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How to Spend Your Startup's First $1,000 on Marketing
It's no secret that getting a startup off the ground is a delicate process. Move too quickly, and your business will grow at a rate your resources can't keep up with. Move too slowly, and you risk losing out on opportunities that could propel your organization to the next level. Of all the cogs that turn a small business' machinery, perhaps the most fragile is the capital. Securing loans and money from investors can take quite some time, so budgeting your initial nest egg is a very sensitive undertaking.
Of course, a company can't grow without spending money, so you should create a plan for how you'll invest in each side of your business with the means available to you. When figuring out how to appropriately divide your funds, don't forget one of the most crucial areas of startup development: marketing. While many small businesses can't afford to funnel more than $1,000 into their advertising strategies, knowing how to work with this money can cause it to go a long way.
If you're working with this level of marketing budget, use these tips to put it to good use.
Invest in social media
Because it's free to create accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, many small businesses think they don't need to create budgets for this area of their marketing campaigns. However, it's actually quite difficult to see real results when you're spending $0 on social media. Inc. magazine explained that most successful organizations leverage their social media presences by paying to promote tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram pictures.
Doing so allows your posts to reach a much wider audience than just your followers, which can help you gain exposure and, ultimately, attract new customers. The source noted that most startups can see real benefits from investing just a few hundred dollars into social media every month.
Get to know your audience
If you aren't marketing your product to a specific consumer base, you might as well be throwing that $1,000 to the wind. Professionals agree - according to a recent ProOpinion poll, about 34 percent of businesspeople stated that choosing a target audience is the most important step a new business can take when figuring out how to spend marketing dollars.
While you probably have a general sense of the type of consumers your business is trying to attract, it's important to gain hard data about their lifestyles and spending habits. Start this process by taking a second look at your business plan so you can nail down exactly who your target audience is. Once you've established a basic customer profile, explore the market research that's available on your ideal demographic, recommended Forbes magazine. Use a combination of subscription services and free online resources to piece together data about your potential consumers' shopping and Internet tendencies.
Take advantage of email marketing
The idea of sending out email blasts may not sound glamorous, but it's a technique that's been proven to work time and again. Entrepreneur magazine noted that 68 percent of companies consider email to be either a "good" or "excellent" marketing tool. In 2014, revenue from email increased by an average of 28 percent. This is partially because your email list is mostly made up of interested people who volunteered their information - they're actually waiting to hear news about your organization.
Additionally, email marketing can be done on even the tightest budget. The source recommended that startups invest $300 in their email strategies. This is the annual cost of a membership with MailChimp, a service that allows you to efficiently manage your email blasts and contact lists.
Make sure you have content on your site
What's the difference between an impressive, solid, well-established website and a page that gives off an amateur vibe? Content marketing. "Content" is a fairly general term that can refer to anything from a video blog to a whitepaper, but it's often used when talking about blog posts and articles that are published on your site. Forbes magazine explained that having good content can help establish your business as an industry thought leader, leverage brand awareness, inform potential customers about your business and drive web traffic to your page.
Unless you have the time and talent to create the content yourself, you're better off outsourcing this job to a marketing agency or freelance writer. Depending on the volume, layout and quality of articles you're hoping to publish, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $100 per piece, explained Forbes.
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