How to ensure Minimal Marketing Spend for your Startup
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“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship”

— Benjamin Frankling

Frugality is the new mantra for Startup Success.

Whether you are self-funded or externally funded. The core values must be the same. To ensure minimal spend and maximum profits.

And without any doubt, based on my real experience I can say confidently that the biggest guzzler where Startup expenses are concerned is the Marketing Spend. Or let me be more specific, Paid Marketing Spend.

I will be quick to add here that I am not saying it is not needed. The kind of traffic and conversion boost that Paid Marketing can get, no amount of organic marketing can do the same. What is needed however, is a fine balance between Organic (Zero Cost) and Paid Marketing.

Outlined, below are 7 clear strategies to fine tune this balance using the right Organic marketing techniques so that you can get more with less Paid Marketing.

7 Ways to ensure Minimal Marketing Spend

1) Rich Content Creation

Content is king. Heard about this n number of times.

What is important to understand is what exactly can be classified as “rich” content. According to me, there is only one definition. Rich Content = Targeted Content.

If your audience cannot relate to what you are writing, if it does not instil curiosity to click the CTA (Call-To-Action) to find out more, then the content is plain useless. Yes, we are here to create awareness for our customers, but let’s admit, the bottomline is to sell. Not at the first rung of the ladder, but at the last rung, when your content has generated sufficient curiosity to inspire a sale.

There are many good articles about what kind of content you should post so I won’t go deep into that. Here’s one.

What is important is to understand what will work for your brand and what won’t. Just because memes are popular doesn’t mean you post all content in the form of memes. If there is a need for long form content like blogs for your audience to understand what your brand is really about, then you go to do it, even if it involves more time and energy. On the other hand, if your product is on the creative side, then illustrative content may generate more engagement than a blog.

You have a very limited span of attention on social media. Make the most of it, but generating Rich Content / Target Content

2) Systematic Content Scheduling

How often should a Startup post content? This is a very common question. And yet again, there are many articles which tell you what you should do. Here’s one which tells you the best practices for how many times you should post and at what times to post.

Cool, so now you know how much and when to post. All this needs to be put up somewhere in Black and White in the form of a Content Calendar to ensure execution happens as planned. It may sound easy, but it needs to be smartly scheduled and planned to ensure just the right balance between awareness and nagging.

Another aspect is, ensuring that your Content Writer is delivering content on time so that is posted as per the schedule you have defined above. As a best practice, I give a deadline to the content writers to deliver the content 3 days before it is scheduled to be posted.

Here is a handy content calendar that I have developed over the years to not only plan posting but controlling the entire pipeline from content creation to creative development to final posting.

3) Customised Content

What I would like to point out here, specifically, is the voice of social media content that goes out. Remember, each channel has its own voice. What you post on FB may not necessarily generate engagement on Instagram. If that was the case FB would not have bought Instagram. Instagram is more about Stories and Reels. So post the same content in that format.

We all do it to save time. I admit I do too. And that is all the more reason that I am stressing here that it is a big mistake. It is a waste of good content.

4) Strategic Keyword Use

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) sounds do technical that the non-techie Startup Founders try to stay away or try to delay initiating that activity for their Startup Product.

Mark my words, it is the easiest and best way to ensure you hold your purse strings tight on the Marketing Spend.

All it needs is a) identifying the correct keywords related to your business and b) using those keywords intelligently and logically in the content that you post. What this will ensure is that whenever someone is searching for those keywords in Google your content will be ranked high on the SERP (Search Engine Result Pages), thereby increasing the likelihood of a prospect reading your content and clicking the CTA (Call To Action).

This technique takes time to show results, but you can clearly see it can get you sales for Zero Marketing Spend.

5) Guest Posting

I’ll define Guest Posting in crude terms. It is piggybacking on someone else’s popularity. 🙂 .However, crude it may sound, there is nothing wrong with it. All is fair in love and digital marketing.

Here’s the thing – Maybe you are starting off while some other website in your niche (not a direct competitor but a related entity to your domain of work) has been there and generated some good traffic for the themselves.

Everyone needs good content to draw traffic but not everyone has good content writers. Here’s how you can create a win-win scenario out of this. Those who are looking for good content will generally create a form on their website inviting guest posts. You can offer your expertise for the same.

How will this help you?

In many ways :

  • You come across as an expert in that domain for their readers
  • Some of them will allow limited link backs to your site, which will increase traffic on your site.
  • If you are really good you have the potential to become an influencer in that domain and generate a separate income stream out of it
  • You bring in new audience from various sources instead of just your own.
  • You expand your network by connecting to related businesses in your domain and you can tap the potential to increase your offerings by including their services in your basket in the form of a collaboration
  • Your brand awareness gets a much desired boost since you are visible at so many places.

6) Audience Engagement

This has been the biggest pain point for me. In terms of explaining the importance of engaging with your potential Audience to all Startups whom I have consulted.

No matter how much content you post, if you cannot get engagement on it, it is not worth anything. When I say engagement it would even mean simple Likes and Shares. Comments would really take it to another level altogether.

Posting the content on your social media channels is equivalent to putting up a poster inside your shop. Those who walk in will see the poster, but then they are already probably in, so you can convince them anyway. Post your content in Social Media Groups and post it logically. Maybe as a comment in response to a similar post.

A secret technique that works very well is posting your content in response to a question on Quora. The intent of content should not be publicity or sales. Write content to serve a need genuinely. And in the end, even if you close it with a promotion, no one minds, because you helped them in some little way.

7) Intelligent Automation

I have been an advocate and fan of Marketing Automation since I saw the magic 3 years back.

Here is How you can Run your Startup in Robot Mode using Marketing Automation.

One classic way that I use it myself is using Zoho Social. Once my content calendar is in place, there are days when I just feel like writing content and not doing anything else. Those days I write all the content that I can and set it up for posting on the designated dates as per my content calendar. It frees my mind off something as boring as posting content everyday since it is taken care of my setting it up just for once and knowing that it will be posted when it is expected to be.

And then again there are times you don’t have the time or energy to write content. The best way to handle this calamity is to setup your Posting tool to repost old content. Again, there is nothing wrong in doing that. Probably those who missed it the last time you posted it might see it now and become potential customers.

Hope I could throw some light on how you can be frugal intelligently where your marketing expenses are concerned. These small ways of generating free traffic will eventually become huge savings in the long run. If you can add value to this in the comments section, my readers and I would be greatly obliged!

A Fill-In-The-Blanks Template to organise and schedule all the promotional content for the month.

Check out the Content Calendar Template

An Easy-To-Use Template where you can organise and schedule all the promotional content for the month. There is a calendar sheet which gives you a summary view of the plan and internal sheets to plan topics for each kind of content with due dates and intended audience

Here’s how you do it :

  • Plan content type from a list of popular ones that give good results
  • Schedule the content types on the calendar
  • For each content type list the actual topics
  • Plan intended audience e.g. in case of email lists
  • Plan the start and due dates so that you can stick to the commitment on the calendar
  • Re-use the content calendar in the same way for the next month