Getting word about your business out into the public can be quite expensive. This is especially true if you want to capture the attention of a large number of potential clients, as opposed to just throwing information about your enterprise at a random crowd.
The question here really is: how do you put your business in front of a big audience that’s composed of the sort of clients you want to attract when you don’t have much money to spare on doing this? You’re likely to reach a sizable population of possible customers by advertising on prime time TV or radio, but this usually costs a lot to pull off. What low cost- or cost free -alternatives are available?
Here are ten proven ways to draw buying customers in to your business, without spending any money:
Make word-of-mouth work for you
In spite of all the sophisticated cutting edge marketing strategies available these days, most small businesses still depend heavily on the positive testimonies of their patronizers to attract more buyers.
This isn’t a bad thing. We generally consider the opinions of other users of a product more trustworthy than, say, the adverts or sales copy for the product. Afterall, the users usually have nothing to lose in giving honest reviews of things they’ve consumed; salespeople do.
When you impress your buyers with the quality of your product and customer service, they could become big ambassadors of your brand. If they know anyone in need of the type of service you offer, they’ll refer them to you.
Use online business listings
This could do your business a lot of good. If your business’s name, service type and contact details are on a well known online directory, anyone who doesn’t know where it’s located or what it does can find out by doing a simple online search.
Just in case you’re wondering, ConnectNigeria has an online business list, which you can add your own business to, from wherever you’re at. The great thing is, it’s free. If you would like to have your business on it, you can start off by clicking here.
Organize sharing-based social media contests
Contests on social media are a brilliant way to get people to interact with your business. You can have one which requires participants to share content from your social pages. This ensures that their own followers will see that content from your page as well. Winners could receive predetermined quantities of your product as prizes, thus eliminating the need for spending on special gifts or handing out cash rewards.
Use trending hashtags
Tap into the flow of trending hashtags on social media with attention grabbing content that’ll cause potential customers to sit up and take note. Of course, you’ll have to be sure that the hashtags you’re using are relevant in some way to the business you do, or at least just popular (without being controversial, or capable of casting your brand in a bad light).
The #WeAreNigerianCreatives was one such hashtag. It inspired hundreds of posts from Nigerian art entrepreneurs, who displayed pictures of their works on Twitter with that hashtag. As a result, many of them gained a greater following, and not a few prospective clients.
Share eye catching visuals on Instagram
Instagram thrives on great pictures and interesting short videos. If you consistently nail these with your page on the channel (and use the right hashtags), you’ll be reaching a big audience and raising interest levels around your business before long.
Stuff your emails with useful information
When you build an email list and send out updates through them, you should do so with the aim to add value to them in some way; value they’ll appreciate enough to stick by you. You achieve this by sending out emails that contain information they’ll find interesting or useful. If you do this consistently, your emails will grow a positive reputation, and your contacts will mention them in discussions with colleagues and friends. That’s more publicity, for free.
Write guest posts on popular websites
You can write articles on matters about which your typical customer would be concerned, and have them published on blogs which they visit frequently. The blog posts may not speak directly about your business, but they should contain some reference to it, in the right context, and portray you as an expert on the topic.
Businesses do pay for guest posts, but it’s possible to have them published in exchange for something else instead. If your relationship with the company in charge of the blog is quite good, they could take your services as pay for such a post.
Attend networking events
Industry trade shows and meetups provide you with an opportunity to talk to large numbers of people about what you do. Some of these events are free to attend, and could have a bigger concentration of the sort of customers your business needs than you’ll find in any other kind of gathering.
When it comes to networking, first impressions matter a lot. You need to be able to capture the other person’s attention from the start, and keep them interested. Having an introductory ‘elevator pitch’ (a 30-second description of your business) you can start a conversation which could prove vital to getting your listener hooked early on.
Have great relations with your suppliers
You should strive to keep your customers happy. But it’s also important to win and retain the respect of the people or businesses that supply you with inputs or finished products. If you’re on good terms with them, they may be glad to send potential customers your way.
Support a popular cause
This need not require you spending money. You can run a series of posts on your website or social media pages expressing your support for a cause related to health issues, education, peace or the environment, to demonstrate that your business is concerned about these things. You’ll win the public’s respect if they sense that your interest in these matters is genuine. This goodwill tends to rub off positively on other aspects of your business.
Feature image: romeo.landinez.co