How to Find New Customers for Your Small Biz Without Spending a Dime
Growing your business takes a lot of time, effort, and yes, money.
However, not all businesses, including the big hitters started with so many coins in their pockets.
The fact is many startups and businesses that have existed for a little while don’t have the resources to spend on marketing.
That doesn’t mean you should fold up or wait until you have more money to pursue your marketing goals.
With no money, you can still punch above your weight and make it big in your line of business.
All you have to do is get creative and have the energy to implement great marketing strategies. Thankfully, this article will do the first part for you.
Market your business with no money using the following marketing ideas:
Table of Contents
1) Get Involved with your Community
It’s okay to think large scale when it comes to the people you want to convert into your business.
However, what you need to do in some cases is look right where you are. Think smaller by participating in what goes on in your immediate community.
Get a feel for it and find out how to get your business across.
There are 5k charity walk or little league competitions you can sponsor with some products.
You can even offer to be a referee while wearing your customized clothes.
Other events you can get involved in include block parties, charity organizations, and non-profit volunteer groups.
2) Perfect your Pitch
It doesn’t matter where you are. Whether that’s at a family BBQ, a friend’s wedding, traveling, or watching a kid’s soccer game.
The point is you should always be ready to market your business. One of the best and most effective ways to do this is by having a compelling elevator pitch.
There’s always something to distract human beings. As such, you can’t fault anyone for having a short attention span.
In most cases, you have only about 90 seconds. Statistics show that 2% of all sales occur in the first meeting.
You have to make your point within a short time so that you don’t lose the chance to make an impact.
Present your business in a way that gives off expertise and confidence.
Customize Your Pitch
You can’t go on saying the same thing everywhere and to everyone. As such, it’s important to tailor your pitch to your audience.
Sure, there’s always a core message but there are different ways to pass it across.
The milkman, that police officer, and the headmistress would probably understand your pitch differently.
Embellish your core message to contain what each individual is interested in.
The perfect pitch contains:
- Know your audience and what motivates them. It could be sports, literature, politics, etc. Tailor your pitch accordingly.
- Tell a story that shows your expertise and ability to solve problems.
- Get ready to answer key questions from your audience.
3) Participate in Local Business Fairs
Chances are there’s a local Chamber of Commerce in your locality. They are known to host business mixers where people can meet and relate.
Armed with a perfect pitch to blend just about anywhere, go to such events with confidence. Incorporate them into your calendar and plan to attend.
Industry trade shows also present the perfect opportunity to blend with those in your business.
You’ll get to see your competitors at work, and perhaps steal some working ideas. Make show your trade show display is top-notch!
4) Ask for Referrals
Referrals are one of the most cost-effective ways to generate new business. Most times it takes nothing to request for them.
Further, stats show that businesses with referral programs in place experience an average of 69% faster time to close.
Also, they get a 59% higher lifetime value along with a 71% higher conversion rate.
Asking for them
The problem often associated with a referral is that business owners feel awkward when asking for referrals.
That’s because they don’t want to sound overzealous or desperate.
Not to worry! There are ways to help you ask for a referral without that awkward feeling.
What you can do:
- Going the direct route and asking for referrals via email, online, and in person. Some businesses include them at the bottom of invoices.
- Ask your best and most trustworthy customers rather than all your customers.
- Incentivize your request. They follow through on your request, give them a gift card, future discount, or a small gift.
- Create an easy referral system that others can use when your customers refer your business.
5) Join Face-to-face Networking Groups
Networking is a great way to market without money.
It is one of the fastest, easiest, and most effective ways to build meaningful relationships that can help grow your business in the long term.
If you haven’t joined one, then you need to join face-to-face networking groups in your community.
They’re much like your local Chamber of Commerce.
Take it a step further
You can also use apps like Meetup to learn about upcoming networking events in your locality.
Joined up with other business organizations such as Young Entrepreneur’s Council and SCORE.
The organization you choose can also be specific to your area of business.
6) Make Good use of Instagram and Pinterest
Visual stories make the most impact. In line with that, there are no better platforms to visually represent your business than Instagram and Pinterest. They both cost nothing.
You can simply use your phone camera to take some great pictures and upload them. Make some edits if you have to.
Photos you Publish
What kinds of photos should your business publish? Some suggestions are worth the time and effort you put into them.
- Hashtags and geo-targeting
- Short videos sharing advice or DIY
- Behind the scenes look
- Creative memes and images of your products and services
- Images from customers on how they use your products
- Images showing testimonials and reviews of your products and services.
