How to Market Your Start-Up Creatively

Tip #1: Establish [Marketing] Partnerships. Well, it sounds quite obvious. Yet, most start-ups hardly pay any attention to the ‘alliances’ channel. Cultivating well-thought marketing alliances with another start-ups, SMBs, or large organizations can actually help you generate leads and build your brand. For instance, I met with the owner of an education abroad consulting firm, which is in its early stages of establishment. The owner is currently writing a book for the intended target audiences. Being a first-time writer, it was extremely challenging for the author to find ‘trustworthy’ sponsors for the book. The author filtered her network to find a genuinely interested partner who could help with the book promotions. In response to her desperate attempts of increasing the reach of her book through partnerships, the author found three partners instead! One of them is one of the biggest telecom companies that is sponsoring her book launch activities. In return, the ‘partner sponsor’ wants to sell their products via the book, its microsite, and other social media promotions. As partners, they are ready to support and promote each other. It seems a fair deal to me. Well, some of you might raise questions around the authenticity of both partners. In my view, being a start-up, it’s you who has to be the judge of ‘whom’ you want to partner with and ‘how’ you want to promote your partner. Be creative in terms of how you choose and promote your partners.

Tip #2: Focus on Public Relations. While social media and web promotions hold high importance today, leaving the PR activities out of your marketing strategies can cost you bucks, especially if you are targeting masses in a developing county. For example, do not forget that unlike other countries, the number of regional newspapers is growing fast in India! And believe it or not, PR and external communications can help you gain the traction that you are looking for, especially if you are a start-up in search of an investor. For that, you do not need to hire a permanent PR professional. Rather, you can take help from a freelance PR executive to get your message out to journalists and media houses. You can also rely on PR agencies, but PR firms are usually costly. A freelance PR exec, thus, will not only cost you so much less, but will also ensure regular interactions with the market influencers. However, the key to success is not the PR executive; it’s the quality of message that you disseminate across media. Do not sell directly, if you are taking the organic path. Do promote your best proposition if you are opting for the inorganic ways of promotions. Basically, be creative when you plan for PR activities.

Tip #3: Leverage Resources Wisely for Marketing. If you think marketing is a cost center, then you are not alone. Hiring for a function, which costs you money may not sound lucrative, but it pays you back in the long run. You can actually convert marketing into a revenue center by being creative in terms of how you establish this crucial function. For example, as you are a start-up, you do not necessarily need to hire people for everything that you do. Work with freelancers or hire part-time employees. It works. However, working with freelancers could be challenging and frustrating at the same time. If you lack the patience of dealing with freelancers, then you can go for a part-time employee or can also look for a friend who can help you do the essential PR activities by yourself-only if you are running the show by yourself.