This is the second post in what we intend to make a weekly series, brought to you by the Hub Communications Lab. The idea is that you have questions about marketing and communications, and other Hub members have access to answers. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and then watch this space. And if you need more info, let us know and maybe we’ll put together a workshop if there’s enough interest!
We don’t have a budget for marketing; what are some inexpensive ways to create awareness?
Beyond simply having a placeholder web page (at the least), be visible in your eco-system! Marketing is the art of being heard and developing relationships.
Concentrate on who needs to know about you for your business to be successful. Make a list. Who are the many audiences that you work with (customers, government partners, non-profit partners, vendors, funders, the press, etc.). Why is your story interesting to them? Write this down, one by one. What do they need to know about you for them to “get it”.
Now prioritize this list. Who is the most important to your growth? And what is the best way to reach them? Again, write these down and develop a plan (yes, with deadlines, goals and specific activities) for reaching out to your most important.
Networking events are great for getting face time. Attend these where you can, especially when you know who will be there in advance. Ask the organizers if there will be an opportunity to speak. In which case, be sure that you have a succinct point of view that is interesting and relevant to the occasion at hand. Believe in your cause!
New media offers a great place for writing articles and blog posts that can be re-distributed. Many industry pubs accept articles from guest writers and the posts can ultimately provide great future marketing tools for your outreach efforts (links in emails, links to your web site, etc.).
Join organizations who can help you get the word out. Their web site, their events and their newsletters may give you free opportunities to promote your business. Remember you don’t need to join all industry organizations though so choose wisely. And be sure to be where the competition is.
Be a subject matter expert. What qualifies you to run your business? Why did you start this business? What do you have to share? Use the outlets above to share your personal story and create awareness for your business.
Starting a business is a lot of work but you gain traction the more you are seen and the more you are heard.