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3 ways to get initial users with 0 budget

Marc Bacani

You don't need a high budget or a fancy marketing team to get customers. As a fair, transparent and instant promotion platform, doko invites experts in the fields of branding, advertising and marketing to share their experiences so you can successfully build your brand and grow your business.

influence marketing

Earlier this month, Marc Bacani, a startup marketing expert from the U.S., shared with us "How to brand with limited budget", the key is to spend time researching your audience before anything else. Today, Marc is sharing with us how to get your initial users /customers in 3 simple steps, the hardest task startups and new brands face.

1. Start Collecting Emails and Never Stop Collecting

Capturing leads might not sound like the most glamorous marketing, but it is still one of the most crucial steps a startup needs to take. SPAM is culturally a negative word; no one likes jammed packed inboxes. But, simply put, EDM is still considered to have the highest ROI according to marketing managers in the U.S. Data from the Direct Marketing Association indications over 60% of marketing managers consider email to have the highest ROI. Another benefit of leads are they prove interest in your company if a lot of people signed up to get more information from you, investors will be impressed.

For a startup, your value proposition for getting someone's contact is higher than a large company. People like the small guy and people love to learn about interesting products. In one company I worked with we got our largest batch of emails from our Kickstarter campaign. These people participate in your Kickstarter because they are interested in your product, which makes these leads highly valuable. One tactic is to offer a $1 Kickstarter level; you get $1 and an email of someone who is genuinely interested in your product. You can get creative with what you offer in return, name mentioned in a video and free virtual hug, are some of the things Kickstarter campaigns have offered in return. Because these are generally high-quality leads, they tend to have better conversion rates. Mailchimp (the big boy in EDM) keeps track of what kind of targets you should reach for.

2. Create Valuable Content

Content marketing has been a buzz word for a while now, but it's nothing new. The Michelin Tire Company started publishing a guide book in 1900 to give its customers a reason to travel on their tires. Today Michelin stars are synonymous with world-class dining, but the exposure has helped to make Michelin Tires some of the most popular in the world.

In modern terms, content marketing normally takes an online form blogs, social, and email. On the lowest level updating content helps with SEO, but the best content marketers go beyond just providing new content for the Google Spider(or Baidu Spider). Your audience will appreciate genuine content that gives them useful information and constantly updating it will bring them back. Good content helps to establish your brand as an expert in your field.

3. Build a Community of Influencers

The recent disaster of the Fyre Festival has led some, like Rhiannon Birch, to question if there is a future in influencer marketing. Does the average consumer trust someone with millions of followers with purchase decisions? While only time will tell if social media influencers will lose their value, my guess is they are here to stay. Think of it this way, if you are deciding between two smart watches and someone you ALREADY follow talks about how great his watch is you might just be a bit more inclined to go for that one.

Influencer marketing is big business. Influencers with followers in the millions can easily ask for $20,000 a post. While if you have millions to spend on influencers the big guys are attractive, I would argue; go for micro influencers (10,000 – 100,000 followers). You can read more about the benefits of micro influencer. But, in my opinion, micro influencers provide a stronger community. In my work for a fitness tech company, we first started out by becoming part of their community, commenting on their Instagram post, retweeting them and so on. For a small startup getting noticed is always the first step, engaging with influencers before approaching them with a collaboration proposal helps to pave the way for several successful campaigns. Another aspect of smaller influencers is sometimes you can find mutually beneficial deals without breaking the bank. Many times I have offered free products in exchange for a few posts. One company gave an influencer a trip to CES, an industry exclusive event. The important thing to focused on with Influencers is community; Keep them in the loop of new products, help them promote, engage with them. If you treat Influencers like a banner ad you will get lackluster content, if you are engaged with them you will help them to create a real community around your product.

Much of my marketing experience has been focused on my home market of the U.S. Because of this I am writing about how I reached customers in the U.S., but the principles of marketing don't change because of country: find insights WHO will and WHY someone will use your product, narrow down your segmentation, and target that group with a tailored message and platform.

Marc Bacani
Marc Bacani

Marc Bacani is a Marketer who works with startups in China to bring their ideas to the U.S. consumer. Utilizing scalable, cost effective marketing techniques to build brand recognition, lead generation, and conversion.

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