Recent researches show that 9 out of 10 startups are bound to fail. One of the reasons why startup businesses fail is the lack of funds to spend on your advertising campaign. There are plenty of affordable marketing tricks for startup businesses you can make use of that won’t blow your limited advertising budget.
Startup business owners have an incredible amount of pressure to create a growing business with a lot of potentials, yet they have to do so on a budget. Marketing outside of the business owner’s means can be a recipe for quick failure. Fortunately, with today’s digital age comes amazing opportunities for affordable marketing.
Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Startup Businesses
Nowadays, entrepreneurs no longer need to spend thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns. In fact, they can market their businesses for free, using the power of the internet, social media, and strategic involvement in their communities.
Here are six effective online marketing strategies that startups can adapt with limited budgets.
01. Start Guest Blogging
As a new business owner, content creation is likely something that you hear about all the time. But why are a blog and its content so important to your business?
Blogging generates interest for products, services, and businesses. Having a blog on your business website that’s full of engaging content related to your industry will pull in a bigger audience, potentially creating more conversions.
To expand your visibility even more, consider guest blogging on other websites. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive to spend your time creating content for other websites in your industry. However, doing so creates magical little wonders that can significantly increase your own blog’s pageviews: backlinks.
Choose websites that accept guest posts that give credit to the author by adding his name, a short bio, and a backlink to his website. Your name, business, and website will gain more exposure to your targeted audience. And, eventually, Google will pick up on how many websites are mentioning your link, which is an awesome way to move up in its rankings.
Several websites let you guest post completely free because it adds expert content to their blogs for free, therefore giving them more page views without paying a dime. It’s a win-win for everyone.
02. Turn Visitors into Conversions
What’s the point in having tons of visitors to your blog or business website, but having them leave without registering or making a purchase? You want more exposure for more visitors, but how can you convert visitors into customers?
Herein lies the art of conversions. Your website should make its visitors want to do something, like sign up for your e-mail list, register for an account, or purchase your product or service. To entice people to do this, you should offer them something.
There are virtually endless options when it comes to conversion incentives. If you are a web hosting company, advertise a half-off discount for web hosting if a customer chooses to pay for a full year. If you sell stock photography, offer a pack of free stock photos for those who sign up for your e-mail list.
You need to find something that sparks interest in your targeted audience that will either make them want to become a customer or want to find out more about your startup business.
03. Attend Local Events
Getting involved in your community is one of the best ways to gain exposure for your business. As helpful as online marketing is, never underestimate the power of your physical location. Local events provide opportunities for you to network with other businesses, expand your targeted audience, and gain insight into what you could be doing better.
Plus, they’re usually free, or a low cost, to join. For example, purchasing a booth may cost about $100 or so, but you’ll have your own space to set up products, talk to people interested in your business, or even provide demos.
Be sure to customize shirts for you and the team members you’ll be bringing with you. Use as much branded items as you can so your business looks organized and professional. You can even personalize products to hand out to those who visit your booth with your website, phone number, address, and other important information.
It’s not free marketing, but it is absolutely affordable. Set a budget beforehand so you don’t go overboard with your handouts, but make it reasonable. After all, those who visit your booth have the potential to become future customers, making your expenses worth it.
04. Study SEO Techniques
So, you have your business website and blog. You’re even doing some guest blogging on other websites to gain more exposure. Great! Now, it’s time to master the art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to make sure you pull in audiences who search for things related to your business.
It’s imperative for businesses in the digital age to understand how SEO works and employ the latest techniques. When you search for a term on Google, for example, Google tries to find you the best results based on a high-tech algorithm that combines a page’s popularity, clicks, and so forth.
When you use SEO in your blog posts, you’re creating posts that can climb up the Google ladder more quickly by using keywords that people search for often.
Best of all, it is completely free to employ proper SEO techniques. Sure, you can spend money hiring an SEO expert to coach you, but there isn’t a need for that when there is a virtually endless number of SEO articles on the web for free.
05. Cross-Promote with Local Businesses
Your local market can come into play again as an opportunity for free marketing. Have you ever been to your doctor’s office and noticed brochures for a local gym? That’s a perfect example of cross-promoting. The gym can return the favor by storing business cards for the doctor’s office on its front desk.
Think about your target audience and what other local businesses they may be interested in. That’s where you should turn your attention. Approach other businesses by letting them know how a cross-promotion can be beneficial to their business, rather than your business. Let them know what you can do for them, and how you’ll work to advertise for them.
You can even do this in the form of a website promotion, offering to advertise the other business on your website in exchange for an ad on its website. It’s all completely free while supporting other local businesses as well.
06. Create a Referral Program
Some startups completely rule out the idea of creating a referral program because they see dollar signs associated with them. It’s true that referral programs can cost money, but they don’t have to cost anything if you use referral programs wisely.
One of the best examples is Dropbox, which gives its referrers and their referrals additional storage space for free. This isn’t really costing Dropbox any money since they aren’t paying their referrals. However, it led to a permanent increase in sign-ups for the company, with over one-third of daily sign-ups coming strictly from referrals.
Depending on your business, you might consider offering coupon codes for popular products, free shipping costs, a free trial of one of your services, or a free membership for a month. Technically, since you aren’t paying any money, you’re not losing any money. With increased referrals can come more sales, which will offset any discounts or free trials you offer.
Once your sales grow, you can expand your referral program to offer a commission to your referrals with a percentage of the sales generated by their leads. But to start, keep it simple and affordable, and watch conversions soar.
Any budget marketing tricks we missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!