You just launched a startup and need to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible. But (and there's always a "but"), you're not just competing within your industry. You're also competing with the millions of other marketing messages that bombard a customer every day. And what's more, your bootstrapped startup does not have the funds to invest heavily into digital marketing. What's an entrepreneur to do?
Keep reading for seven affordable marketing tips for startups.
1. Be Social
Social media is one of the most cost effective ways to market your startup or business. You can build your brand's voice, easily promote your products and services, and it offers customer service opportunities. But, there are also a few tips to keep in mind to be successful. For example, it's not all about you (contrary to what you might think). You must provide value to your followers, so post regularly and consistently, and engage with current and future customers to make them feel like they're a part of your tribe.
For more information, visit Buffer Apps to read their report on social media frequency.
2. Make Small Investments in PPC Advertising
Keeping with the social media theme, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all offer pay-per-click advertising opportunities--each of which has merit depending on your selling propositions. You can easily experiment and see what warrants the best ROI without sacrificing a big chunk of your budget.
- Pay-to-play on Facebook: to see engagement, you'll need to invest in promoting your Facebook posts.
- Sponsored tweets: while filled with organic engagement, Twitter also offers paid solutions of businesses, with the sponsored tweet being one example.
- LinkedIn's premium services and PPC advertising: this is the most robust of all three options, but can also easily eat away at your budget. However, you can try the service free for a month.
3. Content is still King!
Don't make the mistake of overlooking this investment opportunity and focus on selling the benefits of your solution or service, not your features. If production and output is a problem, you can find affordable and high-quality content by working directly with freelancers--and even small investments here can go a long way in building your startups brand.
4. Optimize Internal Pages for Conversions
Do you know what you want your visitors to do when they land on your website? If you don't--pause, do a team brainstorm and figure it out (because your entire content strategy should be built with this in mind). Once you've gotten that landed, there are multiple tools available to help perpetuate those actions: capture emails and leverage in a drip campaign, use Google Analytics to find opportunities to create a user-friendly experience, optimize forms on your site or try reliable cart services to sell products directly through your site.
For more information, check out 101 landing page optimization tips from Unbounce.
5. Sponsorships and Giveaways
If you put your thinking cap on, you can likely capture either the media's or the public's attention with as little as $1,000! Here's a few examples to get your noodle wet: host a contest and donate to the winner's charity of choice, fly them to an event or other destination, host a dinner with open bar and industry insiders, fund a scholarship...now it's your turn!
6. Hire a Marketing Consultant
Experienced and reliable marketing consultants and strategists are experts in their field and already know what works and what doesn't. Negotiate a good deal for your company, but you can usually expect a big-time return in lead generation and conversions for $4,500 a month. But, also expect to budget at least six months for the returns to kick in.
For more information, review the EELECTRIK marketing menu of offerings.
There's really no better way to build a business than to get out there, shake some hands and get to know people. It does require a time commitment, but a strong network is a great asset. And it requires little capital. You could also volunteer to speak at an industry event or conference. This will position you as a credible authority in your field, especially if you provide value. (buzzword of this post!)
'Marketing' is more than a clever drip campaign or Twitter profile. Rather, it's a discipline that should be baked into a startup's process and product from the inside out. Marketing should be a holistic approach, including the brand, interface, key messages...otherwise, you're just leaving key decisions to chance.