Entrepreneurs have two ways at their disposal to convert their innovations into viable businesses – either aiming to land angel investors and venture capitalists, or bootstrapping their way to enter the market. I personally feel that if your idea is not potentially market disrupting or unique, bootstrapping your start up is the best way to go forward. This would be instrumental in helping you to tap the market and learn all about the space while you release a Minimal Viable Product and start attracting attention from relevant investors. But bootstrapping also has its flipsides, the most common being a lack of available funds and tight budgets in all departments.
One of the main challenges to face would be to meet marketing targets within this framework. Hence, strategies need to be such that can be optimized for the business and will bring back positive campaign results. I have compiled a list of the best digital marketing strategies a bootstrapped start up should make use of since day one:
1) Strategic partnerships with complement firms
What better way to enter the market than to use an established network of a partner firm? Be it a simple reference to other business contacts or a majestic shout out to you on their Facebook page with millions of followers. These partners may have influencers on their social media accounts, who might just notice you and tweet about you. Anything and everything will help you in this initial phase. Try to aim for partners where you can complement each other’s business. If their growth is in tandem with yours, it would motivate them to promote you in the best possible way in their capacity. For example, back in its early days, Paytm had tens of partner companies to provide coupons to their customers as rewards for using the app. Both the app and the partners have been extensively promoted via this strategy and this has been pivotal in helping Paytm grow to be the largest eWallet in India.
2) Using triggers to encourage shares
Let’s face it. Whatever you post on your website or social media accounts, it needs swift traction to reach as many target customers as possible. One way to go about this would be to attract the readers into sharing your posts with a trigger. This trigger can be as subtle as providing them with value, making them read what they want to or as direct as offering them discounts in exchange of a tweet or Facebook share. I would suggest starting with the latter approach while simultaneously perfecting the former. Another popular way to invite shares is via the use of emotions. The following pie chart gives an overview of the most popular emotions that trigger shares among readers and make a post go viral:
3) Organising contests and competitions
Do you remember the marketing stunt TVF Pitchers pulled off in collaboration with Uber? They sent out tens of venture capitalists roaming around metro cities in Uber cabs, waiting for prospective start up CEOs to pitch their ideas in a bid to fund the best ones. So basically a show about a start up, collaborating with the biggest start up in the world to create awareness about the show as well as the spirit behind it. They also promoted the partner along the way. Marketing masterstrokes like these are the ones which instantly bring your brand in front of your target customers with minimum effort and investment. Similar online competitions and contests should be used to put your business on the map. You can provide contest winners with relevant discounts, free products/trips or indulgences and other creative rewards, all in exchange for their participation and campaign promotion.
4) Focusing on creating original content and lists
Content will always be the king of Internet. But the crucial detail to take away here is to be as unique and creative as possible. Google’s robust algorithm continuously penalizes and ranks down pages with duplicate content and “word-spinned” articles. So indulging in such content marketing practices will do more harm than good. At the same time, focus on creating content in the form of lists. An analysis done by Noah Kagan back in 2014 of over 100 million articles over the Internet proved that listicles are the most shared textual content on the Internet. List articles are the hot new trend in content marketing because they are simple to read and can have powerful headlines that persuade readers to click on them. Moreover, the content form is easy to digest and also triggers more shares than simple paragraph articles. This type of general approach can be followed in the initial phase of the business to grow the roots on the Internet, both in terms of reach and search engine optimization.
5) Heavy use of core analytics
Data is the fastest path for your start up to the super bowl of premium corporations. If analysed thoroughly, it has the answers to all kinds of marketing hurdles that come your way. Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool for the purpose. But professional metric tools like KissMetrics can also be used to gather more in-depth campaign knowledge. Moreover, the recent inception of the extensive usage of big data has put even more emphasis on the importance of data analysis. However, focus should not be on vanity metrics like Facebook/Twitter followers, number of likes, or views on posts. Instead, core metrics like blog shares, share/view ratio, engagement and cost per conversion are better tools to gauge the campaign’s success and take decisions. Utilization of big data takes the game even further by also factoring in unstructured and structured data like call centre logs, marketing research details, press and social media commentary, customer feedback and much more. The following informative video from IBM explains everything about how big data works in product as well as marketing innovation:
6) Optimizing landing pages for higher conversion
The landing pages are one of the first direct interactions of the customers with your company and would be pivotal in forging long lasting impressions about your service. Therefore, they need to have the right elements at the right places. While designing the page, you should ask yourself what you would like your customers to know about or interact with, and then work on highlighting the same. Google Analytics is the best tool to use for the purpose. It will provide you with details about the traffic inflow and how customers are interacting with your website via their clicks. This will help you design the best possible layout to maximize clicks on your target page elements. The case study of Moz gives us the best insight into how rewarding this practice can be. While rebranding their business, the team at Moz used extensive A/B split testing for optimizing landing pages and they were successfully able to increase their conversion rate by 52%. This eventually contributed towards an immediate $1 Million increase in their revenue!
About this platform
YellowBulbs is a marketplace that connects startups with marketing specialists. Being a start up, we understand the pain points of bootstrapped start ups. Therefore, we have put together thousands of specialists (both agencies and freelancers) who can work with you to help you achieve your marketing goals.
We also understand that many start ups don’t have years of marketing experience and the entire business of marketing may look very subjective to them. Hence, we offer ready to use packages called Brand Boxes which come with standardized pricing and fixed deliverables. These Brand Boxes can help you kickstart your marketing projects on an immediate basis.
Enjoy our ‘how it works’ video to get a better understanding of our platform: