We’ve just recently started digging into paid advertising opportunities for the WP Valet as we continue to scale. Going through this process was a reminder of how we were able to build a successful business with zero “traditional” digital advertising dollars spent.
No Ad Dollars Spent Doesn’t Mean There Was No Cost
I want to make a clear distinction of what I’m talking about here. In no way do I mean to tell you that promotion and growth for your business for free.
What I’m talking about is where you’re investing your promotional dollars, and how traditional services like AdWords can be bypassed if you decide that’s what’s best for your business growth.
Promotional Methods that Worked for Us
So what are some of the ways we promoted and grew our business?
Let’s get started…
This may sound like a no-brainer, but when first starting any business it can sometimes feel like you’re in a vacuum and making sure to make yourself known on the available social channels is really important.
Social channels have a lot of benefits for businesses, not the least of which is a path for people to follow along with what you’re sharing. But be careful, don’t only talk about yourself and what you provide.
The key to gaining a loyal following on your social channels is to share content that your audience will find useful, interesting, and entertaining.
Then, when you do have something of your own to share or promote you will have people who are already paying attention and actually care what you have to say.
Giving Back to the Community
Whatever your industry, there are always opportunities to give back to that community and provide value to others.
We are lucky to be in the WordPress community (among others), and there are ample ways for us to give back. We do this by creating open source plugins and other code snippets, volunteering and speaking at WordCamps, and organizing some local Meetup groups.
It’s an indirect way of promoting your knowledge and skills with those colleagues that will think of you and your business when a need arises.
Asking for a Personal Call
In the Internet services world it’s sometimes easy to put up a barrier between “service provider” and “customer” via contact forms and email.
Relying solely on web based calls to action and long sales pages touting the benefits of your services and experience can often hamper your ability to gain trust and gain customers.
Don’t forget the all important relationship that must exist between you and your customers.
Whether you simply display a contact phone number or supply one during a contact form submission, connecting with your potential customers on-on-one will go a long way in determining if your service is the right fit for them, and if they’re the kind of customer you want within your organization.
Don’t be afraid to make that all important call…phone, Skype, Google Hangout…whatever.
Attending Industry Conferences
I mentioned above that we attend WordCamps regularly, but something important we’ve done is to attend conferences that are not totally focused on the WordPress software itself.
After all, we provide more than just WordPress expertise as our services get deeper into the various methods to help grow any web-based business.
Because of this, we’ve found it beneficial to attend general blogging and web technology conferences as well as business startup events.
Reach out beyond your niche and you may be surprised at how your skills can apply there.
A Firm Handshake
An oldie but a goodie, but probably the most important of all non-advertising methods you can do in order to gain trust and confidence.
Not a wet noodle handshake, not a dead fish handshake.
If you have the opportunity to meet a potential customer in person, make sure to give them a firm handshake and thank them for their time.
And just for fun, here are the top ten bad business handshakes…