Marketing Your Startup: A Bootstrapper’s Guide
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Published by TOP4 Team
Setting up a startup venture can be one of the most challenging and complicated experiences you’ll ever have in your professional life. But marketing your startup is an altogether different beast, and perhaps a much more difficult task.
How do you successfully spread the word about your business when your resources are limited and your energy is spread thinly over the million and one things you need to attend to as a founder? How do you know that every penny you spend will be worth it? And is it possible to have a winning marketing strategy even if you don’t have the money and the tools that the big boys use?
The good news is that with the developments in technology and the online business landscape, you can take advantage of marketing platforms that doesn’t cost as much as traditional campaigns such as print and television advertising.
Moreover, these online and offline tactics can have a more specific and targeted reach, allowing you to direct your resources to the people who really matter – those with an existing need or interest in the products and services you offer.
The following are some marketing principles that bootstrapping startup leaders can consider.
Content first. There’s no way around it. Even the most sophisticated SEO or Web design or marketing campaign today won’t work without being anchored in a solid content strategy. Companies from big-time brands to struggling businesses all need to invest in a system that will let them produce branded content and distribute it to the right channels in a timely manner. If you want your customers to find out about your business and see you as an industry expert, offer them content that will be useful, relevant and valuable for them.
Identify your customers. Want your business to reach out to “everyone?” Don’t. Instead, focus your marketing time and dollars to the people who matter – your target demographic, those who have a problem that you can offer a solution to. Running after new customers all the time is exhausting and expensive. Put your energy and limited resources into nurturing and taking care of existing ones, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of having a recurring income source.
Be social. Be on the social media channels where your target customers hang out. It’s important to be actively posting and engaging with your fans and followers, but understand that there’s an art and science to it in order to make your social media time worth it. Study up on the right social media marketing strategies that will be suitable for your needs. Consider social media both as a promotional platform as well as an opportunity to share valuable information and be an avenue for connecting with your customers in a meaningful manner.
Go offline. The online marketplace is such a powerful medium that can transform the way you build your business. But offline activities can have a unique impact for your brand as well. Think about events and advocacies that your startup can champion. It can be something as encompassing as environmental causes, or even a simple but significant cause such as putting up a mini-library in your community. The concept of the startup has revolutionised the industry, so it makes sense to be involved in movements that go for meaningful change as well.