7 Cost-Effective Ways to Expand Your Reach
Sometimes, it’s impossible to know exactly how much working capital you need to run your business. If you’re struggling to get through a month or quarter with particularly high operating expenses, finding real ways to save in other areas can be even more stressful and challenging.
Areas like rent, payroll and taxes are typically non-negotiable in a business budget. But marketing, on the other hand, is a bit more flexible. With so many free and low-cost methods to expand your reach, increase sales and generate more attention for your company, it’s a good idea to utilize these strategies even if you’re not trying to trim down your expenses. Read on to learn about seven reliable marketing methods to increase your reach.
1. Contests and Sweepstakes
A contest can be an incredibly effective, yet affordable way for your business to generate buzz; the more creative and fun your contest is, the more successful it can be. Ideally, you’ll not only reach new customers, but you’ll be able to meaningfully engage with your audience and get some free advertising in the process.
For example, if your business produces a product, you could run an Instagram contest inviting your audience to show off their best photo featuring your product. Or, choose a winning short customer video to feature on your channel. Not only will you benefit from user generated content, you’ll create leads for your business as entrants follow, tag and engage with your brand.
Sweepstakes can be another way for you to gain exposure for your business without much backend work. You can provide entries to win a product or service in exchange for an email address, like, subscribe and/or share, or with the purchase of an item.
2. Business Partnerships and Cross-Promotions
If you have a solid relationship with a reliable business, consider forming a partnership to leverage that brand’s customer base. Even if you’re not in a similar industry, a creative partnership can provide access to a totally new or niche audience. Or, you could run a cross-promotion campaign with a related business, splitting the cost of marketing, to reach a larger audience without a formal partnership. For example, if you operate a company that installs flooring, you could run a referral program among service providers like electricians, general contractors and/or similar construction-related businesses.
3. Local Community Organizations
Your local community may have small business resources that can help you find new customers in your area. Reach out to your community’s chamber of commerce for information about any upcoming events, opportunities or tips on how to get involved.
Team, organization or event sponsorship can also be a low-cost way to improve reach in your area. Look for events that are popular with your target audience or interest groups that regularly meet in your area.
Giving back to your community or a cause that matters to you or your business can generate good press and position your business in a positive light. If you’re not sure where to start, search for reputable charities or nonprofits in your area that need help the most. Aside from giving back to your community (and the free press that goes along with it), most charitable donations are tax-deductible.
5. Web Content Optimization
If your business doesn’t have an internet presence, create a website and Google My Business account now. An active, up-to-date local commercial listing and website is a necessity in today’s digital economy; without one, people may assume that you’re no longer in business.
Even if you don’t sell online, keeping your web content fresh and optimized is another way to help improve your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) so that you appear in search results. Some relatively easy and quick ways to refresh your website’s content include adding or updating an FAQ page and “about” page to your site.
6. Customer Engagement
Whether online or in person, getting to know your customers, including what they want and expect from your brand, can help you expand your reach. Ask your most loyal customers for their honest feedback. They can also help you spread the word about your business. Customer referral programs are a solid way to reward your best clients and reach prospective new customers.
Depending on your business, you may also have an online community of clients that can provide insight to your brand; make sure you’re aware of and respond to any social media engagement, including messages, mentions, reviews and complaints about your products or services.
Although technology can help you market your business in many cost-effective ways, in-person engagement goes a long way to give your company a face. Learn how to network strategically and remember that you’re a brand ambassador. You should always be prepared with a solid elevator pitch; you never know who you’ll meet!