Growing a business today seems to be a pretty daunting task, especially if you don’t have a marketing budget. If you don’t have a marketing team and you don’t have a marketing budget, how can you even begin to grow your business? It’s easier than you might think. The good people over at kissmetrics offer up a few ideas, and I love what they’ve recommended. Here are a few of my favorites (with a few ideas of my own):
1. Backlinks, backlinks, backlinks: This idea is so powerful that this was actually listed as the first two suggestions by kissmetrics, but it all boils down to one word: backlinks. Backlinks are exactly what the word suggests: links that point back to something. In this case, we’re talking about links to your website placed on other businesses websites. For example, because I liked their work (and dislike plagerism), I gave kissmetrics a backlink to their site in the intro of this blog post.
It comes down to this: if you see your business mentioned somewhere, or if you’d like to see your business mentioned somewhere, reach out to that company and ask if they would be kind enough to add a backlink to your website. You might even want to sweeten the deal and offer to do the same for them (if you’re not doing so already). This will allow you to get your website out there on more pages which will not only increase the odds of driving additional traffic to your site, but this also ends up helping you improve your organic search ranking.
2. Webinars and blogs: Here is another powerful group of suggestions wrapped up in one, incredibly appealing, package. Host your own webinar(s) and interact with and create your own blog. Webinars are time consuming, but provided your content falls within the interests of your niche; you’re likely to draw a few hits. The same goes for blogs, though blogs take far less time (unless you’re a wordy writer, that is). The extra piece with blogging is the follow-up to comments (and making comments of your own), but that actually lends itself to #3 which is…
3. Communication is King: The best way to get people to know you is to make yourself known. You can do this by continually interacting with those who frequent and comment on your blog and social media pages (which, while we’re on the topic of free, easy growth marketing techniques, it doesn’t get much easier than social media). Be friendly and courteous, and avoid all of the salesy nonsense (no one wants to be sold to online). The key is to continually communicate with your audience to establish an online identity. One particularly great suggestion is to follow 5-10 influencers in your niche and comment on their blogs/social pages frequently. Not only with these thought leaders begin to become familiar with you and your brand, but their followers will to… and if you play your cards right, some of these influencers might be kind enough to drop your name in their work in the future (which plays into cross-promotion, yet another great, free way to grow your brand).
4. Have a social media presence: I’m doubling up on social media here because I think it’s one of the cheapest and easiest routes you can go for free growth marketing, but this suggestion is more than just to make a Twitter account and call it a day. Whatever social media platforms you’re on (and I might suggest it’s a good idea to target the big ones, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest/Tumblr, etc.) you need to have more than a simple profile for this to work. People won’t magically be drawn to your business just because you, like most others in the business world today, simply have a social presence. Instead, I think you’ll find that the more you actually INTERACT on social media, the better your results will be (though there are diminishing returns here… posting a new Facebook message every five minutes will have the reverse effect from what you’re trying to go for here).
I recommend setting 10-15 minutes aside each day and interacting with your followers and the people you follow (again, follow thought-leaders in your industry). This doesn’t have to be overly complicated; a simple, friendly “Great article Bill, there are some crucial takeaways here – thank you for sharing!” would suffice if you were to find an article they’ve shared online. The point is, keep it simple, but keep it coming! Of course, commenting isn’t the only thing you should be doing on social media – post your own content (your blog, for example), or at least share something you find relevant to your contacts and your niche.
There are certainly plenty of other excellent ideas to be found in the article above, but I think that these four are powerful and inexpensive things you can do right now, using the exact same device you’re using to read this article. The point is that there are growth hacking opportunities everywhere; you just need to be on the lookout for them!