Many small businesses cannot afford the cost of expensive marketing campaigns. So, how can you grow your small business without spending a penny? Here are 5 ideas that we've used.' Hopefully, they will help you too.
Make a list of businesses near you that have similar clients or customers as you do. I's likely that you both have a shared interest ingrowing your businesses. So, why not leverage them as your natural allies ?Something as simple as exchanging business cards can be an effective tool. Human beings naturally work on the principle of reciprocity. It could be as easy as offering referrals, or offering discounts to each other's customers. It's old school, but it can help grow your business without spending a penny.
HARO is a service by Cision, which curates reporters questions. It sends an e-mail out 3times a day from Monday through Friday. In each e-mail, reporters ask questions regarding specific topics. If you are knowledgeable in that given area, you can reply with an answer. This has been an effective tool for both ourselves and our clients. It's an awesome tool to help grow your business without spending a penny.
Granted, to get the most out of the social media sites, you may need to spend some money. But, if you are willing to invest the time and energy, you can still generate a decent following for free. The trick is to post content that is interesting to people. The choice of social media depends on the business. Some, like ours, benefit the most from LinkedIn. Others, however, with a more consumer or visual bent, may do better with Facebook or Instagram. If you have the time and energy, these sites can help you grow your business without spending a penny.
Notably, this is best for businesses with a physical office or store where it services their customers. You can create a free website, advertise your hours, and showcase your business with photos. Also, it allows you to respond to customers directly. It helps with SEO, too. It's one of Google's best tools for helping you grow your business without spending a penny. It would be a good idea to start using it soon, while it's still free. Google will like to try to monetize it at some point, as they have done with every other free product that was helpful.
Finally, review sites like Yelp or Craig's List, for instance. Yelp reviews can help drive SEO, which can help you connect to customers who do not know anything about you. Sure, it takes time to respond to the reviews. But, it provides you an opportunity to be proactive about issues and positively promote your brand. Best of all, it's free so you don' have to spend a penny to grow your small business.
To get the most out of any of these vehicles, you need a comprehensive marketing plan. We offer some free tools to help you build one, and you can see the process we use. Alternatively if you want a simple primer, this post covering the 4 steps to write a small business marketing plan might help.
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Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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