It’s the age old story. You’re equipped and at the ready with a stand-out idea, the ultimate co-working space only steps away from your local coffee shop, and a killer band of developers tackling the nitty-gritty product details… but there’s one thing missing — no one actually knows who you are. Your brand vision hasn’t hit the masses, and you crave the awareness and exposure that’ll take your company to the next level. If this sounds familiar, you may have made one of the most common mistakes in start-up marketing; allocating all of your budget to building the perfect product and leaving nothing for branding your product. Don’t worry, all hope is not lost! So, you don’t have the money to hire a marketing manager, or create a legendary launch campaign — you’re not alone! Start-ups all over the world are finding success with modest marketing budgets. Whatever your story, here are a few tips and tricks on how low-cost marketing can work to your advantage.
BECOME A SOCIAL BUTTERFLY.
Get out of that cocoon and emerge a social butterfly, ready to take on the digital world. Word to the wise: it’s a jungle out there. Good social strategy and execution is an art and it’s a lot more complicated than it may appear. Don’t take social media lightly. If you don’t have corporate social accounts, we don’t want to know, just get those set up — ASAP. It’s free, it’s easy, and developing weekly social calendars will only take a few hours a month. Creating Instagram stories, highlights, and obsessing over your profile aesthetic will become your new best frenemy. While you’re at it, create Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages… heck, maybe even a blog, or Pinterest page if you’re in the DIY or ‘how-to’ space! Link all of these accounts to your website, and set up Hootsuite — a social media manager that allows you to post on demand, to each channel, from one place (no digital coordinator necessary). The base version of the platform allows you to sync up to three social accounts, for free!
CTRINE’S SECRET TIP: To optimize each social channel’s algorithm (i.e. have your content visible to more people, more often), use as many features as are available on the platform. For example, use Instagram grid posting, stories, and highlights on the regular. If you do, your content is more likely to get pushed out through “Explore”. Also remember to engage with followers regularly. The more engagement you have, the faster your following will grow and the more loyal your community will be. Your following is your biggest asset early on. Interact with your followers, ask them questions, get their input on product ideas, promotions, and campaigns with polls. Use their input to deliver the best product out there!
CONTENT IS KING.
When leveraging social media, it’s critical to serve-up useful, relevant, and consistent content. Think of it this way: if your followers don’t find your content helpful or entertaining, you’ve wasted your time. Most — and I repeat… most — of your social content should focus on providing your followers with something that will benefit them, avoid pushing your sales agenda. People check out fast when they discover they’re reading one long sales pitch. Provide them with interesting (and relevant) articles, news, fun facts, or simply entertain them with a funny caption (humor and sex appeal — Marketing 101, people!). Once you have the perfect piece of content, try using affordable and effective online tools to boost distribution. Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), will distribute your content at a budget of your choosing. Their simple Pay-Per-Click method makes it easy and affordable to extend your content’s reach on a modest budget.
CTRINE’S SECRET TIP: Always remember that your content needs to be on brand. Your followers should know that a post came from you before glancing up at the username. Each message should be on brand, across all channels — consistency is very important. It’s important to think about the tone of your business before creating any piece of content — are you casual and laid-back, or formal and sophisticated? This should reflect your industry and target market. Take the time to create a target market archetype and write content for that person. This is a great exercise that all new businesses should be doing.
BE A GOOD INFLUENCE.
Or at least, find someone who can be. Influencer marketing is the new normal. They’re the modern version of a brand ambassador, champion and endorser all wrapped up into one filtered photo. Often, you can connect with influencers and swap a trial of your product in exchange for a post, costing you very little. Depending on who you work with, some may ask for a small fee in addition to free product. Our advice when dealing with influencers? Connect with people/brands that genuinely align with your own instead of focusing on the size of their following. The great thing about these partnerships is that an influencer’s community trusts them, and any good influencer wouldn’t want to break that trust by promoting a product they don’t believe in or use. These product endorsements resonate with consumers and increase their likelihood to buy. A couple of strong influencer partnerships could be all that your business needs to reach your sales objectives. Choose wisely!
CTRINE’S SECRET TIP: Don’t discount micro-influencers. These are the people who have smaller followings but often very high engagement and very loyal fans. Working with micro-influencers who are entrenched in a specific niche is a great way to get into the influencer marketing game without spending an arm and a leg. Leveraging micro-influencers is especially great for businesses with a narrow or specific target market. We recommend looking for influencers who have between 10k and 20k followers when looking to build the perfect micro-influencer network. Once you see 30k+ followers, you’ll have to start shelling out serious cash to partner with them.
TIME TO GET CREATIVE.
When working with a small budget, you’re forced to get creative and think strategically. Is this really the best use of our money? Once you have buckets of marketing dollars (and you will!) marketers and ad agencies can get lazy, re-running the same old program year after year with slightly flashier campaign creative. Now is the time for you to flex your creative muscle and think outside the box. Research, test, and initiate big brainstorm meetings to get everyone on your team involved in the process. You never know where your next big idea will come from.. that quiet intern in the corner might just rock your world.
CTRINE’S SECRET TIP: Struggling to get the creative juices flowing? Try a new environment. Take your team on a special outing to shake things up. Sometimes all you need is a change in scenery to alter your perspective. If you’re still struggling, consider hiring professional help. Companies like CTRINE VENTURES are professional brainstormers and will help stimulate conversation, bringing new ideas to the table.
Now that you have some tools in your toolbox, it’s time to get to work! If you have any questions or need help kick-starting your marketing brainstorm, reach out to us on social or send us an email.
We love hearing your stories and helping businesses bring their marketing vision to life!
CTRINE VENTURES is a full-service marketing and communications company specializing in providing world-class and affordable marketing support for start-up and scale-up businesses around the world. CxV partners with true innovators and disruptors across all industries. From Tech to Wellness, we work with the most talented, creative and open-minded hustlers who are exceptionally passionate about their industry, their business and making a real impact. We’re currently accepting new clients. Let’s change the world together!
CTRINEVENTURES.com || @CTRINEVENTURES
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