Creative Ways to Grow Your Business Using the Web

creative_codeTake your business further than your budget. Think imaginatively to market your business online.

Social media is time consuming, and–in my experience–rarely correlates directly to increased sales.  AdWords and paid listings can be costly, and take time to get right.  However, it is important to find fast and inexpensive ways to make the Internet work for your company. For savvy small business owners, there are lots of creative ways to use the web to move your business forward.

Here are a few to get started:

Sign up to be a pick-up zone for Amazon.

While traveling recently, I decided to order something from Amazon in the country where I happened to be.  Because I was staying in a borrowed apartment without my name on the mailbox, I thought it might be hard to get delivery via the mail, and was surprised to find Amazon had an option to select a local business where I could choose to have the package delivered instead.  I picked a nail salon down the street, and, on the delivery day, went to pick up my package with my ID.  As the merchant handed me my package, she also gave me a list of her beauty services and pricing. Signing up to be a pick-up zone for Amazon allowed her to market to someone like me, who might otherwise never have known her business existed. The small closet space she allocated to Amazon orders was a minimal price to pay for the chance to expand her client list on a daily basis.

Make a special offer to another company’s customers.

Smart businesses try to be a resource–not just a transaction venue–for their customers.  Find out if there is a company with a product that benefits yours and offer it a discount code or special it can share with customers on purchases of your complimentary products.  For example, I contacted a supplier of gold body jewelry and offered to give free shipping on any order for our jewelry (non-gold) that a customer it sent us purchased.  Knowing that we often get requests for gold jewelry and do not want to send our customers away with no idea where to get what they want, we figured the gold jewelry company must often face the same problem.  I encouraged that company to mention us, and by offering a discount code, gave it the chance to be a hero to its customers in the process.