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How do I attract customers without running a single ad?

You can advertise your business without spending a cent. You just need to find creative ways to attract customers. Here’s how.

When you’re a small business or just starting out, you don’t have a big budget to be able to attract new clients or run ads to sell your products. The good news is that it’s possible to “advertise” your business with very little financial outlay, but it just takes some creativity and a more hands-on approach. 

The key to getting your business out there is not just about letting people know you exist (which is what advertising does primarily), but if you want to really attract customers to your social media or website, you must build relationships and show people what your business is about and how it can help them.

Here are some creative strategies you can use to promote a product or service without advertising.

1. Networking

This one isn’t for wallflowers, but it’s not just for extroverts. For a long time in my career, I hated the thought of networking as I didn’t like the idea of blabbing about myself every chance I got to complete strangers. It can be hard and nerve-wracking to put yourself out there and chat people up. But this is the wrong mindset to have about networking.

Networking is a chance to let people know about the amazing thing your service or your product can do for them. In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about how you can help people. When you have the mindset of helping people, networking becomes easier to swallow.

Networking is also about building relationships. Again, when you network, you do it with a view to helping people solve their problems via your services or your products.

And you don’t need to wait for special networking events to network either. You can start with your group of friends. Networking in a social setting is still networking. Tell your friends how you can help them, then ask them if they know anyone who might need your help. 

2. Collaboration

This goes hand in hand with networking. As you network and get to know people beyond your initial social circle, you’ll find that some of them may also be small business owners keen on getting their business out there too. Why not help each other through collaborations or partnerships to reach more people and expand your circles?

The easiest way to do this is via social media. A popular method is for businesses to offer their products or services as a prize, and to enter, contestants must follow the business on social media, share their posts and tag their friends on the post. This is a great way to expose your business to your collaborator’s audience (and vice versa) and widen your following. It’s also very low-cost and the most accessible form of collaboration to take part in.

3. Community involvement

Volunteer and get involved in your local community to find new clients. The best advertisement you’ll have for your business is your passion. Nobody can resist someone who is passionate about what they do, it’s contagious!

As you meet new people, offer your help, and solve problems because nobody gets turned off faster than a person being “sold to”. So, ditch the sales pitch but instead get to know people in the community, find out what keeps them up at night, and if your products or services can help in any way, then offer them a solution. People are more receptive to someone who has an answer to their problem than someone trying to make a quick buck off them.

4. Offer freebies

Hand out samples to friends, friends of friends and even strangers in the street. Offer a free consultation to potential clients to demonstrate your expertise.

And as mentioned above, collaborate with another small business via social media – offer a prize and ask your followers to like the post, tag 5 friends and follow your account to be in the running to win. Read more about attracting clients without social media here

Giving away free products or a sample of your service allows people to get to know you and your brand, and most importantly, it helps to build trust with your potential customers. People prefer to do business with someone they trust.   

5. Content marketing

Sharing interesting content like blogs, reels, and posts on your social media and website is a great way to stimulate interest in you and your business. 

You might ask, is it worth having a website in the age of social media? I say, absolutely! 

Social media is great for connecting with your audience, but you never own the content you post, it’s owned by the platform. So, when there are algorithm changes or your account gets hacked, you can potentially lose your followers or content. With a website, you own your content, and the best part is, by knowing some SEO tricks, you can propel yourself to the top of Google’s search results so people looking for a business just like yours will find you quickly. 

As well you can use your website to create valuable, informative content in the form of blog posts to showcase your expertise so you can establish yourself as “the authority” in your niche, above your competitors! Setting yourself apart from your competitors is one of the best forms of free advertisement.

The key takeaway

Attracting new clients to your business doesn’t have to cost you the earth in advertising costs. 

Networking, collaborating with other businesses, getting involved with the community, giving away samples and well-written content are just some of the creative ways you can get new customers. 

If you need help with your content or content strategy, contact me.