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8 tips for marketing your startup on a shoestring budget

While success has many fathers, failure is considered as an orphan. Sailing your entrepreneurial stint to success has its own challenges. Most startups fail within their first two years of operation. Of those, 75% fail due to pre-mature scaling. This means that startup companies spend too much money on aspects such as marketing, hiring and so on before the business has secured further sources of financing.

As an entrepreneur, I have seen many failures. At the same time I have managed to sail a couple of projects to the top, the toughest of which was

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I have been able to learn some of the less expensive ways to market a project, which I’ll discuss later, but first here are my top five reasons why startups fail to prosper:

  • Lack of appetite for the product in market (42%)
  • Running out of cash (29%)
  • Failure in having right mix of employees (23%)
  • Being outcompeted by peer groups (19%)
  • Pricing and cost issues (18%)

Marketing is one area where startups spend a lot. Promotions and advertisements require so much money that it adversely affects the future of the business.

Even without scheming proper solution fit to the revenue areas of business, entrepreneurs indulge in extensive marketing strategies, which ultimately do not help and add to the negatives of the business. Hence, a proper marketing strategy is required which would suit the budget of the business.

Read more: 6 marketing hacks all entrepreneurs should have in their pockets

Marketing of a startup is extremely important to get noticed by consumers. However, it can prove to be a very costly part of establishing a business. Few of the tips for marketing at a low budget are listed below:

1. Publish on social networks

One of the most important and mass reaching instruments of marketing is creating a group or a page regarding the business on the leading social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and so on. Informative audio and video clips can be posted on these sites. Some posts have potential to go viral within no time. This helps to draw attention of the million users across the world.

LinkedIn is another platform where the details of the business can be published.

2. Develop customer referral programmes

Another way of marketing can be distribution of free products to the consumers who refer other customers to the business. This can be conducted during the initial days to gain popularity for the products or services offered by the business.

3. Run online contests

Online contests can be conducted on various social networking sites or webpages wherein consumers would be quizzed or asked to provide suitable tag lines for the products or write a review. The prize amount need not be huge. Rather, a couple of gadgets such as pen drives, mobile phones, headphones or even backpacks could be kept as the prize item, restaurant vouchers or a hotel booking of two can also work wonders. In this approach, the investment on prize items is less, but the responses, participants or potential leads discovered will be very high in number.

4. Create attractive business cards and pamphlets

Creating and distributing snazzy business cards is a big way of promoting a business. Distributing business card should come with every hand-shake. Everyone who is around should be given the cards. Pamphlets should be made and distributed everywhere. The place for distribution depends on the type of business. If the business involves items used by office goers, then, pamphlets should be distributed near offices and malls. If the business involves items used by students, then, pamphlets should be aimed to be distributed near schools, colleges, cafes, restaurants and parks.

5. Forge industry partnerships

Startup businesses should engage in partnerships with other companies within the same industry and conduct promotional events. Small events such as webinars can be a great way of marketing. Partnership with industry giants and coming together for such events can prove to be a good way of branding in the market, that too, with less cost being involved as it is shared by the other companies participating in the event. A startup aiming to touch the sky should go ahead to partner with the big boys of their industry and try to get as much as benefited possible.

6. Email marketing

It is a very nice way to engage new visitors in the business. Email marketing leverages the convenience and speed of messages to pass on important details about the business or updates to the recipients. Mass mailers can be sent without spending a lot. This will enable businesses to reach out many recipients at one go, thus, advertising the business. These days, everyone is equipped with smart mobile phones, which has further increased the chances of your emails being read promptly.

7. Conduct promotional events

Setting up a stall or kiosk at a mall in the heart of a city and giving demo of the product can be one of the most effective ways of promotion of the business. Even giving out souvenirs or small gift items to kids or anyone who tries the product at the counter can prove to be useful.

8. Publish interesting content on company websites:

Having a company website is not very difficult these days. Websites can be created without spending a single buck even. They can be created for free. However, the content of the website is of utmost importance. Website designers can be hired at an optimum rate. The website can be made attractive by publishing interesting videos about the product. This helps entrepreneurs to avoid the cost involved in shooting a video ad and publishing it either on a television channel or radio or FM. At the same time this leaves a visual effect on the viewers.

Read more: Ventureburn presents: the beginner’s guide to growth hacking

The textual content also has to be very interesting and convincing such that it draws attention of the readers and converts visitors into potential buyers of the product. Content needs to be refreshed according to the need of the hour.

Marketing is very important to reach out to consumers around the world. However, it has to be done very efficiently. The above mentioned techniques can be used to market products and services with a shoestring budget and get to the notice of millions of consumers around the world. This might be an effective step to the success of a startup business.

Image by davedphoto via Flickr

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