This is a very typical question and most people, even other business owners here will tell you just about the same thing. Get SEO, print out flyers, hit up some doors, etc. What if you have no money and or no time? Part of my Unthink Coaching focuses just in this topic.
Here is my advice:
1. I do agree you need SEO, but seo is not a single solution. What you need is called Search Marketing. This couples a lot of things into one cohesive simultaneous effort that takes into consideration social posts, locations, shares and their own locations, link creations, copy, blogs, shares, times, google ad marketing, etc. SEO alone won’t do anything and is not sustainable and is very expensive on its own. Starting out I would skip this.
2. Create landing pages, or hire someone to do them for you. Instapage.com is cheap to get and super easy to do. Learn about A/B testing. Then couple this with Mailchimp which is free and write your “blog” content type emails here…ending every single one with a different link to a particular subset of that list. But how do you get these leads?
3. Well, find your talent. If you are good at design, offer to create flyers for other businesses for free in exchange of your logo being in a corner or somewhere mentioned there. Find a horizontal competitor business who you can cross promote with. Piggy back on their marketing efforts. Example, in Arizona I grew HonestMaids, part of how I did that was realizing that there is a deep personal connection that landscapers or hvac/plumbers don’t get… I found these businesses who wanted to increase their sales – we became their referral system in exchange for them adding our brand to their site, flyers, and ad campaigns. Might not seem fair but 1 referral/suggestion from a friend is worth more than $100 dollars spent in ads. The maids having that closeness are very valuable in their opinions when they spot a homeowner with other maintenance problems. I suggest you do your homework on this because is huge. You didn’t mention your type of business otherwise I would have given you some ideas.
4. Call 5 businesses within a 15mile radius of your home (not office) every day. Google them, call them. That easy.
5. Make sure all your offerings and branding are cohesive.
6. Never compete on price. Be stubborn about what you offer and how much you charge.
7. Look into Blue Ocean Strategy – or give me a call
8. Offer your service for free to emerging businesses not established ones. Everyone goes for the established ones, but the newbies become evangelists a lot faster and easier.
Another example for #3, I helped a new accounting firm in Arizona accelerate their sales by adding more value to their offering. They reduced their prices by 80% and claimed to instead get 50% off whatever savings they found extra from previous years that the business clients’ previous accountant missed. This equaled to more than they would make on the 80% each single time. Not only that but I came up with the simple idea of offering a reinvestment service of the client’s 50% to gain interest and avoid taxes for the current year. This alone helped them find a market of business owners who invest on their personal time and thus were attracted to them. Creating simple facebook posts, flyers, business cards, youtube videos with email link or phone… is all you when you have such clear differentiation.
Give me a call if you want to chat. I am an international strategist currently in Arizona, I an MBA and have had about 100 successful business launches I have been part of as partner, contractor or advisor. All sustainable, most with very little startup capital.