Here’s the situation: You need to get more customers but you can’t afford to splurge on a flashy new advertising campaign. The solution: Get creative. Customers are a company’s lifeblood, but there are other ways to market your business without spending a lot of money on an advertising agency or new marketing materials.
Check out these tips on how to find new customers without increasing your budget.
1. Start a Meetup group.
Meetup.com lets you organize groups of people to meet and find groups that already exist based on shared interests. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, according to the company.
Organize your own Meetup group to meet people who could potentially be interested in your business. If you own a photography store, for instance, start a group that meets at local scenic areas and offer tips on how photographers can improve their technique.
Try to mention your business in conversations, but avoid making blatant pitches. The company frowns on using a group purely as an advertising tool. It is also unlikely you’ll get many members once the word gets out that you are mainly pitching your products.
2. Attend trade shows outside your industry.
Look for trade shows with companies that could benefit from your product or services. Let’s say you run a graphic design company. You might find companies at trade shows for toy makers or restaurants who would be interested in hiring you to revamp their website.
3. Teach at a community center.
Put your specialized knowledge to good use by offering to teach an introductory course at a community center. For the right business owner, teaching a course on financial planning, computer education, cooking, art therapy or physical education might be a good fit. Your students might then be interested in pursuing the subject area further by visiting your store. Remember to focus on actually teaching, rather than pitching.
4. Be a guest blogger.
Similar to the previous tip, another way to get the word out about your business is to be a guest blogger. Start reading popular blogs that cover your industry. Think of ways that you can contribute new content, perhaps by offering your perspectives on problems or innovations related to your field.
Pitch the idea to the owner of the blog. If you offer to write for free and provide useful information, you’ll improve your chances of being allowed to mention your product or service in the post. Make sure you target blogs that have many readers. You can check a blog’s traffic stats using Quantcast.com or Alexa.com.
Keep in mind it may take a while before your efforts start to yield results. Even though reaching out to your community can be time-consuming, focus on building relationships with the people you interact with. As more people start to trust you, they are more likely to think of your company when they need a certain product or service.