Every business needs a marketing budget, but you can have effective startup marketing on a budget through efforts and means that don’t cost a fortune. In an error of billboards and search engine ads popping up all over, it is imperative that you market your new business. The alternative is simply unpalatable.
The problem, however, is that most new businesses lack sufficient resources to allocate to their marketing activities.
And as always, necessity remains the mother of invention, so having a bag of startup management tricks up your sleeve won’t hurt. For this reason, we have compiled a few simple marketing ideas to help your young business reach as many relevant people as possible.
Effective startup marketing on a budget
Stiff competition makes marketing necessary for every business. This need is even more pronounced in startup entities with low customer bases. Unfortunately, proper marketing can easily cost a fortune.
In this article, however, we intend to keep more money in the business by adopting the following approaches to marketing your business on a budget
1. Provide a solution to a problem
At the end of the day, marketing only serves one purpose in every business: increase public awareness of a business. Or the services it offers.
It follows, therefore, that you can do without marketing your startup. Yes, marketing is essential to a business. And yes, you would be remiss not to use it. The truth, however, is that not all businesses invest in marketing. You could skip this step too.
How? Offer a solution to a major problem, a need or any gap in the available opportunities in a chosen niche.
In this way, your business focus is on helping your community rather than selling your product. As a result, your business finds a ready market to exploit and grow, rendering marketing and affiliated costs unnecessary.
This approach comes with the added bonus of the word-of-mouth advertising by your satisfied customers. To optimize this opportunity, ensure to provide high-quality customer service to go with your primary products.
This method of marketing may be unsustainable in the long run. Be keen to boost it with targeted marketing efforts over time. (But who cares? We’re talking about a startup here, which you won’t be in 3-5 years, right?).
2. Choose your market segment well
Let me save you the trouble: you cannot serve everyone. And trying to do so is asking for trouble, so don’t even imagine it. Thank me later, and you’re welcome.
Here’s the thing. As a new business enterprise, you are limited in most ways, but more importantly, in terms of money and time. Trying to advertise to everyone is therefore a waste of both resources.
Instead, get yourself a clear picture of who your best customers are. And only market to them. You will benefit twofold: consolidate your (small) customer base, and also attract people of a similar ilk. You also avoid the mistake of blowing you meager budget on a market you cannot convert sales from.
The logic of targeted marketing is this: If you’re trying to target everybody, you’re not targeting anybody. For instance, if you are selling a product that new mothers would want, as opposed to anyone with a baby, then target new mothers. And new fathers.
Focus on converting sales from every marketing campaign you launch and not just having a few thousands people to hear about your business. This way, you make a sale from every other shilling you spend, and your business moves closer to that elusive fifth year anniversary.
3. Don’t spend on ineffective marketing
How does your marketing campaigns stack up against a rigorous cost-benefit evaluation? Are you the genius that earns from every marketing campaign? Or do you struggle to even break even? How you measure on this test matters a lot.
A critical way to save the amount of money spent on your marketing involves earning a handsome reward for every shilling spent on marketing.
Do not rush to do Facebook Ads because one of your friends had a positively outcome on said front. Or buy up your closest billboard space without knowing how it will benefit your small firm.
In short, stop wasting your budget on marketing and advertising that isn’t producing for you. Don’t forget to track the number of responses you are getting from whatever method you use. If you’re not reaching your goals, then your strategy needs to be revised.
4. Plan your marketing activities
As a new business, you can never replace the significance of planning. Especially where your finances, strategy and growth are concerned. Planning your marketing is advantageous: you have a clear picture of how to get to the next level, you cut back on the cost, and it increases your growth.
Planning your startup marketing also makes it easier. Remember you don’t have the capacity to recover from expensive mistakes. Or the finances to go again.
5. Network like never before
Networking is a great way to get your message out to a large number of people, for free. Since each person knows about 250 other people, you can spread the word about your business pretty quickly. Go to your local Chamber of Commerce meetings. Shake hands at business functions. Exchange business cards with associates you see in stores, churches and community events.
Seek speaking opportunities at events where you can meet and interact with industry players. Business and civic organizations are always looking for speakers for their meetings, conferences and other meetups. Make yourself available by contacting these groups and offering to talk about your areas of expertise.
6. Set goals and deadlines
When working on a budget, it helps to know what to expect. This is where having a clear goal for your budget marketing becomes handy. Collect your thoughts for a moment or two and set achievable goals.
Your goals must acknowledge the budgetary and time constraints you have to work with. Getting these concerns right is vital to the success of your budget startup marketing campaign.
It is even better to state your marketing goal as specific numbers, such as gaining 10 new accounts or increasing monthly sales by 11 percent.
7. Focus on benefits, not features
Spend your time focusing on how your product will serve the target market. Your marketing campaign is more likely to succeed if customers want to buy from you, whether they know about your product on not.
If you sell air conditioners, focus on why the target market should buy. While you should highlight the key features of your air conditioner, do not make this the centerpiece of your campaign.
8. Adopt affordable marketing opportunities
The running theme of this article is that startup marketing is particularly expensive. In fact, it is the one rule we are working with. That would mean all these tricks are exceptions to the rule.
And the biggest exception is this: find cheaper alternatives for your marketing activities. In fact, opt for free ones whenever possible, and here are a few options;
i) Write how-to articles about your business and or product
Several newspapers, in print or online, and other publications are constantly on the prowl for new content. They seek to find high quality and helpful articles that would add value to their audience. In fact, The Venture Brat would gladly publish your content.
You will benefit twofold. While your article explains how to get the best of your main product, you also generate awareness for your business. Essentially, you’re reaching new, potential customers.
Should you adopt this style, remember to keep it simple, problem or solution-type articles related to your business or product. In fact, clearly identify the problem, and then share some insightful tips on how to solve it.
The focus of such write-ups should be to distribute as much information about your product or service as possible. Communicate the core benefits, features and uniqueness well for would-be customer to want buy from you.
And do not forget to add your contact information at the end of the article. You want people reading it to find you or your business, make it easy for them!
ii) Make use of press release distribution services
Press releases are an inexpensive way to get your message reach several people. Most of the time, they are free to use, or lowly priced. Submit your press release to numerous distribution services and regular publications for immediate release.
However, most dailies only publish press releases that are of interest to their readers.
These firms have developed standing relationships with reporters and bloggers to get the word out at a moment’s notice. They also understand the industry, and can earn you invaluable mentions in leading publications.
iii) Give product demonstrations and free samples
When the opportunity arises, never shun a demonstration. None in the audience may buy, but if impress, your business will likely benefit from a few word of mouth recommendations.
However, do not impose your free product demonstrations on an unwilling audience, you don’t want to appear desperate.
Also, follow-up with those prospects gained from the presentation a timely manner to try converting in buying customers. If your situation permits, give sample products to potential customers. Be careful, however, not to give away too much of your merchandise.
Keep at it. Be persistent with your marketing campaign and success will come. Persistence is power when it comes to increasing your sales and profit. Far too many firms fail because they don’t follow-up long enough to produce results. Most sales are made after the seventh or eighth contact.
Make follow up. The telephone can be one of your most effective, and least expensive, sales tools. Call people who you would like to do business with. Ask for a few minutes of their time so you can show them how your services can help them save time, cut costs, increase sales, etc.