Unless you’ve been lucky enough to secure venture capital investment, it’s likely that you’re running your start-up on a shoestring budget. It’s not cheap to start a business and after paying overhead, many rookie entrepreneurs may not have much left for marketing.
Without effective marketing, however, your start-up doesn’t stand a chance of survival or growth in today’s competitive marketplace. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to get your business on the map while making the most of a tight marketing budget.
Avoid Marketing Altogether
There’s no better free marketing strategy than word of mouth from happy customers. If 83% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a friend, then getting your customers to do the talking will get results.
Launching a referral program for your start-up can reap countless benefits for your fledgling business from incentivizing your customers to generating new leads and ultimately, establishing a self-sustaining system in which your customers do the marketing for you.
Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools out there and the best part is, it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Invest in Content
Content marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing out there (and the least expensive), giving you the biggest returns when done well. The best part is, you don’t have to stick to one approach — there are many ways to tell your story and build your brand with informative content.
Create Consumable Content
Helpful and informative videos, infographics, pictures, and podcasts are a great way to tell your story and get your brand in front of your audience. Designing effective content doesn’t need to be outsourced for big bucks — creating it yourself is easy, free, and lends a personal touch.
Don’t Skip Video
There’s a reason that 87% of online marketers use video in their strategies. Humans consume over one billion hours of video on YouTube every day and businesses that incorporate video see much higher conversion rates than those that don’t.
Even if you don’t fancy yourself a videographer, you can produce stunning, professional-looking videos using royalty-free clips with free, user-friendly programs online.
Take Advantage of the Freebies
Once you’ve made a website and a Facebook Business account, you’ll quickly start to see free discount coupons and promo codes pop up for Facebook or Google Ads. Take advantage of these ad credits whenever possible to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.
Make Sure to Maximize
Free ads are great, but the shotgun approach isn’t going to work here. In order to maximize the efficacy of these free ads, make sure to brush up on some PPC (pay-per-click) best practices to get the largest reach from your promos. For best results, ensure you define your target audience, use small, targeted ad groups, and write strong CTAs (calls to action) in your copy.
Dive Into SEO
Even as a new entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) to the health and success of any online venture. If your content is not on page one of Google, it might as well not exist.
High-quality content and link building are two of the most impactful indicators that Google uses in its algorithm. By hitting these important markers, your content will rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages), driving more web traffic and bringing you more business.
Do keyword research to find topics in your niche that have high search volume and low competition. Next, create content targeting those keywords exactly. If you’re new to SEO, it might seem complicated at first but with a little legwork and experimentation, you’ll see the benefits in no time.
Once your business gets off the ground, you may want to hire a professional to help you build high-quality backlinks but in the beginning, you can do it yourself for free.
Get Big Results Without a Big Budget
To make the most of your start-up marketing budget, focus on initiatives that you can do for free. Whether it’s writing a weekly blog post, building a community on social media, or creating informative videos, when starting a new business, it’s smart to focus on customer experience. Even without a massive marketing budget, you can make a splash without breaking the bank.