Harendra Jani
VP at 40Billion.com
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How To Promote Your Startup On A Shoe-String Budget

How To Promote Your Startup On A Shoe-String Budget

What do the smartest entrepreneurs do differently to ensure their business stays profitable? They do the simple things right. Simple things like finding cheap ways to get exposure, or hearing their customers' feedback, or networking in the right places. With all this covered, the customer acquisition cost for every new customer falls low enough to make their business model sustainable in both the long and short term.

If you have a young business that's losing steam fast compared to its competitors, it's very likely you're facing a rival who has found inexpensive and effective ways to market itself to new customers. So, for roughly the same budget as yours, they achieve more bang per buck than you do.

Here are 8 winning strategies to help you catch up with them:

1. Focus on cheap forms of advertisement.

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Not just because they're cheap, but also because if you're new and still establishing a customer base, paid advertising is most probably not a very good idea. So, try placing ads on free sites, like CraigsList or Gumtree; issue press releases; or try co-operative advertising, where you team up with another company to produce an ad at a cost less than the average market rate. Remember that paying for ads alone doesn't guarantee results. Your ad will have to really fight it out in a highly competitive space.

Don't forget to try social media marketing sites like 40Billion, which specializes in promoting small businesses and makes advertising easier by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses - including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like promoted posts, promoted profiles and promoted company listings were created for entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising.

2. Network on the right forums in the right ways.

For you, the right way to market yourself is to get heard in community platforms. Prepare a list of all the relevant communities for professional marketers as well as for your target market. However, don't shove your product right into their faces; that would waste all your good work in a matter of days. Instead, trust the online presence you've built and know that simply associating yourself with your company can deliver substantial results.

3. Blog, blog and vlog.

One of the best ways to acquire new buyers is by creating a company blog and posting on it frequently. Think of the quality of your product and the quality of your blog as two distinct things you could work on. Keep blogging from the beginning, but with an added intensity once it feels like you've become a popular voice in your niche. Of course, well-written and well-researched content derives better responses, as well as videos.

In the virtual world, people will trust you if you appear active enough. And somewhat like God, the internet works in mysterious ways. If any of your blog posts goes viral, you'll start building links and attracting customers from places you have never even heard of.

4. Host high-profile interviews, podcasts, and live chats.

Do this every once in a while. If you're not as popular as you'd like to be, try to offset that by getting some one-on-one airtime with a more famous person.

Free internet radio shows, webinars and social media shows are different ways of achieving the same thing - increasing audience engagement while giving all involved parties a great chance to learn from one another.

5. Post videos which answer specific customer questions.

If you're selling online but you have yet to make a video, then you're missing out big time.

Video is a great way to humanize your online profile. Have a member of your team sit in front of the camera and respond to the various questions your customers have been sending to you. This way, you establish yourself as a responsible salesman and get to communicate with potential buyers in a more realistic way.

6. Get a few quality reviews.

Don't compromise on the quality of reviews you get. It will be difficult to get your product reviewed by famous bloggers and reviewers in the early days, but make sure the reviews on your website do not look generic and similar to one another. It doesn't take a literary genius to figure out the sameness of voice, which phony and superficial reviews so often suffer from.

7. Make customers shout out why they love you.

Remember, a good salesman is a great storyteller. So, learn to tell stories about your product and connect with your audience emotionally.

Ask your existing customers why they love you. Then, present the material you've gathered as the 'stories' that your company has helped to create. You're still the master of this content, so edit it as per your needs, and choose what or what not to publish. Customers trust other customers and not necessarily CEO's. Plus, this exercise will help you learn valuable things about what your customers like most about you.

8. Combine efforts with suitable partners.

Synergize actively. There must be lots of other companies that are targeting the same market you are but whose products don't compete with yours. Ally with the ones that have reputable, humanized brands, instead of corporate facades. Prepare mutual deal packages, launch collaborative marketing campaigns, trade guest posts, and so on.

Sharing resources and intelligence on high-impact activities in this way has a direct effect on reducing the customer acquisition costs of both companies.

About 40Billion.com

40Billion is the social network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders - a social platform for connecting business owners and promoting the things they create. Use 40Billion to find professional contacts and projects, get affordable digital marketing and social media promotion, and show off your creations to the world. Awarded Best Small Business Marketing Platform by US Business News!

Recommended: Why Starting a Business and Becoming an Entrepreneur is Risky


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How To Promote Your Startup On A Shoe-String Budget