Most startups are well aware of the need for marketing and the importance it can play in not only getting a business name out there but creating engagement, brand alignment and ultimately revenue into the business.
Marketing can be extremely expensive, especially when engaging the services of high-end marketing agencies that have massive amounts of staff, eye-boggling overheads and outlandish ideas that may be more suitable for a large multinational company’s budget.
If you don’t want marketing to cost you an arm and a leg, you’ll need to engage some cost-effective strategies that will get traction and drive business all without a big price tag.
To provide you with a leg up, we’re pulled together some of our top cost-effective ideas for marketing your startup.
Things to Consider Before Marketing Your Startup
Marketing is as important as any other function within your business, it’s fair to say that without customers your business won’t survive.
When you’re starting out cash is limited and many startups are on a shoestring budget (or even less) so you’re going to want to find some clever ways to get some serious traction without having to spend huge amounts of cash.
Before your startup starts launching your marketing campaigns consider focusing on the following:
Have a marketing plan
Without a plan, you’re dead in the water.
A marketing plan is relatively inexpensive and will provide you with a guide on how your financial and non-financial goals can be achieved through the implementation of marketing activities.
If you don’t have the experience, get a freelance marketing expert to create a marketing plan for you and invest a small amount of time and money on getting the bones of your marketing in place first before you go any further in your business.
Set up some objectives
To set your marketing in place, you need to have an end goal – why are you doing marketing at all. Objectives can be as simple as ‘by June 2017 to have established $100,000 in sales of the existing product lines through all distribution channels’. If you have a freelance marketing expert or business expert giving you a hand, they will ask you to outline your objectives, so it’s best to nut these out ahead of time.
When planning your marketing, you can work backwards from what you want to achieve, to where you are now. It costs nothing to set goals!
Create a clear budget
Only engage marketing that works in your budget now, and don’t over capitalize as you will end up digging a hole and might find your budget quickly dries up.
Some startups will allocate 20% of sales revenue to be put into marketing activities, so if you anticipate $100,000 in sales, then you can effectively forecast that $20,000 will be allocated for your marketing budget over the 12 months and you can allocate resources accordingly.
While the numbers will differ depending on the startup, creating a clear marketing budget is imperative for startups looking grow in record time without the fear of running out of cash.
Spend your marketing dollars on revenue generating activities
It’s important in the early stages of your startup that every marketing dollar spent is a ‘revenue generating’ activity.
There is no point sponsoring an event or throwing cash out to promotions unless it is a revenue generating activity, be very careful when spending marketing budgets that any advertising or spend is done wisely, there is nothing wrong with being a tad frugal during the early days.
Cost Effective Marketing Strategies For Startups
Here are a few cost-effective marketing ideas startups should consider to get their idea off the ground and in front of their target market, all without costing the earth.
Create eye-popping collateral & marketing tools
As a startup, being prepared to take advantage of any opportunity is key. This involves the preparation of all the documents such as trade flyers, eNewsletter templates, product descriptions as well as physical items such promotional items. Collateral and marketing tools are cost effective to design – using freelance graphic designers, marketing experts and content writers.
A freelance marketing expert can help you create a suite of material, so you have all guns blazing with awesome marketing collateral when you do your pitch for new business or investment.
Create and grow your database
Having a database of potential customers is an extremely cost effective marketing tool for startups. It costs virtually nothing to email or make contact with potential clients so if you’re looking to have a serious pipeline of opportunities you should get started building your database. If you don’t have the time to create your database from scratch you can engage the services of a freelance virtual assistant or administration expert to help grow your database so you can market your startup concept to your target market.
Start sending out email marketing campaigns
Once you’ve set up a database, you can easily create a eNewsletter template that can be tailored and sent to suit specific target markets via email. Email marketing campaigns are a super cheap way to market your startup using programs such as Mail Chimp. If you’re not technically inclined or you’re a little lost for words, you can engage the services of a freelance graphic designer to create a shmick branded template for your campaign and a content writer to craft the copy, so it sings to your audience and gets some traction.
Create SEO-rich content
How many times have you heard that content is king, and it is.
Creating SEO-rich content for your website and blogs is a simple and cheap way to drive organic SEO with an aim to get your name in the bright lights of the first page of Google.
If you’ve got a way with words, you can write persuasive marketing content for your online marketing or if you want to bring in the big guns you can hire a freelance content writer who can create SEO-rich website content with keywords and blogs that will help your startup get noticed online.
Get your social media marketing cranking
It won’t be a surprise to you that there is some serious opportunity in social media for startups looking to market their business to a global audience. Whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, targeted campaigns allow startups to focus on specific markets, share marketing messages and drive enquiries. With social media platforms free to join and easy to use, it’s a great way to share your message without having to outlay serious marketing dollars.
There are freelance social media marketing experts that can assist by creating tailored campaigns that drive traffic to your website and ultimately boost sales. As well as this, setting up an advertising budget when cash starts to roll in will help to improve your reach and get your message out further and wider.
Use influencers to spread the word
No matter what industry you’re in, there are tonnes of social media influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers that you can use to spread the good word of your startup. Piggybacking onto an influencer can help to drive social media traffic, boost likes and increase website traffic.
If you’re not too tech-savvy and you don’t know your way around social media platforms or have no idea how to plan your approach to an influencer, you can engage the services of a freelance public relations expert who can create a list of suitable influencers in your industry that may be a suitable match.
A freelance marketing or PR expert can also approach influencers on your behalf and work out a plan of attack for marketing your startup to their followers.
Get amongst it with digital advertising
As far as digital advertising options go, one of the most cost-effective for startups is PPC or ‘pay per click’. PPC allow startups to only pay for ads that are clicked on, resulting in web traffic to your website.
If you’re going to explore PPC advertising you might want to look at finding a great freelance graphic designer to create some ads for you and using the services of an advertising expert who can plan and create your advertising plan including finding suitable platforms to place your ads.
Do some business development calls & sales
Good old fashion pounding the pavement and business development is a cost effective way for startups to get their product or service across to investors or potential customers.
Get a freelance virtual assistant to create a list of potential clients in a geographic catchment area – such as the CBD or a range of postcodes – so you have a list of people to contact and email.
If you’re not too keen on pounding the pavement there are plenty of freelance sales and business development experts that can do all of your sales and marketing at a cost per hour – so it’s well worth checking out some freelancers who may have experience in startups to help you kick off your business and get some new leads.
Marketing is a process that can be very costly, however by focusing on simple and effective digital marketing ideas and using freelancers to help in areas of marketing you’ve not got much experience in is a simple and effective way to create some cost-effective marketing to help get your startup some traction.
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