When your business is just getting started, spending thousands of dollars on a one-shot paid marketing campaign that’s not guaranteed to deliver the results you need is out of the question. Your company can’t grow without marketing, but paid campaigns cost more than many small businesses can comfortably spend. Fortunately, there are dozens of low-cost or no-cost ways to get the word out about your business offerings—and many of them don’t require as much effort as you might think. Read on for new ways to grow your company without breaking the bank.
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No-Cost: Start a Blog
As a small business owner, you’re an expert in your field. Whether you know every secret ingredient it takes to make the finest pizza, the best way to train a new puppy, or how to develop a top-tier website, you have special insights that potential customers would love to read. Starting a blog to share some of your knowledge will improve your website’s ranking in search results and position your company as a thought leader.
Low-Cost: Hire a Content Agency
Blogging is an accessible way to get into the world of content marketing, but to make the most of it as a business strategy, you’ll need to post two to four times each week and use search engine optimization strategies to ensure customers find your blog. If you’re wondering how you could possibly dedicate that much time to SEO and blogging and still keep your business running, you’re not alone! More than half of small businesses outsource their content marketing efforts to SEO writing companies.
Hiring content writers is relatively inexpensive but can save you hours of time on marketing efforts. If content marketing is shaping up to be a big part of your growth strategy, consider getting help with your posting schedule before it devours too much of your work week.
No-Cost: Partner With Microinfluencers
Only a few social media stars have the enormous audiences most people associate with online influence, but there’s a downside to their reach: less engagement. Smaller influencers with fewer than 10,000 people might not seem like a great way to earn more publicity, but their followers are much more likely to see and interact with their posts. Many customers also associate smaller influencers with greater authenticity, and you can leverage that built-in trust by sending free products or trials to influencers in your niche, who will review your product and feature it on their page—often at no additional cost.
Low Cost: Develop an Influencer Strategy
Finding the right influencers for your brand means sorting through hundreds of social media profiles, examining top hashtag trends, and spending hours emailing influencers you can’t be sure will want to work with you. Influencer marketing agencies can help you connect with social media luminaries that have already been vetted and deliver consistent results. Depending on your budget, you might choose to hand off your entire influencer strategy, or just get help with the most pressing items on your schedule.
No-Cost: Ask for More Referrals
If you’re having trouble finding a new takeout restaurant, plumber, or accountant, you might ask a friend or family member for a suggestion. These word-of-mouth referral networks can grow your business, too! Ask satisfied customers for referrals and encourage customer advocacy with discounts for bringing in new customers. Happy clients are the ultimate in trustworthy, cost-effective advertisement. Treat them well and encourage them to share their positive experiences, and your business will reap the rewards.
Low-Cost: Start an Affiliate or Rewards Program
Take customer advocacy to the next level by getting involved in affiliate marketing or creating a loyalty program. In an affiliate marketing program, you’ll work with influential bloggers, social media stars, or salespeople who can drive business to your company. As payment, they’ll get a portion of your revenue. Affiliate campaigns can work online, offline, or both; the key is to customize the strategy so it works for your business.
Loyalty programs keep track of your customers’ purchasing habits so you can offer them coupons, rewards, or freebies for their continued patronage. Customer rewards strategies encourage existing customers to stick with you and newer customers to commit. Good customer relationship management software will help you keep track of customer behavior so you can provide consistent rewards. Luckily, many options cost less than $60/month, making loyalty programs an affordable strategy for small businesses.
A little creativity and effort can help you boost your business’s growth without overspending or logging twelve-hour days at work.