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How to Market Your Startup on a Budget

Now, more than ever, being on a budget is important to businesses as they continue to adjust to reduced staff, furloughed hours and revenue decreases.  This can make marketing seem impossible as you want to get your content in front of all the right people, at the right time.

Last week, Jenny Weeden and Alicia Torres headed up the Business Strategy Open Forum to talk through their top five strategies for zeroing in on your marketing that will ultimately save your business money.


Strategy 1: Buyer personas

When marketing on a budget, you don’t waste time putting content in front of the wrong people. Understand your audience, and make them feel like you get them. Try to understand their goals, motivations, pain points and day-to-day lives.

You can use this Buyer Persona Template to create personas based on your audience’s demographics and psychographic qualities. Note: Your personas will evolve over time, so revisit this as needed.

Use this information to guide your audience and create messaging that connects emotionally with each persona. This information will allow you to outline the buyer’s journey, which travels through the stages of Awareness, Consideration, and Decision, like in the example below.




Strategy 2: Content planning

Create content, and leverage past content, to work through your personas’ buyer’s journey. You build credibility as you work your way through the sales funnel. Would you ask someone to marry you right after you met? Probably not, since that would send them running for the hills. Approach your sales content in the same way. This Lead Scoring Template can help you make that assessment.

To build out your content plan:

  1. Answer your buyers’ questions and consider various types of content (blog, checklist, video, guides, etc.)
  2. Be honest in your content. Address your own problems to build credibility and trust.
  3. Think of content as reusable, repurposable, and evergreen. Don’t make one-and-done content.

Here’s what building out a content plan looks like based on our buyer persona example earlier.




Strategy 3: Leverage targeted marketing

The short version? Forget the mass emails. They do nothing.

Targeting the personas you worked so hard to create is how you get your content in front of the right people, at the right point in their buyers’ journey.

One way of doing this is by utilizing Account-Based Marketing (ABM). ABM actionable strategies include:

  • Market on a 1:1 level by creating a top 25-50 prospects list.
  • Add accounts based on the potential to be a quick win. This can be determined by looking at the prospect’s sales cycle life, company fit, or mutual connections.
  • Once you have top prospects, get to know them well. Engage in conversations and use social selling for intel and conversations. Create targeted 1:1 messages for each account and advertise directly to those accounts/contacts. Additionally, comment thoughtfully on LinkedIn commonalities, like posts. This builds a relationship online that seems unplanned.


Strategy 4: LinkedIn Optimization

Before you tackle anything via LinkedIn, make sure your own LinkedIn (and your company’s) is up to par using this checklist. Build out your profile and showcase your expertise by publishing articles, sharing others’ relevant posts and creating engaging content via videos and image/caption posts. Once this is set, you can fully optimize LinkedIn as a lead generation tool.

When reaching out to prospects, don’t pitch. People aren’t on LinkedIn to buy, they’re there to network and learn from people who can help them. If you provide value and education, the process naturally (and almost accidentally) leads to sales opportunities because you’ve built yourself up as a trusted advisor. Now prospects can reach out to you when they’re ready.


Strategy 5: Retain your customers

Retention is often overlooked when the truth is: If you don’t retain your customers, you’ll spend all your time trying to replace sales you already made. All that hard work, gone.

To retain your customers and make sure they’re happy with your services:

  • Build out an onboarding process.
  • Touch base with your customers regularly.
  • Watch customer utilization/service usage/engagement (as it applies).
  • Provide value via a monthly newsletter.
  • Collect feedback via testimonials, surveys and social media.

Get the full rundown of retention strategies we recommend by accessing this ebook.  


Grow your business on a budget

Even through all that’s happening there’s still a lot you can do to grow your business. By taking a mindful, strategic approach to your marketing, your efforts will be less expensive but more effective. 

Remember, your entire strategy should be centered around getting the right content in front of the right audience, at the right time. This makes your buyer personas and buyers’ journey absolutely imperative, so don’t forget to go back and update those regularly to ensure they still reflect accurate information.


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