It’s no secret that most marketing gurus say the money is in the email list. But, in my opinion, there’s no reason creative entrepreneurs need to put all their eggs in this one basket.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still a huge fan of having an email list. I agree that you should still have one. But, there are plenty of ways to build a successful business without relying heavily on your email list to do so.

In this post, I’ll get into some specifics about the approaches I’ve used to get clients, grow my business and sell digital products — without relying on my email list.

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Establish a referral program

‘Word-of-mouth’ is one of the most effective forms of marketing. When past clients and customers pass your info along, you have an automatic layer of trust and credibility with people being referred to you. This is why having a referral program can be an incredibly effective way to grow your business.

There are several ways you can incentivise referrals to sort of “sweeten the deal” and increase the likelihood of past clients and customers sending new business your way, but you can keep things really simple by:

  1. Coming up with a good incentive (like discounts on future services/purchases, or an affiliate-style incentive where referrers get a set dollar amount or % of the sale when they refer people) and letting current/past clients and customers know about it…
  2. Tracking referrals when you get new business…
  3. And sending the incentive to referral contacts.

Having a referral program can be a win-win situation for you and for your clients and customers who refer people. Just make sure you choose an enticing incentive that works for your business.

Use good SEO

Initially, the topic of SEO may seem overwhelming. But in most cases, you really only need to know some SEO basics to set your site up to rank locally on Google.

It depends on your target market, but more often than not people are using location specific searches to find what they need. For example, instead of doing a Google search for “graphic designer” (which is going to produce billions of hits), someone might search “Atlanta graphic designer” to help narrow down the search results. So, ranking on Google for local searches can be a great way to get new clients and customers in your area – even if you can work with people from all over. 

Additionally, you can rank your content, without being location specific. If you are a wedding planner, you can produce lots of blog posts and videos about the wedding planning process to help rank your content and get in front of brides. You would want to have resources that are available to brides in other states, unless you’re going to travel to them.

Check out this page for more tips to help you get started with SEO.

Drive traffic with Pinterest

Personally, I get a large portion of my website traffic from Pinterest.

Pinterest is a good platform to grow your brand’s visibility while helps directing potential clients and customers to specific content on your site.

Many of my pins link to blogs or video tutorials on my site. So, when people click a pin and consume my content related to something they’re trying to learn/do in their business, it’s not uncommon for them to head straight to my “hire me” page and inquire about hiring me to help.

Want more specifics about how to get started with Pinterest or how to use it to grow your business? Check out this blog.

Contribute to Facebook groups

Facebook groups are popular place to connect with potential clients and customers. The best way to make initial connections is to start answering questions that relate to your area of expertise.

Here’s a bit of advice I’ve learned, first-hand, through actively participating in Facebook Groups for the past several years:

  • Don’t be spammy, only post helpful information.
  • Being helpful goes a long way and it’s as easy as posting a link to a useful tutorial or freebie. Avoid linking to paid offers, even if it’s something small like a $7 ebook.
  • Make the most of your time count by only hanging out in groups where your ideal clients are likely to be hanging out.
  • Limit time you spend in groups that are overly-populated. It’s easy to get lost in the feed and/or distracted by all the content/conversations going on.

Create Video Content

If you’re looking for a great way to stand out in your industry, consider creating video content. While, video is gaining popularity, there still aren’t as many people doing video as there are blogging.

Not only does video content increase your visibility (especially if you’re publishing your videos somewhere other than your site, like YouTube or Facebook), it also gives potential clients and customers a way to put a face with your business. And in an online world where so many of us live behind keyboards, you’d be surprised how much of a difference it can make when you incorporate more of a human element through video.

If you’re considering using video and just need a few topic ideas to get started, I’ll show you how to find great video topics in the tutorial below:

Now you know how to gain visibility, but don’t forget…

If you truly want to be able to grow your business without relying heavily on your email list, you need a great website. Especially if you’re trying to grow without putting much focus on your email list, your website will serve as your main platform for sharing how you can help potential clients and customers.

So, if you want to make the most of the tips I shared in today’s post, I’d recommend starting by ensuring your site is professional, functional and engaging.

If you could use some support when it comes to optimizing your website so it will help you grow your business, consider getting a website game plan.

Wondering if your website is its absolute best?

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