Marketing your start-up on a ridiculously low budget




Having assisted and continuing to help some of my start-up friends with their marketing, I have learnt over the years how critical it is to keep a low marketing budget and yet ensure ROI for every penny spent. So how can you still market your start-up on a tiny budget?

1. Identify your target market to the T

You are not here to please the broader audience. Once the right target audience is defined one can start building strategies to engage and build that trust with the relevant customer. Start with a top-down approach – get a broad set of audience. Then, deep dive further to answer questions like – what factors impact their decision making on a daily basis, what motivates them or probably not, what are their behavioural patterns, what turns them off, what gets them going – habits, mannerisms, lingo, trends etc. Getting under their skin to truly understand their decision making is key to help increase your ‘appeal’ to your audience. This exercise will leave you with a small but a specific set of people that are most relevant to you and your business. Go get them!

2. Why re-invent the wheel, when you can just oil it and ride on!

As part of the marketing plan it is best to often look at what your competitors are doing- it isn’t  copying exactly what they are doing, as every business is unique. But looking around certainly helps get a head start. Gain your motivation by beginning with tried and tested ways that have worked for others in the same industry. Remember these can always be improvised upon with time to suite your audience.

The big benefit of this is, that you are not stuck thinking about how to get started with your marketing but to take that most important first step. Remember, take the first step and you are half way there!

3. Help and seek help

It is all about ‘giving’ and most certainly never about you.  Giving shows that you are adding value to your customers. Free downloads, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, research papers, insights, case studies, survey outcomes and reports are all great ways to give away and help your customers. This goes a long way to generate the much needed interest in your product offering.

Similarly, in every industry there are various allied businesses, who are not direct competitors but tend the share the market place. Partner with them. Collaborate and conquer the market together. Remember you cannot be good at everything all the time. Identify your strengths, for the rest ask help!  That way you are not really coming across as a direct competitor but just agreeing to share the attention of a common audience while adding value to your partners.

4. You have nothing to loose – DM those influencers

I remember one of my friends, a start-up owner once approached a big time blogger within her industry, to just give an opinion on a blog she was writing especially since she was a newbie. This was the beginning of a long partnership (completely in kind; no hefty pay cheques). In this case the influencer became a regular feature on her blog and ended up drawing so much more traffic to her very start-up blog.

It is often a matter of just asking nicely. The worst that can happen is your request will be rejected – and as a entrepreneur you are probably well versed with handling a rejection by now.

5. Research for free stuff

I often carry out an exercise to deliberately look for free stuff before I begin looking for paid services to contribute towards marketing – well with a ‘start-up’ mindset you are compelled to – but no regrets. There is loads of information out there that is FREE. From websites giving free photos, free videos, free templates, free formats and planners the list is endless – although do look at reviews and ratings. The key is just keep looking patiently. Remember to ask, there is no harm, real people have questions, so engage with your audience and ask for stuff, though always remember to be thankful and repay!

6. Plug and play

One of the greatest constraints of a start-up is the limited financial capability to hire experts, consultants and admin staff. There are various websites that help you hire freelancers that work on hourly/daily or job specific rates. So you can plug them in when you need their services with no administrative hassle. Once you have build a good rapport with a bunch of freelancers you can use them as often as possible or have them on a rolling contract. From graphic designers, SEO experts to those who can deliver full fledged websites or execute specific marketing campaigns for a set fee within few weeks, you can find them all. Remember – not everything has to be long term!

7. Word of mouth – online or offline; is still one of the best marketing techniques

Old school is never truly ever old school. Be it coffee mornings, lunch and learn sessions, webinars, beer and banter sessions, twitter chats (my new favourite), online forums, events and networking evenings. Where ever relevant, network, network, network. This is certainly one of the best ways to raise awareness for your venture for the cost of a cup of coffee!

Talking about low cost marketing techniques, email marketing cannot be left behind. Check out my post on Why Email Marketing actually works…

41 thoughts on “Marketing your start-up on a ridiculously low budget”

  1. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hellο, i thiknk tһat і saw you visited mу weblog so i came to “return the
    favor”.I am trying to fіnd things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok tⲟo uѕе a fеw оf yoᥙr ideas!!

  3. I’m extremely pleased to discover this website. I need to to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!!

    I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have
    you saved to fav to look at new information on your blog.

    1. Thanks for that Doreen! Glad this was helpful! happy to write on any particular topic that you are keen to know more on too. Also do follow me on twitter @shruti12d as i tend to share much more on there!

  4. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like
    to send you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it expand
    over time.

    1. Glad you liked it! thanks a ton! I will posting more stuff so do keep an eye out. If there are any particular topics in Marketing that you are keen to know about let me know, i could try and write on those too!

  5. Heya outstanding website! Does running a blog similar to this require a massive amount work?
    I’ve no expertise in programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyway, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share.

    I understand this is off topic but I simply wanted to ask.
    Thanks a lot!

    P.S. If you have a minute, would love your feedback on my
    new website
    re-design. You can find it by searching for «royal cbd» —
    no sweat if you can’t.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks a ton for your comments. It does not take a lot of effort just a bit more consistent effort each week atleast. I am not good at it as I get busy with my full time job and 2 kids, but should be certainly manageable with more discipline and consistent effort! 🙂 Hope this helps, good luck!

  6. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!
    Old.Kam-Pod.Gov.Ua

    1. Thank you for stopping by, let me know if there is anything I can help with. Especially if there is a particular topic you are keen on within Marketing, I would be happy to help by writing on that topic!

  7. Hey there! Someone inside my Myspace group shared this website with
    us thus i arrived at look it over. I’m definitely loving the data.
    I’m bookmarking and will also be tweeting this to my followers!
    Superb blog and fantastic design and magnificence.

    Feel free to surf to my site … DeanRZellous

  8. I抦 impressed, I need to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that抯 each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the issue is one thing that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my seek for something regarding this.

  9. Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to
    take a look at and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thanks, very great article.

  10. Hello! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a collection of volunteers and starting
    a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  11. I am going to immediately grasp your rss feed when i are unable to
    in discovering your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Please allow me recognize to ensure I might just subscribe.
    Thanks.

    My website; DeedraSDorey

  12. This is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate information… Appreciate your
    sharing this one. A must read article!

Leave a Reply