If you’re in the process of launching your first startup, there are likely a heap of issues and unknowns you’ve already started thinking about.
One very common question you’re going to need to tackle early on is — how do I market my new business?
Building a brand, spreading the word, and persuading others that you’ve got products and services that are worth buying is far from an easy undertaking.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to build awareness, reach prospects, and eventually, turn them into customers. Today, we’re going to discuss a handful of them!
Before we start, it’s important to note that, unless you’re pulling from existing capital or personal funds, you may not have a whole lot of money to be pouring into advertising for your startup.
Of course, you may consider small business funding as an option; but the good news is that you can also make many of these methods work on a relatively tight budget!
1. Grow Your Presence on Social Media
Value your time? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that setting up social accounts will take you all of about five to ten minutes on each platform. Start with some of the bigger names — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, for example.
Once you’ve got your pages set up, invite all of your friends and family. You’ll find that this simple move will bring even more people to your pages. Then, simply start posting content — typically, the more frequently, the better.
You can share your own thoughts, or you can curate content from other industry leaders. Doing this will go a long way towards getting your startup’s name out there and building your brand!
2. Create and Share Valuable Content
One of the best ways to quickly establish your startup as an authoritative voice within your industry is to start creating original content that you can share online.
With 62% of top-performing businesses reporting that they have a documented content marketing strategy, you’ll be in great company!
If you have decent writing skills, this is something you can do yourself! Start a simple website or blog, and publish your content there. If your writing skills aren’t great, you can always lean on an affordable writer or editor to help develop your business’s content.
With social media accounts already set up, start circulating your new content online and watch as potential customers begin engaging with your posts!
3. Use Email Marketing to Your Advantage
Unlike a piece of mail, sending an email is free. In theory, you can send thousands of them and never pay a penny!
First, however, you’ll need a way for people to opt in. Fortunately, you’ve already got everything you need in social media accounts, valuable content, and a blog. With traffic already landing on your site, you can start channeling this traffic towards an email opt-in page or button.
As you capture new leads, make sure they are added into your email marketing campaigns!
4. Invest in Paid Advertising
Sure, you can use content marketing to grow your audience and grow your email list. With time, you’ll hopefully have opportunities to convert these leads into paying customers.
What about the people who are already hunting for solutions online?
This is where paid advertising comes into play. With even a small budget, you can get your business seen at the top of Google whenever someone searches for a relevant keyword! However, even the small budget should be a part of your business plan. Check out these startups resources if you need help with planning and outlining your business development plan.
Social media is also a great place to advertise. Facebook has roughly 2.5 billion users. You won’t find a bigger network to market to than that!
5. Get Your Business Listed in Online Directories
In that same vein, there are people online who are actively searching for businesses like yours. If you’re not listed in online directories, however, guess what? Those potential customers are likely choosing your competitors instead.
Not all is lost. You can change this fairly quickly and easily by getting your new business listed in some of these different online directories.
You can go local by listing your startup in places like Google My Business (GMB) and Yelp; but you can also get your business listed in places that cater to startups and small businesses — KillerStartup, VentureBeat, and StartupTunes, to name a few.
6. Start Building a Network Online
Since you’ve already got your social media accounts set up, you’ll not only be able to connect with potential customers but also other people in your industry!
On Facebook, for example, you can join groups that are filled with people within your industry or area. Connect with these people, foster relationships, and when the time is right, reach out to them to see if there’s an opportunity to partner up.
What you’ll find is that many of these people are more than willing to help out a fellow business owner!