Did you know that small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2015 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs)? It is quite a crowded area, isn’t it? That makes it all the more important to bring your A-game to marketing your business. We must also consider one limiting factor that SMEs might have to market well – limited budget. Considering this, and considering the power of online marketing, the best way for a small business to expand and grow is online marketing. That said, it becomes very important that a business uses the right growth hacking strategies, which are cost-effective too. Here are some such strategies and tips which might help you figure out what works best for your business: #1. Network with influencers Say you are a small business with no online influence whatsoever, what do you do then? Approach people who do have that kind of influence; reach out to the influencers who generally have thousands, if not millions, of followers. But how can we catch the attention of these sensational people? By doing them favors in any way we can, before even saying hi to them. Here are some of my tips: Connect one of your clients with an influencer (only if it’s relevant of course). Maybe you found a new website which you think might interest a particular influencer. Pass on the message to them. Generate activity on their posts by posting thoughtful comments. Analyse their website and should you find a problem, say SEO or content related, then you can offer your help to fix it. If nothing else, you can actively share all their posts and promote them in your community. #2. Search optimize like crazy For a time, people were all about SEO and then later, everyone was all about content, but now marketers and companies have realised that to be successful, both must go hand-in-hand. Especially for small businesses, it important that their content is noticed by Google and it’s users. Hang on, did you even check if your Google has indexed your pages? Here are some points to remember: Remember that SEO is a long-term strategy. Be patient, and plan carefully. Even if it doesn’t show quick results, it is important to keep practicing it religiously. Keep optimizing your SEO strategy every 6 months and run search audits too. You mustn’t fall behind in the game. #3. Do some creative marketing, aim to go viral According to a report from Sharpe partners, 89% of US adult internet users share or send content with/to others. A funny dubsmash video, or a cool infographic, or a great ad etc., can help you go viral or in other terms bring you an overnight bubble of fame. This can help you get your jump start in your marketing activities. Here are some tips: In viral marketing, creativity is the only weapon you really need. If making a viral video, for example, is way out of your budget, you can consider partnerships with other complementary businesses. Make sure your work is aesthetically pleasing and attention-grabbing. #4. Be active on platforms like Quora There is nothing better than placing targeted content out on the internet. Many of us just dump our content everywhere, hoping to see results. Instead, I would suggest this often overlooked strategy which is to target question and answer sites such as Quora. Look for questions and problems you can answer and add value to. This is a great way to make the most of your content. Plus, don’t forget to include your company name and profile in your signature. #5. Do a lot of guest blogging Establishing your expertise as a thought leader or an expert in your field of operations is a simple yet powerful marketing technique. Not only does it bring in numbers, it also adds brand value and recognition to you and your company. Guest blogging is the most organic way of marketing yourself to your customers. The idea is to write articles on topics for which you have something valuable to offer and post these articles on other blogs and websites. When the readers read your articles and like it, they will automatically check out your product or website. Hence, you are directing some of the traffic from other blogs to your own and all this by just offering useful advice and opinions to the readers. I say, genius! #6. Make use of the affiliate marketing technique For a business on a budget, affiliate marketing is a great option; it is based on the concept of performance based marketing. In this marketing technique, you get people to market for you and all you have to do is to pay them a percentage for every customer you land as a result of the campaign. This is a very low-risk option and is a smart way to market your business when you don’t have much influence as a business. There are many websites out there which can arrange these affiliate marketing deals. #7. Implement content upgrades A content upgrade is an opt-in option presented within the article. The intention is to convert a reader into a subscriber by offering more content relevant to the one in the original article. For example, If you publish an article titled ‘10 effective content marketing strategies’, within the article you can offer a ‘Step-by-step guide to implementing the 10 strategies’ on a subscription basis. The readers who gained value from your original article will definitely subscribe and get the guide as well. In fact, a famous blogger Brian Dean said that he saw a staggering 785% increase in the number of his subscriptions after he implemented this strategy. Final thoughts on growth hacking Growth hacking doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all game plan. Out of the several possible growth hacks available to you, figuring out what fits your business goals best is the key and the way to do this is by experimenting with different ideas and the above-mentioned hacks are a great place to start. The only possible hindrance to effective growth is a lack of ideas. Lack of funds is hardly even a factor when one’s ready to hustle. Image: Growth Hacking- Inscription on Red Road Sign on Sky Background.