A Start-Up's Secret Weapon (on a Shoestring Budget)
BY Aaron Aders
Here's a secret weapon that scrappy start-ups have used to effectively market themselves without breaking the bank.
"If you don't have a lot of money, and a big brain, this is good marketing."
--Brian Halligan, CEO, HubSpot
Outside of well-funded start-ups, marketing and advertising budgets typically don't exist for most start-up businesses. The good news is that scrappy entrepreneurs can leverage industry expertise to market themselves in ways that advertising can't buy.
Inbound marketing should be part of every entrepreneur's skill set. A strong inbound marketing strategy can help get startups off the ground for as much blood, sweat, and tears as you can afford.
Entrepreneurs are uniquely outfitted for success with inbound marketing. Here are a few ways entrepreneurs can leverage their unique skill sets to execute incredibly successful marketing campaigns with nothing more than smart, hard work.
Creative Content Development
Typically, a start-up founder is a field expert who discovered an efficiency or invention in their marketplace that didn't exist before. This discovery takes a tremendous amount of expertise and creativity--two core components of great content. No one could be more effective at developing creative and expert content around a product or service than the person who invented it. Use your creativity and expertise to create guides, white papers, eBooks, blog posts, social media updates and other digital content that solve problems, entertains and engages sales prospects in your marketplace.
Most company founders love talking about what they do. Successful entrepreneurs have a magnetic and inspirational personality that seduces your business logic into believing their offering is a groundbreaking solution to your need.
Start-up founders need to utilize this skill when promoting their digital content. Just consider the example of American Giant, and how one start-up founder nearly broke his production process due to so many orders being placed after earning a high-profile digital media mention. Use your self-promotional skills on blogs, forums, social networks and industry associations when promoting the content that you create. This will generate market attention online that will drive relevant leads, which will turn into customers.
Out-Maneuver the Big Guys
Developing content on a regular basis is a struggle for large organizations. The bureaucracy of most large organizations stifles creativity on many levels, especially with generation of quality marketing content on a large scale.
Entrepreneurs are hungry, nimble and don't have the bureaucratic processes of most large organizations. Start-ups also don't have the vast reporting and administrative responsibilities that can impede large organizations. Successful entrepreneurs find their strengths and expose weaknesses of their competition. Agility is a strength that entrepreneurs can leverage to crush their competition on the inbound marketing front.
Inbound marketing is a strategic advantage to any organization, especially start-up companies. And it's a must for start-ups that lack a powder-keg marketing budget.
Go to http://academy.hubspot.com to learn a complete education on how inbound marketing works and a playbook for using these strategies at your organization. These skills could make the difference between starting a groundswell of market attention for your new brand or remaining relatively unknown in your marketplace.
AARON ADERS: Aaron is co-founder of DigitalRelevance™, a national leader in earned media and inbound marketing services. Building on more than a decade of Internet marketing experience, Aaron steers the strategic vision behind DigitalRelevance market research and collateral. @drelevance