Bootstrap marketing is what the web is all about – a way of promoting a business on a tight budget, maximising return on investment and minimising the risk.
You might already be involved in bootstrap marketing, without even realising it, if you have a social networking account that mentions your business, or a van with your contact details painted on the side.
It’s not just the internet that counts towards your marketing efforts – any low-cost attempts to promote a business without spending much money fall under the same heading.
So with that in mind, what are the best options? Over several articles, we’re going to look at a massive list of the top 50 marketing techniques for small businesses.
Bootstrap marketing online
Let’s start with the top ten web-based marketing methods for small businesses with tight budgets.
10. Join YouTube
This option won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve got some ideas for promotional videos, YouTube is a great way to get them online.
You can host them on YouTube for free, embed them into your website or blog posts, and of course they’ll be easily searchable by YouTube users too.
9. Create a newsletter
Email is a great way to keep in touch with clients, and a regular email newsletter can reach all of them at once.
Just remember to provide unsubscribe links and respect people’s privacy, if they don’t want your marketing messages dropping into their inbox.
8. Hit the forums
Online business forums are a great way to build your reputation and respond to any comments about your brand – just don’t get addicted to them!
7. Write a whitepaper
A whitepaper is a document that outlines a problem and a solution – and naturally, the solution will often involve your product or service.
Problem-solving is an important way to reach your audience, so think about adding whitepapers as a formal kind of FAQ section on your website.
6. Do something good
There’s a whole web full of good causes out there, so find one that’s relevant to your business, and support it – even just by giving it a short write-up on your website and adding a way for people to donate.
5. Get testimonials
The internet makes it very easy to get testimonials from happy customers, and to show them to new clients – keep a section of your homepage for positive comments, and keep them updated.
4. Start a referral programme
Online referral programmes can be very easy to look after – you just offer an incentive to people who refer business your way. Of course, this is one you can try offline too, if it suits your business better.
3. Share your knowledge
Informative articles, top tips and ‘how-to’ guides are among the most popular content on the web, so put your expertise down on (virtual) paper and watch your search traffic climb.
2. Start a blog
Blogging is an easy way to increase your web presence if you’re not great at formal writing, as readers are usually much more forgiving of typos and grammatical errors.
Add a blog to your website to help it to grow, or start a separate blog that you can promote in its own right – either option shouldn’t cost much.
1. Update your website
It should go without saying, but too often businesses shell out for a basic website, and never update their static content.
Adding new pages, and tweaking what’s already there, can show Google and your customers that your business is alive and kicking – and regular updates can keep your site ranking well in the search results, too.