Free marketing for your startup

February 2012

So you've built a great app, service or product. Excellent. What's your marketing strategy? "If you build it, they will come!" Wrong. Although a few notable examples certainly prove this statement correct, 99% prove it wrong. And quite a few of the ones that prove it right would have had some serious help behind the scenes anyway.

So here are a few tips to get your startup noticed, in no particular order, that don't involve spending money on advertising:

  • Meet people and go places. Sound too simple to be a marketing tip, right? So many coincidental meetings in the most unlikely of settings lead to amazing opportunities. You might be sitting next to someone who will give you the promotional boost your startup needs. Talk to people!
  • Get your SEO right. This one should be a no-brainer. Make discovery easier by following standard Search Engine Optimization guidelines. A bit of effort goes a long way here.
  • Find launch partners. There are plenty of companies and other startups out there who have complimentary services that could benefit from a synergy with your startup. Get in touch, tell them about what you're doing, and find out if you can collaborate in a way that's mutually beneficial. They get the benefit of your service, while you get the benefit of exposure to their customers.
  • Be memorable. It is both easier than ever and harder than ever to start a successful venture. The rapid pace of technological progress makes it easy, but this same advantage allows others to start something as well. You've got to try even harder to stand out! So be creative, be unique, be different, be quirky. Make it easy for someone to remember something about you.
  • Attend events. The first point above is similar, but this one's more focused. Go to tech and entrepreneurial events and tell others about yourself and what you're doing. Word travels and you might get a call or email from someone who heard about you from a friend of a friend at that event!
  • Don't be secretive. Not really a marketing tip, but it feeds back into all of the above. An idea is just an idea until it's executed. If you haven't even begun developing it in earnest, it's first come first serve. Survival of the fittest. So tell others about your idea, get loads of feedback quickly, and build the first version quickly. The sooner you've accomplished something, however basic, the sooner you can begin marketing it!