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Iris Designs, Web Design Company in Houston

10 Proven Strategies for Growing Your Online Business Without Spending a Dime

In the 15+ years of marketing and growing a variety of campaigns, I've learned that there's more than one way to "skin a cat" -- and I know -- it's an odious saying, but it packs a powerful punch.

Marketing a small business

Marketing is a multi-dimensional opportunity to not just create brand awareness and interaction, but it's also a magical and key component to growing any business. Of course, there are a multitude of paid strategies that are also proven to grow your business, but for start-ups without investment capital or the small business owner just trying to make a way with their online portfolio, I've found, through my own experiences too, that these methods work!

So if you've made it this far, buckle up and take a roller-coaster ride with me and keep reading below for my top 10 proven methods for growing your business.

Social Media Marketing as a Small Business Owner
  1. Social Media Marketing: Of course, I would list this as number one! Social media has proven itself to not just be a place for instant scrolling or influencer magic, it has also helped thousands of small businesses like yours, to grow. Platforms like #Instagram, #TikTok, #LinkedIn, and #Facebook operate on algorithms. To maximize your potential growth in these spaces, focus on consistency with posting and use some of my favorite key tips below:

    1. Create video content and LIVE broadcasts - These organic and authentic moments that you share with your audience and followers, create a sense of loyalty, brand awareness, and trust. It also creates a sense of urgency to buy, learn more, or even share and encourage others to follow/buy.

    2. Curate captivating content that'll get your followers to interact -Create polls, question boards, and content that encourages feedback or conversation.

    3. Maximize Facebook Groups - Certain group will typically include engaging or interactive conversations where you can showcase your hot stuff. Add to the convo with your expertise or, when applicable, share best practices, special events that you're hosting, and of course, engage in product or service promotions. Make sure, however, that you follow each of the individual group rules, as they may vary. Especially concerning solicitations.

  2. Don't be Siloed, Network! - "I said, what I said!" When I first began my business in 2020, I didn't have a large start-up campaign. I was laid off because of the pandemic. I didn't have a game plan or exit strategy. It was more like, "sink, swim, or [in my humble opinion] BUILD A BOAT!" Here's what I've learned:

    1. When seeking networking opportunities, always think about what your goals are and who your audience is. Would featuring your business in online articles, podcasts, or radio shows be beneficial to the growth of your business? Would establishing yourself as a vendor at a small business expo offer an opportunity to land sales? Or, would it beneficial to extend yourself to these aforementioned groups as an expert. Maybe you can talk with the host and determine if you could share some fun facts with the group. This will absolutely position you as a leader in your field. Pro Tip: Explore Eventbrite, City events which may be listed on your city website.

  3. Explore Online Communities - they help a ton! I mentioned it earlier, with Facebook Groups, but there are so many others outside of the popular social channels that you may want to explore. Online communities like, forums, Q&A websites like Reddit, Quora, or other industry-specific forums. And don't stop at browsing! Engage! Provide helpful answers, share your expertise, and subtly promote your products or services when appropriate.

  4. Online Directories and Listings - There are a lot of businesses that act as directories or backlinks to your website. Some free resources to consider are:

  5. Get Creative and Consider Referral Programs - Converting an interested or curious lead into a buyer is one step of the small business game. The next step is creating an impactful experience to where your clients or customers WANT to refer new business to you. But it doesn't stop there! All major corporations usually provide some level of a referral program that encourages happy customers to spread the good news about their business. Take it from industry leaders - this method works! So when crafting what that "special offer" looks like, consider: loyalty points, discounts, freebies, etc.

  6. Build an Email or Text List - Building an email or text list is another crucial part of this adventure. But think about it! Do people really want to just give up their email or phone number - for free? Heck no! So this is where you have to get creative. Consider an incentive! Or better yet, a lead magnet. What can you offer your potential customers, current customers/clients for an exchange of their personal information? Some examples might be:

    1. Ebook: "The Ultimate Guide to Rest and Recovery"

    2. Checklist: "10 Essential Steps to For Healthier, Happier Hair"

    3. Webinar: "Mastering Social Media: Strategies to Grow Your Business Online"

    4. Toolkit: "The Mental Wellness Toolkit: Resources for a Healthier Mind"

    5. Infographic: "Visualizing Data: Trends and Insights in the Digital Marketing Landscape"

  7. Think of Content Marketing - In a nutshell, content marketing are usually industry related materials like blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, or infographics that are not only high-value but also related to your niche. Perfecting your content marketing can position you as an industry leader!

  8. Think Outside of the Box: Influencer Marketing - I mentioned earlier that social media is such BIG news and an even bigger opportunity to grow, so another magical way to tap into and become an industry leader is to scope out micro-influencers. These folks are growing their brand, but have a strong audience influence. If the influencer aligns with your brand and values, reach out to them and propose a collaboration. This can look like product reviews, sponsored posts, or even guest appearances on their platforms.

  9. Guest Blogging - Oh, yea! It's a Thing!! - Consider the huge world of possibilities as a guest blogger. You read right! There are opportunities out there to partner with popular blogs and websites within your industry. And of course, by doing so, you're reaching a wider audience and establishing yourself as the authority in your field. This method will also drive traffic to your website, growing both your email list and conversions!

  10. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Your website is your home away from home. It generates both curious onlookers, decision makers, and buyers. To ensure that these folks can find you, it's important to optimize your website so that search engines can catalog you in their search results. To do so, you'll need to focus on:

    1. relevant keywords

    2. creating valuable content

    3. optimizing meta tags

    4. improving website speed

    5. and, of course obtaining backlinks from reputable sources (see above)

We all know the hustle is real, and those overhead costs can be a pain. But fear not, my friends! If you take the above tips to heart, you can slash expenses and supercharge your business growth!

Can't wait to see you all crush it, level up, and GROW!


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