Most business owners prioritize growing their business while managing their costs. There is a balance between maintaining momentum and strategically spending or investing, especially if capital is tight. Whether you’re just starting, facing a temporary cash crunch, or awaiting traditional or alternative funding, you don’t want to miss out on opportunities to expand your company and reach new customers. Here are five ways you can grow your business for free.
#1 Have a Consistent Online Presence
Leveraging social media and your website can make a significant difference when you don’t have excess funds for paid advertising. Digital marketing allows you to continue to share value and communicate and connect with your audience and new customers. To be effective, ensure the following:
- You post regularly. You don’t necessarily have to post daily, but committing to a posting frequency per week can keep you accountable, provide structure, and help you stay relevant among your customers. However, the more frequently you post valuable, engaging content, the more chances you have of raising your visibility on social media channels.
- Your content is engaging. Social media is an excellent opportunity to humanize your brand and affordably experiment with marketing messages. Be sure to monitor how your audience reacts to your content so you can fine-tune the approach that has historically gained more traction.
- You drive traffic to your website. In addition to maintaining your website regularly, you can use social media to direct potential customers back to your site to learn more about your products and services with the goal they’ll schedule a consultation or make a purchase. Consider making your website more user-friendly, easy to navigate, and pleasing to the eye.
#2 Network on LinkedIn
Networking events often involve membership fees and meal expenses. Networking on LinkedIn or other professional sites may be a more cost-effective option for your business. Here are a few ways to use the platform to expand your business:
- Connect with like-minded organizations and professionals. Consider joining an industry or entrepreneur group or adding people from your field to your network. Online networking is a great way to learn, ask questions, gain free insights, and pick up more leads.
- Create authentic connections. Forming genuine relationships on LinkedIn is essential to avoid appearing salesly. Take the time to learn about people, find commonalities, and offer value before making an introduction.
- Put yourself out there. Connecting with others on social media is simple, but only if you’re active and engaging. Develop a plan for interacting, adding connections, providing value, and generating leads.
#3 Become a Subject Matter Expert
Becoming a subject matter expert or thought leader in your field effectively builds credibility and trust among your customers at no cost. When done regularly, you can become the top-of-mind choice for potential customers who need your products or services. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Identify a niche topic. Think about your unique background, frequently asked questions, and unfamiliar knowledge you can address in a new way to give you a competitive advantage. For example, you can be an expert in tutorials, share little-known tips, or be a voice when industry news and changes occur.
- Create value. Develop content or offer commentary around your specialized expertise or outlook on a particular topic. Freely sharing information, such as blog posts or videos, helps provide new perspectives and builds a community of warm leads and potential customers.
- Share. Find ways to market your expertise for free. You can create a series on YouTube or contact media outlets for a potential feature, such as a morning show interview or demonstration or an article contribution.
#4 Build an Email Campaign
Developing an email campaign to help retain and nurture your existing customer base can often result in more referrals, repeat sales, and customer loyalty. Here’s how you can get started:
- Determine your goals. Identify what you want to achieve through your emails, what you will share, and which customers you will target. For example, you may develop a campaign requesting a review from customers who have made a first purchase. Alternatively, you may target warm leads who have yet to engage your services, offering free value and sharing how you differentiate your business and customer service.
- Develop a cadence. It’s important to have a communication plan and frequency to remain effective. Research timing your emails and finding valuable touchpoints you can leverage along the customer journey.
- Take advantage of free marketing tools. Some email marketing software is free, depending on how many emails you plan to send.
#5 Identify Inefficiencies
There may be redundant costs and processes that affect your growth and expenses. Saving in these areas can help you have more resources and funds to put into more strategic efforts. Here’s what you can review:
- Customer complaints. While no one loves a complaint, it could offer valuable insight into areas to improve and potentially save you money. For example, is an online form taking too long for your customers to complete? Removing redundancies could mean more people can reach your production pipeline more efficiently.
- Automation. Manual operations take time and money. Find ways to streamline, remove, or automate processes so you can put your staff, time, and money toward tasks focused on growth.
- Delegate your tasks. As a business owner, you often put a lot on your plate to carry out your vision. However, managing minor details could prevent you from focusing on other tasks providing more growth and opportunities. See which tasks you can delegate to trusted team members and develop a plan for channeling your energy in more intentional areas.
Only some businesses have unlimited capital and resources to support their growth. However, limited funds don’t mean growth options are limited to financial ones. Instead, use the free strategies outlined above to maintain the momentum you’ve built in your company while you await more funding or save for a significant investment. Contact our team if you’re interested in learning about alternative financing or other ways to elevate your business.