—By Mia Naumoska, CMO at Chanty—
The idea of creating and sustaining a low-budget, bootstrapped startup is becoming increasingly popular. The real kicker is that starting a business doesn’t have to cost you a lifetime of debt if you’re prepared to put in effort and time. In reality, not only can you establish a company through bootstrapping, but you can also build your company with little money.
The bootstrapping strategy differs from the funding model, in which investors invest in exchange for a share of the company’s stock. When investors put money into a venture, they share ownership with the founding members. It also provides a cushion for them as the organisation’s financial needs are taken care of.
When we talk about marketing, it is among the most adaptable departments in an organisation that can mould itself according to the budget allocated. For a company that is bootstrapped, marketing tactics can be used to their utmost potential to yield the most benefit out of them. You may promote your company in a variety of techniques without spending a lot of money.
Chanty, being a successful collaboration tool, is a bootstrapped company whose marketing journey has been an exciting ride. We excelled our way through A/B testing, experimenting on different things, and finding creative ways to market the product on a low budget. In this article, I would love to share some of the tactics we used throughout our journey that yielded some great results for us.
Learn About Your Target Audience and Get Acquainted With Consumers
A thorough understanding of your target market is at the heart of any successful marketing strategy. It will be easier to sell your consumers what they need and want if you get to clearly understand them. The more you cater to your customer’s demands, the more likely they are to buy from you and recommend you to others. This is why getting to know your customers is such an effective bootstrap marketing strategy.
You may get to know your consumers and demonstrate how much they matter to you in a variety of ways:
- Conduct deep research into the demographics and preferences of your target audience
- Construct a consumer satisfaction survey and keep track of the findings so you can upgrade your company over time
- Request client testimonials, which you can use in your marketing efforts
- Design a compensation scheme for loyal customers
- To reclaim old consumers, send them special offers and free samples
Even if you’re marketing to a large group, you should treat each customer as an individual asset. Consider their specific requirements, then tailor your marketing techniques and strategies to meet those requirements. You’re laying the groundwork for long-term connections by making your customers feel valued.
Once you have extensive knowledge and data on their behaviour, you can now easily plan your marketing strategies around the insights gathered.
Use Free Trials to Attract Customers
Once you know who your customers are and what they want, offer them free trials for your service. In a SaaS market, customers generally want to try the product for some time before they decide to pay for it. This gives them a know-how of how your product works and if it even suits their needs.
So, get the target audience on board to try your product free of cost first. This can be done in terms of offering a free trial or a limited number of free seats. For example, in the case of Chanty, up to 10 members of a team can use the service for free.
Offer a Demo
Offering a demo to your prospective clients is not just an effective marketing tactic but also a great way to get them on your buying list of customers. However, this is a very critical tactic as you can gain or lose a customer here. At Chanty, we follow a procedure for effective demos and you may consider the following too:
- Make sure to prove to your customers that your service will solve their problems better than the competitors. It can be better in terms of price, features, or any other aspect of your product’s USP
- Understand the needs of the prospect taking a demo and incorporate the essential ones into your offerings in the future
- Build a healthy and long-term relationship with the prospective customer
Build an Email Marketing List
After you have some customers on board, start collecting their email addresses for future conversations, promotions, and tracking responses. Email marketing has become an essential part of today’s marketing strategies. It’s a cost-effective method to stay connected with customers, market your products, and increase brand awareness.
Once you have collected your initial data for the email marketing, you can invite your customers to sign up for the following:
- Provide free downloads in return for subscribing
- Providing subscribers with exclusive deals and discounts
- Delivering an informative and creative monthly e-newsletter
- Providing subscribers with special insights, recommendations, and other information
Important thing to remember is that you should not spam your customers with too many emails and make clear to your subscribers that they are signing up for something valuable. Moreover, you should make the process of unsubscribing easy for your customers and do not sell or share their email addresses with other companies.
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Design a Killer Website
We all have heard of the famous saying, “first impression is the last impression”. Your landing page is your first impression to the customers. If you do not make it look aesthetically pleasing, chances are customers won’t like to explore it further.
At Chanty, even today, we are constantly working towards our landing pages and trying to make them look as pleasing as possible. It should have all the essential information they might require such as your product features, pricings, how your product can benefit them, how they can switch to your service if they are already using a similar product or service, along with all other informative material related to your product that may interest them.
Also, make sure to add a CTA to all your landing pages. An interested customer may want to contact you and you should always make that process easy and accessible to them.
Become Best Friends With Social Media
Working proactively on expanding and interacting with your followers on social media is without a doubt one of the most critical aspects of a bootstrapped organisation’s daily life. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram when combined together, can provide a direct route to interested customers. If your venture doesn’t have a business Facebook page, for example, you could be losing a lot of revenue and attention to competitors who do.
However, there are a lot of ways to market your firm via social media, including:
- You can set up a Facebook or Telegram community where customers can ask questions directly about your product or service and a means of communicating with them one-on-one
- Make videos for your company and post them to a dedicated YouTube account.
- Curate product feedback and ideas
- Promote your content such as blog posts and videos
- Create a Google My Business listing for your company
- Start sharing interactive and informative material on your social media
At Chanty, we started the company slowly taking a hold of all these marketing tactics and it not only increased the awareness of our brand but also helped us to communicate with customers one-on-one. Social media is essential for bootstrapping firms, regardless of the techniques they use. It is important that you have a good time on social media with your followers to gain maximum attention.
