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5 Affordable Marketing Tips for Startups In this climate, every marketing tip can make or break a business. Find out more on affordable marketing tips that every startup should know.

By Kumar Arora Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Tom Werner | Getty Images

Marketing might not appear to be the most pressing thing to work on, especially when you're in an early-stage startup, trying to build and define your product.

Contrary to common belief, however, marketing is affordable and highly scalable. There are plenty of examples of good marketing regardless of the size of the business, whether you have a modest media budget or thousands of dollars to spend. Marketing in the early stages of a startup has many proven benefits, including that by the time you have a substantial marketing budget, you already know which channels are most effective in customer acquisition and sales. It's important to figure this out early on, because startups tend to grow rapidly. Before you know it, you'll have a substantial budget to spend on markting. So without further ado, here are five affordable marketing tips for startups.

Content marketing is free

Content marketing doesn't cost you anything, but can be as rewarding as paid advertising. Start blogging right away. Use long-tail keywords to rise to the surface even without paid search ads. If you don't have a website yet, create an account on Medium, LinkedIn or an industry-specific content publisher to publish blog posts and attract a following.

Launch social campaigns with free tools

Take advantage of all of the free tools available on each social media platform. Facebook offers free marketing tools specifically for small businesses. For instance, automating frequently asked questions on Facebook Messenger could reduce your customer service response times and help them get the information they need to make a purchase right when they need it.

Related: 9 Low-Budget Marketing Strategies Every Startup Can Afford

Use keywords to reach customers

Every brand should have a list of keywords to reach the target audience. Because of a great number of contents available online now, some businesses utilize long-tail keywords as well to reach customers.

Keyword research requires diligence. Businesses must first identify the keywords, and then do a weekly review of where the business-owned pages rank on the search engine results page for each given keyword. For instance, a yoga studio is trying to reach a broader audience with keyword research. The studio is located in Denver, Colorado, and students can book a class on their website. The studio would keep a list of keywords like "Denver yoga" and "yoga classes in Denver" and Google them to see where their website ranks every week. If their website ranks in the top five on the search results page, that means the studio has a solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. They can continue to track these keywords on Google and record on a spreadsheet where their e-commerce website ranks each week. The aforementioned keywords "Denver yoga" and "yoga classes in Denver" are considered evergreen. Seasonal keywords could include "outdoor yoga classes in Denver" or "Zoom yoga classes" in response to COVID-19.

Related: New Google Search Feature Makes Pandemic Shopping Easier

Paid marketing: Start small but start early

Paid social and paid search are big components of paid marketing campaigns, but you don't need to have a big budget to start. It's totally okay if you don't have the budget for them yet. As you already know, it's 100% free to create business accounts on social media platforms. Start with organic social posts, and learn a thing or two about your audience. And then start from making small bids, perform A/B tests constantly, and focus on identifying the sweet spot for your business — the most effective channels, content types and target demographics. That way, when you start to grow rapidly and suddenly have thousands of dollars of marketing budget, you know just the right combination of strategies that will give you the highest return on investment.

Related: 5 Ways Brands Can Reinvent Their Digital Marketing Strategy

Implement geo-targeting elements

Attracting local customers is crucial when you own a brick-and-mortar store. But did you know that geo-targeting elements are equally important for businesses that aren't local?

For example, there's an edtech startup that connects college students with high schoolers for private tutoring. Since it's brand new, they're recruiting teachers first, and looking for those who are enrolled in universities in the United States. To help with the recruiting process, the business wants to share testimonials from teachers who've already signed up and are teaching on the platform.

You could implement geo-targeting elements here so that an interested college student from Pennsylvania sees a testimonial from a University of Pennsylvania student, and a viewer from California sees a testimonial from a student from the University of California, Berkeley, on the recruiting campaign's landing page. This is just one example of geo-targeting, and possibilities are endless.

Kumar Arora

CEO of Arora Ventures & Trust Foods

Kumar Arora is a serial entrepreneur, investor and shark on CNBC’s hit show “Cleveland Hustles,” produced by Lebron James. Currently, he serves as CEO of Arora Ventures along with Trust Foods, an emerging startup CPG brand. He also serves as a consultant and advisor in a variety of industries.

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