When you start a business, it’s easy to push marketing to the bottom of the to-do list. Yet marketing is an essential tool to grow your business, and all too often decisions are made on branding and publicity that can have a major impact. Take some time to get it right and you can experience startup growth, even when you market without a budget. Here’s how:
1. Make the best use of free resources
Target high quality blogs and forums that can get the word out about your great new business for the cost of the time it takes to write about it. Find the blogs with the highest profile that you know are frequented by interested tech reporters and industry members. Next, reach out to bloggers and reporters yourself – do your homework and create a killer pitch to help your startup stand out. Marketers who prioritise blogging are 13% more likely to enjoy positive ROI, just one of the benefits of blogging.
2. Use your network
A strong personal network is always important for an entrepreneur. You’ll get advice and honest feedback on every aspect of your business, plus those all important second and third degree connections. If your network could try harder, invest the time and effort to interact with influencers – follow their social networks, share their posts and comment on them. And don’t forget to include your website link in your signature.
3. Build your contact list and subscribers
Use a landing page on your website and incentivise subscriptions through contests and deals. It’s a great way to harvest email addresses and spread the word about your great new startup. There’s a high rate of engagement with email – 57% of email users spend up to an hour a week reading marketing email.
4. Be content clever
You’ll need a steady stream of relevant, timely content to maximise SEO. But more than that, you’ll need to research key words and influencers networks to see what content performs best. There are a number of tools online that can help with SEO and content analysis. Next, you’ll need to produce some premium content to encourage subscribers – valuable content that they’ll be happy to comment on and share. Reaching out to influential guest bloggers is a great way to encourage and attract subscribers.
5. Use social media wisely
Developing a no-budget social media marketing strategy is vital when you start a business. You need to be consistent and timely in your responses, and use a variety of platforms to reach a wider audience. The key is to be active and engaged and find the right networks for you. Zappos are one company that used social media to their advantage, growing from $1.6m revenue in 2000 to being bought out by Amazon for $1.2billion 9 years later.