Six ways to grow your small business, not your budget

Gemma Falconer of GoToMeeting provides six simple and cost-effective tips that’ll help you build your business.

Grow business

Entrepreneurs often believe that marketing strategies are for companies with seven-figure budgets. but with social media you have everything you need to create awareness of your brand and bring in more customers.

You want to see your business grow and you shouldn’t let your budget stop you. By all means start strategising and thinking around traditional marketing routes but, in the meantime, here are some small budget techniques that will help you take your business to new heights:

1. Make the most of social media and online influencers

I understand. There are dozens of social media platforms and it’s overwhelming to think of using them all for your business. I’m going to tell you a secret: you don’t need to.

The key is to pick a couple of platforms and do them well. Do some research first and find out where your target market is. For instance, teenagers are leaving Facebook and opting for SnapChat and Instagram; business people are more likely to be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Once you’ve become comfortable with your platform, seek out influencers in the digital space and start building relationships. A good review or mention of your brand or product by a popular blogger could bring more leads than you could have paid for.

2. Build relationships with your customers

The best way to save (and make!) money in business is by keeping current customers happy. Communicate with them on a regular basis, whether through your blog, social media, or an email campaign.

When communicating, don’t give them the hard sell. Provide your customers with useful information that relates to your product. If you’re a wedding planner, don’t tell them how great your services are; instead write a blog post with simple tips on finding the perfect winter wedding venue and send it out in your newsletter.

This is an example of content marketing: giving your users or customers helpful, educational or interesting content that isn’t commercial. Content marketing allows you to attract customers higher in the purchase funnel – that is, when they are still in the planning phase. When ready to buy, chances are they will come back to you to purchase.

3. Try crowdfunding

Do you have a genius idea that you believe people will love? Try getting on Kickstarter to get it off the ground. It will also allow you to see how successful your idea would be if it were to be fulfilled.

Even if you don’t have a good idea, just asking for money could make for a successful marketing campaign. Did you hear about the American guy who set out to raise $10 to make a potato salad and ended up getting $55,000? He may not have set out to do this, but he received a lot of media attention as a result.

4. Build a buzz

Buzz is good. You want to get people talking about your business, but you have to put yourself out there first. Set yourself up as an expert in your field and dominate your niche. Identify your unique selling point and make people aware of it using the social media and blogging tactics above.

You don’t have to be an expert in public relations to get media coverage anymore. Search for #journorequest on Twitter and look out for queries that are relevant to your business. Journalists and television producers are often looking for sources for their stories or to make appearances on television programmes. Reply to their queries and use this opportunity to plug your USP, product or expertise.

5. Outsource what you aren’t comfortable doing yourself

If the public is going to see it and you aren’t an absolute pro at it, just outsource. When it comes to building your website, creating a logo or designing marketing materials, you really will get what you pay for. If you can, use more of your marketing budget on the tasks that you can’t do yourself.

6. Find your community

Not only does this mean looking for local opportunities, it also means collaborating with businesses in your area. If your business is related to health and fitness, why not sponsor a charity run or local sport team? Look for events in your community that you can get involved in.

Find businesses that have the same target audience as yours but don’t compete for the same business. Develop a cross-promotion partnership. For example, personal trainers who really want to think outside the box can look for a local wedding planning business or healthy food caterer. Ask them to send you brides and grooms who want to get in shape for ‘the Big Day’; meanwhile, you can promote their services to your clients who are looking for event planners or caterers.

Final Thoughts

Big marketing campaigns don’t require big budgets – just a lot of time and a lot of brainstorming. Get started with these but continue to think about innovative solutions to promote your business.

Gemma Falconer is a Senior Campaign Specialist for GoToMeeting. She has been part of the Demand Generation team for the past five years, looking after anything from webinars to content creation.