There is no question that businesses of all kinds need money to survive, but startups especially require funding for many various reasons. Startups often need to build out infrastructure, rather than other companies that might already have an existing infrastructure, but they also need to educate the public about their products and/or services.
Startups also might not have the same kind of budgets as larger corporations to accomplish this, either. Of course, employees need to be paid. Startups also require overhead costs, equipment, technology, research and development, and more — all of which cost money. It might get tougher and tougher to figure out where to squeeze the dollars to market your startup after you consider all of these expenses.
Startups are turning more to influencer marketing than before. After all, we know that startups want to reach as many individuals as possible. Why not use influencers to already market to their own established audiences to increase brand visibility and awareness? Over 80% of marketers have deemed influencer marketing to be effective.
For startups without a large budget, this might be a smart and innovative way to go. Of course, while you might not have the kind of money to sit down with the most significant influencers in the world, there are still “micro-influencers” that can have a positive effect when it comes to spreading the message about your company. In fact, some marketers argue that using micro-influencers is a more effective strategy in general. Here are some ways to make sure that your startup gains some traction and exposure with a bit of effort and initiative, rather than requiring a lot of money.
- Invite The Influencers
Let’s say that you want influencers to chime in on a subject, but you want to post the content on your site. You might want an “expert round up” or a group interview that will shine a light on a particular subject. The idea here is that the content itself will naturally be of interest to the influencers that you are reaching out to, and they might end up sharing YOUR blog organically.
This strategy can work if you point out that you will be heavily promoting the ads or can point to experts that the influencers might respect that might be participating. Influencers might be happy to be included, and it can be an excellent way for the influencers to gain credibility while your brand does, at the same time! The significant aspect of this strategy is that it costs nothing.
- Offer An Influencer Feedback
If you are trying to start a meaningful relationship with someone, one strategy is actually to offer value. There are influencers all around the world that have audiences and fans that love their content and appreciate what they do. As a result, you aren’t exactly going to stand out with comments such as “I agree 100%!” You might want to offer some valuable feedback to show the influencer that you are not only paying attention but are interested in improving their overall reputation/image.
It might be something straightforward. It might be about a couple of typos, outdated information, or some technical aspects about their website — but you might find that they appreciate the fact that you took the time out to offer them feedback. You may be able to use this to your advantage when it comes to reaching out to them for marketing purposes, and it costs you nothing! Of course, one thing to remember is that you cannot come across as too critical, or they might not respond.
- Hook Up An Influencer
It might sound like an obvious strategy: give the influencer something for free! It is clear to see that this is an evident approach and one that many companies and startups already take. Influencers are used to receiving gifts and services, or at least a discount because they can reach many people. This practice is common in the cosmetic industry in particular.
If you are selling a service? Simple: offer them a free trial. If you are selling a product, consider the benefit of sending them some free products for them to post about it on social media. Also, you can even research a thoughtful gift to send them based on their interests and preferences.
- Guest Posting
Thanks to technology, some influencers actually write on their own blogs! It might be for various reasons — they might want to update fans about their new projects, it might be a means for personal expression, or they might enjoy writing. Either way, many of these blogs accept guest posts, as well. One tool that you can use is Google Advanced Search, for those who might be unclear about where they should start looking.
Let’s say that your startup reaches out to a micro-influencer for a guest post. One of the positive aspects of doing this is that you get authentic exposure to their audience organically, rather than trying to craft a marketing or advertising campaign to connect with potential consumers. If you are unsure about your writing skills — simple: hire a ghostwriter! Even if the guest post only mentions your startup in the bio, it has the potential to reach more people than you might realize. This strategy might cost you around $0-$500.
- Affiliate Marketing: It works!
Some influencers love affiliate marketing, and some that shy away from it. This might be a strategy that works best if you actually do a bit of research, but we all know that affiliate marketing can be effective. When you combine affiliate marketing with an influencer — it can be extremely effective. Many marketers believe that influencers have changed affiliate marketing dramatically. One obvious tactic is to find out which influencers are involved in affiliate marketing concerning products/services similar to yours.
Summary: The Bottom Line
Many startups are continually trying to figure out how to gain exposure without spending a fortune. All sorts of organizations are using influencer marketing, whether they are small businesses or large corporations.
Influencer marketing is going to stick around for a while, and with good reason — it works! Consider using one or more of these strategies to help take your startup to the next level.
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