Having a “quiet business day” or “days” around your small business? Well, I’m here to tell you right now, you’re not alone. Every time I work with clients, the most persistent question I get is “how do I get more clients?” Now that’s a legit question, considering the fact that there are approximately zillions of people doing exactly what you do online all over the world!
Everyone has quiet days, so instead of starting a pity party or wallowing in biz porn online, here are 60 badass ways you can market your small business. I’ve been compiling this list for quite a long time, and it would be kind of selfish of me not to share with you amazing readers who support me and my business on a daily basis.
These are tactics I’ve used over and over again and they’ve never failed to bring a client or two. So sit back, focus, grab your favorite journals and start picking the ones that apply to your business!
- Start guest blogging. Like right now. Guest blogging is a great way to promote both your brand and your expertise. For free guest blogging communities, My Blog Guest and Guest Blog It, are good starting points. If you don’t wanna be a part of any communities, find successful bloggers in your niche with good traffic and pitch them! What’s the worst that could happen? In my own experience, out of every ten bloggers you pitch, at least one will respond. For dirty little tricks on making guest blogging work for you, follow Jon Morrow online.
- Start blogging more on your site. Obvious, right? We know we have to blog, but most times it just doesn’t happen! You find yourself painting your nails, looking for ‘inspiration’ on Pinterest and stalking people on Instagram and then you realize you just spent the whole day doing nothing. Not judging here folks, even as a writer it happens to me every now and then. Start by blocking out some time in your day to blog. I spend the first two hours of my day doing this. No distractions, no unnecessary tabs on my browsers, no phone calls… just me and a cup of tea beside me, and I just open a blank page in my Evernote and write away. Works like magic all the time. Check out Hubspot and Portent content idea generators to see if they’ll work for you. Blogging establishes your expertise and authority in your niche and enables people (who may not have found you otherwise) to discover you online. Blog about the issues that keep your potential clients wide awake at night, and include a call to action on how they can work with you at the end of the post. Still convinced blogging isn’t your strong suit? Hire a ghostwriter.
- Be consistent on social media and constantly pitch your products and services. This is something we sometimes struggle with as bloggers, you don’t wanna be that chick that clogs up people’s feeds with incessant ads, so tread with caution here. Share genuinely useful content, and then pitch yourself every once in a while. Build a strong, consistent visually appealing brand on social media, especially on Instagram. It obviously took me a while to jump on the bandwagon, but these days I’ve become kind of addicted. You can’t beat the power of free marketing on Instagram! Learn about hashtags and create stunning graphics to share. Click here to connect with me on Instagram!
- Build good Karma into your business. Like seriously. I’ve never seen bloggers that invest in charity organizations ever go broke! Pay back to the blogging community. Share useful content by other bloggers, people will start paying attention and refer you when a friend or client of theirs needs your services.
- Find a complementary service provider to partner up with. Let’s say you’re a copywriter, you can partner up with a web designer… and so on. You get the drill, right? And when other people refer work to you, find a way to reward them.
- Build deep, meaningful relationships with other business owners. Don’t treat yourself as just another blogger behind a computer. Create human connections. Find a focused and relevant support group online and offline and join them. Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs, don’t be that chick that writes “great!” on people’s blogs in hopes that they’ll check you out.
- Join relevant or niche-related groups on LinkedIn and answer group questions + post news and events about your business.
- If you’re in the fashion, beauty, photography, entertainment, design, food, jewelry or a similar lifestyle related business, you’re a natural fit for image sharing on Pinterest. Pins have a much longer life cycle than tweets or Facebook posts. This means pinners will continue to share your content long after you’ve pinned.
- Create a YouTube Channel and leverage proven video marketing tactics, like “how-to” style video content and tutorial videos are hot right now on YouTube. Plus they improve search visibility and could potentially drive a boatload of traffic to your business blog.
- Write for humans and search engines. Wait, what? You think SEO is dead after the April 2015 update, right? Well honey, I’m here to tell you SEO is not dead. It just gets more and more rewarding every time. It gets better for bloggers like you and I, if you’re willing to put in the work, that is. Every single day, your potential clients are typing search terms on Google. You can tap into this traffic and drive them to your product and services pages. For a comprehensive SEO tutorial on what you need to know to do right by Google in 2015, you might wanna hop on my list as I’m already working on that. See that pretty lil’ box on my sidebar? That’s where you pop in your details.
- Leverage SlideShare to market to a cloud of clients for free: post presentations, case studies, create how-to-guides, re-purpose blog content, etc. For some reason, SlideShare posts rank really well on search engines.
- Make individual video interviews on news-makers and ‘celebrities’ in your niche via Skype. Post them on YouTube, embed the YouTube code on your site, transcribe the video with a cheap tool and post the transcribed content on your blog for search engines to grab. Lots of potentials in the last three points for search engines, right?
- Join forums that are relevant to your business interest, participate in the conversation and offer perceptive and helpful answers to questions. Facebook groups are good for this, but careful here, I personally have found some groups on Facebook to be very cliquish, so tread with caution. Pinterest boards are trending right now, as long as you obey the rules, you won’t get kicked out.
- Start an email list right now. Create a relevant, irresistible opt-in guide for your potential clients and share tips and resources with them on a regular basis. They get to know, like and trust you, you’d be their go-to person when they need your services.
- Highlight individual thought leaders in your niche. It’s a great way to connect with influencers who in turn can help promote you and your business to their audience.
- Publish a big “best blogs in your niche” type of post featuring a batch of great blogs and bloggers. Again, this is a form of social engagement and most of the participants will help promote/spread the word about your article.
