When you are building a startup, a lot of your cash goes into building the product itself and you have little left for marketing. But fear not! Here are some free marketing techniques to get your first sales:
Build marketing into your product
Remember how Google, Dropbox and Snapchat grew without ever spending a dollar on marketing. They did not hijack your newspapers with printed advertisements and did not spend millions to bombard you with TV commercials. But then why and how these products became so immensely popular? The answer is that they built marketing into their products. The product itself was so innovative that when it reached an 'innovator' or 'early adopter', this person could not stop telling about the product to his friends.
Partner with affiliates
Affiliate websites drive traffic to other websites. From e-commerce giants to hotel booking websites, a 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.
I am sure you have at least the first few customers. Why not incentivise them to be your walking billboards? Give them a reason to do so. And a nicely crafted referral programme 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 cash-back of hundred bucks? That's referral marketing. And yes you are again not paying anything upfront - until you get another customer.
Social media marketing
Social Media is of immense help when it comes to circulating something worth sharing. As even Facebook tells you on your FB page, graphics work better for content consumption. Try building comic strips on your mascot/product and float it in some FB and WhatsApp groups.
For any queries, write to me on Rajeev@TBSPlanet.com