5 Unconventional Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Startup

We are currently living in one of the best times for startup owners. Today, more customers are okay with ditching name brands to explore other options that promise better, more reliable, or more affordable products and services. This provides an opportunity for your startup to win market share by offering something your competitors do not.

However, to gain any significant portion of the market share, you have to make an impression with your marketing and stand out from the competition. This way, you’ll be fresh at the top of mind once your target customers are ready to buy.

While you can use traditional marketing strategies like display advertising, SEO, and email marketing, everyone else is doing the same. If you want to make a mark, you have to think outside the box. In this article, we’ll look at five unconventional yet affordable marketing strategies you can use to scale your business quickly.

Partner With a Well-Known Brand

When you’ve just launched, your startup is probably too small to attract a huge audience. However, you can borrow an existing audience by partnering with a well-known, non-competing brand with a similar target demographic to your startup.

For instance, GoPro gained a massive audience by partnering with Red Bull, an already established and well-known brand. Red Bull sponsors extreme sporting events, while GoPro provides athletes with a way to capture these events from their own perspective. The partnership worked because both brands cater to the same audience – the action sports community.

This strategy is perfect for a new startup because an endorsement from an already-established company builds trust in yours too. Studies report that 72% of business leaders consider trust the most important factor when buying from a company. Therefore, by getting an endorsement from an already established company, you can ride on their customers’ trust and quickly build your audience.

Leverage VoIP for Marketing

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems aren’t just an excellent way to improve your business communication. With the right approach, they can also help you boost your marketing efforts.

First, a VoIP system allows you to add a click-to-call option on your website. If prospective customers visiting your website can’t find the info they’re looking for, they can easily reach your marketing team with a single click instead of leaving your site. This is a great way to improve conversions.

You can also use VoIP to improve your ad reporting and analytics. VoIP systems make it easy for you to add new numbers to your marketing campaigns. When a prospect calls a specific number, you can tell which ad they’re responding to, allowing you to identify how different ads are performing. 

VoIP systems also allow you to record call details, which you can use to measure the number of conversions, demo requests, and so on. You can then use insights gained from these details to improve your marketing campaigns.

The average VoIP phone system can cost anywhere between $99 and $400 per extension. You also need to consider ongoing costs, like maintenance and service fees, which can add another $20 to $30 per extension to your monthly bill. If your new startup isn’t flush with cash, find a VoIP partner that offers net 30 terms accounts. A net 30 account will allow you to pay for the VoIP service at a later date and help build business credit for your startup at the same time.

Target Long-Tail SEO Keywords

As a startup, trying to rank for broad keywords is a losing battle. While broad keywords have high search volume, they also have high competition and are most likely dominated by well-established brands in the industry.

A better approach is to focus on long-tail keywords. These are longer, highly targeted keywords specific to a searcher’s intent. 

For instance, when someone searches for the keyword “marketing expert,” it’s not very clear what their intent is. They could be trying to learn more about what a marketing expert does, find information about how to get a career in this field, or hire a marketing specialist from their area. 

However, when someone searches for the keywords “content marketing specialist for a SaaS business,” there’s no doubt about their intent. 

There are a couple of reasons why long-tail SEO keywords are more effective than broad keywords. First, long-tail keywords usually have lower competition, so it’s much easier to rank for them. Additionally, since they are intent-driven, they lead to higher conversions. Research shows that targeting long-tail keywords can lead to a 2.5X increase in conversions, making long-tail SEO a very effective growth marketing strategy for startups.

Apply for Awards

Winning an award is one of the best ways of building credibility, trust, and clout for your startup. It shows that you are a leader in your industry, which increases the likelihood of potential clients trusting your work. You also get the chance to use the award as social proof. Additionally, the award creators will most likely share your business with their followers once you win, which amounts to free promotion.

The challenge is that, as a startup, winning awards won’t be easy when competing against bigger, more established businesses. However, you can increase your chances of winning by applying for awards in smaller niches – local awards, awards that are specific to the kind of products you’re selling, and so on. At a time when the cost of living has become unbearably high for lots of entrepreneurs, you can apply for awards as a low-cost way of marketing your business. 

Launch a Referral Program

There’s a reason why referral programs are so effective – they rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. According to research by SEMRush, 64% of marketers believe word-of-mouth recommendations are the most effective form of marketing. At the same time, other studies say that 93% of consumers are more likely to trust and purchase from businesses that a friend has recommended.

The idea behind a referral program is straightforward. Simply give your existing customers an incentive to send their friends and family to your business. The incentive doesn’t even have to be money. It could be a discount on the next purchase, a free product or service, etc. For instance, for every successful referral, Dropbox gives up to 1GB of free storage to their sources.

Wrapping Up

As a startup, you don’t have to outspend everyone else to get people to know about your business and attract new customers. You only need to think outside the box. Try the five unconventional marketing strategies we’ve shared above and see how they work for your startup.

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