So, you have a great idea, and you’re trying to bring it to the world. That is fantastic. I wish you all the best. Of course, you are probably struggling with one of the main problems that almost all startups have to face: You do not have the massive budget to push your product in front of the people you want to reach.
Instead, you are just a few people—or one person—with a small budget that you would really like to stretch further than the end of the month. After all, businesses take a lot longer to get started than 30 days! So, how do you market your product? How do you get the world to know about your product to guide it into people’s minds and hands?
You Have to Generate Excitement
When you cannot pay to get an idea in front of people, then you have to get them to spread it by themselves. In order to do this, you have to generate excitement. Of course, that is easier said than done. Just because you are excited, does not mean everybody else will be.
So, the first step is to find out what excites people about what you’re doing. You have to sit down and brainstorm what it is about your product that makes it special. Do not stop there, however. The next step is to talk to people who are not aware of your product and judge when they sit up and start taking notice.
Do this several times with different people (they should be part of your existing customer base). Then, with the information you have gathered, you can get a better idea of which aspects of your product excite people and which parts leave them lukewarm at best.
The next step is to take these ideas and create variations around the central theme. Draw up numerous different mockups around the ideas that to you seem the most promising. These do not have to be perfect. You are still in the experimental stage.
The point here is to refine your ideas. So, you trial-run a set of ideas on social media platforms, paying perhaps a few dollars per idea to put it in front of a few thousand people. Then you take the ones that work the best and create variations of those ideas (you are A/B testing them) and trial-run them again.
Create several more iterations until you feel you have something that really provokes interest. That will set you up for the initial push.
Find the Right Platform
The next step is to make sure that you are approaching people on the right social media platforms and through the right channels. The best way to do this is to select the social media platforms that best fit your customer demographics and start pushing there.
Do not assume that just because the right people visit a particular site, however, that it is the one for you. Different platforms have different expectations about how people interact, what is advertised on them and how likely they are to share content. Make sure you target several platforms with your campaign.
Begin the Push
Using the content you honed in step two, begin to create an online presence. Do not just use the content you created, however. One of the big advantages startups have is that they are more personal than big companies. Use that to your advantage.
In other words, talk about yourself; talk about the people that are part of the process and tell your story. After all, humans did not evolve to like companies. We evolved to like other people. So take advantages of that as best you can.
If you can do this correctly, then you can use the content you created earlier on to create excitement and your personal story to hook people in and create loyalty. That is what you are after.
Use the Multiplier Effect
You want fans. People who like your product but are not really engaged with it might read your content, but they will not share it across their network. What you really want is to create a group of people who really care about your product and are fully engaged.
The best way to do this is to make sure that your content is as honed in on your target audience as it can be. If you manage to do this and potential customers feel personally affected by what you are saying, they are far more likely to jump on board and tell other people about what you are doing.
At this point, you are building a multiplier effect, with each “fan” serving as a multiplier for what you are doing. In this way, every time you push content out into the world, your fans will push it further for you, which will significantly drop your advertising costs.
Reward Loyal Followers
If you have people who have been helping you out by pushing your product, do not leave them out in the cold. Give them freebies, invite them to events and generally make them feel as if they are part of the team and part of your company.
Do this effectively, and they will stay loyal and will keep advocating for your product. Again, that is exactly what you want.
Build a Newsletter
A newsletter is a great tool, as it means that you can consistently reach out to people, even if they have not been paying attention to your content. Newsletters also allow you to consistently ping people that have demonstrated an interest in your product and thereby create a customer base. So, as you push your product, make sure that you create the opportunity for people to subscribe to your newsletter.
Watch out, however, as Google has said it’s going to start punishing people for using pop-ups in strategies from next year, so that might not be the best strategy if you want to optimize SEO as well.
If you cannot brute-force your way to the top, you have to do it organically, through word of mouth. That means that you have to rope people into the process and get them excited about what you are doing so that they become the mouthpieces that you need to get your content out there.
In order to pull that off, you have to stay excited and stay engaged yourself. You have to create the buzz that will carry news of your product into the wider world. Only in that way will you grow enough to so that you will eventually have the budget to compete with the big boys.
Dante Munnis is marketing expert and contributor on essay republic. He likes to write articles on business topics. Passionate about blogging, content marketing, and social listening. You can get in touch with Dan via Twitter.