a newsletter. Be funny, be cute, share gifts. Tell them what's new with the product, tell them what's new with the business. Don't be discouraged if that one person doesn't buy, but notice if they open and notice if they click.
From here, you only need an email list of say, five to ten people before you'll probably start seeing this convert. The trick is one email usually doesn't do it, you usually do need to set up a couple of emails.
But the nice thing is once you put in that hour of work that exists for everyone else who will sign up for emails along the way. In essence, you've got one process that you can use to get free sales forever.
9. Instagram Comments
Magda: Now, this next strategy for making your first sale for free is gonna be a tough one. I know you're not gonna like it, but it needs to be said and it needs to be put into this list because this is how some of the best of the best do it, and that is with Instagram comments.
Now, when it comes to commenting on Instagram, a lot of new business owners think that they just need to spam people, that they just need to spam as many people as possible with Instagram comments of anything, and that's gonna drive traffic to their Instagram, to their store, and then eventually get a sale.
That's not how it works.
Now, you won’t need to be commenting a lot on Instagram, but make sure that you're commenting, number one, to people who are actually in your audience. Use the explore page, look at different feeds, and make sure that you find audiences that are actually interested in your product.
Now, once you do, start actually engaging with people. Engaging does not mean just dropping a random emoji on every single post. To be honest, that’s spam, and when I've had accounts comment things like that on my post, it's really weird, suspicious, and I just usually block them.
Instead, if you can just put in a few different words, something a little more engaging, something conversational, you'll start to see that people will automatically just go ahead and check out your profile. If you're funny, lucky you. You can definitely drive tons of sales.
Also, if you're dropping a lot of really funny comments that are getting a lot of likes, they will exist at the top of the comment thread. That means that when people are checking out the comments of a particular post, yours will be at the top and they'll instantly just go ahead click and check out your profile.
Now, make sure that if you are using this tactic that you have a CTA in your Instagram bio. That way if someone checks out your profile, they are pushed to check out your store and consider buying something today or within the week, rather than just checking out cool products.
10. Write for a Niche Publication or Blog
Jessica: Speaking of tapping into a community, the next tip is to write for a niche publication or blog. If writing isn't your thing, you can hire someone to do this, but you don't need to be Hemmingway to get the sale out of this tactic.
Basically, there are niche publications and blogs out there, and they're always hungry for content.
You can offer to write content for free or you can be transparent about wanting to promote your product. What's important here is that when you pitch this idea, you tell them why their readers would like it.
So if you think the readers of a succulent gardening blog would love your article on how to fit different-sized pots to different-sized succulents, then pitch that. And you just happen to be selling those succulent pots, for example. There's a lot of room to get creative here, and creativity is the name of the game when you want to get those sales for free without paying.
We’re two-thirds of the way through.
11. TikTok Affiliate Programs
Magda: Wow! The tenth way to make your first sale for free with TikTok is with affiliate programs. Now, if you’re brand new to ecommerce, you might not know what an affiliate program is or exactly how it works.
With affiliate programs, what you do is you reach out to an influencer on TikTok and you invite them to join your affiliate program.
This means that what they do is they sell your products with their specific code, and you both get paid. Now, this is an amazing tactic, especially if you're tight on budget because you don't have to pay the influencer upfront to advertise your product. Instead, you incentivize them by showing them that they can make money as well. And with that, they are much more inclined to be super effective at selling your products.
Now, if you're worried about the cost of sending samples and also the time it takes for the samples to get to the influencer for them to make a video and for them to actually end up posting it on TikTok, don't worry about it. We've seen one of the best hacks for this is to actually take your own product video for TikTok, and then if you reach out to an influencer and they agree to be an affiliate, just send them the video.
If they're interested in the product, sure, you can send it to them. But that takes so much time. If you just send them the video, then they have a high-quality video that you know is shot the way you want it to be shot, and they can use it and start making content right away.
Your margins may be a little bit lower, but you will eventually make way more sales because you have someone working for you. This is a strategy that a lot of the best ecommerce business owners are using right now, so don't sleep on it.
12. Use Affiliate Programs on Instagram
Jessica: And the next tactic is, don't limit that affiliate effort to TikTok. Take that same affiliate program and bring it to Instagram. I just wanna make two comments or to make sure you're effective at this.
First, when you're choosing influencers to work with, don't be afraid to go small. 10,000 can still be a really effective influencer. What you wanna do is look at the last couple of posts and see how many comments and likes they got. And look at those comments. Are they just emojis or they just “wow”?
That's not the comments you want. You want your influencers to have audiences who just love what they're putting out into the world, and then you want that influencer to put your product out into the world.
