When you’re starting a new business, figuring out your marketing budget can be daunting. A new kid on the block has to advertise in order to get leads, but how do you know if it’s effective or not? Fear not, because digital marketing has come a long way and it doesn’t actually take a lot of money to drum up new business. In many cases, it’s even free to promote your business and start building an audience. Here’s five ways that we recommend getting new business with zero cash outlays involved.
1. Seek out appropriate social media groups.
Some brands live and die by social media while others simply have it as window dressing. In either case, you should not neglect it because social media provides real-time engagement that can’t be easily substituted.
Social media isn’t just Twitter and Facebook, it’s also LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms that have social elements. It can take a while to build up a following organically, so there are paid elements like buying ads that target users’ interests and/or location. However, joining groups and participating in them is free, along with real-time engagement with your followers, scheduling posts and writing them in real time, and seeking out accounts to follow.
For instance, attorneys specializing in intellectual property issues can easily find new clients on LinkedIn and Facebook groups for writers, musicians, and other creative talent likely to have questions about protecting their work. Fitness instructors can find training groups or jump on the right hashtags on Twitter and Instagram with GIFs and videos of workouts, to generate interest in more of your content and booking personalized sessions.
2. Literally put yourself on the map with Google My Business.
Setting up Google My Business is fast and free, and is not necessarily restricted to brick and mortar businesses like stores and restaurants. However, if you have a physical office, it’s crucial that you set up your presence on Google Maps in order to build up local clientele.
Add as much pertinent information as possible to your Google business listing like contact information, social media links, hours, reviews, and photos. If someone is just browsing Google Maps of the neighborhood your business is located in, what kind of information would you want them to find? If you work from home and it shows up on Google Maps, upload your logo and photos that spotlight what you do.
3. Answer questions on Quora, Clarity, and similar platforms.
Positioning yourself as an expert in your field is a surefire way to grow your business!
Publishing content is one way to do this, but if writing or making videos isn’t your strong suit or just not something you want to invest a great deal in right now, you can start with simpler ways. People ask questions on open forums like Quora, where your answers can get upvoted based on quality and overall helpfulness. Becoming a top contributor at Quora can open many doors in addition to being a great way to drum up leads.
Clarity is another platform that has a Q&A feature in addition to Quora, and you can set a price per minute for consulting in your areas of expertise. Everyone from attorneys to wellness experts should be on Clarity to both monetize their knowledge and answer burning questions to establish trust.
4. Form strategic partnerships with other businesses
There’s no better way to build your business than also helping out another entrepreneur, and build each other up.
Think along your vertical such as a chiropracter partnering with a medical device distributor, or an attorney who works with startups partnering with an accountant. Overt promotion through each others’ businesses or personal referrals can go a long way to getting loyal, repeat clients.
5. Reach the press directly through HARO.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a free platform that connects journalists and content creators directly to sources or their publicists. They constantly post queries asking for quotes, expert confirmations, and podcast or video appearances. You do not need a publicist to answer HARO queries, and can sign up for free email alerts or browse queries relevant to your industry.