KOCHI: Marketing can be hard, especially when you are a bootstrapped startup. Even after you have determined your TG, it might seem difficult how to reach that audience in the most economical way.
If you are a digital startup, the best bet to start with is social media marketing. Social media can offer you a lot of free avenues in the beginning.
Facebook groups of like-minded people or Whatsapp groups or finding folks through Instagram hashtags can be quite helpful to reach a new audience base. Remember not to spam these places with the direct promotional banner. A better way to approach is by engaging marketing content like say memes or comic strips or product demo videos. Even press articles act as good conversation starters in the groups.
If you do have a little budget, then you may want to try out social media ads. Social media platforms offer you good options to filter your TG and target them for your product. If you are however a B2B industrial product, Linkedin ads might also be a good option to consider.
If however digital is not play arena and you want to target something for an offline product, then you must build a viral feature in your product or its packaging. The look and feel of the product and the newness that it brings along will help it make viral. People must feel proud and privileged to have the product. Nothing will work better at marketing than a happy customer who goes bragging about it to folks. A cool design, an innovative idea or an easter egg can do the trick.
Another good way to market is affiliate partners. Affiliate websites drive traffic to other websites. From the e-commerce giants to hotel booking websites, huge traffic comes from affiliates. Some of these affiliate websites act like deal discovery platforms where users come to discover the best deals in a particular category. Try searching which affiliate works best in your category. Offer them a good commission and let them find leads for you – for no upfront payment.
Lastly, you must try referral marketing. I am sure you have at least the first few customers. Why not incentivize them to be your walking billboards. Give them a reason to do so. And a well crafted referral program can just do the trick. Remember how your friend made you download an app and book a cab from it because he himself was getting a cashback of Rs 100? That’s referral marketing. And yes, you are not paying anything upfront – until you get another customer. Rajeev Tamhankar is IIT Roorkee Silver Medalist and Founder, Founder of TBS Planet Comics, Ex-Flipkart, Xiaomi employee.(The views expressed by the author are his own)