At the early stages of a business, the goal should be to increase revenue, minimise cost and maximise profit. Therefore, you have to find creative cheap ways to promote your business. There are so many ways you can do that as an entrepreneur, and I’m going to hold your hand and show you the way.
Cheap Ways To Promote Your Business
Maximise Your Social Media Presence
It’s increasingly becoming impossible to grow your sales and customer base without a social media presence. Today’s businesses need to be savvy on social media because that’s where their customers are. A strong social media presence is one of the cheap ways to promote your business as an entrepreneur.
It’s no longer enough to have a social media account. Is your audience interacting and engaging with you online? Of course, you have to maintain a social media presence; however, it’s important to narrow it down to one or two platforms where your audience spends most of their time.
By applying the right strategy to managing your social media presence, you can turn your lonely social media account into communities and tribes bursting with activity.
How do you do that? First, use the right tools, tools that will help you schedule posts and save time. Also, focus on customer service and provide valuable content that caters to the needs of your followers.
In addition, your content- visuals and videos should be eye-catching. Also, you can jump in on what’s trending to spur engagement.
Finally, promote your social media accounts; mention them at any given opportunity. You don’t expect your customers to know about your social media accounts names; it is your job to tell them about it.
Own A Website And Maximise It
Owning and maximising a website is one of the cheap ways to promote your business as an entrepreneur. A website helps you establish credibility as a business. Even if you’re not selling your product and service online, the online space is the first place prospective customers will check you out. So, owning a website is one of the cheap ways to promote your business.
After creating a website, you have to optimise your website for search engines, performance, and accessibility.
There are lots of things that search engines look at that assist them in ranking a website. For example, they look at the relevance, domain names, title tags, header tags, etc. So you have to ensure that your website is optimised for SEO.
Also, research and review your competitors’ websites. While it’s not advisable to copy your competitors’ websites outrightly, it’s important to know the strategies they’re employing.
Please make a list of the top 5 to 10 competitors in your industry and find out the method they’re using. You should also check their site structure and the keywords they’re ranking for.
Identify keywords relevant to your industry and use them to create content for your website, and do well to place keywords strategically throughout your content.
Finally, ensure that you direct people from your social media to your website. You should know that social media platforms are borrowed platforms, which you don’t have absolute control over. You should always consider what will happen to your business if your social media account is hacked or deleted.
Ask For Referral
The most basic and important form of marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. It’s one of the cheap ways to promote your business. Referral is word of mouth marketing and brings in new, likely to be loyal customers. These customers are the best that a company can have, as they are 3X more likely to buy your product or service. Therefore, referrals are a powerful selling tool.
Oftentimes, we shy away from asking for reviews and referrals because we don’t want to be seen as pushy. However, if you have done a good job, you should ask for a referral directly, as referrals are essential to bringing in valuable new clients.
It’s human nature; people would rather do business with people they know or referred to than a stranger. There’s nothing as effective in converting people to your business as an endorsement from family or friends. It’s like a five-star review.
How do you go about asking for a referral?
- Deliver value and go over and beyond.
- When you start work with a client, make a simple deal with them; they will tell others if you do a great job for them.
- Let your customers know who your target audience is, that way, their referral is relevant to your business. Also, be specific on the kind of people you want.
- Develop a referral system that rewards.
- Network and make the most of every networking opportunity.
- Reciprocate and refer too; make a note of clients that refer people to you, so that when you come across someone who needs their service, you can refer the person to them.
- Show your appreciation, because a person who feels appreciated will always do more.
List Your Business In Local Online Directories
Listing your business on local directories is one of the cheap ways to market your business as an entrepreneur. In fact, local listings should be a must for any business as search engines populate these sites at the top of their search results when a user is searching with local intent. Besides, an accurate and updated local listing plays a vital role in local SEO.
Local business directories are online platforms that contain information about your business. Some information includes name, phone numbers, opening time, address, business description, and other data. Most time, it’s free to list your business on these platforms, but you have to input the data yourself or claim your business manually.
Aside from the SEO benefits you get from listing your business, your business information is readily available to customers when they’re ready to choose you.
Also, it allows you to cross-promote your other channels like social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn). As a result, it helps your business grow, creates visibility and brand awareness for your business.
Build An Email List
When people willingly join your email list, it means they are extremely interested in what you’ve to offer and are most likely to convert to paying customers.
