A good marketing strategy is essential for getting your startup business off the ground, but thankfully ‘good’ doesn’t have to mean ‘expensive’. In an age of social media and easily accessible technology, promoting your startup can be cost effective and can help set your business apart. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

Build a website

A company website is the most effective way to tell people what your business is offering, and why they should come to you for that service. Building a website can be free, but you might want to invest in your own URL to make it look more professional.

When you’re happy with your website, you need to make sure it has optimum SEO as part of your internet marketing strategy to help you drive up internet traffic, thus giving you more business. Google suggests using keywords in the URL, making site navigation easy, and avoiding long URLs as much as possible. Google also uses links and backlinks to determine successful websites, so if many reputable websites link back to your blog it is an indication of good quality. Google and Bing, the most used search engines, offer the option of submitting your link onto their platform to improve your SEO ranking.

Once your blog is live, make sure you update constantly to let your customers know who you are, what you know, and why they should come to you.

Social Media

Now that your blog is live, you have something to link back to your business social media page. The best part about having a social media page for your company is that it’s absolutely free. However, you can’t just make a company profile and hope that the advertising will just take care of itself. You need an effective social media marketing strategy to grab people’s attention and hold it for more than a few minutes. You must innovate constantly, and provide content that makes people react in a positive way.

Your loyal readers will also have their own social media accounts, so make sure your content is easy to share; let them do some of your advertising for you.

In addition to blog updates, you can also use social media to give brief news highlights about your business, let customers know about a limited promotion, and connect with any contacts you’ve made while networking.

Attend networking events

Making contacts on social media can be very helpful, but nothing beats old-fashioned face-to-face contact. Talking to people allows you to present more of your business plans in greater detail than social media would allow.

Industry events are a fantastic example of a good networking opportunity; you learn more about industry developments, you can shake hands with the figureheads, and get advice from people who have been where you are. Once you feel a little more established in your business, you can promote your latest products and services at an industry event, or find out if anyone is looking for new opportunities and might be open to working with you.

Find out where your next industry event is happening and make sure you attend. Don’t forget to bring business cards.

Stay in touch

If your networking and social media marketing campaign is successful, soon you will have the beginnings of a client base.  Be sure to keep them updated about new offers, or upcoming events by using an e-mail newsletter or regularly updating your company’s blog or social media pages. Always follow up with your past clients because it helps to cement your reputation as a reliable and attentive business owner.

Use your blog to open up a dialogue between yourself and your readers; read the comments and answer their questions either by directly responding, or posting an article based on their inquiries. The more you make yourself useful to your readers, the more they will come to value your opinion and consider you an expert in your field. Once that happens, your readers could even become customers.

Reward referrals

A loyal client base can be an effective marketing tool in and of itself. Social media and online searches fail in only one aspect; your potential customers have to be looking for your service in order to find it. Imagine how many potential customers out there have no idea that your business exists because they currently don’t know they need your services. That’s where word of mouth comes into play.

Satisfied customers can’t help but rave about good products and services. When the tell their friends and family, you will have more new customers. In turn, these new customers will rave to their friends and family, and so on. Encourage word of mouth by rewarding your original customers with discounts off your products every time they refer a new client.

Produce good quality adverts

Online content is great for visibility, but you can go the extra mile and produce some hard copy content to distribute to select people in your network. You can print brochures in the comfort of your home, or use a PR agency to create that will interest your contacts. Quality content has become essential to any marketing strategy today, but producing a hard copy sets you apart from your competition and further advertises your company.

Write guest posts on established blogs

Some of the contacts you have made through networking will have their own websites, blogs, and social media following. Ask if you could write a guest post on their blog, or if they would be willing to write an article for your website. The exchange will lead to more advertising for the both of you if you include a link back to each other’s website.

Another benefit of a guest blogger is that they will know different things about the same topic, so you’re learning something new alongside your readers. Additionally, you may know things about your topic that your guest doesn’t know, so you could extend an offer to write a guest post for their blog.

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