Secondly, when you're looking for these influencers, don't be so literal when you're thinking about your niche. For example, if you're selling water bottles, yeah, you might automatically think of fitness influencers. But everyone's got to drink. Mommy influencers have to drink too.
Think about different influencers who might be able to be very creative in the way that they pitch their product, maybe into niches that you haven't thought about before. And remember, you always have to tell the influence what their audience will like about the product to get the influence or excited about working with you.
13. Engage With Twitter Topics
Magda: The next way to get your first sale is by engaging with topics on Twitter. Now, earlier in the video, I told you about a Twitter hack where you respond to viral tweets with a link to your products or your store. This works a little bit differently.
On Twitter, tweets and different subjects are categorized into topics. For example, you might find political topics or topics associated with astrology. When you click on this topic, you'll see a wide variety of different tweets that are focused on this. Now, this strategy, I actually learned from Gary V. When Gary V was still selling wine all those years and years ago, one of the strategies he used was looking up specific terms on Twitter, such as Chardonnay, and then just starting a conversation with people, asking them questions, if they have questions, responding to those questions.
This was an amazing way to make one-on-one connections.
You can use this exact same strategy for your store and your product. Could you imagine if you are tweeting about something and a business reached out to you and just started engaging with you? You'd be blown away. I know I would be blown away personally, and I would really appreciate the genuine connection that they made. I don't know if I'd be interested in the products, but I would at least check out their store.
And here's the thing, if you're in topics, then you already know that everything people are talking about is what's in your niche or your store. So while this strategy can seem a little bit manual, it's an amazing way to start a conversation with customers and try to convince them to make a purchase in your store.
Look at Gary V now.
Jessica: It worked for Gary V.
Magda: It worked for Gary V.
Jessica: But again, we're coming down to: Genuine connections make sales. If you don't wanna pay with money for the sale, you have to pay with time and energy, it's physics. Physics was my worst subject. But it's definitely... this is how the marketing of it works.
Magda: Yeah, the fact of the matter is, you have to talk to people.
14. Host a Giveaway
Jessica: You have to talk. Sorry, you have to talk to people. The second to last way to get a free scale, but not the 10th, the 14th, I just don't have enough fingers. The way to get to free sale is to host a giveaway.
Technically, technically, you do have to buy a sample product for this tactic. I'm just going to assume, frankly, I'm going to hope that you can afford at least a single sample product as you're building your business.
This is super effective because when you start a giveaway, you can do it a couple of different ways, and you can use a giveaway to get a lot of followers, which is social proof in the future, as well as sales. Even better, if you do a giveaway where you ask people to share content, either a post or a story, where they're doing something aligned with your niche, you can use that content with their permission later on.
You can get free content, free followers, and free sales, all from this one tactic.
Now, there are a lot of different ways to do giveaways, I'm not gonna go into the nitty-gritty of it. I’ll just mention that this is something to really look into when you're ready to level up both your social media accounts for your business and your sales figures.
It’s the last tip!
Magda: This is the 15th way to make your first sale for free, and it's gonna seem a little bit weird, but I promise it's proven and it works.
Jessica: I like weird, Magda. Lay it on me.
15. Buy-and-Sell Groups
Magda: If you wanna be successful in the ecommerce realm, unfortunately, you're gonna need to start thinking differently. So if any of these tips seem a little strange to you, get used to it.
The last way to make your first sale afraid is with Facebook groups. Now, I know I already talked about Facebook groups before. But this is with buy-and-sell Facebook groups. These are Facebook groups that are communities of people that are addicted to buying. I think I could count myself as one of those people. People in these Facebook groups want to find cool new products to purchase. And the thing is that these groups are formed online. They don't care about having to go into stores.
They just wanna find the coolest, greatest, and newest products to purchase.
These are the perfect places where you can just drop your link. There have been so many times where I've said, “Do not drop a link because it will be advertising.” But guess what, in buy-and-sell groups, that's all that they want to see.
One of the most successful dropshippers at Oberlo, Nicole, which if you've ever checked out the Oberlo blog, you’re sure to have seen some of her articles, has actually used this tactic many times and seen tons of success with it. So, strange as it is, just know that it works. And those people are out there.
Jessica: Now you have 15 different tools in your tool belt that will help you get sales for free. Whether it's your first sale or your 50th sale, all of these are great, tried-and-tested ways to get a sale without paying anything on marketing.
But why would we stop with this video? Let us know what you've tried to get free sales and what has worked. We're a community here. Let's support each other.
Magda: Absolutely. And until next time, happy hustling.