How To Promote A Startup On A Small Budget
by Carl Neumann
The majority of Startups begin their journey on a tight budget, and most of that budget is usually used for product development.
That makes sense – there can be no launch without a product. It also means that there’s little money left to spend on marketing.
However, without marketing even the best product is doomed to fail. So what is the solution to this dilemma?
As a LinkedIn lead generation agency we’ve discovered quite a number of “growth hacks” that enable you to achieve some initial success without spending a fortune.
If you use them well, you can generate enough success to attract investment, and then scale your marketing to drive more robust long-term growth.
Focus on a well-defined niche
Some products are potentially useful for many different users, and it’s tempting to try and reach all of those markets right away. But it’s far better to narrow down your target niche in the beginning.
First of all, that’ll force you to think about who benefits the most from using your product. And secondly, it allows you to learn about your target niche in great detail. What are their most common problems, and how do they usually try to solve them? What is it about your product that will help them get a better result?
Once you have very detailed answers to those questions, you’ll know how to approach your prospects and present your service in a way they’ll understand. You’ll also get some insights about the best marketing channels to reach people in that niche.
And by the way, failure to focus on a well defined niche is also one of the most common LinkedIn mistakes to avoid.
Find relevant online communities to promote your product
There are many online communities where people exchange information about pretty much anything under the sun, and if you find ones that are relevant to your niche, you can leverage them to boost your marketing efforts for free.
Good places to start are Facebook groups, Linkedin groups, Quora, Hackernews, etc. But always remember: don’t use a strong sales pitch in this context. People visit these communities to get information, not to be marketed to. So it’s much better to make valuable contributions to the topics being discussed, and then add a note about your product whenever it’s relevant.
You can also use communities to build relationships, and warm up leads to the benefits of your service long before they’ve visited your site. Done properly, community marketing can drive a steady stream of quality traffic that converts better than many Adwords campaigns that cost $20 per click.
For more information on how to use LinkedIn for this approach, check out our LinkedIn marketing course.
Do blogger outreach/influencer marketing
Identify authority figures relevant to your niche and reach out to them. I like to use social media for this (Twitter or Linkedin are great), but you can also try email, or going through their contact form.
Again, this approach is more about relationship building than it is about marketing, so don’t pitch anything until you’ve got a conversation going and you’re really sure they are interested.
Getting them to share your product or brand with their social media following, or publishing a post about you on their site can be a great way to get a lot of traction very fast. Plus you could even get a quality back link to your site.
If possible, offer something in return, like promoting their product to your list, or on your website.
Don’t waste leads
If you’re going to the trouble of driving traffic to your website, then make sure those visitors are converting into paid business. A lot of marketing campaigns succeed at improving an early step in the conversion funnel, while neglecting those that follow.
Make sure you have a process in place that maximizes the conversion rate all the way to the bottom line. Initially the biggest hurdle is getting people to sign up for your product. But I’ve seen many Startups achieve success at that step, and then drop the ball right after it.
If someone contacts you or signs up for your product, you should reach out to them instantly, and guide them through the next step in your funnel.
The best way to do this can vary according to your product or niche, but very often it involves talking to your leads directly. Speed is of the essence here, since most people move on to other pastures if they don’t hear from you within a few hours.
Get feedback from your users
If you’re getting a low conversion rate from your website visitors, it’s really important to understand why.
One of the best ways to do that is to survey your visitors while they are on you site. There are a number of great surveying tools you can use to ask questions like “Did you find what you are looking for?” or: “Is something stopping you from signing up?”
Often the answers are surprising, and will help you to improve your signup process, your whole marketing approach, or even your product itself.
Build landing pages for paid traffic
If your budget is big enough for paid traffic sources, you should make sure to convert the maximal number of paid visitors.
The best way to do this is to build landing pages dedicated to specific advertising campaigns. These should have a very minimal layout, basically consisting of a headline, a call to action, and a signup button above the fold.
You can add some additional information below that, but make sure you remove all navigation links from the top and the bottom. That forces visitors to focus on your call to action, which dramatically increases signup rates.
Also, make sure you track everything, so you can test different versions and measure ROI efficiently.
I hope these tips will help you to boost your marketing efforts on a budget. Let me know if I left anything out.