The art of marketing is about appropriately placing your product (or service) in front of the right audience at the right time. Even though this art is presumed to be “expensive”, there are low-cost strategies that are just as effective.
Instead of only relying on Google banner ads and Google reviews, try these simple, budget-friendly marketing strategies to place your startup in the spotlight. After all, it’s no secret: bootstrapping promotes innovation! Budget limitation forces you to flex your creative muscle and find unique ways to share your vision with the world.
1. Invest in the right domain name
Believe it or not but the fact is that your domain name is a powerful marketing tool that can do a lot more than just direct people to your website. Yet, there’s a caveat to it. You need a good domain name, one that has the following characteristics:
- It is short and simple
- It is brandable
- It is memorable
- It is keyword-rich
When you go to register a domain name with all these characteristics, chances are it will already be taken. There are billions of websites already registered. So, you might be led to believe that finding a great domain name is challenging.
Except, it’s not.
You can still get the domain name of your choice that checks all the aforementioned four points by registering it on new domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .PRESS, .ONLINE, .SITE, .WEBSITE, .SPACE, .FUN, etc. These extensions allow your domain name to be short, simple, memorable and make it keyword-rich. Adding a .TECH next to your brand name in your URL will tell people you are in the technology business. A significant message communicated only with your domain name.
Your domain name also goes on your offline marketing collaterals, social media, digital banner ads, etc. Therefore, the simpler it is the easier it’ll be to remember.
2. Bow down in front of the content king
Content marketing has dictated the marketing buzz in the past decade. Everyone is trying to “do” content marketing. Why shouldn’t they? When done right, content marketing gives you great returns for very little investment. Here are a few wins successful content marketing gets you:
- Improved SEO rankings
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased customer engagement
- Increased leads and sales
From the customer perspective, content that delivers value enhances customer loyalty.
However, it is important to not confuse quality over quantity here. Producing hundreds of articles may not deliver results that a few well-crafted articles can. You can write your own content (and save more money) or hire freelancers who can help you craft value-driven blog posts. Useful content answers questions and solves problems before it sells.
While you are creating this great content, it is important to promote it too. Do it through social media, publish it on Medium, on external online magazines, and, if you have a little budget, you can try some social media advertising too.
3. Make a video go viral
Videos are popular, inexpensive and a strong visual theme to piggyback on and promote your business. If done right, viral videos give wonderful returns. However, there are certain factors that your viral video will need to do to be a success:
- Promote your video: The video will need to reach the right target audience that will be willing to engage with it.
- Evoke some emotion: The most successful videos make people laugh, smile, cry, angry about something. If there is no emotional investment, your video will soon end up in the “meh” category.
- Have a clear call-to-action: The whole process of making and promoting a video is to drive viewers to do something—sign up for a free month’s trial, check out your website, call for samples, etc. Avoid subtlety when it comes to your viral video’s overarching goal.
4. Bank on earned media
Well-placed words about your brand can drive potential users to the website and check out your product. When on a shoestring budget, you can hunt for earned media that can help you spread the word. A few earned media that you can consider are:
Press: Look for smaller targeting including local media, niche publications/websites that are centered around your industry. There is no guarantee that your story will make the cut but if you get lucky, you’ll reach the right target audience.
Blogs: Often, blogs on other websites are looking for high-quality content that is relevant to their audience. If you can find a blog where you can highlight your product in a value-based article (one that’s not too sales-y), you could reach a decent target audience.
Awards: There are many publications and websites that have recognition programs where they give awards to local businesses in a number of categories ranging from “Best website design” to “Most innovative idea”. You can keep an eye out for such opportunities and apply. Even a mention as a finalist can get you in the spotlight.
When it comes to earned media, you don’t have a lot of control over the messaging. You are at the mercy of the publications. However, according to Nielsen, earned media is one of the most trusted forms of promotion that your business can receive.
5. Do YOU
This is one of the most obvious strategies, but most new entrepreneurs miss it. You are one of your best marketing channels. You can actively promote your business by attending networking events, participating in seminars, etc. Whenever you see an appropriate moment you can mention your product/service but be careful to not force it or make it sound too sales-y. The more naturally you do it, the better will be the impacts.
Your modest marketing budget is not a limitation—it is an opportunity. Lack of funds should not stop you from showcasing and actively promoting your business. Leveraging, special events, connections, skills, and digital media you can give your business the spotlight it needs.