Tips for marketing your startup without a budget
By Shannon Ash, Rogerwilco - Nov 9th 2018, 14:18
Launching your startup idea can be an absolute dream come true. But once you’ve let the cat out of the bag and need to start attracting new clients, you need to be able to market your startup to the best of your ability.
This is where your marketing budget comes into play. For the most part, companies over capitalise on startup expenses and don’t always have money left for marketing, however, with the right tools and knowledge, you can market your startup with little or zero marketing budget with ease.
While you are steering the ship, you cannot rely on yourself to attract new customers. Which is why the team you hire needs to have the potential to help take your business to new heights. You will need to hire employees who can feed your business with leads. Here is how to achieve that type of success:
Think about the message you want to convey
Of course, you know what your products or services are. But you might not know how to communicate your business’ purpose and messaging correctly to do your business justice. Take the time to carefully decide on your business messaging and make decisions to use the correct marketing platforms. Stick to one strong message to explain your business and mirror it throughout your marketing strategy. You need to be able to eat, sleep and live your purpose, and this needs to be visible when you network with people.
Word of mouth is free and effective
Without a marketing budget to pay to create awareness, you need to make use of your own word of mouth. If you make a plan to visit tech events and network with influential people in the same (or similar) industries, you will be able to market your business and seek advice from those who are willing to assist. At the end of the day, your business idea is not going to market itself. It’s you and your dream team’s responsibility to maintain existing relationships and seek out new ones by actively stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks to meet and engage with new people. If you treat your customers well enough, they will be able to promote your business in their own circle which will drive your leads too.
Always consider search marketing principles
Regardless of what type of business you are, it’s easy to miss out on important digital marketing principles when you’re so focused on your idea. While there are so many free tools to consider that might add value to your business with the right approach, you need to consider incorporating search engine optimisation (SEO) into your website pages. What is the point of having a beautifully designed website with exceptional user experience (UX) if nobody sees it? It’s a waste. So, be sure to optimise your website for SEO purposes as well as incorporate the relevant keywords that will appeal to your industry.
Use the correct social channels to reflect your purpose
Each social media channel has its own pros and cons. And while it is a fun, effective way to communicate with your customers, it still needs to reflect your business’ purpose and needs. The type of platform you use should be directly linked to the type of business you own and run, as that is the message people will receive from you. For example, Instagram will not be beneficial if your product or service is IT software.
If you’re going to be communicating via social media, make sure that your posts are consistent and relevant to your audience. Digital media is the way of the future, and it’s important for businesses to leverage these platforms to help grow their business. Even if it means automating them.
Explore your local network and ecosystem
Because you likely have little (or no) budget, you need to be able to maximise your own networking channels and your teams’ for an even bigger effect. Use platforms such as LinkedIn to connect with people and attend one of the many tech events in Africa to learn more about the digital world. African tech events can guide your business operations by providing you with on-trend information to take your business to new heights. You need to constantly network and put your best foot forward.
If you don’t have the funds, yet, to market your company, you will have to make use of existing platforms. Every interaction needs to add value to your knowledge bank and your business’ reputation as a whole. Be realistic about the type of expectations you set and where you invest your energy.
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