Marketing is crucial - we all know this, but how do you do it on a budget that works for your startup without sacrificing the areas that need financial assistance? Well, I'm about to share all the neat little tricks I came across and some I currently use to increase my audience.
Being a startup myself, the main focus is to save money by becoming even more creative with my marketing plans. Your website may not be big enough to gain affiliates, PR recognition or endorsements as yet, but getting smart about growing your audience will make all the difference in a few months.
Let's act fast and smart - here are my top 10 tips:
- Create relevant content on your website. This can be in the form of a blog, videos or kool articles that your audience will enjoy digesting.
- Get your articles into magazines or trade newspapers. This move can carry much more weight than a simple blog post - you will still target your audience, but across a wider field.
Build a referral network. Creating referrals and word of mouth are two of the most powerful marketing tools, so use this tip to build a referral network with other businesses you will feel happy recommending to your customers. This will result in other businesses referring their customer base to your business - complete win, win.
- Create partnerships for co-promotion. Having a network of relating businesses who are not direct competitors working together on a promotion can result in having bigger prizes, larger ad spaces along with being able to share other marketing expenses. The joint coverage of one promotion also opens up all businesses involved to a much wider audience than if it was a solo project.
- Network. Become a people person - network as much as you can. Take time to join in with the conversations, follow up any leads that cross your path and don't be afraid to pick up the phone or respond to an email. Building a strong network is important!
- Listen to your customers. For good market research and feedback on your product or service keep your ear to the ground. For genuine feedback use social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter - customers tend to be very honest here.
- Be as connected and accessible as possible. Use as many platforms as you can manage to be where your customers are at all times. The internet is steaming with various platforms such as Youtube, Pinterest, Disqus, Twitter, Snapchat etc. Communicate via email, blog comments, fun chatty videos that allows you to answer their questions.
- Create a loyalty scheme. This is very popular right now, all the big players are using this tip to drive sales. It creates a rewarding scheme for customers which encourages them to purchase more and win more free products or extra services. Never feel too small to use this - there is more to gain than lose here.
- Write an ebook. Books carry more value than most form of content - it allows you to showcase your knowledge and expertise. You can give this away for free in return for email addresses or sell for a small price to new or returning customers. Email addresses are like gold dust to all businesses, so will be worth the effort to get it right.
- Sponsor a local competition or team. Sponsoring in your community can vary depending on what picks your fancy. You may have a small football team in your area that you like - get your logo on their uniform and show-off their upcoming games to your customers. This shows community spirit and has to be genuine to last, so choose something you connect with.
Marketing doesn't have to result in using Google pay-per-click to achieve high returns - it can be free and enjoyable. Being a startup is all about tactics and compromising to save and grow at the same time. Yes, one day you will need to pull out your cheque book and hire a marketer, but for now utilise your time and money in the right way.