Use SEO to Your Advantage
Whether you’re just starting out or already have a website, optimising it for search might be crucial to your marketing’s success. However, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a sophisticated discipline that necessitates precision and expertise.
Search engines are on the lookout for original, high-quality material that caters to the needs of their users. It will be difficult to be successful in organic search if you don’t respond to a request according to the specific keywords.
A marketer is successful when the strategy is well thought out and creatively implemented. For example, at Chanty, we researched some of the top-performing keywords that went along the lines of our content pillars. Among them, productivity was an interesting keyword that caught our attention. As a team, we thought of various ideas of incorporating this keyword creatively into our website to generate traffic. As a result, we designed a productivity calculator that has so far generated a lot of traffic to our website. Following the productivity calculator, we also developed the work-life balance calculator which also proved to be very useful as a marketing strategy.
Furthermore, you should also take advantage of an “alternative to landing page” – where you can loudly showcase how your service is a better alternative to the existing offerings. This will benefit you from stealing the attention of your competitor’s customers as they search them up but you show up as a smart keyword alternative that you entered.
Moreover, there are multiple free and paid tools available in the market that can help you optimise your search to its fullest potential. It’s sometimes more about time than the skills your company has. If you’ve reached a stage where you know you need to keep up with SEO but your time would be better spent elsewhere, it’s better to look at paid options. As an added plus, these tools frequently provide free guidance through their blogs, allowing you to learn more along the road.
Participate in Podcasts
Podcasts have the potential to become an important part of a company’s digital marketing strategy.
Businesses have been interested in the benefits that podcasting can provide to their brand as podcasts have grown in popularity. Organisations can communicate with a captive audience through podcasting. With today’s digital lifestyle, podcasting allows businesses to communicate their stories from anywhere at any time, which helps to develop authority in your sector and create brand loyalty along the road.
In our experience, Chanty used podcasting to its benefit as one of our favourite marketing tactics. Chanty’s CEO, Dmytro Okunyev managed to get on a lot of prominent podcasts. It enabled the company to let customers hear our story for free. It also helped us reach a lot of consumers’ ears and spread brand awareness along the way. CEO Dmytro even got featured as a keynote speaker at a big conference thanks to one of the podcasts.
Use of Earned Media
Visibility or recognition achieved through means other than paid marketing is referred to as earned media. It’s a highly successful technique for content marketing, but it’s also difficult to obtain.
For a bootstrapped business, earned media is a good way to promote your business since it is generally free.
At Chanty, we use several platforms such as HARO, Quora and Reddit. HARO is intriguing to us because it was created as a resource for journalists looking for reputable sources. It has subsequently expanded into other fields making it an ideal platform for obtaining backlinks, free publicity, and possibly even clients. Quora, on the other hand, is a place where you can get answers to your questions from a variety of experts. It’s an excellent method to create online credibility, obtain a backlink to your website and boost your positions, then go out and answer questions on a regular basis. Reddit is yet another active online forum and a significant source of attention.
We use all three of these platforms to get the attention of target customers by answering various questions about upcoming deals, participating in topics that are related to us, and jumping into conversations whenever possible and suitable. A lot of our traffic has been generated from these platforms as we made sure to participate in a lot of conversations.
Consumers rely on referrals from friends and family, as well as online review sites and unpaid social media influencer posts. All of these are examples of earned media that can help you build your brand’s reputation as it did for us.
Practice Link Building
The goal of search engines is to give relevant and reliable results. Backlinks are one of the most important indications they consider when determining which web pages contain the most useful information.
Improving your rankings necessitates link development. Although strong content is essential for link building, you can also employ more proactive strategies such as:
- Guest blogging on relevant websites with a link back to your work
- Reach out to bloggers for collaboration by sharing useful content that you generated
- Notifying businesses of broken links on their website that can be replaced with a link to your website that contains a similar subject
- Requesting websites to include your link in a mention that they haven’t already
Although link building can be time-consuming and much of link-building outreach can go unattended, each link you gain on a high-quality site increases your website’s authority in the sight of the search engines.
A blog is an excellent method to make your website more interactive. Keeping your customers and users informed and giving a way for them to engage is vital to your online presence. Although the idea is appealing, the structure of your blog, as well as the quality of its material, will indicate whether it succeeds or fails.
Businesses utilise blogging to enhance web traffic, increase customer engagement, boost their online presence, and improve their overall SEO. It’s a free approach to market your company online by telling stories about it and providing useful information that your prospective customers are looking for. At Chanty, we have successfully managed to maximise our traffic by generating quality content on various topics around the lines of our offerings.
Form Strategic Partnerships
It’s natural to view your competition as rivals when you’re just starting out. However, they may have a varying niche or target market than you, and there may be opportunities to consider and co-market. To effectively sell in a partnership, you must first understand your brand and what you are doing so that you can demonstrate to your partnership why collaborating is better than working alone. You can advertise and market jointly, by referring each other to your customers according to their needs.
Bootstrapped companies may not have a lot of extra cash on hand, but with enough enthusiasm, energy, and fearlessness, your company can innovate and get the attention of customers as required.
—By Mia Naumoska, CMO at Chanty—