Feb 4, 2022,11:40am EST|229 views

Key Insights On Entrepreneurial Marketing When You Have No Budget For Your Small Business Or Startup

Bernhard SchroederSenior ContributorSmall Business StrategyI Write About Branding, Trends, Culture, Creativity And Disruptive Businesses.UnfollowListen to article5 minutes

When most entrepreneurs start their company, there is really no budget for anything let alone marketing. There is no money for paid media, events or even a position called marketing. That’s why when selecting co-founders, look for a balance of skills between two or three co-founders. A perfect blend might be a strong salesperson, a product person, and a marketing and/or operations co-founder. Get used to the idea that you will do tasks outside your wheelhouse; the key is getting good counsel from experts, advisers and mentors. Your overall goal in the early days is to get revenue or customer traction. So, how do you do that with little to no budget for marketing? You need to embody an attitude of ‘entrepreneurial marketing.’

Entrepreneurial marketing is less about a single marketing strategy and more about a marketing spirit that differentiates itself from traditional marketing practices. It eschews many of the fundamental principles of marketing because they are typically designed for large, well-established firms. Entrepreneurial marketing utilizes a toolkit of known and unorthodox marketing practices to help a startup or small business gain a foothold in expanding or crowded markets.

The first thing you need is to center the startup with a solid brand identity and story. The story you tell is key as it’s what attracts early customers who believe in your product or service. Since it’s too early to be a brand at this stage, your product or service is what the customer is buying. The story just supports their decision. Look over the list below and understand while you cannot do everything, you can do almost all of the tactics below with little to no budget. You just need an attitude to create marketing synergy by consistently putting out several connected messages across as many mediums as you can. 

Brand and story: Do this well at the beginning as it is almost impossible to change later.  Have a graphic designer do your logo and identity look and feel; you perfect the story.

Research underserved customers: There is always a niche of underserved customers in every market. Go find them.

Crazy focus: This is critical for everything you do especially your targeted niche customers. MORE FOR YOU

Website and SEO: Make sure this is done well, via a responsive website platform and the SEO is thorough for every page on your website.

Social media posts: Again, who you target is very important; just make sure your messaging has same look and feel and is consistent. 

Targeted blogs: If you don’t have early followers, then go to where the followers are congregating and start posting. 

Short videos: People love videos. Keep them short and make sure they are SEO optimized. 

Podcasting expertise: How do you become an expert when you might not yet be one? Create one. Launch a podcast in an area you know well, bring experts to your podcast until you are one.

Influencers and evangelists: Again, when creating your targeted following, aggregate potential customers by first getting key people to spread your message…one influencer to many potential customers. Then repeat. 

Email marketing and re-targeting: Figure out for everything you do, how you can get the customer or prospect email address as it is less costly to re-target current and potential customers via email marketing. 

Viral on purpose: This is tough. But if you pay attention to current events and activities in your market, and emerging trends, you might be able to “hi-jack” a current news event by creating a video that leverages that noise.

Long tail public relations: Use a public relations template and strategy for posting news about your startup at least twice a month. A key sale, a new mentor or advisor, a product update all adds to a long tail news strategy; make sure these releases are SEO and keyword optimized and distributed via a newsfeed

So how do you do all this work when you are already working 60-80 hours per week? You need to attract a few interns from a local university who believe in your story, product or service and keep them really focused. It’s not how much they do, but how focused they are on the target customer and the quality of their work. Bernhard Schroeder