Ten Ways You Can Market Your Startup for Under 100 Bucks

Linda Jenkins, May 14 2017

savvy-entrepreneur

You've launched your startup. You believe in your product and in your team. You think you've got a chance at being one of the few startups that survives over the long haul, if only you could get your company in front of consumers. Rather than waste your time trying to get a tech journalist to write about your startup (do your target customers even read tech blogs?), you're much better off being innovative with your approach to marketing. You can grow interest in your startup, increase your social media following, and connect with customers if you're willing to think outside the proverbial box.

Marketing your startup doesn't have to mean hiring expensive media firms or selling your soul for a mention in a major publication. You don't need to feel like a street walker flashing your wares at journalists and tech bloggers; you can take control of your marketing, save your pride, and build a following for your startup at the same time. If you want to know how to market your startup for under $100, check out these 10 tips for startup founders:

- Create  a professional email signature. This is an easy way to brand your company. You never know where your connections may lead. Creating a professional email signature is like passing out your business card to everyone you contact.
 
- Respond to relevant queries for the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter. Use Twitter's advance search + "all of these words" to find requests specific to your market sector. You'll be amazed at the number of journalists/writers looking for assistance in your startup's niche.

- Participate in Twitter chats relevant to your business sector. Not only does this help improve your SEO (Google is now indexing tweets), but it also helps connect you directly with potential customers for your startup. Can you say #winning?
  
- Answer questions on forums from individuals discussing your startup's sector. Tools like BoardReader.com can help you search through a variety of forums by topic for relevant conversations.
 
- Create a podcast to share knowledge with potential customers. There are a number of mobile apps now available that can help you create a podcast for free. You can even create a mini-podcast using an app like PodBean .
 
- Write posts on LinkedIn Pulse specific to your target customer. Don't waste your time trying to compete with big names in the tech industry or so-called "influencers." Post helpful content to attract users to your startup and you'll find your customer acquisition journey a heck of a lot easier.
 
- Give back to your favorite local businesses by leaving them positive reviews on sites like Yelp. You're helping improve their SEO (positive reviews can now significantly impact SEO) while providing an introduction to your startup at the same time. Not only will the business owner see your company's name/tagline in your review, so will other customers reading your review.
 
- Start offering a newsletter with links to content which potential customers will find especially helpful. You can use tools like Mailchimp or GoodBits.io to create a newsletter for free. Once your subscriber list builds, you'll only pay a small monthly fee if you have more than 2,000 subscribers. You're offering links to help the type of customers your startup is trying to attract, and you're building a powerful email list too.
 
- Host live-streamed conversations and interview individuals relevant to your startup sector. Think from your customers' perspective about who they would like to learn more about. While interviewing a "thought leader" might temporarily boost your engagement numbers, will that engagement turn into paying customers for your startup? Interview subjects your customers will find valuable and you'll be well on your way toward building brand authority for your startup.
 
- Scour sites like Meetup.com for local gatherings specific to your target customer. Attend local meetings wearing your startup's jacket or T-shirt (make sure your URL is displayed on the back of your apparel). Be of value to those attending the gathering without spamming them regarding your company and you're likely to see visits to your startup's website spike. Remember, the key is to be of value!
 
Startup marketing doesn't have to be expensive. If you're willing to be creative with your approach, you can connect with consumers in a variety of ways. Your focus needs to be on connecting with potential customers and not chasing coverage by publications your target user probably doesn't even read. Are you going to use any of these tips to help more customers discover your startup?