Even though the economy looks like it’s finally starting to show some signs of recovery, signaling a long-awaited end to the Great Recession of the past several years, we still have a long way to go before businesses and consumers once again feel safe and financially solvent. And as a business owner, you are likely still wary of overspending. If you somehow managed to weather the storm and come out the other side whole, chances are you’ve depleted any excess cash you had stashed away and you’re limping along on a shoestring budget. Even though economic recovery seems to be on the horizon, you don’t want to overextend yourself financially now, before the global economy is solidly back on track. But you are no doubt aware of the adage “you have to spend money to make money”. And if you’re looking to increase sales, you may be contemplating devoting some of your precious funds to advertising. Just hold the phone for a minute, though. There are all kinds of ways to raise awareness and spur sales without spending a ton of money in the process. Here are a few strategies you may want to try before you spend beaucoup bucks on a pricy ad campaign.

  1. Social media. It’s hard to deny the power of social networking. With so many platforms at your disposal, each offering special features for connecting with the masses, you have practically unlimited opportunities to reach consumers. And the best part is that you can see results without spending a dime, although you’ll definitely have to put in the time. So if you have yet to set up accounts with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more, now might be a good time to start messing around with social media to see what you stand to gain through your creative efforts in the online and mobile arenas.
  2. Optimization. If we’re being honest, SEO is definitely not free. You’re either going to have to pay a qualified service to optimize your website and blog or you’re going to have to put some major time and effort into learning to do it yourself. This not only means learning how to use keywords, links, and so on to your advantage, but also learning the ins and outs of Google algorithms in order to avoid raising their ire and getting delisted. But whether you opt to spend time or money on optimization, you’re sure to see impressive results over time through your ongoing efforts.
  3. Analytics. Understanding how your online advertising and other efforts are being received is paramount to tailoring your campaigns for overall success. So download the tools you need to track and analyze data pertaining to shares, likes, click-through, and so on. There are plenty of free options at your disposal and many are linked to social media to make your life easier.
  4. Cross-promotion. One great way to save money on your promotional efforts is to split the costs with a willing participant. And cross-promotion provides you with additional benefits, as well. For one thing, it may give you access to consumers that already patronize the brand you decide to partner with. And this venture can also make both businesses more interesting to the consumer public because of a creative blending of products or services or the deal offered in the process.
  5. Community outreach. You could certainly pay top dollar for an award-winning web designer, hire an SEO firm to manage your online efforts, and secure the services of a bottom line coach to help you develop and execute strategies for success in business. But if you’re looking to save some money just now, there are plenty of other options to raise awareness of your brand that require far less expenditure. For example, you might want to volunteer for local, charitable events, advertising for your business and meeting community members in the process. Or you could offer classes and tutorials for free as a way to entice consumers into purchasing your goods or services. So long as you’re exploring new avenues of promotion you’re bound to gain customers and sales. And spending money is no guarantee you’ll make it happen any faster.

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