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7 Low cost ways to market your Start-Up

According to research by a leading commercial insurer in the UK, half of start-ups will not make it beyond the five-year mark. It seems that no matter how brilliant a business idea you have, unless you attract customers, there is little hope in your business taking off any time soon.

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There are all kinds of reasons why businesses fail – from the complexity of the tax system to a lack of bank lending in recent times. There is, however, one issue that looms large – marketing.

From business cards to leaflets, newspaper adverts and social media to exhibition stands, there are so many vehicles on which your message can be conveyed, it can be tough knowing which one will work for you. And whether you have the budget for it.

A balancing act

There is balance that needs to be struck – you have a budget that is probably limited thus, whichever marketing or promotional vehicle and campaign you create, you need it to pack a punch. For every pound you spend, you need it to make a return for your business.

In the first few heady days and weeks, this can seem like a huge mountain to climb. Daunted by the prospect, you take you first tentative steps and… nothing. Just as your business idea took time to come to fruition, so will the rewards from marketing.

In order to get the best from a marketing campaign or promotional activity, there are a few issues you may want to bear in mind.

Offline and/or online

Many start-ups think they have to make a choice between one and the other. Or, the only answer in this modern day and age is online marketing.

For a few hours a week scheduling tweets and posts, you can promote on your business online for virtually next to nothing.

In essence, this is true but, it is only half the story. Social media is not just about selling. Use it as a sales-only channel and you will find that the results, if any, are short-lived. People don’t go on to social media to have things sold to them.

They want something a little more than this. Sharing information and articles that is related, fun and informative is just as important, as well as tweets that invite people to hop over to your website and so on.

Offline marketing is not dead. It really is as simple as that.

But, there are some complexities involved with it. For example, why invest in exhibition stands if they are not the right vehicle to carry your message? Why opt for leaflets if they are going to sit on the shelf?

Marketing a start up with little money, offline and online

Take these steps to an effective marketing campaign:

  1. Who is your customer?

Where are they? How old are they? Who are they? Male or female? Many start-ups fail to answer these essential, yet very basic questions about customer demographic.

Understanding that there is a difference between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) can also have an impact on the type of campaign you mount, as well as the material used, the words and graphics you use and so on.

  1. Strategize your campaign

Creating a plan of who is doing what, and by when is a great place to start. However, many marketing campaigns miss one vital ingredient – objectives.

These are tighter than aims, as they need to be measureable. You might want everyone in the city of London to know who you are – this is an aim – but an objective will be how you are going to measure this.

The strategy should be detailed and over-arching and it should also focus on the types of marketing tools and activities you are intending on using. For example, a pop up shop in a shopping centre with exhibition stands providing the back drop sounds great, but are they money well spent? What are their objective?

The same goes for a hashtag campaign online, as well as leaflet drop through doors on a Sunday afternoon.

  1. Not putting your marketing eggs in one basket

It is a well-known phrase and certainly applies to promoting your start-up. Don’t place everything on one marketing or promotional aspect. In other words, online and offline marketing should work together. They should dovetail together, one supporting the other and vice versa.

With your offline activities – exhibition stands, banners, posters, leaflets etc. – include all your on social media platform ‘handles’ and so on. Let one pull people to the channel they are most comfortable using.

Marketing a start-up need not be expensive or time-consuming. Do nothing and a start-up is sure to sink fast.

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