6 Marketing Tips to Bootstrap Your Startup

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Every day we are bombarded by brands fighting for our attention; how can you possibly make your startup stand out? Marketing your startup in today’s competitive business economy is undoubtedly difficult and expensive, but there are steps you can take to make sure your startup gets a good chance at success.

Before you start, make sure you have a firm grasp on two key things. First, you want to make sure that all of your marketing strategies identify and build upon what makes your business unique in your space. Secondly, identify what the goals of your marketing strategy are: Do you want to gain social followers, convert prospective customers into purchasing customers, or merely increase brand awareness? Knowing exactly what you want to gain from your marketing efforts will help you choose the best tactics. Read on below for six different tips for marketing your startup.

  1. Focus on Your Potential Customer

When you first start marketing your business, it is easy to get overzealous and want to reach out to everyone at once all the time. However, it is important to stay focused on reaching your target customers who are mostly likely to help establish and grow your business.

Rather than trying to attract any potential customer, zero in on a target segment that will help you reach your short-term goals. Staying focused will help you reach your target customer more efficiently, and it is a better use of your limited resources.

  1. Community Outreach

Getting featured in your local news outlets is a great way to gain some brand awareness. Reach out to your local newspaper or radio and tell them about your new business venture. This could be done efficiently and inexpensively. Your university or college also could be a great resource in telling your stories. Universities love to report on alumni who are doing cool things after graduation, so it never hurts to ask.

Sponsoring local events or competitions could be another effective way to promote your product and services. If you’re still looking for investors, sponsoring a tech startup competition would garner targeted publicity and investor awareness. Additionally, you could reach out to bloggers and send them a product to review, or hook them up with the service you provide. You should also provide them with a referral link for their review post so you can track your ROI.

  1. Reward People Who Share

If you want people to talk about your product or service, there’s nothing quite like giving them an incentive to do so. Offer an immediate discount or offer free products for tweeting about your product or service, or ask them to post about it on Facebook. Or, in exchange for “liking” your company, they could receive an additional perk.

  1. Develop Branded Content

Branded content is a very effective way of marketing your product. During the initial period, if you’re working with a small team and you just don’t have the manpower to write custom content, then wait a few months until you are a bit more established. Branded content is a great way to align your company with themes that are pertinent to your industry, and if you have something intelligent to add to the dialogue you immediately establish yourself as an expert.

The important thing to remember with branded content is that it should be non-promotional — i.e., don’t tout your company’s services or business offerings; instead, release an article about once every quarter or so that reflects on issues that your industry is facing with some thoughtful commentary and analysis.

  1. Leverage Social Media

One of the obvious tactics for marketing your startup is using social media. However, there are right and wrong ways of using social media marketing. You want to make sure that you are posting consistently, and that you are engaging with your customers. You don’t want your Twitter and Facebook platforms to just spout off promotional information about your company. Instead, post interesting and shareable information. You want the content you offer to have value — it’s crucial to know your audience so you can give them information that is either helpful, interesting — or both.

You should always consider which platforms make the most sense for your startup. If you offer a service that is best expressed by sharing information, develop a strong Twitter or Facebook presence. With Twitter in mind, be sure to use it to engage B2B as well as B2C.

Sites like 40Billion.com make this easy by broadcasting and promoting your information to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for businesses — including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads and promoted company listings were created for startups to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional marketing.

  1. Apply for Business Awards and Grants

Whether you’ve developed a new service to ease the lives of your customers, or you are touting a product unlike anything else in the market — getting recognition from a local business organization, such as the Chamber of Commerce, will surely increase your brand awareness. No award is too small, because it only means increased press for your company. Winning a local business grant will also give your startup more credibility.

 

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