Not everyone is a natural marketer. How can you advertise your startup effectively, and spend as little as possible doing it?
Where Does Your Target Customer Hang Out?
It helps a LOT to know where your customers hang out. Not just figuratively either? Can you find your customers at certain community or sporting events, what magazines do they read? Do they belong to industry groups? Where can you target your message and get the most bang for your buck? It may be worthwhile for you to purchase advertising in a trade publication or website.
What Makes You Different From Your Competitors?
It is vital that you communicate consistently what makes you special! How are you different from your competitors, why should people do business with you?
Word of Mouth
Cultivate goodwill with existing customers and get them to refer you. Create a referral program that rewards those who bring business. Most importantly, start by ensuring that every single customer contact you and your staff have left the customer feeling great about you and your business. If not, word of mouth will destroy your business before you have had a chance to get off the ground.
Digital Content and Social Media
Without a social media presence and website, you do not exist. I know that you do not want to hear that, but it is the truth. Develop your social media channels, encourage your customers to “Like” your pages, ask your friends to share your messages. Pay a little bit for advertising, it is relatively inexpensive and can really boost your reach quickly. Remember to make all your social media settings public and monitor daily. Create content on your website, blog or social media that provides value and helps position you as an expert. Let people know you are in business because you know what you are doing!
Consistent Branding and Messaging
Hammer away at your primary message. Most people have to see a message or advertisement a minimum of 10 times before they will notice it. Keep the message simple and effective and use the same messaging across ALL your communications channels.
Are there other companies or individuals that can help raise your visibility? Consider offering to guest blog for a site that your potential customers might frequent. Create interesting offers in combination with other businesses that might offer your customer more value. Create strategic alliances. Offer coupons for other businesses and services that complement yours, in exchange they do the same.
Encouraging Word of Mouth
Create a customer loyalty program or offer that rewards word of mouth. Still the most effective form of marketing, an entire industry has been built on this tactic (network marketing). People love to share when they get good value or service. Ask for testimonials from your customers and publish them everywhere!
Be strategic in your media purchases. Build urgency by advertising a limited time offer, build value by telling customers why you are the best in the business. Choose media that reaches your target customer. Repeat your messaging in all media, including links to all your social media and your website address. Do not assume that people know how to find you, use media to drive everyone to your website where you can tell your story in more detail. Keep media clean and uncluttered, the trend right now is towards lots of white space. Keep the message simple and elegant…and urgent.
Finally, go to events where you can meet your customers. Find out where they hang out and go introduce yourself. People want to do business with other people they like. Get out there and become the face of your business. And remember to carry business cards.
Practice all these tactics, and you will become an effective Guerrilla Marketer, save your start-up big advertising bills, and market your business effectively.