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10 FREE Ways to Find New Business

10 FREE ways to find new business
Here are some inexpensive and simple ways to find new leads.

To keep your business going and growing you have to hunt for new business all the time. Here are 10 ways to target new prospects.

Every business needs new customers in order to sustain and grow. Traditional channels like outdoor advertising, newspaper and radio can cast a wide net, but is expensive. How does a startup or fledgling business compete for new business? Think it’s hard? Here are 10 FREE ways to find new business and get a steady flow of prospects:

1. Who is your customer?

Determine who your perfect client could be. This is called a “persona.” This includes gender, income level, age and interests. Next, analyze how your products or services could solve a problem for them. Once you understand who you are marketing to and why, then the hunt becomes more focused. Social media will allow you to target demographics and interests that will allow for almost surgical precision reaching just the customers you want. For just a few dollars you may be able to reach the right customers that will pay for the ad campaign many times over on the first sale.

2. Business licenses

Look in your local newspaper (print or online) to see who registered businesses in your area. Surely you can identify some that will need your products and services. Send them a congratulations card or a discount coupon congratulating them on their new business. Follow up in a week or so to start the conversation about how you can help them. Note here, that a friendly conversation that is purely helpful will keep the door open. If it is just a sales call, their guard tends to go up quickly.

3. Be a thought leader

Look for local newspapers or magazine where you could offer to write an article on a topic within your expertise. Sometimes these articles are written for free, sometimes the magazine may even pay you. This is situational based on the magazine. It is encouraged to do this even if it is for free as you become the authority over someone else. Chances of someone picking your product or service is higher because you are “the expert” in print.

4. Promotions and awards.

Look at your business social network or local business journals and research people who are recently promoted. Reach out through social media, email or a card in the mail congratulating them on being recognized (this works for people getting awards, too).

5. Look for upcoming events.

Perhaps there is an event you can attend or help sponsor. Many events need sponsors to subsidize their events. This sponsorship usually comes with advertising including the sponsors company name or logo. Even if you attend as a patron, wear appropriate branded apparel. Obviously, there are some decorum issues here, if it is a formal event, wearing a branded polo or t-shirt would not be appropriate. But in those cases have plenty of business cards available.

6. Build strategic relationships.

Sometimes other businesses can work with you even if they are in related businesses. Here is a great example, a web designer is very good at building code for websites, but may be weak at writing. Partnering with a writer could draw in business that one or the other couldn’t do on their own. Seek out these types of relationships.

7. Hold a seminar.

There are many places that will allow you to hold a meeting for little to no money. This is similar to writing articles, you become the authority. Just promote your topic and get R.S.V.Ps. then host your event. Perhaps offer some freebie or a discount for attending. Always capture attendee contact information to follow up after the event. This does take some confidence with public speaking, but with a little practice, it gets easier.

8. Tell the world.

Have a work anniversary, a business anniversary? Send out press releases to local media outlets and newspapers. This is the opposite of seeking out promotions, awards and startups. Although it does let others know your experience in the field and what you do. There are several good press release templates for free on the internet.

9. Free internet sites.

There are several sites that will allow you to post your business for free or low-cost. Everyone should be familiar with Craigslist.org and AngiesList.com, but there are other more local sites that are gaining traction like Alignable.com, ParkBench.com. Recently Facebook has had “Swip Swap” groups popping up all over the place. Just request to join a Swip Swap and you can post your product or service for free. The only caveat is to not be spammy, otherwise you will get tossed out of the group. Consider who your customer persona is and then seek out sites that may be a good fit for your defined persona.

10. Attend business networking events.

This cannot be stressed enough. Building business relationships is paramount and really helps any business grow. People work with people they know, like and trust. Your local Chamber of Commerce and websites like Meetup.com and local print and online calendars will alert you to opportunities to meet with other business professionals at networking events. Develop those relationships. The average person knows 255 people. The professionals you meet do not need your product or service. However, the chances of them knowing someone who does is exponentially greater than you finding those leads on your own.

Summary

You don’t have to have massive advertising budgets or send out exhaustive email campaigns to find new business. Just by developing a strategy to figure out your target market, strategic alliances and growing your business network, you will grow organically. Tackle two to three of these strategies every month and you will surely find more customers. Surely one of the 10 FREE ways to find new business will work for you right away.

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