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Startups! Where do you think you should be marketing affordably?

You’ve finished victorious! Your brand has been expertly crafted to appeal to your customers. Your website is online as a towering proud storefront ready to accept customers! But now what?

How do you transform your “brand” into a brand and your site into a lead generation machine?!

First and foremost, you have to understand that both of these processes can take anywhere between one and three years to complete. Brands don’t develop their personality overnight and first you have to develop regular traffic to your website before you can turn a visitor into a lead.

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If you are a startup who has decided to bootstrap your business for the first few years, you have the task of creating your brand from absolutely nothing. So what should you do? The answer is quite simple and every business should be doing these three simple tasks to develop their business online.

1. Make social media a daily mental exercise

Running a mile everyday and eating right will keep you healthy, but what about your brand? How can you work your brand like you do your body? Easy! With social media of course. Make it a daily task to spend an hour finding great articles to share with your network, responding to those who’ve interacted with you and reach out to your community and interact with them. Conversation is key to developing a strong brand online so don’t forget to put a lot of attention into your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even Instagram accounts to cultivate excellent conversation between you and your customers.

2. Blog a consultation

By far the most powerful way to inject yourself as a knowledgeable leader in your industry is to share your knowledge. One of the greatest ways to share your knowledge is to incorporate a blog into your website and blog as if you were consulting to a client. Begin by picking a relevant topic that you have a wealth of information to share from. Perhaps you’ve encountered the same challenge at your past few prospect meetings or experienced the challenge yourself.

What is most important to remember is to not write with the intent to hold back information because chances are it is public and free somewhere else anyway. Not only will sharing your knowledge without limits create trust between your audience and your brand, but you must keep in mind that instant gratification is a key principle of the modern world. What your audience can not find on your website they can certainly find elsewhere.

3. Become a friend not an enemy

Identify brand ambassadors and reward those who show passion and loyalty for your brand. Gifting, in American culture, is a behavior that will elicit our instinct to reciprocate the gesture (or feel guilty). Never-the-less show your brand ambassadors that they are valuable members of your brand.

No I’m not talking about sending your loyal customers on cruises. (Although I’m sure they wouldn’t complain.) Sometimes simple gestures of thanks often make the largest impact. For example, Mercedes-Benz shares loyal ambassador’s photos on Instagram on the official Mercedes-Benz instagram account. For service based businesses, try a small gift such a gift card or favorite sweet.

Guerrilla Marketing

Known for being unconventional, bold and often attracting the attention of mass audiences, guerrilla marketing can prove highly effective for you and your new startup.

However, before we propose some simple guerrilla marketing techniques that you can use for your business, let us first define what guerrilla marketing is. I’m sure you’ve heard of guerrilla warfare, utilizing atypical tactics to achieve the goal of victory. Simply put, guerrilla marketing is much the same and can yield some buzz-worthy results. Take a look at these guerrilla marketing campaigns by large companies.

But what about for you and your startup? How can you think out of the box and produce a campaign that is completely out of the box. The best answer I can give is that you’d need to approach guerrilla marketing as an individual company. As powerful as it is, its power derives from its unique ability to effectively market the company by displaying the products or services in clever ways. So ask yourself, how can you creatively put your product or service on display?

Of course, there are vanilla forms of guerrilla advertising such as these examples from a blogger who blogs on bootstrapping your business:

1. Sticky Notes – Another way to use your stamper or even your printer. Sticky notes are noticeable anywhere because people know what they’re for; notes. Put these on local business doors, offices, cars, or above mail boxes in apartment complexes and people will take notice.

2. Pay it forward – when you’re heading into the movie theater, pay the persons way behind you and tell the cashier to give them your business card. You’re not guaranteed that the person will become a client but I bet the word of mouth on that one would be pretty big.

3. Fake publicity stunt – you could have people picket your storefront with signs that read “This business is too nice” or “Company X is too good at their job”. Theres a million fake publicity stunts, use your imagination and I bet it’ll work no matter how weird or out of the box it seems.

Think outside the box! You never know what kind of buzz you could generate your for business.

Do you have suggestions for startups looking to advertise their business in unique and cost effective ways? Leave your suggestions in the comments!