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Marketing on a Budget – Tips for Startups

When you consider that every business begins as a startup, it’s easy to see the magnitude of a well-founded, startup budget. The most significant part of a startup business plan is marketing the business name, services and goods in a cohesive manner that assures a place in the business community online or off. Achieving rank in the business community is heavily dependent on marketing strategy.

Marketing on a Budget

To the surprise of many startup business owners, budgeting for marketing needn’t be a gatekeeper to business growth. A thorough study of marketing for startups on a budget shows that many less expensive and free marketing opportunities are missed. The keyword for startups for marketing and advertising is “free,” or as near to free as is possible.

Fortunately, with social media being free, opportunities to gain startup business visibility is a marketing strategy to consider.

Membership in the Business Community the Easy Way

To become an embedded member of the business community requires visibility. Create the image of a business startup based on unique goods and services, as well as business purpose and intent.

The next step is to focus on consistent advertising and promotion. Advertising and promotion can begin with local events and membership in business associations. By taking an active part in the local business community, it’s easier to advance visibility. Study the types of business community events that will have the least impact on the marketing budget. This might include a consortium of business leaders providing a special conference or a local event like a “Meet Your Local Business Owners Day.

Every opportunity to present a startup business should be considered. Often, these events are the least costly promotions.

In the online business community, opportunities to promote a startup on a budget also rely on consistency. For social media, timing is another factor in marketing. Coordinate the timing of marketing a new product or service with the most advantageous sales phases. For example, if your startup offers goods, coordinate the marketing presentation to link to a specific time of year to attract a broader target market. Startup marketing presentations should look and feel “new” to create trends irresistible to most sales prospects. Many former startups have target markets that look forward to that special time of year when goods or services are announced or offered at discounts as an anniversary event.

Tips for Startups Strapped for Cash for Marketing

It may seem impossible that startups with little or no cash can blossom into huge business enterprises. If yours is a startup strapped for cash for your initial marketing plans, this is the time for creative marketing strategies. These include:

  • Getting a “foot in the door”
  • Networking
  • Crowdfunding
  • Fundraising
  • Free publicity

It’s possible to market on a budget by honing the fine art of getting your foot in the door of sales prospects. It isn’t necessary to be aggressive. In fact, being the aggressive salesperson might lose potential customers, just as too aggressive advertising is quickly ignored. To get your foot in the door of prospects, take the “friendly adviser” strategy. Potential customers are more open to the type of marketing that feels like a friendly adviser.

Networking is an absolute necessity for all startups. However, startups should have two networks: an associate network and client network, for a stronger impact on marketing.

Crowdfunding from online sources can be another way to reduce the impact on marketing budgets. Crowdfunding is a little more complex because it requires assurance of funding from reliable sources. Be sure to translate website content for international funding sources.

Free Publicity

Without a doubt, publicity is the third “leg” of marketing. Take the time to research opportunities for free publicity. This may be as a speaker, as a donor or patron of the arts or a charity volunteer.

Marketing on a budget is not as difficult when free advertising, networking, crowdfunding, associate membership and free publicity are part of the guidelines implemented by startups.

Written By

Dennis Hung is an entrepreneur and product analyst specializing in mobile technology and IoT. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

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