- Create bangin’ business cards and carry them with you wherever you go. Hello Moo cards?
- Go local. You have equal chances of getting clients both online and offline. For example if you’re a web designer, surely there will be small businesses in your area with crappy websites you can pitch. Let them know what they’re missing by not having a professional website to represent their services. Or find a unique angle, like making their websites responsive, improving their user experience etc.
- Publish weekly reviews where you highlight blog posts and people making a kill in your industry.
- Start an advice column on your blog and encourage your readers to ask questions in your area of expertise. Answer their questions and let them know if you have products and services addressing those issues.
- Help promote high quality products or services in your niche without expecting anything in return.
- Create an online survey and host it on your blog. Typeform provides a pretty interface, but surveymonkey is pretty popular. If you’re asking the right questions you’ll start to notice a recurring pattern after a while. Create a product that addresses that!
- Offer 15-30 minutes clarity calls for undecided clients to address their fears and hesitations. This never really works for me because I end up giving too much information, but if you’re very good with time management and closing sales calls, this may work well for you.
- Give mini versions of your programs for free and get a testimonial. Testimonials build credibility. Even better if you can get social proof or video testimonials.
- Try to respond to all comments on your blog. Engaging with your potential clients is a fantastic and low effort way to build your brand and your site’s promotion.
- Invest in paid advertising. You gotta pay to play darling. That’s how the web works these days. Facebook and Pinterest ads are great starting points.
- Master some copywriting skills. Sometimes all you need is some fresh content and the right prose to promote yourself. I’ve worked with clients who only had to tweak their web content to get the juice flowing, and they experienced amazing results without changing their business model or anything significant. If you’re the type that loves to DIY your own web copy or sales page, stop in the name of all that is sweet. Hire a professional copywriter. The reward will speak for itself.
- Sign up to get free media opportunity alerts from HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which will connect you with reporters who need expert insights for their stories.
- Flipping the HARO idea around, if you’ve got a batch of in-house experts, use that asset and create an expert’s page on your site to offer free advice to authoritative personalities.
- Sponsor an event and get listed as a supporter on their event site. Could be an awards ceremony, a giveaway or anything.
- Arrange a local meetup event and speak at that event. This will create some exposure for your business and get you more eyeballs.
- Offer a testimonial or endorsement for a colleague on their website.
- Partner up with your local post office and send mail-drop ads to residents in your neighborhood. Include your web url + contact details for them to reach you if they need your services.
- Participate in link and blog parties to expose your site to new audiences.
- Launch something new and promote on social media.
- When you do get clients, deliver the “wow factor” for them. Go above and beyond to turn them into brand advocates.
- Build up a business model and give away some part of your product functionality for free. Maybe an e-course, a paid challenge, a membership site etc.
- Host a live event. Webinars are so hot right now and won’t cost you anything – I’m a huge fan of Spreecast and Google hangouts.
- Offer your long-term and repeat clients some allegiance discounts.
- Respond readily to customer complaints. Pay attention to constructive criticism and make adjustments where necessary.
- Create an unforgettable user experience for your site audience. As a user UX designer, I can’t stress this enough. Do you have a horrendous logo with like 25 colors on it? Or background music automatically playing on your website? No search box? No contact page? No “About” page? Or wonky navigation where users have to click and click before they find the pages they’re looking for? A clumsy homepage? Y’allz know I can go on and on. And I’m not saying this because I’m a web designer, but because those things will chase your potential clients away faster than you can blink your eyelids. Create a beautiful online home that immediately connects with your ideal clients. Don’t know how to get started? Start here.
- Teach something online. There’s money in “the business of teaching”. Start with websites like Skillshare, Fedora, Udemy and so on. Those sites already have huge audiences, all you need is to package your skills and sell on their platforms.
- Allow authoritative people in your niche to promote their products on your blog and on your social media channels.
- Start a podcast. They’re really hot right now, and your readers get to put a voice on the face and connect more with you. You must have noticed “hot” is my new fave word, right?
- Learn a new skill. Take note of services potential clients are always asking for and provide them. I started my business as a Copywriter, now I make a living designing websites.
- Run a contest – and make subscribing to your email list a condition of entry.
- Make good use of your 404 error page. Create something unique and eye catching and include your products and services, such that when a search term returns a 404 page on your site, readers are not lost or confused but get prompted to take other actions.
- When was the last time you went to a networking event?
- Raise your rates. This gives you the opportunity to work with fewer clients and give them the best experience possible.
- Build charitable donations into your pricing.
- Set up affiliates and referral programs.
- Subscribe to RSS feeds of top small business and marketing blogs and get even more ideas each day to help market and grow your business on the cheap.
- Include your contact details in your email signature.
- Create a Google+ profile and page for your business. For obvious reasons, they rank really well in search engines.
- List your business in relevant online directories.
- Write long, epic posts (like this one) and promote it with paid ads. There’s a pretty good chance new people will discover you online.
- Start a free challenge on a topic relevant to your business, and pitch yourself every now and then.
- Create teasers on social media about your products and services. People will get curious and click through.
- Use strong visuals, they never fail to catch people’s attention.
- Take action, stop sitting around and wallowing in self-pity. Building a business takes time, dedication, consistency and most of all, believing in yourself.
There you have it guys! I hope you take one or two of those tips above and actually implement them. And if you’re feeling so inspired, please share this post in your close circles.
What are the other ways you use for marketing your business? Share in the comments section below!
Here’s to building a successful location independent business.