In a world where attention is currency, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to attract the eyes and ears of your target market. Not only are you up against larger companies with nicely funded marketing departments, you’re also competing with social media and a multitude of other distractions for the attention of your prospects.

And this leaves most entrepreneurs on a super tight, shoestring budget for marketing.

To be honest, I hear you. You have rent to pay, just invested your life saving into a startup you believe will be the next big thing and you are desperate for sale. Forking out more money from your pocket isn’t going to make you smile but you know that marketing is important.

Lucky for you, here are ten creative and inexpensive ways to market your business in a digital world.

Related post: 20 Ways To Make Money From Home While Having A Day Job

marketing tips on a shoestring budget

1. Engage in a partnership

When you are starting up, you need to get as much traction as you possibly can. By partnering up with another brand, you can join forces to market products not only to your small existing audience but as well as leverage the reach from your partner.

If you have a shoestring budget, partnering up will also help you to save more money especially in marketing.

How to find a strategic partner?

  • Conduct research on platforms such as LinkedIn and Google+
  • Asking leads from your business partners
  • Performing research on Google to search for companies or brands to partner up


2. Turning customers into your sales team

What does happy customers and word of mouth have in common? — More customers, more sales and even more revenue.

When you are tight on budget, focusing on things that matters to you is most important. And in this case, your customers. You want them to be extremely happy with whatever you are offering and in return, they may drop a comment or even better, promote it to others.

Remember that happy customers give better revenue especially for repeat sales and even opportunity to expand your business using word of mouth.

How to make customer happy on shoestring budget?

  • Always have the ‘customer first’ mindset
  • Ask for feedback and suggestions
  • Respond to them (especially when they need help) as soon as possible

In order to keep track with your customers, you don’t need state-of-the-art technology. Semi-CRM/Social tool like Hootsuite is a great way to start and that cost you only $10 a month.


3. Start an email list

95% of customers who visit your website wouldn’t come back for more. The only way to ensure that you have a close contact with them is by encouraging them to signup for your email list.

Advantages of starting an email list:

  • Opportunity to promote products
  • Opportunity to reach out to the customers (sending personal note from the CEO etc)
  • Sending coupon codes to encourage repeat sales
  • Keeping customer in the loop for the latest promotions

If you are in my Startup to Success: Handbook for Entrepreneurs course, there is a specific topic which I elaborate on this in a very detailed manner. Regardless how small your email list is, you are definitely increasing the opportunity to market to the targeted market minus the marketing cost.

How to start an email list with limited budget?

  • Sign up for an email marketing provider such as AWeber
  • Create follow up emails or auto responder series
  • Use broadcast (also known as email blast or email updates) to keep your followers engaged and informed


4. Guest posting for marketing

Did you know that guest posting is a good and cheap way to increase brand visibility?

Especially when you are on a shoestring budget, you literally cannot afford to lose out to others in marketing. Indirect advertising is powerful especially when you are able to target the right market audience.

Guest posting for marketing is a great way for low cost advertising and in some cases, you may even be able to guest post for free!

How to find good guest posting opportunities?

  • Using Google search, search for keyword + “guest post” (you can change guest post to guest blogging or any similar meanings)
  • Involves in guest posting sites such as Guest Crew to find for related blogs for posting

Important note: Please ensure guest posts submitted are at the best quality as they represent your brand.


5. Market to the right audience, using the right platform

One of the biggest mistakes for startups with shoestring budgets are that they are focusing in every platform they can think of.

The truth is, you need to focus on platforms where your followers are in it (actively). Marketing to the right audience and at the right time could even improve your ROI and at the same time, reduce cost of marketing as well!

How to determine the right marketing platform to use:

  • Need to reach out to mass audience? – Facebook
  • Finding better involvements with video? – YouTube and Vine
  • Targeting millennial? – Tumblr and Twitter
  • Focusing on corporate market? – LinkedIn

This strategy involves research and planning. Multiple tests need to be done within 3 to 6 months period to determine the best platform to engage in and after that, placing 80% of your marketing strength to that one platform.

The balance 20% should be allocated to a few secondary platforms to maximize your reach.

