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Connecting with current customers and curating an effective email marketing strategy are two effective (and cost-effective) ways to boost sales. — Getty Images

It’s extremely common for small businesses to be on a tight budget, but as the old saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of things that can be done and resources that can be utilized to boost sales without spending a lot of money. Here are a few ways to increase your sales budget.

Connect with current customers

Connecting with your current customers, especially happy ones, is one of the areas to boost your sales. Because you have already invested time, money and energy into these customers — and they already value your brand — you should continuously engage them and ask for their feedback. Look for their pain points and illustrate how your business can alleviate their problems.

[Read: How to Build a Sales Funnel for Your Business]

Set up a referral system

As part of connecting with your customers, capitalize on their network through a referral program. Offer a discount code, swag item or something else of value in exchange for a referral. Experiment with various incentives to find what works best. You may need to try a few different referral programs over time to see what motivates people to help your business build connections.

Prioritize social media

Social media needs to be part of your marketing strategy. It’s one of the most cost-effective marketing channels that reaches a large audience and offers the ability to track results. If you are not doing so already, run a Facebook ad campaign to your targets and post content to your newsfeed frequently. In addition, be sure to utilize Instagram and Twitter to capitalize on hashtags as a way to get discovered and build relationships with prospects.

[Read: A Guide to Growing Your Business With Social Media Marketing]

Pursue content marketing

The right content will help your customers discover your products and services. Content marketing can come in many forms, such as a well-designed infographic, video, e-book, podcast, case study, data from survey, blog post, presentation, newsletter, animated GIF, quiz and contest, white paper or social media post. Today, your content marketing options are limitless, and, with the right strategy, you can connect with your target audience to drive sales.

As the old saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Network, both online and offline

Check out your local chamber of commerce and other business groups for free or inexpensive networking events. If you have any contacts who are in a BNI group, ask them if they can take you to a meeting as a guest or if you can attend in their place when they are not able to attend a meeting.

In metropolitan areas, Meetup.com is filled with organizations that, like many chambers of commerce, hold free or inexpensive networking events. Facebook and LinkedIn are also great areas to expand your network as you can find interest groups that align with your business. Do your research to find which interest groups are most relevant to your business and engage with members accordingly.

The key to good networking is to build relationships. Of course, you have something to sell, but you don’t want to be the person in the group who comes across as too pushy and selfish. When networking, ask questions and offer value. After making initial contact, be sure to stay in touch and re-engage your contacts — you never know who they know and when their contacts may need your product or service.

[Read: How to Boost Sales With Biz Dev]

Utilize the power of email marketing

Like social media marketing, email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient ways to boost your sales on a tight budget, especially when you already have an email list. If you don’t have a strong list, give something away, such as an e-book, through Facebook advertising in exchange for an email.

Some businesses spend thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to generate sales. For large businesses, doing so makes sense. But as a small business owner, don’t feel like you need to break the bank to boost your sales. Utilize our tips and perfect your approach for a successful new year.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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