Start-ups are ventures with a limited operating history. In fact, these companies are generally newly created and are still in a development phase. So how do you market something that is relatively new and unknown?
Marketing your start-up is one of the most important ingredients for the success of your new venture. In fact, without marketing, you have very little chance of success. The reason for this is due to a fact that you can have the most amazing product, however, if no one knows of its existence, then your product or service is totally worthless.
Get the most out of your limited budget
The budget of a start-up is often relatively low, given that many start-ups are not funded or fundable except by the little that start-up entrepreneur can scrounge up together to bring their idea to life. Nothing compares to the crazy amounts that a corporation would spend on a yearly basis to spread the word. The good news is that, even with a limited budget, you can still get the word out there. Below you will find some creative marketing ideas to fit your limited budget.
ONE: Content Marketing
Have quality content. Writing an article, a press release or blog entries are the best way to start attracting new users and champions for your products.
People love quality content. After all, the first thing people do when you tell them about your new venture is, they google you. If they can’t find any information about your new business venture, you lose credibility. Get started early with great content about who you are, what you do and the value you offer.
TWO: Your Network of Influence
Contact bloggers, influencers and/or journalists. Customers are truly great for spreading the word; however, they are not the most reliable people to write your press releases or get you coverage in the media. Getting your venture in front of the media is not a simple process.
Try to find the names of the journalist form the major publications that cover stories from other companies that operate within the same sphere. Contact them an introduce yourself. Most likely they will not reply. However, if you update this person on the big milestones that your company accomplishes eventually, they will start gaining interest and one they will end up featuring your business. Never give up!
THREE: Give value before you extract value
Participate in universities and career fairs. Attend universities and events within your industry. Where possible try to find your way to be a speaker where you could present to the students the type of problem that you are solving with your start-up venture.
Career Fairs are good. You may even attract young talent that buys into your vision. Successful companies are built by a team. Attend the ones that are near your place of operations, your mini headquarters. Word will spread quickly.
FOUR: Business Networking Sessions
Networking with other people could be a great resource as well as a super low-cost strategy to connect with potential customers. An example of great venues for networking could be for starters chambers of commerce, local businesses associations and websites like the Start-up Grind program powered by Google.
Here, you get to connect to an ecosystem of members who are also looking for business opportunities aside from getting the right sources of products and services. When it comes down to networking, the best way to reach a large number of people is by engaging with social media. Be authentic but remember it’s still business. Focus on the end goal, which is to turn your contacts into contracts.
FIVE: Work on Getting Positive Product Reviews
The number one and most identified factor in marketing success is a great product. People love success stories! If the delivered product is bad, people will write about it and talk about it. Great products are ones that are easy to use and self-explanatory.
Create quality products and offer outstanding services. With a great product and service, any entrepreneur can market his start-up easily. Remember to have great customer support!
SIX: Create buzz
Buzz means “making your start-up highly visible.” To get the buzz, you need to be visible on the Internet, TV and radio shows, blogs and big events. Tweeting, posting, and blogging are not enough. You have to get people talking about your product and your start-up as much as possible.
One of the quickest ways to expand your business at zero expense is by having an outstanding viral growth, where the word of mouth is the key ingredient. With the help of influencers, you can get the word out to all the right channels. Just in case you are thinking you don’t have the budget for influencers, barter for the exposure they give you. You may not pay them upfront. Offer something of value in return for their help.
SEVEN: Brand your product
This is supposed to be the first thing you should be thinking about when you initiate your start-up. However, as you would have it, it is the glue that brings everything else together. Aside from coming up with great products, branding comes down to name, logo, slogan, etc.
Branding is a good way of building the most important asset which credibility and reputation. It is also very important to spend time investing in researching how to better define and build your existing brand.
EIGHT: Advertise your business venture
Advertising can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can achieve a lot with $50 on Facebook or Google advertising these days. It is critical to understand what advertising can and cannot do for the business or start-up.
Advertising is essential as it triggers the curiosity of the public and attracts new customers. A good start can be Google AdWords. However, try to understand it as much as possible so that you get the right clicks for the number of visits that you get in return.
NINE: Outsourcing to agencies
The most prominent advantage of outsourcing is the fact that it often saves money. A good way to start would be to outsource to an agency where they will take care of your marketing with the budget that you end up establishing.
For example, big corporations would have entire departments taking care of advertisement. Of course, you would not be able to accommodate such overhead. In this regard, it is better to hire an agency or a freelance, where they will be working on taking care of this at a monthly fee. By doing this you will be operating on fixed cost and you will not have to pay the salary of tons of people.
Learn and much as you can
The best part about being a start-up is that you are able to run a lean operation that is nimble and agile. Focus on what brings in the revenue. Learn as much as you can about the resources you use or outsource. For example, learn how Google Ads works before you hire someone to manage that for you. Understand the kind of markets you can reach with social media before you spend time and money on a resource that has no return on investment.
More than anything, try, learn and ask for help.