Most startups don’t have the luxury to hire full-time marketers. Several don’t have a small fortune set aside for investing in marketing initiatives that can help them stand out online. So, what can startups do to get an edge over brands with massive budgets if they don’t even have a budget to start with?
Building a solid online network is the keystone of any zero-budget marketing plan. An increasingly popular practice called influencer marketing is what’s allowing small businesses to connect with and market their products to larger audiences. Entrepreneurs can do so by reaching out and partnering with industry influencers, the superstars of social media.
Listed below are some of the best influencer marketing strategies for startups that have little or zero budget.
Find the Right Influencers
An endorsement from someone who is well-known in an industry can work wonders for startup brands. But it can also do the opposite. To ensure that partners can raise brand awareness and engagement in upcoming social campaigns, entrepreneurs must not only look at the number of their followers but their relevance to the brand as well.
Influencer marketing isn’t about partnering with anyone and everyone who has authority within the niche. Remember that only the right influencer can help a brand send out the right message to the right audience. To find the perfect influencer for the brand, read through their content and figure out if it’s aligned with what the brand stands for. Don’t forget to scan the comments section to identify if their audience can be potential clients for the business.
Guest Post for Influencers
Another brilliant and budget-friendly way of gaining more exposure is through guest posting. This can help startups build relationships with influencers. Plus, guest blogging can amplify the brand’s content, and eventually, it can help startups establish themselves as an authority figure within their niche.
Most influencers who blog often offer guest posting opportunities to keep content fresh so that audiences remain engaged. Enter these keyword searches on Google to find these opportunities:
- Keyword + “guest blogging”
- Keyword + “become a contributor”
- Keyword + “write for us”
Again, finding the right platform is crucial to raising brand awareness. Select the right platform, read the guest posting guidelines, and create a pitch that they can’t say no to.
Offer Free Products or Services
Brands can gain influencers’ trust by asking them to review their products or services. Pray that they like it because when they do, their audience most probably will too.
For startups who don’t have the budget for paid partnerships, look for influencers who are willing to accept freebies. Since not all influencers are up for this kind of partnership, brands need to be clear about the deal from the get-go. If they do accept the freebie, don’t pressure them into promoting it or the brand.
Be Active on Social Media
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to connect with influencers is through social media. Follow their accounts and leave a comment on their recent posts. Contribute content that they might want to share, and like posts that they do share on their pages. These little gestures will help brands win influencers over.
Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are two very different marketing techniques. The former runs on the principle of direct revenue, which means that businesses pay for each sale or lead generated. Influencer marketing, on the other hand, is about reaching wider audiences. When combined, brands can generate more returns on their investment and reach much larger audiences. To launch this strategy, approach influencers and offer them a percentage of affiliate revenue.
Wrapping It Up
Now more than ever, consumers expect brands to provide more relevant content and fewer promotions. To make that possible, small businesses, as well as large conglomerates, are using influencer marketing to establish brands that are relatable and authentic.
Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy, especially in today’s business landscape. However, this marketing campaign will be a wasted investment if startups don’t choose the right influencers to collaborate with. Hence, before anything else, research. Get to know the niche and look for the influencers who can drive the business forward.