A lot of startups don’t have any outside funding. We chose to self-fund our company, which has both advantages and disadvantages. While we are in control (which is a wonderful thing), one of the most difficult difficulties is raising funds for marketing, which, as we all know, is essential for growth. The good news is that you can use a variety of low-cost marketing methods and venues to gain traction without investing any money.
Here are five tips that we’ve found to be effective over the last year.
Podcasts are always searching for guests to speak on a variety of topics. In the last year, we’ve appeared on over 75 podcasts, discussing a variety of topics such as female entrepreneurs, marketing, startup life, DTC, clean cosmetics, mompreneurs, and more. After you’ve identified your areas of expertise (which everyone has), you can pitch yourself.
You can join one of several “Find a Guest, Be a Guest” podcast groups on Facebook, including one run by Poddit that I appreciate. You can then look through the “asks” and apply to podcasts that are of interest to you. The beauty of podcasts is that most don’t charge you anything to be a guest; they’re evergreen, and you get to tell a complete tale about your journey and business most of the time. You’ll also have content to share and repurpose, which is an added plus.
Partnering with like-minded brands is another wonderful method to expand your consumer base and audience. By collaborating with brands that reflect our beliefs, we’ve had a lot of success in attracting new customers. Indie clean beauty, fashion, and jewelry firms that care about sustainability, diversity, and quality are our favorites.
There’s a lot you can do to promote each other, from giveaways to gift with sales to generating content together (like blogging, IG Live, or video interviews). And if your clients appreciate your brand, there’s a good chance they’ll prefer a linked brand with comparable values. The trick is to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the needs for each brand, so that no one feels like they contributed more than the others.
Adding a blog area to your website might assist you with a variety of tasks. For starters, it can increase traffic to your website (assuming you have baked in some SEO). Second, it has the potential to establish you as an expert in your field or industry. Finally, blogs allow you to tell a more in-depth story. We frequently blog about our interviews with other founders, but we also use it to educate about Mekabu, our star ingredient, provide hair tips, and discuss clean beauty, among other things. This gives you another opportunity to disseminate your material, and you may use quotations or soundbites for social media instead of spinning the wheel every time.
Talkshoplive, Shop LIT Live, and Spin are just a few of the livestreaming sites where we may be found. Most platforms are free to join and take a percentage of sales revenue, making it a low-risk option for businesses. If you sell a product, these platforms are a terrific location to tell your narrative in a fun (video) style and to be creative. You’ll need to be comfortable in front of the camera and have a narrative to tell, but the beauty of these platforms is that you can do most of them on a regular basis (every week if you want), so you’ll find yourself getting into a routine and discovering out what works for you quickly. The most important thing is to have good lighting (a ring light) and a fun set up.
Of course, we must not overlook the influence of social media. Much of the content mentioned above can be shared on social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn. You shouldn’t have to pay for followers if you actively work to develop compelling material. This will help you increase your following organically (but it will take time and effort). This will also result in higher-quality and more engaged followers. Finally, if you can condense some of your longer-form information into soundbites, you’ll have enough of material for social media, the majority of it free.
We are highly opportunistic about photographing our items in unique places (and will frequently have a set of products on hand just in case), which allows us to acquire excellent photography without having to pay a photographer. Of course, there are occasions when hiring a professional photographer is the best option, but for most “blocking and tackling” content, you can discover ways to get the images you need (and don’t forget about royalty-free photography sites like Unsplash).
So, in order to gain momentum without spending money, you’ll need to be a little more hands-on and diligent, but it’s not impossible. And you’ll discover that the various techniques often feed off one another, making it easier over time.