Who says you have to spend large amounts of budget to scale your marketing?
Companies like Trello acquired their first 500,000 users without spending a dime on marketing or advertising.
That’s what we call bootstrapping.
Literally strapping up your boots, rolling up your sleeves, and doing everything by hand with existing resources.
Not only does this save on expenses and keeps a company lean, but it also gives you first-hand insight into what a good job looks like if you decide to outsource later.
Bootstrapping is also great for testing the waters. You may invest into some channels and campaigns but bootstrap others to see if they’re worthwhile.
Try out these powerful bootstrapping marketing ideas to see for yourself:
1. Build your audience with an email list
Imagine having a private audience you could tap into any time to promote content or services.
It would drive traffic and revenue in the snap of a finger.
Welcome to bootstrap email marketing.
Yes. It’s decades-old but still works like brand new.
As a matter of fact, email marketing generates up to a 40x return on investment. Not too shabby, right?
The first step to build an email list is choosing an email marketing software. These include:
- Active Campaign
- Constant Contact
Try the free versions of these if they’re available to see if it suits your company. Then you can move onto the second step.
You, of course, need a way for users to opt-in to your email list. You can use popup, sidebar, or embedded forms to achieve this. They look like this:
Better yet, reel subscribers in with something called a lead magnet. This is a free resource that you offer in exchange for their information.
It significantly increases conversions while also allowing you to show authority, expertise, and promote your services.
Look how HubSpot has a free report in this blog post:
They collect the readers’ information so they can remarket to them later.
Keep the 80/20 rule in mind with email marketing: 80% of newsletters should be informational and value-driven while the remaining 20% can be promotional.
That brings me to my next point.
2. Content marketing is a must
Not having content on a website in 2020 is like being a ghost town.
“Where are all the blogs?” your customers will think.
I’m not joking either. According to the Content Preferences Survey Report, 47% of consumers read up to 3–5 pieces of content before contacting a sales rep.
It makes sense.
Consumers want to perform their due diligence on a company to trust them before buying.
That’s where content bridges the gap.
Content comes in a million different forms too: blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, social posts, whitepapers, case studies; the list goes on.
The key is to choose a single channel and master it. Become the Tony Robbins of that content format.
Study what makes that type of content great, how to distribute it, and how to get users engaging.
I suggest researching topics with a free tool like AnswerThePublic. Plug in a keyword and hit “Search.”
This will display questions, prepositions, and questions related to your query.
Export these and share them with your team to begin fleshing out a content calendar.
3. Create a viral effect like Slack
Slack, the world’s most popular communication platform, grew with little to no marketing or advertising.
How did they do it?
By making one hell of a free product that people couldn’t resist using. They also encouraged users to invite others and get their team on the platform.
They are easily one of the best bootstrap marketing examples ever.
Okay. How can your business take a similar approach?
Firstly, consider offering a free version or trial of your platform. If you aren’t a SaaS business, it can be a free consultation, audit, or lead magnet.
The idea is to get people into your funnel. A.K.A get their foot in the door and have them tell others about their experience.
Most importantly, treat them like your one and only customer. America Express discovered that 7 out of 10 consumers spend more money with a company that delivers great service.
Optimize the heck out of the customer experience so much they can’t help but talk about it.
Consider offering an incentive for sharing your business with others such as affiliate commissions, extended trials, etc.
4. Find your 1,000 true fans
Seth Godin, the geeky marketer with funny glasses and author of 18 books like This Is Marketing doesn’t believe you should market to everyone.
That’s a surefire way to bore a lot of people and come off as generic. You need to have a distinct personality and please a very small group of customers.
That’s what Seth calls your 1,000 true fans: a small group of buyers that love your product, rave about it, and become brand ambassadors.
So, how can you find these people and delight them?
I recommend that you use an analytics segmenting tool such as:
These will collect website and customer profile data to organize into reports and sheets. From there, it’s time to start digging!
We’re looking for a hypersegment. A group so small you’ll need a magnifying glass to see them. (Not literally!)
I recommend that you break down the customer groups that are contributing the most to conversions, revenue, and your bottom line.
You can set up goals on Google Analytics and see what demographics are completing them the most for illustration.
Once you’ve discovered a profitable hypersegment, marketing campaigns, targeting, and messaging should be reworked to please this small group.
Concluding bootstrap marketing
Having a bootstrap marketing plan is ideal for any agency looking to stay lean or make the best out of the current economic situation.
It’s making us realize that we need to be smarter with our money, investing, and business choices.
To recap, email marketing, content marketing, viral sharing, and customer segmenting are some of the strongest bootstrap marketing ideas you can deploy.
All of them can be executed with little to no capital and work like a charm.
Improve your marketing strategies and customer profiles by trying Morphio today for free. Our AI-powered marketing security software detects lucrative opportunities and customer segments automatically.