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Advanced Digital Marketing Tips for Start-ups

Joe Balestrino

Start-ups are started on a shoestring and everyone on the team wears multiple hats. Coming up with marketing ideas on a small budget can be challenging. Over my 13 years in digital marketing I’ve helped many start-ups do more with less. Below are just some of my favorite ideas and tips. Feel free to share what’s worked for you in the past.

1. Align yourself with bigger brands. – Assuming your product isn’t something new or revolutionary (which came make things more difficult)– you probably have competitors. Aligning yourself with them is a good way to gain some brand recognition. So how do you do that on a limited budget?

2. PPC marketing is where you can do this easily. Start-ups usually cringe when they here PPC or pay-per-click because they know that means they have to spend money. However, if you advertise on your competitor’s brand names it can help you grow your brand’s recognition. It’s also a good way to “steal” some cheap quality traffic that can turn into business. You can set you own budget which makes this a great option. In your ad – state your company’s uniqueness. Is it cost? Features? Free trial? Entice users to check you out and be creative with your ads.

3. Facebook ads can be relatively cheap. Facebook ads are similar to PPC as you can set a budget. It’s best to first target fan and group pages of your competitors. It’s a good way to find highly relevant customers.

4. Want a free way to to find clients? Grow your LinkedIn network. Reach out to potential customers and connect with L.I.O.Ns. You can also join groups and create content that can bring awareness to your brand. You can read more about how to do this by  reading this post.

5. Organic traffic is every start-ups dream. However, for a new site it’s not easy to accomplish. As a start-up you may not have enough authority and clout to drive search engine traffic on competitive terms. Try focusing on long-tail terms and questions that potential customers may be searching for – that your product or services solves.

Content is important,as a way to drive organic traffic for your site. You can create other forms of content that can delive even more exposure.

6. YouTube is the world’s largest search engine next to Google. Adding videos along with a unique description and a link back to your site can help drive relevant traffic. Even if you don’t have a budget for a professional video you can create a slide show or presentation and upload it.

Create a podcast and get it listed on iTunes and other podcast directories. This is an easy, low cost way to get your brand exposure and to be seen as a thought leader. You can purchase a unique intro and outro for about $100. Create a weekly or monthly show discussing problems your customers face, industry news and other related topics.

8. Become a speaker and a columnist. Find out which convention and industry events your clients are and as to speak at these engagements. Even if you have to do it for free. The exposure is worth it. Plus you can say that you’re a speaker and that can add to you and your company’s creditability.

9. Getting interviewed is a great way to add to your expertise and bring awareness about your start-up. You can search for blogs and podcasts, for example that speak to your target market. Approach the hosts(email or though Linkedin) with your expertise and how your experience can help their followers. Trying offering a free trial or discount offer to their listeners. It’s a great way to get some great leads.

10. Tap into your existing clients. Offer them discounts, free month of service or additional features – whatever you think of if they bring in paying clients. You can also do the same some testimonials. It’s hard to get paying clients who love your product or services, their busy. However, if you can persuade them do it. Testimonials from clients sell.

11. Get  mentioned in the major media. While it’s not cheap having logos from the most recognized networks helps build trust with your site visitors. You can then add these to your other marketing and advertising channels to enhance your creditability.

12. Subscribe to  HARO. Help A Report Out is a free platform where reports ask the public for help on certain topics. If a topic fits what you do you can reach out to the reporter. If they use your quote your start-up could be referenced in the publication.

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