Growing your business can easily cost an arm and a leg, but it doesn’t have to. You can play with the big kids, even if you’re just starting out, and without spending money you don’t have!
Learn all the different ways you can save as you grow your business, so you’ll have more money to put where it matters the most. There are plenty of strategies that will cost you nothing else than a couple of hours of research and a willingness to try.
Starting, and growing, your successful online business will never be free, but learning the shortcuts can save you a lot of money! Don’t shell out the big bucks in the wrong place. Learn how to successfully grow your online business—even on a shoestring budget.
Starting a successful online business can be daunting, and if you are starting your business on a budget, it’s even more so. But even though growing your business online is going to cost you some money, it can absolutely be done on a shoestring budget. Read on to find out where you can save your dollars when starting up, so you can put your money where you’ll get the most value.
Your Website Platform
Picking the right website platform will save you money and allow your business to grow. WordPress (WordPress.org, not WordPress.com) is a good choice. You will need to pay for a web hosting account (a server where your website files are stored) and a domain name (the address to your website), but if you use WordPress, Bluehost often offers a free domain name and discounted hosting (as low as $2.75 a month).
Professional custom design is expensive and not a necessary expense as you’re starting up. Instead, use a free or premium WordPress theme, or a drag and drop WordPress page builder, to create a simple, functional website.
Don’t Lose Website Visitors
Make it easy for visitors to contact you by having a contact form right on your website. Since the easiest way to generate leads is to build an email list, you should also make sure you collect visitors’ emails.
OptiMonster is a conversion optimization software that lets you build campaigns that collect emails, show exit popups, countdown timers, and display offers, improving the chance of casual website visitors turning into customers.
Content Marketing and Basic SEO
Build your audience by creating content that your visitors find useful and interesting. WordPress makes it easy to add a blog to your website, and there are guides online to teach you what keywords to use and how to use them in your content.
Since search engines are going to be the biggest source of traffic for your website, you will need to learn SEO (search engine optimization), the rules and techniques that make your website easy to find for search engines and apply it to your content.
Use Google Analytics to Make Decisions
Using your best guess to plan a strategy is okay if that’s all you’ve got, but with Google Analytics you can make more than guesses. Google Analytics tells you how many visitors are on your site, what they do there, and where they come from. You can use the free version of the MonsterInsight WordPress plugin to get the most important reports on your website visitors right in your WordPress dashboard.
Drive Traffic with Social Media
Your audience is on social media, and you have to be too. Create profiles on the major social media networks, keep them active, grow your follower counts, and point traffic to your website. Also, share your blog posts on social media, and make it easy for others to share your content by using WordPress social media plugins.
Participate in Online Communities
Join communities like Stack Exchange, TripAdvisor, Reddit, and Quora, and build authority by being an accessible and reliable source of knowledge. Mention your business when appropriate, but don’t spam.
Affiliate Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Ads
Affiliate marketing means that someone gets paid a commission for promoting other businesses’ services or products. If you are selling products, affiliate marketers will promote your products and bring in sales, and you will use an affiliate management system to track referrals.
You can also make extra money off of your own content by promoting other businesses’ services or products. Pay-Per-Click ad campaigns don’t have to cost you a kidney. Google AdWords or Facebook Ads lets you choose your audience, keywords, and pricing.
Use Social Proof and FOMO
You’ve probably heard about FOMO, the dreaded fear of missing out. You can use FOMO to your advantage to boost sales and conversions. All you have to do is build anxiety in your customers by adding scarcity to your offers, like making them available only for limited time.
Social Proof is another psychological hack. Use Social Proof by showing off your customer testimonials, statistics, or subscriber counts. Proving that other people already trust your business will make new visitors more likely to trust it too.
Website Speed and Performance
Did you know that the human attention span is shortening? In 2106 the average attention span was 7 seconds. This means you have just a few seconds to convince your potential customers to stay on your webpage. As little as a 1 second delay can lead to loss of customer satisfaction, fewer page views, and conversion loss. In other words, a slow website just isn’t going to cut it.
The Bottom Line
Growing your business on a shoestring budget is far from impossible. All it takes is putting the dollars you do have in the correct places. Following the tips in this article will start you off on the right foot.