When launching a startup, the first step is to come up with innovative products or services to lure prospective buyers in droves. The next crucial step is to develop a workable marketing strategy to spread the word about your new products or services.
The initial stage of developing your startup is all about promoting your brand. Reaching out to your target audience is crucial to achieving long-term clients. So going by your first marketing plan, you should at least have the basics; Brand identity, a running website, and relevant social media accounts to boost your online presence.
Let’s say you have these tools in place and hit your first milestones, the website is live, and you’ve spread the word to your networks and received the initial feedback. So now the daunting task of promoting your business begins.
Here are some fundamentals to run a successful startup on a shoestring budget.
1. Brand Identity
Take a good look at your business identity and have a carefully crafted brand. Come up with a brand that identifies what your business is all about. It should represent quality and customer service as your central idea.
You can find free online brand templates and free tutorials on Lynda.com, explaining why it’s essential to create an attractive brand and craft one. YouTube is another great place to search for free brand identity tutorials.
2. Integrate Sales and Marketing
Like any other startup, you need to promote your services and drive initial sales through effective marketing. If your funding is limited, check out these marketing ideas, which is essential during the initial phase of your startup growth.
a. Create Social Media Accounts
Launching your startup with multiple social media accounts is time-consuming, but so worth it. If you can’t handle the workload, of launching on all the platforms, find out which ones receive the most traffic and work those accounts to reach your target customers.
b. Control Your Spending Limit
To set up an active marketing campaign budget, figure out your investment capacity by evaluating your incomes, and wisely determining each spending portion. You may use the “Percentage of Sales method” to assess your promotional financial plan.
You will experience high and low seasonal sales, making your revenues unstable for a while – in which case, you can opt for the cutoff point by taking out a small portion of the sales revenues to boost your marketing campaign. If you follow this plan religiously, you’re indeed investing a sustainable proportion of your income without hurting your shoestring budget.
3. Kick start your Marketing Campaign
It’s not easy to accumulate large capital volumes in the initial stages of your business. Lack of sufficient cash flow may restrict you from practical marketing opportunities. Still, you can explore low-cost marketing strategies by selecting the tools to work with a limited budget.
Use a more extensive business network, including influential personalities, to help promote your startup. Engage with such figures on their social media handles by replying to their posts, sharing their posts, and following them. This makes it easy for them to notice you, and in turn, they will help you market your products.
As soon as your business picks up, showing tremendous expansion in revenue growth, develop your marketing approach based on the identification of new publicity channels, and go hard on investing in them within your budget limits.
Capitalize on widespread social media exposure such as Facebook promotions, where you can boost your post to attract as many viewers as possible.
You can also use Twitter promotions to reach your target audience through short videos that earn you numerous viewers who may like your products and perhaps try to contact you for inquiries through direct messaging (DM). To achieve such a quick turnaround, you need to spend a few dollars on a weekly, monthly, or annual budget as your finances dictate.
These interactions will significantly boost your search engine ranking and improve your overall marketing attempts. You’ll likely achieve more customers going forward, with every click on your timeline/thread.
4. Create a Blog for Your Products and Services
Blogging is essential for any startup business. Write weekly posts, beginning with an introductory article where you talk about your brand and why you thought of it and how it impacts your target audience. Your products should solve a problem, let people understand that you care a great deal about what you’re doing and express your passion most genuinely.
Let people give reviews and success stories with your innovation, and display feedback in the comments section of your blog. In return, be present and answer as many questions as possible. (The first ten-question should suffice).
Promote your blog posts (provide links) on all your social media accounts, encourage follow-up inquiries through emails, and promote future post alerts through email subscriptions. Build a mailing list as soon as you start receiving visitors on your website for special offers.
5. Create Free Podcasts and Videos on YouTube
Podcasts are a great marketing tool in video format, especially if you need to demonstrate something using a how-to product demo. It’s an excellent start for yoga lessons, fitness programs, makeup tutorials, and so forth.
Most folks prefer YouTube to look up demo videos, which is free for anyone with promotional content. You don’t need fancy equipment to make your introductory videos unless you want your content to look professional. For starters, you can use a smartphone or a laptop. If you continuously provide exciting content, you’ll gain followers, and even more followers if you encourage anyone watching to hit the like and the subscribe button before they go – your followers can receive notification alerts each time you upload a new video. Make sure all content links back to your website for more information and client engagement reviews.
6. Keep Networking to Promote your Startup
Networking is king in the business world. It’s a give and takes where the gain is mutual through the exchange of products and services.
Network often to expand your business horizon, to gain industry knowledge, government regulation updates, and a host of many other benefits you stand to gain by staying in the networking loop at all times.
Host an event to launch your startup and attend peer launch events as well. If you’re a good orator, volunteer to give a free speech at industry seminars and moderate gala dinners at your friends’ parties. These are great opportunities to market your brand through brief mentions and encourage further discussions during the meet and greet sessions.
Go all out and cast your net as wide as possible with free marketing campaigns. After all, you are your brand. The more you network, the more you meet prospective customers.
Lastly, try not to sell to everyone you encounter. It’s equally important to stay relevant by giving back to the community. Participate in events that don’t revolve around your trade. Build your brand by showing support, whether online or in your local community.
With these detailed tips, you can now get a head start by promoting your startup on a shoestring budget. Figure out the amount you’d like to begin with and draw up an estimation of your ROI by apportioning your overheads appropriately. Identify the right marketing networks by exploring relevant social media channels to build a robust business system.