7) Guerrilla Marketing
The best part of guerrilla marketing? it focuses more on creativity than money.
That’s what you want to hear when you have no budget to work with.
As such, you can get creative with your ideas and marketing ploys. A good example is getting permission to graffiti a piece of property.
You can use stencils to create repeated works of street art, place stickers around town, or even use a flash mob.
With guerrilla marketing, you often have to go beyond the ordinary by thinking out of the box.
Advantages of this strategy
- There’s an increased reach via methods like street marketing, graffiti, and stickers)
- You seldom need money. It’s all about how creative you can get
- With a successful campaign, you gain a memorable brand experience and give off a lot of buzz in your community
- You get connected to your customers and other businesses
8) Live Stream Workplace Activities
According to research, 80% of audiences would rather watch live videos from a brand than read a blog post.
Again, audience engagement with live video is also impactful in the B2B space.
About 73% of B2B businesses using live video report positive results to their campaigns.
There are platforms to help you out including Facebook Live, Vimeo live stream YouTube Live, Periscope, etc.
You can stream live events presenting your new products and how you make some of them.
9) Start a Podcast
You can begin a podcast with the most basic of tools around. That means spending next to nothing to get the word out about your business.
You have to get so much knowledge about your business, humanize it, and get other business owners and experts to join your podcast.
A podcast helps to promote your business while introducing your audience to what you offer.
10) Get Personal
While money may be an issue, you wouldn’t want a bad attitude to add more problems.
As such, you ought to take time to show your customers (existing and new ones) that you appreciate their support and patronage.
A good way to do that is by writing a handwritten ‘thank you’ note or mentioning them on some social media platforms.
It Makes a Difference
A goodwill message is a personal touch many customers will value.
They won’t waste time to show their friends and family how much they appreciate the gesture.
That’s more customers coming in!
11) Take Advantage of Employee’s Email Signatures
This is a simple and no-cost way to market your business. Just get your team to include a short sentence with a call-to-action in their email signatures.
That way, whenever they send out an email there’s a non-obtrusive marketing message that potential customers can see.
Email signatures are a touch of class and won’t have you worrying about money.
12) Respond to Queries
With no money, you have to make the most out of your time. Use platforms like Quora to answer questions.
You can also be active on online platforms that are relevant to your business and industry.
It is a very simple and cost-effective way to show how knowledgeable you are on certain topics.
When you provide detailed answers, it can get you noticed by new audiences and first-time visitors to such forums.
13) Publish Quality Content
Owning a blog is free! Let that sink in if you don’t have a blog and no money.
Stats show that small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
Blogging is by far the easiest and best way to market your business seeing that it doesn’t cost anything.
The Necessary Skill
Many business owners stand behind the “I’m not a skilled writer” excuse not to publish any content.
Well, here’s saying you don’t have to be a skilled writer. What people want is advice on how to better their lives especially with your products.
Further, there are editing apps around to make life easier for you, and improve your writing skills.
There are some ideas to get your blog going and remain consistent with.
Start with simple stuff like lists and guidelines.
14) Write for Industry Publications
When you get the hang of blogging and produce quality content, go a step further by doing pieces on industry publications.
Many of them accept guest posts on various issues. That’s a great way to get people to notice you.
Keep things simple by writing quality articles on topics you’re knowledgeable about.
15) Run Online Contests
Promotional giveaways and contests are not only a tried and true way of building awareness and introducing your business to potential customers, but they’re also free.
Well, you’d have to include a little gift for the winner.
You can make do with a giveaway of your products or services, such as the chance to win one free membership to your service or buy a recently released product.
Social media is a willing tool to run such contests and announce the winner.
16) Re-purpose your Content
When you consider that branded content is 22 times more engaging than display ads, you’d go ahead to whip out that old content.
Readers spend an average of 36 seconds engaging with written branded content, which is significantly more than the average 1.6 seconds they use on a banner ad.
Repurpose the old
Is there old content lying out there? If so, you can put your spin on it to make it new or sound more engaging than it was.
No content is entirely useless especially when there’s also a chance to make it better.
17) Look for Ad Promo Credits
It’s common knowledge that ad campaigns can get pricey coupled with the fact that you have nothing to spend.
What you can do is dig a little deeper. You may be lucky enough to score coupons or discounts for Google or Facebook ads.
Also, some web hosting services offer advertising discount codes to their members while others charge next to nothing for their services.
18) Work with Affiliates and Resellers
Sometimes, it’s difficult to market your business yourself. As such, it makes sense to work with affiliates and resellers.
