You may think the only way to grow your business is with advertising, no? Think again. I’m breaking down the top ways you can grow your business without spending any money on ads.
Does this sound familiar?
You’ve been marketing your business for a while, reading up on strategies to grow, you’ve done a course or two (perhaps our Instagram marketing course) and wondering if ads are the next step is in scaling or accelerating your business.
Or perhaps you’re just starting out and things are slow. Sales are trickling in, or maybe they’re not coming at all. You want to stand out from the crowd so you’re considering paying for some ads.
Growth is the aim behind any business venture.
This could be to generate more profits and revenue for you, to find the freedom to quit that job you hate, or to employ someone in your local community.
It’s only natural that at one point or another, you consider investing in advertising.
Friends, we have been there.
Ads seem like a quick and somewhat easy way to get more eyeballs on your shop. Impactful ads are an art and a science, it’s why there are big ad agencies out there.
If you want ads to generate income and not cost a bunch, it's a little more complicated then uploading your content and hoping for the best.
To run successful ad campaigns, you need to understand demographics, advertising platforms, ad goals, audience, and targeting.
Not to mention skills in copywriting, design, and data analysis.
When done correctly, ads can definitely be effective. But if you're not an expert, they are time-consuming, confusing and offer no guarantees on your investment.
The good news is if you're ready to scale, there are other areas you can experiment with.
Let's break it down.
Instagram is one of the best ways to drive free, organic traffic to your website.
It has a huge user base of over 600 million people per month, a 45/55 split between male and female users aged between 18 - 34.
This means your ideal customer is likely on the platform and searching for content like yours.
On Instagram, connection is everything.
If you're already posting content regularly, focus on finding and connecting with your ideal customers.
This can be through stories, going live, or adding more personality to your posts.
Want to take it to the next step? Periodically track and change the hashtags you’re using to explore new audiences.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is the best way to build your business without ads (Instagram gets a special shout out because it rocks my world).
Social media is free, people use it constantly and when you have a solid strategy in place, you have the opportunity to connect with a large audience.
There are so many social media channels available these days, which gives you the opportunity to explore more as you grow.
You can experiment with new platforms that interest you, or even try different content approaches.
For us, we're all about Instagram marketing but we also have an amazing Facebook community which is free to join.
Amping up in this space can see you reaching your ideal customers and generating a ton of new leads for your business.
Explore options like doing weekly “live” sessions on Facebook, hosting Twitter Q&A’s, blogging on Linkedin.
One common mistake people make is to share the same content across all platforms. When you’re looking to grow your business, you need to take a platform-specific approach.
Get Involved with the Community
Your community is the niche your business sits in.
It might include other makers, creative entrepreneurs, bloggers or be specific like fellow wholesale jewelers.
This community can be online, on Facebook, in forums or even in person.
A community can help your business grow by increasing your brand presence. It gives you the chance to connect with other people in your industry which may present opportunities for collaboration.
Once you’re a member of a community, you can begin to workshop growth ideas, find people for collaborations, or look at co-hosting competitions.
You also have the opportunity to learn from each other and share knowledge. No one knows how to make a business a success more so than successful business owners.
Focus on developing strong relationships within a few select communities and watch a world of new opportunities open up.
Attend conferences and events unrelated to your niche
Attending conferences unrelated to your niche can be beneficial too. Much in the same way growing your community can.
In getting out of your comfort zone, you’ll explore new ideas and see ways of doing things. You might even stumble across a marketing approach that's unheard of in your niche.
Conferences will bring fresh perspective and insight from people who are one step removed from what you do. This healthy distance can help you uncover your next move forward.
It may even bring to light new collaborators or business opportunities that you never thought existed before.
Using Customers as References
Your existing customers are a great marketing tool for you.
We all know that if a friend recommends a product, we’re likely to check it out, so implement this in your business.
So why not ask your customers to spread the word about your business if they love what you do.
You can ask your customers to write reviews of your products to post on your website and social media.
In return, you could offer them a discount code they can share with their friends, which will spread the word even further.
Getting your current customers involved helps build trust.
It’s a way of indirectly telling your ideal customers that you can be trusted, you have a good reputation and your services are amazing.
So there it is!
Get out there and try to put some sweat equity into one of these options before forking out big bucks on advertising.