THE BLOG

A Dozen Easy Ways to Generate Buzz and Leads Without Spending a Penny

02/05/2015 04:52 pm ET | Updated Apr 07, 2015

As a small business owner myself, I am always trying to squeeze more out of every cent I spend on business-building. One thing's for sure, no solo-preneur or entrepreneur has whole lot of money (or time) to spare, yet we all want to create buzz around our businesses and have an ongoing flow of leads.

So, I've put together this handy-dandy list of a dozen proven, money-saving tips that have worked at Solamar and for our clients. I personally recommend that you:

1. Use truly engaging content. Follow the fundamentals of good, solid, response-oriented copywriting. These basics mean you have to develop content with:

• Winning headlines and subheads
• Simple and specific language
• Benefits before features
• Clear and compelling proof
• Confident guarantees

2. Write articles and be a guest blogger in targeted publications and on market-specific websites.

3. Include a distinct call to action. Your content always needs a purpose...a reason to do something.

4. Partner with other businesses that also service your target client base. We call this J.V. (joint ventures) online, but local businesses can obviously do this, too. For example, dog groomers can partner with veterinarians, accountants can partner with lawyers, and so on. You can offer giveaways, free trials, coupons, or just exposure through partners' newsletters, emails, take-ones, etc.

5. Put a referral program in place. Even if you do not pay for referrals, you can have systems in place to simply ask for referrals. Plus, you can also offer discounts or bonus offers for referrals.

6. Encourage sharing or your content. Make sure your content is fresh, relevant, and useful...and always include an easy-to-click "share" button.

7. Conduct online webinars. These informative forums are doing really well right now, and they can be set up free through Google Hangouts.

8. Tap into social media. But to do it really well, try to focus on one or, at most, two social media networks. Determine what channel (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc.) is best for your own business and put your efforts there before moving on to the next one. Bonus tip: If you're using Facebook, be sure to complete your Facebook business page profile, so prospects and customers know what your do, and your address, phone number and hours of operation (if applicable).

9. Funnel all leads into an email tool, such as MailChimp, which is free or very inexpensive.

10. Spend a lot of effort nurturing leads using follow-up emails. Getting the leads is not enough. You have to keep them interested and get them to buy from you or try your services.

11. Use an editorial and marketing calendar to save time on blogging and tracking projects (which also saves money!). Mapping out topics you're going to write about and actions you are going to take far in advance can free up so much time and stress. Also schedule specific times each day throughout the week for marketing activities. Structure is important for every small business owner!

12. If you have a team, assign marketing-related tasks to everyone. For example, if you have a plumbing business, each plumber who goes out to fix a clogged drain should also have some kind of marketing script and handout to give to customers.

These are just a few of the many ways to get people talking about your business plus produce qualified leads and sales. Best of all, you can put these tips to work for you without spending a penny!