For any startup to be successful, great marketing is a must, but not every startup has a big budget to do so. But, wait… don’t confuse startup success with startup marketing budget.
Well, it’s not the massive budget; it’s the use of free resources at optimum that actually makes your marketing great. Remember, when we say FREE, it means only financial investment is not needed; you need to invest time and effort without any question.
Follow this guide only if you can invest time and effort.
1- Optimize Your Website for Search Engines: Your website is the point from where you turn a visitor into a customer. Optimizing your business website for search engine benefits in long run even during the days when you cannot perform any activity to generate a sale.
2- Start Blogging: Blogging is a great way to connect to your current and prospective customers. Good blogging requires and effective content strategy, i.e. what should you blog about and how to do it.
3- Content Marketing in Action: Content Marketing starts with your blog and has no ending limits. With an effective content strategy, you can include the leading industry blogs and platforms in the list; write for their audience and bring them to your website.
4- Build Exceptional Resources: Let it be a list, guide, infographics, white papers or anything that your customers are looking for, and of course it should be easily accessible on your website.
5- Develop Videos That Answer Customers’ Queries: Just to make sure that you have all the forms of answers, do have the video version of your how-to guide and other necessary material. Do spread these videos on Youtube, Daily Motion and other video hosting platform. In fact, you must have a proper video marketing strategy in place.
6- Turn Your Existing Customers into Active Affiliates: Offering your current clients a lucrative discount or just any other reward in return for a referral is not just free of cost, but also creates an automatic viral effect in your product/service.
7- Develop an Effective Affiliate Program: The above can work great if you are at very threshold of your business; managing the above needs you to get organized, so start working on an effective Affiliate Program.
8- Host Events and Invite Industry Influencers: If you have office space enough to do it, that’s great. But, in case if you do not have one, online events like webinars, webcasts, interviews etc will work great.
9- Giveaway the Product for Testing: Distributing testers to a selected segment can work like a charm. Include the people who are most active on social media and industry influencers.
10- Collect Testimonials and Display Them Where Everyone Can See Them: Remember, at times your clients are so busy that they may forget to write a line about you. Since you need testimonials, it’s not bad to drop by their office and shoot a video or do it when they visit you for a meeting.
11- Do Not Forget the Online PR: Online PR is as effective as the offline one is. So, no matter if you do not have media budget. Create a foolproof PR strategy for your startup and make sure to use the free PR distribution services online at optimum.
12- Do Something Remarkable: It can be anything, i.e. you have invented a product that is creating some huge value, or you have recycled some readily available options in a way that they save time, money or just anything.
13- Start/Join a Cause: Every sale donates $1 to XX Charity or every sale provides educational for XX days for a child. Think it off and you will find hundreds and thousands of options.
14- Get Reviewed for Free: Exposure to your startup in the form of a free review will definitely introduce you to a broader audience.
Related: Submit Startup
15- Work on Strategic Partnerships: Having strategic partners doesn’t mean just to have the logo/link exchange on the websites. It’s rather a strategy to partner up with organizations that have clients who can be your prospective customers too. Announcing separate deals for strategic partners works great, as they promote these in their marketing campaigns too.
16- Use Free Coupons for Pay Per Click Advertising: Pay Per Click is, of course, a paid option, but starting it with a free coupon is a perfect idea to reach another big segment of your target audience.
17- Have Prominent Present over Linkedin: Joining, searching & connecting to targeted people and participating over Linkedin is all free.
18- Use Twitter Effectively: With the power of hashtag, the free exposure that your business gets on Twitter is just amazing.
19- Use Facebook Wisely: It’s not enough to have Facebook Page for the business; you must connect with people via Facebook. Allowing users to signup using Facebook is perfect option to catch a prospect. Further integrating Facebook comments on your blog can help them participate in discussions.
Related: How to Generate B2B Leads from Facebook
20- Meetup.com: Joining, organizing and participating in free local meetups costs nothing and rewards you with more exposure.
21- Co-FoundersLab: It’s though specifically for those who are looking for a Co-Founder, but the other resources are great for free promotion.
22- eFactor.com: It’s a Niche Social Network for entrepreneurs, so the startup people must be there.
23- Merar.com: It’s not just business networking, but a great pitch can generate great funding too.
24- Automate Social Media: When you look for free stuff, you fall short of time and to manage time, you must automate the stuff that you can. Automating social media is one such option.
Related: Manage Your Online Reputation Smartly with VKonnect
25- Build Your Own List and Start Email Marketing: Last but not least, all the emails you have, either through sales, the inquiries, events and so on. Add them to your mailing list and keep them posted about the happenings at least once a month!
I hope most of the free marketing options discussed above will benefit your business, if not all. If you are in the process of devising a marketing plan for your business or you already have done so, do use these options as checklist to make sure you are utilising the FREE at optimum.