They’ll help you generate leads in return for a commission on sales. That’s a great deal when you don’t have a budget to work with.
If you decide to use this strategy, ensure that your pricing structure takes into account these fees and commissions.
19) Offer to Speak
There are many opportunities for you to speak in front of an audience. The question is can you handle it?
You’ve got to be versed on what your products, services, and industry affairs entail.
The fact is there are industry conferences, volunteer organizations, local business groups, community colleges, libraries, and more, that are usually in need of speakers.
Building a base
By offering to speak and going ahead to do so, you’ll get some name recognition, contacts, and publicity for yourself and your brand.
20) Host Events or Classes
If there aren’t any upcoming speaking opportunities, go ahead, and set up your own. All you have to do is plan an event or boast a class.
You can use a local library, college, and other places to host your audience.
If things are too tight for you, you can use your workspace. Use social media to create awareness or print out flyers.
21) Brand your Vehicle
It’s your car, right? Get your brand’s color on it for good measure.
Let the sign you place be eye-catching and contain your contact info on it.
That’s one way to spread brand awareness when you simply drive anywhere.
Perhaps you don’t want something overly obvious. Well, you can try out bumper stickers and window decals.
Do more when you give out the stickers to friends, family, and existing customers to gain even more brand awareness.
22) Create Quality Business Cards
Creating a business card is a very cheap option. For example, companies like Vistaprint can help you create your unique business cards.
Business cards still work years after they were invented. Always have them handy wherever you go.
That way, when you meet someone, you can hand them out. You can also leave them at other businesses or with staff.
23) The Cold Calling/Emailing Approach
Heard about them but feel it’s they’re old? Think again. Cold calling or emailing are still effective ways to obtain new business.
The only thing it’s going to cost you is your time! What you want is someone’s business.
As such, giving it much-needed attention shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s Still an art
Picking up your phone and making calls isn’t all there is to it. The same thing applies to sending emails to your customers.
You have to follow a few pointers when emailing or calling.
That’s is because 80% of buyers prefer that salespeople contact them via email, however, it has to be personalized. Not some message common to everyone.
Observe the Following:
- Don’t get overly focused on the sale. Be more concerned about getting an opportunity to make your pitch.
- Do your marketing research before reaching out to anybody. Once you get a response, you want to take advantage of it.
- What’s your opening line, statement, or greeting. Don’t sound rude or bereft of the benefits of your product/services.
- Always have a pleasant disposition when speaking to anyone that picks up the phone or responds to your email.
- If it helps, have a script handy to help you answer questions or concerns regarding your product or service.
- Try to set up a face-to-face appointment at their convenience.
Overall, with cold calls and emails, you have to keep being persistent. Sometimes it takes a while to get a response or set up an appointment.
24) Check your Online Listings
If you’ve not already listed your business, there no better time than now.
Get your business listed on search engine local directories, as well as on created pages on Facebook, Linked In, or Twitter.
Make sure that your information, such as your website, business owners, and contact information are correctly included.
They should always be up-to-date. A tool like Yext will help you keep things current.
25) Do a Press Release
There are websites out there that allow you to submit press releases for free.
As such, it makes sense to consider using these resources when you have some news to share about your business.
It doesn’t have to be news that breaks the Internet or wins the day. It only has to be news, preferably about your products and services.
When you submit a press release, your reach is expanded and more people get to know about what your business has to offer.
Who knows? You just might come across an interested journalist who will then contact you for a story.
26) Ask for Reviews
There are review sites like Google+ and Yelp that make it easy for people to rate their experiences doing business with you.
By asking your trustworthy customers to leave feedback on these sites, you can help spread awareness about your business and receive valuable feedback from your client base and at the same time, get new converts.
Reviews are Pointers
The fact is many people use these sites. With 91% of 18-34-year-olds trusting online reviews like personal recommendations, you can ask your customers to help out.
A further 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.
Positive reviews will go a long way to encourage users to give products and services a shot.
27) Offer Deals or Giveaways
There’s hardly anyone out there that doesn’t love free stuff.
Without money to work with, you can offer a good deal or a giveaway on your website or social media business page.
It doesn’t have to be big. A small item will do the job with your business garnering more interest.
Throw in some coupon codes for a percentage off some orders or free shipping and your customers will appreciate the gesture.
Remember, don’t add strain to your limited budget. Keep things simple.
These strategies and ideas will help you get the best results with no money to work with.
Feel free to incorporate more than one usually at no cost so that you can increase traffic, improve leads, and get more customers.