While big business may fair nicely with their huge marketing budgets, there’s a lot to be said for the bootstrap marketing approach. The online world has opened up a whole new playing field when it comes to who can survive in the world of small business. With little to no marketing dollars to spare, bootstrap marketing offers entrepreneurs and small businesses ways to spread the word out about their businesses to large masses of people. Good branding, constant networking and a heavy emphasis on the “people factor” make up the key components of a successful bootstrap marketing campaign.
The Bootstrap Marketing Approach
With limited money and resources, getting the word out about a business can be a little more challenging than the money-bucks approach, but not at all impossible. Minimizing risk and maximizing returns are the heart and soul of the bootstrap marketing approach. With the myriad of low cost/no cost marketing opportunities available on the internet, creativity and tenacity can go a long way towards getting the word out.
With the advent of social media networks, customers and potential customers alike have become a new marketing force. Add to this, the ability to connect with people anywhere in the world, be it for partnership endeavors or gaining valuable feedback, and small business marketers have a virtual world of marketing options at their fingertips.
The importance of networking, both online and offline, carries just as much weight with bootstrap marketing as it does with any other marketing approach. Networking with like-minded people not only offers up new ideas for marketing your business, but also paves the way for potential businesses opportunities.
These benefits hold true for start-ups as well as for businesses that have been around for a while. For start-ups in particular, the information obtained from experienced network connections can save new small business owners a lot of time and headaches down the road. Network contacts also make for good partnerships when it comes to getting the word out about a new business or upcoming promotions and product launches.
Creating a brand for a business or product is sort of like creating a personality and energy around it. Since getting attention becomes the whole point of marketing, the more attractive and personable a business appears the easier it is to draw attention. Bootstrap marketing or marketing with little to no money becomes a whole lot easier when a business and its products create a natural appeal.
Branding a business means giving it a distinct presence in the marketplace that’s markedly different from its competitors. This can be done by emphasizing the qualities, be they services, products or technology that competitors don’t have. For example, an environmentally-friendly clothing business will attract consumers who care about the environment. While these consumers can shop just about anywhere for their clothes, the environmental aspect of the business will draw their attention.
Social Media Networks
Social media networks can be a bootstrap marketer’s goldmine to success. The trick to tapping into their marketing potential lies in using your time wisely and making it easy for visitors, customers and potential customers to spread the word about your business. This means having an attractive, informative, user-friendly website that’s heavily speckled with social media options. It also means taking an active role on the most popular social networks, such as
Industry-specific community networks are also good places to find potential customers as well as business contacts.
In order to make the most of social media networks, a business must offer engaging and interesting content. This way, people can spread the word by sharing your content throughout their own individual social circles.
The People Factor
While running a business requires ongoing planning and strategy, the ultimate goal of success relies on the how people receive what a business has to offer. Bootstrap marketing uses a grassroots approach that never forgets the importance of establishing rapport and relationships with people, be they customers or acquaintances.
Product offers, special promotions and new product lines are always done with the customer’s best interests at the forefront. In effect, bootstrap marketers approach their business from the customer’s perspective and make most all decisions from the customer’s standpoint.
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Jeff Oxley is a digital strategist for HCA Mindbox Creating Communications in Windsor, a full-service marketing firm offering everything from graphic and web design to business marketing strategy.