Question: What is one tip for marketing my business or product on a bootstrap budget?
Write Valuable Evergreen Content
"Content is a great, cost-effective marketing technique. We're bootstrapped and it's generated a huge amount of value for us. If you write at the intersection of your product and your target market's interests, they'll come for the great tips, perceive you as an authority, will be more likely to sign up and will also share what you've written with other people -- if both the content and your product are good."
"PURL stands for 'Personalized URL,' which is simply a means of setting up web addresses that make your potential customers feel like you're speaking directly to them. It's much easier to sell someone when you are delivering a personalized, more relevant sales pitch. There are several great tools that allow you to create these PURLs or your IT team could create custom landing pages."
Focus on Building Your Email List
"Today it's harder than ever to rank at the top of Google for competitive keywords or show up in social media feeds; you then still need to convert an impression to a user. However, email marketing offers often untapped opportunity to scale quickly. If you are bootstrapping, focus on building up your list through offering guides, webinars, ebooks and other premium content you could charge for."
Build a Solid Network
"You either have more money than time, or more time than money. When you don't have money, you must be resourceful with your time. Open up your phone and start texting and dialing. See who your friends know, start going to local events and meet people. You can't be successful by yourself, so get people to believe in you and your brand from day one. They will be happy to get you off the ground running."
Let Your Audience Do the Talking
"Find yourself brand ambassadors who embody everything your brand stands for. Create a program/job description that allows them to share your product or services and pay them in trade since they are already your customers. There is no better endorsement than from those who already love what you are doing and use the product or service you are already offering."
Lend Your Advice
"The people of the internet are always ready and willing to hear some new and unique advice from business leaders that have worked hard for what they have today. Giving out genuine advice through social media, interviews, advice columns, written articles and more allows hundreds, even thousands of people to see your name, your company and your company URL. People are always willing to listen!"
Partner with Companies Who Need Your Product
"Consider offering your product for a discount to partners who agree to promote it to their large membership bases. For example, if you offer a product for gym members, you can offer it to a respectable gym for a huge discount (for marketing it to their members) in return for giving them an opportunity to use your product to promote membership to their gym."
"Pursue a relationship with marketing/PR experts who are willing to accept a risk/reward payment structure. For example, perhaps you agree to pay them a lower hourly/project rate but they get a percentage of sales (or other reward metric) for a fixed period of time. Both parties have incentive to get results and the budget goes further on the front end."
Get Nominated for Awards
"If your business is doing something wonderful and being creative in ways to engage your audience, share it! Tell your story to the business community, such as your local chamber of commerce, and seek out nominations for various awards. This helped our new business gain instant credibility, and we were able to market our achievements, which helped to validate us as experts in the community."
Master Social Media
"Understand that your business is more than a website. In that respect, you must use social media effectively, especially when bootstrapping. Social media has a low cost of entry, but people who do social media well are significantly separated from those who don’t."
Find a Sphere of Influence
"What do you do that's unique to who you are as a person? Perhaps you're a soccer coach, or very active in your church community. Maybe you practice martial arts, or recently joined an all-women's gym. Spheres of influence are an excellent place to start sharing your business. Focus on getting to know the people around you and solving their problems; they'll be more than willing to support you."