Startup strategy: how to deal with the money pit of marketing

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    And as much as we’d all like to think that business is just going to keep rolling through the door, the truth is, without getting yourself out there and showing your clients exactly where you are, your business could cease to exist.

    Spending your money on marketing can seem like a never ending black hole that you just keep throwing money at in the hope that something sticks, and that’s probably because you honestly have no clue about where to start or what to even do?

    You’ve probably heard fellow peers discussing their strategies and thought, what the hell, if it works for them perhaps it will work for me?

    Or maybe you’ve taken the other route and stopped all marketing efforts completely, because it was becoming a drain on your finances, with no sign it was making any difference to your business.

    As creatives we naturally have an innate fear of marketing ourselves because it means coming out of our reclusive shells and having to sell ourselves to the world. But in this saturated world, whilst you’re sat back pondering why you should bother marketing yourself, your competitors have already stolen the show and gaining the clients that should be paying you.

    There’s always an element of risk that comes with investing time and money in marketing, after all how do you know it’s even going to work?

    It may feel like an alien task, but if you seriously consider your efforts you might be surprised at where your money is going and where it should be invested.

    Put your money where your mouth is…

    The one form of marketing that your clients will trust above all others is word of mouth.

    A recommendation is the biggest honour for any business, and truly shows their credibility in form of work and customer service, so if your clients are spreading the word about you and increasing your business shouldn’t you perhaps reward them?

    Even the smallest gesture may go a long way in making that client return and continue their campaign on your behalf.

    We all trust a recommendation far more than any form of marketing, and this was clearly shown in a recent survey by Nielsen who found that 92% of consumers believe recommendations over any other form of advertising.

    When the percentages are that high, it’s hard to ignore the cold hard facts that when people spread the word, others listen.

    Don’t be a big spender…

    There’s a new marketing trend every other week and a new social media platform cropping up on what seems like a daily basis. So where on earth should you place yourself?

    Research your clients first and foremost, where are they most active? Had you had hints from them during conversations where they’ve mentioned that their on any social media platforms?

    It’s easy just to put all your money into advertising on Facebook and twitter simply because their the dominant platforms at the moment, but it’s important to know if your money is going to be well spent.

    Don’t waste the time or the money on placing yourself on social media until you can justify it to yourself. Pretend that you’re the bank manager and they want to know why you did this? Have a reason and have a strategy in place to make it effective.

    If you’re not a natural marketer then perhaps it’s time to hire the professionals to do it for you.

    Time is just as important in business as money, so if you can’t allocate your time to analysing what’s working then you’re never going to know if your strategy is working.

    Avoid the unnecessary…

    There are many traditional methods of marketing that have become completely obsolete, yet for some reason we still invest our money into them and insist on them simply because it makes us look like a more reputable business.

    Leaflets and print material is probably the biggest waste of your money. Be serious with yourself, when was the last time you took action on a leaflet that you were handed?

    If you insist on this form of marketing how are you measuring its success? Do you know if your phone calls are converting because of this investment?

    The reason you’re probably viewing marketing as a money pit in the first place is because you’re not seeing any return from your investment. It’s not as simple as throwing money at something and hoping to see a dramatic impact. Some methods will need to be analysed little and often, and others will clearly not work for you.

    Invest your time first, and your money second.