Getting your name out there on a shoestring budget is the gravest concern for all new business owners. You may have some startup capital, but a lot of expenditure to consider before you can think about investing in advertising. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword. Without a solid marketing plan, you’re not going to bring in any business. Without any business, you’re not making any money. Without bringing in money, you can’t afford to promote your company. It’s undoubtedly a headache for every startup. So, where do you begin? Here are a few of the most cost-effective methods to increase your brand awareness. At least until you can sustain a more sophisticated strategy.
Before the world wide web came along, companies had to rely solely on traditional advertising techniques. The bigger brands could afford the best placement and the longest commercial spots. But there were options for everyone – including the plucky upstart with no financial clout. Try not to get ideas above your station. You may have the greatest idea in the world. It doesn’t matter. You need to conquer the local market before you can even think about expanding nationally (or internationally).
Chances are, at this stage, you can’t afford to rent space on the biggest billboard in town. Forget about it. There are other ways to build up a reputation; methods that are sustainable in the short-term. There’s a reason newspapers have entire sections dedicated solely to local ads. They’re there for the taking. Obviously, a glossy, double-page spread is going to set you back more than a corner piece.
Go guerrilla. What’s the most pivotal tool you have to promote yourself? Your voice. It’s unique, and it comes free of charge. Get out on the streets and get the word out yourself. The business isn’t going to find itself. You’re not going to make a success of any venture without doing the groundwork first. Put up some outdoor banners (with permission, of course). Hand out flyers to passers-by. Give out your business card to every local outlet you can think of. Somebody somewhere is going to give you the time of day. Find them.
Maybe you can’t afford to recruit the services of a marketing agency (though if you can, you should). That doesn’t make the digital world unattainable to you. Arguably the best part about the cyber age is that all you need is an internet connection and an idea. Social media platforms, for the most part, are totally free to use, and you can run them yourself on your own time. It’s worth checking out other successful social media campaigns to get a good grasp on what works and why.
Familiarize yourself with all the analytical tools you have the time to play around with. The biggest trend in marketing today is the DIY mindset. Reaching people has never, ever been easier. If you don’t take advantage of the fact that people are more receptive to ideas today, you’ll suffer for it tomorrow. We’re all more clued into what is going on around us. If you can stand out amongst the crowd, then you have a limitless audience in the palm of your hand.