How can a small business use inexpensive technology to expand its reach and attract new customers?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Embrace Automation
I automate as much as I can so that I can focus my time where it really matters – attracting leads and converting them to clients. I use a mixture of automation technologies, like marketing automation, Zapier and Keyboard Maestro to reduce the amount of repetitive low-value work I do and increase the time I have to spend on customer service and lead development.
2. Go Offline
One of the most effective ways to build a customer base early on is by getting in front of them, face-to-face. With an effort to do this with some sort of “scale” in mind, consider using tools like Eventbrite to help run event series related to your product or service offering that could attract, educate or entertain potential customers.
3. Look to Retargeting
Retargeting is not an expensive marketing technology, but it can make a tremendous difference in convincing new customers that what you have to offer is right for them. By following them from website to social media platform to search engines and back again, you are kept top of mind. This continual reminder with targeted messaging has been proven to win customers.
4. Use Free Public Relations Tools
Businesses can use free public relations tools such as HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, to respond to relevant press inquiries. This allows businesses to demonstrate their expertise in a field. The PR also helps a company reach new audiences and improve their SEO through additional backlinks.
5. Take Advantage of Your Smartphone
Use your smartphone to create content. Phones these days come equipped with quality cameras and a plethora of apps, so don’t be afraid to use them for photo shoots, live streaming or creating artwork. Virtually everyone already has a smart phone, so figure out where it makes sense to use it in place of professional services.
6. Plan and Publicize Your Live Video
Live streaming is very hot right now, and it’s a great way to get in touch with customers in a deeply engaging way. Schedule a time to do a live stream either as a demo, a tutorial or just a Q&A and publicize it. Not only is it engaging, but live videos can often show up quite high in Google SERPs.
7. Post on Social Media
Social media sites are free. There is no advertising or media spend that you need to invest on. Ideally, managing and increasing your reach in social media just takes time. Use your own network to spread the news about your business or what you offer. As a small business owner, this is a must.
8. Leverage the Reach of Influencers
A great way to expand your audience quickly is to get mentions and links from influencers in your industry. Use something like BuzzSumo and SimilarWeb to gather the best blogs and websites based on audience and size. You can use Pitchbox to setup automated emails for smaller ones. For more prominent influencers, write them directly and offer unique value.
9. Hold Contests and Giveaways
One of the easiest and fastest ways to generate instant traffic is to do some type of creative giveaway that people can share organically. There are several new pieces of software that take out much of the heavy lifting and automate much of the process, so all you need to do is promote the offer and get prospects into the funnel.
10. Create an Email Marketing Program
Email is still king for many businesses, driving more clicks and conversations over search and social. Sign up for an email marketing platform like MailChimp to easily setup and deploy emails to prospects. Sending drip campaigns to potential customers will help keep you top of mind and the effort and costs for you are relatively low, with some email platforms even offering free plans.
11. Buy Facebook Ads
Acquiring new customers on Facebook is extremely cheap. The majority of your customers are on Facebook in some capacity and just need to be targeted. Start with simple ads to get more likes to your page and then enhance or optimize from there. There is a ton of value in simple Facebook ads and they’re easy to execute well.
12. Seek Reviews on Yelp and Google Business
Establishing a presence on Yelp and Google with great reviews can do wonders for your business. Just make sure you deliver exceptional service and simply ask for reviews from your customers to build up your brand. It’s a fantastic way to attract new customers!
13. Use Tools Like Google Analytics
Tools like Google Analytics are inexpensive and very helpful. Regularly evaluate the data regarding where traffic comes from, where it’s not, and what opportunities are ripe for the taking. For example, if a disproportionate amount of your traffic comes from social media, invest in growing your prominence there. Knowledge is power, and performance data reveals surprising ways to expand reach.