Start-ups are hugely exciting and innovative organizations. A popular misconception is that start-ups are all propped up by large venture capital investors, also known as private investors.
The reality is that start-ups often have little to no marketing income. They struggle to communicate what makes them different from their competitors to their target audience. However, you do not necessarily need deep pockets to make an impact. With a little creativity and quick thinking, start-ups can adapt their marketing strategies and tell the world just how special they are.
Here are a few budget marketing tips to help your brand stand out.
Put your Brand on Their Desk
People love a freebie. Use this knowledge to your advantage and offer branded merchandise. It’s an opportunity for long-term brand recall and for you to present your merchandise time and again. Merchandise options can be bulk bought at lower per unit prices. Examples of popular choices include tote bags, ballpoint pens by IGO and water bottle.
Learn The Value of Word-of-Mouth Recommendations
Word-of-mouth recommendations are free and a great way of promoting your brand. Consumers are 92% more likely to trust recommendations from friends and family above other kinds of endorsement. This kind of marketing can be employed both face-to-face and through consistent social media pushes. Inside the business, ensure everyone in your start-up can recall immediately, and in layman’s terms what the business is, who it’s for and what it does; it makes this message easier to filter down through other channels for a clear marketing message.
Network, Network, Network
We all know the well-known phrase “sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and it’s just as true in networking circles as it is personal ones. Look for networking opportunities for your start-up. If a specific industry-focused group does not exist in your area, research start-up networking groups. You may find them a useful place to meet others and build a strategic list of contacts. If you do not have a suitable group in your area, set up your own, and publish it using your start-up social media pages. For the cost of a few bottles of wine, soft drinks and an evening after work, you could hugely boost the profile of your business.
Toot your Own Horn
Enter industry awards. They are usually free to enter and even if your start-up is not likely to win or make a shortlist, it’s a profile-raising opportunity. If you’re shortlisted, use this as a marketing tactic. If you do not make the shortlist you’ve still drawn attention to your start-up with potentially high profile judges.
Volunteer to speak and / or present at industry or local events. It’s a way of you cementing your organization’s reputation as a thought leader while promoting your start-up to anyone attending or streaming the event.
Social media marketing is a critical part of business strategy for most businesses, and remains an inexpensive advertising option. Most channels that offer paid-for advertising provide the ability for hyper-targeting and audience segmentation alongside trackable ROI. It means audiences can be built and developed swiftly without too much trial-and-error.
Ensure you use social media networks that are relevant to your target audience. It’s an opportunity to raise your brand profile, stay relevant with your audience and gather important customer intelligence.
Instead of investing heavily in marketing at the beginning, it’s important you set your budget and intended marketing outcome first, and then focus on producing quality content for your target market, consistently engage with your audience on social media and learn from any mistakes along your business journey.