Tools you can use:

  • Hootsuite – Managing and scheduling multiple social platforms
  • Post Planner – Content curation and scheduling to Facebook and Twitter

With the right tools, you can leverage social media in a very powerful way. Ask Kim Garst who manage to save thousands thanks to Post Planner app.


6. Ask for favors

Let’s take this scenario for example.

Whenever you purchase a product from Amazon, you will receive an email from Amazon days later asking for feedback on the product. When potential buyers leave a question on the product you purchased, you would be asked if you can share some light into it.

Now, let’s take the above into our startup scenario.

Do you contact your successful buyers and ask for reviews/suggestions/feedbacks? For those who didn’t purchase the product, do you reach out to them and ask “why”?

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on marketing research, the above strategy easily connects you with your (potential) customers. Most importantly, you are asking questions that matters to both you (for growth) and your customers (for customer service and satisfaction).

How to ask those important questions?

  • Organizing surveys services such as SurveyMonkey and Google Documents
  • Send emails to your email lists
  • Consider providing a freebie or gift once the survey is completed to increase the opt-in rates


7. Create a LinkedIn group

LinkedIn enables you to create groups which are extremely vibrant to your business. For startups, your main goal would be to attract as much visibility as possible without the expense of budget.

Creating a LinkedIn group takes time and effort. The ultimate goal is to provide information and value that will benefit your community.

How to create a powerful, engaging LinkedIn group?

  • Invite your team members to participate
  • Avoid self promotional
  • Focus in providing value and support above everything else
  • Take the opportunity to engage and have a clear sight to make it a mastermind group


8. Craft an elevator pitch

Research shows the average attention span of an adult is about 6 to 8 seconds. And that’s how long you have to attract their attention.

Anyone who wants to excel in marketing need an elevator pitch. Get your team member to sit down and brain storm on creating compelling, killer elevator pitch. You know, the type of pitch that no one can say “no” to!

How to create an elevator pitch?

  • Identify your goal (focus on one goal at one time)
  • Tell your brand story (tell your readers and customers who you do and what do you best)
  • Engage with a question
  • Putting them all together
  • Ensure everyone in the term practices it


9. Offering coupons for marketing

Before you throw flying projectiles at me, allow me to explain the concept.

When you don’t make sale, you get zero (a big fat zero) in revenue and in business, you are bound to experience that. Most companies are converting approximately 10-20% of the total traffic or inquiries they get.

By offering coupon, you are allowing yourself to gain that extra income and sales.

Take a look at hotel industries around the world. Hotels are constantly providing last minute deals to increase their sales.

  • Do they lose revenue if they sell cheaper? — Yes!
  • Are they increasing their sales revenue by selling cheaper at times? — Yes, yes and yes!

People love coupons and discount codes. After all, those are great ways to encourage others to purchase your product.

How to use coupons strategy for marketing?

  • Identify the market or target audience which is the hardest to close the sale
  • Offer limited time coupons to increase anxiety and urgency
  • The discounted price must be lower than your competitors and sufficient enough for your customers to put in their credit cards


10. Start a blog

For Christ’s sake, please start a damn blog. A company blog is a great way to leverage free marketing from Google.

Forget about those myths about the challenges in creating a website. Technology allows you to create one under 5 minutes.

A company blog or website is a great way to showcase your products and services. Plus, with the power of search engine optimization from Google, you can easily reach out to thousands of potential buyers if you are targeting the right keywords.

For those with shoestring budget, getting a shared web hosting account and a domain name could cost you under $100 a year. For example, BlueHost costs $3.95 per month for web hosting and when you sign up with them, you get a free domain name included in the package at no extra charge. Click here to get started (plus, 30 days money back guarantee).


Marketing with shoestring budget? No problem!

The above are 10 powerful marketing strategies that work all the time, regardless the size or nature of your business. Marketing allows you to reach out to more customers than you can ever imagine.

Therefore, don’t turn them down!

Do you agree with these startup marketing strategies? Leave a comment below!

ALERT: Do you wish to become a successful entrepreneur in the shortest time available? Now you can with my free tutorial, Startup to Success: Handbook for Smart Entrepreneurs. Fill up your details here and I’ll send you 20 days of actionable strategies to start your entrepreneurship journey today!

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from Top 10 Marketing Tips On A Shoestring Budget contributed by Reginald Chan