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6 Ways Startups Can Market Their Brands Without Breaking the Bank

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 10/03/2016 Kc Agu

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During the early days of the Internet, starting a small low investment startup wasn't that hard at all. Few people who did became big names in a matter of months.
Now fast forward to these days, where research shows that 543,000 new businesses get started each month somewhere in the world. This depicts a very tough competition for the first pages of search engines.
It's no longer a child's play where you come and make quick millions. We are talking about a market with the potential to see $989.6 billion as yearly revenues. We are talking about a market where companies are willing to spend millions of dollars to outrank or beat their numerous competitors.
The statistics themselves are scary. In a world where 90 percent of startups fail -- largely due to adequate funding -- this doesn't leave any hope for rookie startups.
So the questions lies: How will the small players market themselves and make some money to sustain themselves?
This was the question I found hard answering. I had a startup that was soon going to close for the day.
How did I finally save it?
I created a low scale marketing approach that fitted my little funds. It wasn't elaborate like the big players' own, but it was highly effective.
If your startup is currently struggling, and you can't seem to find a way to market it on a low scale, then use these three smart awareness marketing approach I used to save my startup many years ago. The first is:
1. Build Awareness By Doing Pro Bono work.
There are literally thousands, if not millions of startups trying to find their head. Each competing to find their voice in a crowded space with lots of big players.
It's understandable, starting a business from scratch means you're unknown to the great crowd of paying clients in your industry.
And it's natural, customers only do business with who they trust. Every startup trust level in the beginning is zero. And the fastest way to increase that figure is to do pro bono work. Pro bono work here depicts that you'll agree to do free quality work for them.
But sadly that wasn't how I started. When I started my first business, I wasted a lot of time in irrelevant stuff. I had this weird notion that I needed to produce a large amount of work, probably after that, clients will start flowing in like a river.
None came.
Then I changed strategy. I decided to find where my ideal audience congregate. Once I did, I consciously started guest posting, writing on forums and looking out for any problem they may have and making sure I helped them solved it.
Within few months of my engagement, my trust level increased and clients started coming. They weren't just one time clients. They did repeat businesses with me.
Do something similar. Go where they meet. Your ideal audience must have at least a forum, big blog or website they meet to share their ideas and the problems they're currently having.
Research those problems, solve them and give it back to them free. It may look like you're losing out, but you aren't. The best way to end up as a successful business owner is to start free.
2. Build Awareness By Sponsoring an Event or Contest 2016-03-09-1457498766-2562139-12.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-03-09-1457498766-2562139-12.jpg
Wherever you find a crowd, there is money there and new customers to be acquired. People gathering for something important -- be it a tech function, school programming contest, anything at all -- are all wonderful avenues to market your brand.
That said, some say it takes at least seven sightings of a brand before any human can remember it if they see it again. And the best way to make this happen is to sponsor something that is related to what your startup stands for.
Once you have found an event or contest, take out a little fund and sponsor them. Then do this next thing: Go to the venue and put your brands in strategic positions where people cannot but look at it at least 10 times.
To make this strategy work better and for you to properly utilize the potential customers in the event or contest, have a company crest your startup's name on wristbands and give it out as souvenir to everyone that came.
You can also put your brand on face caps, phone casings etc. Just find the right mix and go with it. But have it in mind that you're indirectly marketing your startup to the crowd there, and many of them would probably end up as client.
3. Build Awareness Through Partnerships and Collaborations
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of startup owners do from the beginning of their first business is to launch in solo.
I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but sometimes doing it alone takes too much time and money from your pocket before you can begin to see real profit.
That's why partnerships were introduced. Collaborating and partnering with startups similar to yours is simply a symbiotic relationship where each party tries their best to market each other at any point in time.
E-commerce businesses do this collaboration openly. At the top or bottom of some e-commerce sites are links to their competitors' site. If that link is followed, you'll also see their website link in the competitor's own.
What they're simply trying to do is share and retain every customers coming into their quarters. You can leverage this to your advantage too.
Look out for startups, contact some of them in your line and strike a symbiotic business agreement with them that'll center on marketing each other to each respective audience.
If you keep on applying these 3 solid points on marketing/creating awareness for your startup, then surely clients will start coming in rapid succession.
Image Credit: Bizjournals, Unitedwaydenver.org

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