How To Promote Your Startup On A Shoe-String Budget

How To Promote Your Startup On A Shoe-String Budget

What do smart entrepreneurs do different to ensure their business stays profitable? They do the simple things right. Simple things really, like finding cheap ways to get exposure, or hearing their customers out, or networking in the right places. With all this covered, the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) for every new customer falls low enough to make their business model sustainable in both the long and short run.

If you have a young business that’s losing steam fast compared to its rivals, it’s very likely you’re facing a competitor who has found inexpensive and effective ways to market itself to new customers. So, for roughly the same budget as yours, they achieved more bang per buck than you did.

Here’s few strategies to catching up with them:

1. Focusing on cheap forms of advertisement
Not just because they’re cheap, but also because if you’re new and still establishing a customer base, paid advertising is most probably not a very good idea. So, try placing ads on free sites, like Craig’s List or Gumtree. Issue press releases. Try co-operative advertising, where you team with another company to produce an ad at a cost lesser than the average market rate. Remember that paying for ads alone doesn’t guarantee results. Your ad will have to really fight it out in a highly competitive space.

And, don’t forget to try on line site like 40Billion.com which specializes in promotion of small businesses make this easy by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads and promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay- s on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising.

2. Networking in on the right forums in the right ways
For you, the right way to market yourself is to get heard in community platforms. Prepare a list of all the relevant communities, for professional marketers as well as for the target market. Do NOT shove your product right into their faces. That would waste all the good work in a matter of days. Instead, trust the online presence you’ve built and know that simply associating yourself with your company can deliver substantial results.

3. Blogging, blogging and blogging
The best way to create new buyers is by creating a company blog and posting on it frequently. Think of the quality of your product and the quality of your blog as two distinct things you could work on. Keep blogging from the beginning, but with an added intensity once it feels like you’ve become a popular voice in your niche. Of course, well-written and well-researched content derives better responses.

In the virtual world, people will keep trusting you if you appear active enough. And somewhat like God, the internet works in mysterious ways. If any of your blog posts goes viral, you’ll be building links on and attracting customers from places you have never even heard of.

4. Hosting high-profile interviews, live chats, twitter parties
Do this every now and then. If you’re not as popular as you’d like to be, try to offset that by getting some one-on-one airtime with a more famous person.

Free internet radio shows, webinars and social media shows are different ways of achieving the same thing – increasing audience engagement while giving all involved parties a great chance to learn from each other.

5. Posting videos which answer specific customer queries
If you’re selling online but you have yet to make a video, then you’re missing out BIG TIME.

This is a great way to humanize your online profile. Have a member of your team sit in front of the camera and respond to the various questions your customers have been sending to you. This way, you establish yourself as a responsible salesman and get to communicate with potential buyers in a closer-to-real-life environment.

6. Getting few, quality reviews
Don’t compromise on the quality of reviews you get. It will be harder to get your product reviewed by the more famous bloggers and reviewers around in the early days. Make sure the reviews on your website do not look generic and similar to one another. It doesn’t take a literature geek to figure out the sameness of voice which phony and superficial reviews so often suffer from.

7. Making customers shout out why they love you
Remember, a good salesman is a great storyteller. So, learn to tell stories about your product and connect with your audience emotionally.

Ask your existing customers why they love you. Then, present the material you’ve gathered as the ‘stories’ that your company has helped to create. You’re still the master of this content; edit it as per your needs and choose what or what not to publish. Customers trust other customers and not CEO’s. Plus, this exercise will help you learn valuable things about what your customers like most about you.

8. Optimizing costs for individual marketing channels according to conversion rate

Well, you’re spending time and maybe some money on various online avenues. You’ve got profiles and pages on social media websites, some guest posts here and there, your own blog, your website, Ebay account, and so on.

After the initial period, you will have gathered enough data to take stock of which of these mediums delivers more for you and how much. There is a Cost per Acquisition for every customer acquired through affiliates, SEO, social media, and so on.
Run an analysis to dig out the numbers and set apart the bigger part of the budget for the more productive platforms. If most of your site’s traffic comes from Facebook, focus on it.

9. Pooling up efforts with suitable partners
Synergize actively. There must be lots of other companies that are targeting the same market you are but whose products don’t compete with yours. Ally with the ones that have reputable, humanized images, instead of corporate facades. Prepare mutual deal packages, launch collaborative marketing campaigns, trade guest posts, and so on. Sharing resources and intelligence on high-impact activities in this way has a direct effect on reducing the CAC of both companies.

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