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3 Startup Marketing Strategies You Should Be Doing

What is marketing? No, not what is the definition of marketing… What does “marketing” mean nowadays – in our big data, Internet of things, social media enriched lives? Ah, so glad you asked such a smart question! Marketing is a relationship between you and your audience. And, like all good relationships, good marketing is made up of communication, transparency and trust. I know what you’re thinking, “this is nice and all, but how does this help me?” Again, good question (you’re on a roll, you good-looking AND smart person, you)!

Most entrepreneurs don’t understand what role marketing fits into their business equation, when they should implement it, or how to execute it, especially if you’re bootstrapping it. While each point could easily be a respective blog post, the answers are this:

  • Marketing = sales.
  • You should start marketing now. Seriously. If you’re in business, you should start marketing today. If you haven’t launched yet, you should start as soon as you have an MVP (minimal viable product). OR, you can even start marketing a few months before.
  • There are several inexpensive ways to market your company/product.

Yes, it’s true. There are many marketing strategies you could be doing yourself LONG before you shovel out a boatload of money to a third-party. To clarify, I’m not saying that spending money upfront is bad. What I’m telling you is that you have options before you spend your precious green resource. Here are just four of those:

Send out Newsletters

I hear this all the time, XYZ Company is wondering how in the world they can “get their name out there” or get more repeat clients. Haaave you met my friend MailChimp? Newsletters are one of the easiest ways to build a solid following because it gives you the chance to keep your public informed – and we like to be informed! Within this solid, informed, following your brand ambassadors and repeat clients will emerge. Trust me. As long as you don’t spam them everyday with crap content, people won’t mind receiving your (monthly) newsletter. But, how do you build such a following?

  • Ask your family and friends if you can add them to your list.
  • Have a section on your website and on Facebook where people can sign up.
  • Run a fun promo to encourage sign ups.

Heads up, MailChimp and similar platforms are only free up to a certain point. Eventually, you’ve got to pay for upgrades or to add over 2,000 subscribers.

Use Social Media Wisely

  1. Pick one social media outlet
  2. Dominate it – consistently
  3. Repeat

Social media is an excellent way to communicate and be transparent with your existing clients and build new ones. But, it can be difficult to determine what social channel you should be on with all the options we have out there (insert choice paralysis here). Usually, I recommend starting on Facebook and Twitter, but social networks will vary slightly for each company depending on your target market. So, before you join ANY networks, just research what your target is on and compare that to what you already personally like using – you’ll be more likely to post on social media networks you’re already familiar with. Whatever you do, don’t start a social channel just to later neglect it.

Partner With Other Organizations

Ever heard the lyric, one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do? Well, that statement holds true in the business world. When ever possible find a way to partner with a company or organization that you trust. Is your friend starting a company or organization that would complement yours, or vice-versa? Partner. Are you involved in a volunteer or leadership organization? Definitely find a way to partner or serve. Is your city looking for a way to solve xyz problem? I think you know the answer… Here’s why partnering is important: at the very least, it expands your network two-fold. And, if you’re partnering with an established company/organization, it lends you immediate credibility. When you partner, make sure it is mutually beneficial and you exchange comparable value with one another. Do not just partner to exploit someone’s network or take advantage of their generosity. As with all good relationships, be willing to put in as much (preferably more) work than you get out. After all, you want this partnership to help you build a positive reputation.

As previously mentioned, these are just a few of marketing strategy options you can implement yourself before you spend any money. If you’d like to learn more, or you have any questions/feedback, give me a shout on Twitter @agean6.

Hailing from the piney woods of East Texas, Paula loves yoga, writing, marketing, tech & diversity related topics. She belongs to the Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, is a 2014 Dallas Business Journal's Women in Technology awardee and dreams of bettering the world. Follow Paula on Twitter @Agean6.