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Startups need two things: a captive audience and a quick boost in clients to start making a profit. Luckily, marketing is the best way to get both in the bag as soon as possible.

There are lots and lots of different ways to market a startup but given that you should be putting as much cash into developing the business end, finding as many cheap or even free ways to put your brand out there is crucial. Getting the best return for your investment is also really important and you need to know that every penny spent is bringing you a reward.

So with that in mind, here are 5 of the best marketing strategies all startups should consider.

1) Social Media

About 2 minutes after starting up your business, you should be setting up social media accounts. You don’t need to have an office, any staff or even a product to sell yet, just start pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and begin teasing with promises of what is to come. Companies like Magic Leap have shown just how effective this can be, generating hundreds of thousands of followers by shrouding themselves in mystery. You don’t have to go that far but the sooner you start building your following, the better.

Social media can be used in 2 ways: promoting organic reach and social advertising. For all intents and purposes, organic means free. Organic traffic comes from people who have seen your page and clicked on posts to see what is going on. Adverts are paid and are shown to people who have an interest in what you are promoting. You can use adverts to boost your followers, show off your brand or persuade people to call or click. A mixture of organic and paid strategies usually works best for most businesses.

2) Email Campaigns

Getting a list of people to email can be labour intensive but as your social media takes off, you might decide to run an ad or a competition designed to persuade people to give you an email address. Once you have your mailing list, you can send all kinds of marketing materials to keep them up to date with your progress and encourage further activity.

Emails are ideal because they are basically free to send. Using a site like MailChimp to design professional emails is a good way to entice people to scroll and click but your subject line is probably the most important hook. Make sure that your emails are intriguing enough to be opened and relevant enough to be worth sending to your customers.

3) Start Blogging

Coming up with fun emails and witty banter on social media can be a lot of effort, especially when blogging is such a great way to provide detailed information, develop your SEO and show off your knowledge. Blogging is another essentially free marketing strategy if you are willing to put the time in and a well-researched piece is perfect for establishing your expertise.

If you aren’t a confident writer then you will be reassured by the knowledge that freelance writers are literally all over the internet. Most writers are happy to take briefs for individual blogs or come up with a blogging strategy for you based on the ideas and keywords you want to focus on. Either way, once you have blogs posts, you will have plenty to share with your clients.

4) Network and Schmooze

Networking is the kind of word that bristles any spine until you realize that networking basically comes down to saying hi to another person and going from there. It really doesn’t have to be scary, you just need to remember that every time you meet someone new, you have an opportunity to make them more aware of your business.

Networking events are ideal for meeting new business contacts but they aren’t the only place you can start a new relationship. Going to conferences, talks and even casual meet ups and parties are all opportunities to sell yourself, as long as you aren’t taking over the whole conversation!

A good bit of advice for networking effectively is to treat everyone as a prospective friend. Instead of an outright sales pitch, listen to what they do and how they work and then find a way to introduce your own business. If they have a particular problem and your business could offer a solution, make this the highlight of your conversation.

5) SEO

What do you do when you want a service/ product/ bit of useless information/ funny cat video? You Google it. In fact, Googling is now such a fundamental method of finding things that it is entered in the dictionary as a verb. And this is exactly why SEO should be at the heart of all your marketing strategies.

Rising up the rankings will give you the best shot at getting recognised and earning those clicks but getting there is something of a balancing act. Every method covered here so far will help you to optimize your search engine ranking.

Blogging will increase your keyword index and the number of opportunities a person has to enter your site; social media will present your site to a wider audience and drive clicks; email campaigns encourage consumers to enter conversion funnels and drive clicks. Even talking about your business to a stranger will encourage them to search for your site and have a look.

But there is more. Running an Adwords campaign is a great way to jump to the top of the page and encourage people to click your site rather than your competitors. Search engine advertising can be expensive but the campaigns run so that only successful ads cost through a pay per click scheme.

In Conclusion

There is no fixed rule for what will work and what won't work when it comes to marketing. It really is a case of testing things out and then seeing how well they work. With this in mind you should always look for ways to track the performance of your marketing efforts and track what the actual cost is and the cost per customer that you bring in. Don't forget to factor in the cost of your time in the process, if a marketing approach is free but it ends up taking 20 hours of your time then you need to factor in the opportunity cost of you not being available to work on something else.

The great thing about marketing however is that it is usually quite easy to monitor your campaigns and to see where your money is going and what you are getting in return. There is always a way to experiment to find greater returns and given how cheap these methods are, you have a lot of room to make mistakes before you perfect your campaigns. So get going!

Once you have your marketing structure in place and your business is starting to grow then why not think about outsourcing some of your admin and telephone answering to a business like Virtual Office Melbourne. We have packages to suit businesses of all sizes and can answer as much or as little as you require. We have more than 4,000 customers in Australia, the UK and the USA and service a whole range of businesses including lawyers, accountants, IT professionals, internet marketing professionals plus many many more. If you would like to find out more about what we do and how we could potentially help you then why not give us a call on 1300 794 910 and we will be happy to help you out.

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