You recently started a business, but you’re really struggling to bring in customers. You know you need to work on marketing your startup, but you’re not sure where to begin. The situation seems especially hard when you consider that you started your business because that’s your field of expertise, not marketing. So what do you do?
First, don’t worry. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to marketing your startup. Even if you have very limited funds, there are tons of ways to get things moving. Take a breath, read on, and prepare to see your business grow.
Note: If you’re still in the beginning stages of getting your business off the ground, take a look at our post on how to start a business in Arizona. You might be local, but the base principles are the same no matter where you live.
This is the big one. If your business doesn’t have at least one social media account, you’re going to have a lot of issues getting the word out about new products or services, posts on your site, changes to your business, and pretty much everything else. Aside from all that, your customers want to know that you’re a modern business that’s easy to contact and connect with.
The key with this step, as well as all the others, is to not spread yourself thin. Decide which one or two social platforms would work best for your startup. If you sell products, Instagram is the perfect place to showcase your goods and host giveaways to kick-start sales and find customers. If you offer services, Twitter is a good place to talk about your services and answer any questions. Facebook is ideal for any type of business, since you can share photos, blog posts, and information about your business, and you can also respond to customers and start conversations. LinkedIn is also a great resource for B2B (business to business) startups to help you connect with other professionals and find leads.
As your business grows, you’ll want to think about expanding to other social media platforms, and possibly hiring a social media manager so that you have one less thing to worry about. For a complete guide to using social media for your business, take a look at our blog post.
Emails are another great way to connect with your audience and convert sales. Email marketing can be especially helpful for letting your subscribers know about a new product launch, since they might miss your posts on social media. You can also send out surveys to see ways your customers think you can improve. Email marketing is really the perfect way to keep your customers informed, encourage sales, and build your brand.
There are several free and cheap email marketing services you can use if you’re low on funds. These services will allow you to get creative with your design so you can develop your branding and create your vision. Building your subscriber list is the first big step you’ll need to take. You can do this by hosting a giveaway or offering a discount when a customer subscribes to your email list. To maintain your subscribers, make sure not to bombard them with daily emails. Once or twice a week is all it takes to keep your brand fresh in their minds.
If you don’t feel like you’re the best person to create marketing emails, you can find a friend or family member who’s up to the task. You can also look on LinkedIn for freelancers who would be willing to take the job, and you can negotiate pricing with them so you’re not shelling out the big bucks to a marketing agency. (There’s no problem with that, especially as you grow bigger, but most startups just don’t have the funds to hire an agency.)
There are dozens of reasons why your business could—and should—use a blog, but we’ll narrow it down to the top few. First, a blog is hugely advantageous for small businesses and startups because it’s so much cheaper to run than paid advertising. It gives you the opportunity to talk about what sets your brand apart from your competitors. You can share information about all the components of your product or service to show your credibility. You can bring in guest bloggers who are experts in the field and who would love to share the link to their post on your site. You can do all this and so much more, and when you share your posts on social media, your followers can learn about you and share your content on their own pages. Best of all, the majority of your content will be relevant year-round, so you can keep sharing your posts without having to worry about paying for promotional content like you would with advertising.
In addition to your followers being able to share links to your site, each new blog post adds more pages to your site, which increases the chances of search engines finding you. In fact, small businesses that have a blog see 126% more lead growth than businesses without a blog. This is due in large part to the fact that when you’re able to share information about your products or services, customers can see that you know what you’re talking about, and are more likely to choose you than a competitor who simply puts out advertisements. Here’s the proof: consumers who read educational content from a brand are 131% more likely to buy from that brand.
If you can’t tell from our blog, we at Pro In Your Pocket really appreciate the benefits of business blogging. Again, if you don’t think you’ll have time to run your business and write blog posts at the same time, you can ask around or look on LinkedIn for freelancers.
Building A Network
It’s not what you know; it’s who you know, as they say. Building a network of both professionals and customers will be really beneficial for your business, and could result in something big if you connect with the right people. As stated above, LinkedIn is a great way to find other professionals in your industry or related fields. You can also connect with colleagues, which in turn will help you expand your network. B2B brands will find this especially helpful.
Connecting with potential customers can be difficult, but hosting or participating in local events can help get the word out about your business. Even if your products or services are mostly ordered or conducted online, an opportunity for customers to have an in-person exposure to your business can have really great benefits.
Another important way to build a solid network is to give customers an amazing experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean subscribing to the notion that the customer is always right, but you should leave the vast majority of customers with only positive things to say about your business. Never be afraid to go the extra mile for a customer—you may lose a few dollars in the process, but it will encourage repeat purchases, positive reviews, and countless word-of-mouth references. In the long run, you’ll earn back the money and a whole lot more besides.
Last, if you’re a service-based business, using a lead generation service is the perfect way to find customers who are looking for a business like yours. Just make sure you do your research and choose the lead generation site that’s best for your needs.
Marketing Your Startup For Cheap
Most startup owners just don’t have the money to fund a huge advertising campaign, so they have to get creative with marketing techniques. If you’re one of these people, you’re not necessarily at a disadvantage. All you’ll need is some hard work to really hit on these marketing points and expand your network, and you’ll see the rewards as your business grows and your customers have a good experience.