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Do you want to promote your startup for less than $100? I always like the question towards the end of a podcast, “If you were completely wiped out and had to start again AND you were down to your last $100, what would you do?” It’s an interesting question.

Daniel Priestley said he would invite potential partners, backers or key people of influence to dinner, when presented with a similar question. Come to think of it, I’ve done something similar with my top clients in the past and enjoyed massive success.

Maybe you want to check out my previous article with street marketing ideas you can set in motion on a tiny budget. Here are 11 more cost-effective ways to get your startup noticed without breaking the bank.

1. Leverage Social Media

Creating social media profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is free. Share engaging content, interact with your audience, and join relevant groups to increase visibility.

Example: Glossier started as a beauty blog before launching its product line. By leveraging social media, they built a community and attracted a loyal following.

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2. Collaborate with Influencers

Micro-influencers in your niche often charge less for promotions and can offer immense value. Reach out to them with a personalised pitch and propose a collaboration.

Example: MVMT Watches collaborated with micro-influencers to promote their products, driving significant brand awareness and sales.

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3. Create Valuable Content

Start a blog or vlog with valuable, informative content related to your industry. This builds credibility and attracts organic traffic.

Example: Buffer, a social media management tool, built its brand primarily through content marketing by providing insightful blogs and resources.

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4. Join Online Communities

Participate in forums and online communities like Reddit, Quora, and industry-specific forums. Providing helpful answers can establish your expertise and subtly promote your startup.

Example: Dropbox used forums and communities for early user acquisition by offering incentives for referrals.

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5. Utilise Email Marketing

Email marketing is a cost-effective way to nurture leads and keep your audience engaged. Build an email list and send out newsletters with updates and promotions.

Example: Airbnb used email marketing to engage hosts and potential guests, significantly boosting their bookings.

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6. Offer Free Trials or Freemium Models

Offering free trials or a freemium model can attract users who are hesitant to pay upfront, providing an opportunity to convert them into paying customers later.

Example: Grammarly offers a freemium model, where the basic version is free and users can upgrade for advanced features.

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7. Host an Event or Webinar

Organise virtual events or webinars that provide value to your target audience. It’s an excellent way to showcase your expertise and attract potential customers.

Example: Moz started with free webinars on SEO and digital marketing, establishing their authority and attracting a wider audience.

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8. Network Through Meetups

Attend local networking events and meetups related to your industry. Building personal connections can lead to valuable partnerships and word-of-mouth referrals.

Example: Meetup.com has facilitated countless startups to network and grow their business by participating in relevant groups and events.

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9. Get Feature in Blogs and Podcasts

Reach out to bloggers and podcasters in your industry to feature your startup. This can greatly increase your visibility and credibility.

Example: Tim Ferriss’ podcast often features startups, which gain substantial exposure from his large audience.

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10. Utilise SEO Best Practices

Optimise your website for search engines to increase organic traffic. Focus on keywords relevant to your business and create high-quality content.

Example: Mint.com utilized SEO strategies to rank high for personal finance-related queries, leading to significant user acquisition.

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11. Run Targeted Ad Campaigns

Platforms like Facebook and Google offer affordable advertising options where you can run targeted ad campaigns for as little as $1 a day.

Example: Grove Collaborative started with small Facebook ad campaigns targeted at specific demographics, which helped them scale efficiently.

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Conclusion

Promoting your startup doesn’t require a massive budget if you leverage these cost-effective strategies. By focusing on content creation, community engagement, and targeted outreach, you can build your startup’s presence and drive growth without spending a fortune.

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