When you send emails to your contacts, make the email personal, targeted and purposeful. In other words, own your email list; it belongs to you. Like we mentioned, you don’t own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Google, so any changes they make to their policies or algorithm will impact your business. Likewise, the decision of other businesses does not influence your email list.
An important benefit of emails is that email is one-on-one. People read emails in privacy and can ask you questions with confidence. This builds trust and connection.
What do you need to build an email list?
- An email marketing service
- A website or blog
- High converting opt-in forms
They’re all easy to set up, and you don’t need programming or coding skills to set them up.
Writing For Industry Publications And Guest Blogging
Writing for industry publications and guest blogging is one of the cheap ways to promote your business and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
Before you start writing, you must do your research. First, who is your target market? This is an important step as you must know who will be reading your publications or article. You can define them by demographics (gender, age, income, education level, etc.) or based on their interest (what problems can you help them solve, what business problems keep them up at night, etc.).
After understanding your audience, the next thing will be to determine how you can help them. This is important as it should reflect in your writing. After all, your goal for writing is to promote your business.
The benefits of promoting your business through writing are many and include:
- You define yourself as an influencer and authority.
- Your writings raise your visibility, as they can be linked to by other websites.
- When your writing is delivering value, it gives you instant credibility with clients.
- You attract top-notch talents to your business as people will see you as a role model.
Engage And Make Your Comments On Social Media Posts Productive
It’s important to consistently engage with followers by responding to comments, answering questions, solving challenges, and more. But, more than that, you need to apply social listening. Social listening is being aware of the conversations about your business elsewhere online and responding where appropriate.
Participating in conversations with your followers and other complementary brands is the key to getting more clients through social media. Conversation involves both speaking (posting) and listening (responding). It’s not a one-way street.
In communicating with followers, you should be authentic. Don’t come across as a huge corporation, who only posts on social media and never engages in a conversation. Authenticity is attractive.
Furthermore, if you want your post to be seen by as many people as possible, you have to engage with your followers. Social media platforms tend to prioritise posts with the most engagement. Posts with the most comments, likes, and shares get shown more than posts with little engagement.
In responding to comments on social media, bear these in mind:
- When you get positive comments, use the opportunity to strengthen the relationship with the person. A simple thank you can do the trick and don’t forget to share with your team.
- When a comment is neutral (neither good nor bad), it presents an opportunity to engage with the follower.
- When you get a genuine negative comment, we suggest you respond. It’s important to have a clear process on how to respond to negative comments. First, keep a record by screenshotting the comment, then acknowledge the issue, apologise for it and act on resolving the issue. Finally, follow up to ensure the issue is resolved. Depending on how you handle the issue, you can turn the client/follower into an advocate for your business.
- There are some negative comments that you should ignore or remove. For instance, negative comments by a troll or a comment that is offensive and malicious. Unfortunately, the reality is that trolls exist on the internet and they crave attention. Don’t feed the trolls.
Attend Events Or Speak At Events
According to a survey conducted by Forbes Insights on the importance of face-to-face networking, an overwhelming 84 per cent of the respondents stated that they prefer face-to-face meetings to establish business relationships.
Events allow you to meet face-to-face with potential clients, and it’s one of the cheap ways to promote your business. Events allow you to spread the word about your business. When you go out there, meet new people and listen to their stories, you can build long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships that propel your business forward.
You need to find the right event to attend or speak at. Then, research to know what the event is about and ensure that your target audience will attend.
Before The Event
Before the event, you need to prepare in advance. Pack a bag full of business cards, marketing materials, a pen, a fully charged phone, etc. Consider the dress code for the event and dress accordingly. Also, check if food will be served. If not, ensure you eat beforehand so you don’t feel hungry during the event. It’s also nice to go through the attendee list if you have access to it. That way, you can strategically identify people you want to spend your time with.
During The Event
During the event, arrive early. Arriving early will make it easy for you to integrate yourself and begin to feel at home before the event starts. Remember to smile and relax your posture, even if you’re feeling nervous. Resist the temptation of hijacking the conversation when you start talking to people. Networking is about building a relationship, so relax.
After The Event
After the event, follow up. Send an email, call, or connect on social media, especially LinkedIn.
It’s not enough to seek knowledge; the most difficult aspect of running a business is implementing the knowledge gained. When you apply all we have discussed here, your business will take a good turn.
Before you go, are you doing something amazing in your industry, or do you know anyone who is making exploits in their industry? Entrepreneurs.ng will help put you on a world map. Reach out now.