We at Powwownow love a good start-up as well as all aspects of entrepreneur-ism (after all, this is how we began!) and we are only too aware of how little money there is in the beginning to help with marketing and self-promotion. So we thought we would help new business start-ups with some advice on how to promote your business on a shoestring budget.
There are many ways in which you can get your business out there (and loads of ways you can waste a lot of cash) so firstly you need to think about what you want to get out of promoting your business. Be sure to set clear achievable objectives and then look at the channels and methods that will most easily help you achieve those goals.
So here are our top tips on promoting a start-up on a shoestring:
Word of Mouth
This is the cheapest and easiest way to get your message out there. Tell everyone you come into contact with about what you do and how it can help them. This isn’t a time to be shy. Get out there and make some noise!
This falls in with word of mouth. Join your local chamber of commerce, or related organisations or groups. Join discussions on LinkedIn – whenever you get a relevant opportunity to link back to your business – DO!
A website is a first port of call for your customers, so make sure you have one that has all the relevant information and is user friendly. And you don’t need to have expensive fancy designs – there are a whole host of themes you can buy and adapt to your style and brand. Our favourite is Themeforest.
PR is one of the cheapest marketing channels by which to communicate your message. But remember that a press release cannot just be a sales message, there has to be a news angle and something relevant that your audience will find interesting. So is your business offering something that is one-of-a-kind, revolutionary, something that is going to change how people live their lives or run their business? Or is your company doing something for charity – will your local hat you as a consumer/business owner would want to know when you read your newspapers/publications be interested? It is also a good idea to set up media interviews with local or relevant journalists to discuss in more detail what you are doing as a business.
So, ultimately, there will need to be some outlay costs to start with. Have some eye catching and interesting business cards printed. Something that people will remember. Business cards are becoming less important as technology drives communications, but having an interesting and different business card means people are more likely to keep it and look at it (and great for your networking events).
If you intend to go to networking events or conferences etc., it might be worth developing some small A5 flyers that are eye catching and detail your business, people can then take away – and don’t forget to add your contact information to them!
And don’t forget, think of your KPIs and be creative. The business market is so saturated nowadays that you need to think outside the box to be heard. When you think you have done enough – always think ‘what else!’