Learning how to effectively present your business is a difficult trick to figure out in the first place, but keeping your marketing campaign’s costs down adds another dimension of difficulty. For a small business it’s essential to find low-cost alternatives to buying expensive ads or hiring a bunch of people to work in a sales team. Here are a two of the easiest ways to build a client network…

Building Professional Connections

A major important step to building a good client base is knowing where your clients are likely to be. The easiest way to do this is to find a business that your prospective client is likely to visit before your own, and go and develop a business relationship with the owner of that business. As a graphic designer I’ve visited with every embroidery, screen printing, and print shop in town, because I know that a lot of people visiting those places are in dire need of a good graphic designer, whether they know it or not. The people working at those businesses can then improve their service by referring their clients to me for improvements in their designs, and I get a steady stream of clients to keep me in business.

Besides these complementary businesses it’s also worth it to reach out to your competition. While this might sound counter-intuitive many small businesses go through cycles of disproportionately low and high numbers of clients. If you’re being overrun with business that you can’t handle you can refer them to your competitor (for a referral fee of course), and they’ll do the same for you. This will help you stabilize your client load which is very important to support growth.

Using Social Media Correctly

Everyone is chattering about how social media is the future (or the present, depending on who you ask), but no one seems to actually explain what you’re supposed to do to make it work. There are hundreds of thousands of abandoned business Facebook pages that have fallen victim to the hype without understanding that social media is a tool. You have to actually use it. A hammer doesn’t work if you just leave it sitting around gathering dust in your garage. In the same way you can’t be successful with social media if you’re not actively using it. Here are some tips on how to get things rolling in social media

Gather an Audience– Remember the relevant related businesses from earlier? Find their social media pages and “friend” every single one of their followers. These people are much more likely to be interested in your product or service and will likely add you back.

Contact other Businesses – Send messages to related businesses even if they aren’t in your area. Develop acquaintanceships with these people and introduce them to your own network. If they need someone like you they’ll know where to go.

Post Interesting Things- Don’t post something every day or you’ll be blocked by your followers. Post important things like job openings, sales, important dates, or genuinely helpful information so that people will get value out of being associated with you.