As if starting a business wasn’t hard enough, starting a business with very limited funding is even more challenging.
With an idea in my head, a fire under my feet and close to nothing in my pockets, I started my marketing business. I saw a need for a strong B2B marketing agency and I knew I could solve the problems people were facing with scaling their B2B startups. The first problem I had to face was getting the company off the ground – with no idea as to how much money it would take.
When my partner and I started Expert Marketing Advisors, we did not want to take money from investors. Instead, we took just under 2k from personal accounts and filed for our business license. We then bought the domain for the company and off we went. Since I had previous connections and vast marketing experience, I knew our target market and the people who would be a great fit for the services we provide. I had to be proactive and use my network.
Here are the top three ways that I have found work best for marketing your B2B company with little funding.
LinkedIn – Use your connections!
Count to three and go for it. Send that message, connect with that person, and create that post. Not everything you do will give you the results you are looking for, but you are in it for the long haul. I have about 15k followers, and it took a lot of time to grow to that number. Many of our clients have come from my connections. By using your connections, these are people that already trust you, and are already in your network. In the most genuine way possible, use them! It is a win-win situation: you help their business grow and your own business grows.
A lot of growing your business comes from social media, persistence and consistency. An astonishing 40-50% of our meetings come from LinkedIn, which shows you the power of tapping into your network. You need to put on your sales hat and “sell” the business you are so passionate about in order to gain clients. It takes a lot (and I mean a lot) of persistence in order to grow. Keep pushing and be consistent with your strategy for reaching out to people.
Remember that the worst they can say is “no,” and you already had a “no” to begin with, so you have lost nothing by reaching out to them. You have gained everything by starting up a conversation with them, though. It is possible that the “no” really means “not now,” so you can always reach back out later.
Targeted Online Forums – Product Lead Offering
The main principle of marketing is pretty simple: find people who you can sell to. You don’t need to launch a whole marketing campaign in order to do this. Groups of these people already exist in accessible communities.
Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your company and get a feel for your audience. These are people who willingly joined a community and are looking for someone just like you. So give them what they want and what you have to offer.
Depending on your business and who you are targeting, you can also use Facebook groups, Fiverr, and even Reddit pages. Meet your audience where they are, and then relocate them to your business. Many niche companies are a part of these communities and it is a great place to find your future clients.
Networking comes into play here. Joining these online communities and marketing your business requires a lot of networking. Talk to people within these communities, and if they do not need your services, ask if they know anyone who needs you. This leads you to another person, and the cycle continues.
Just a note, you must have the social proof that you can do what you say you can do, so make sure you have previous customer quotes, past experience, and anything else that gives confidence to new prospects that you can carry out on your promises.
Your best area for new and growing business will come from your existing business. With this in mind, customer marketing is crucial and doesn’t take a ton of money to make happen.
Here is how to create a customer marketing strategy:
- Gather customer data for relevant messaging
- Assemble brand advocates
- Highlight customer success stories
- Generate online reviews (Google reviews, LinkedIn, etc)
- Host customer events
- Build loyalty programs
- Collect referrals and positive word of mouth
Think about influencers, they are advocates for brands and since they have a whole network, brands are able to reach a larger audience through their brand advocates. People are more likely to buy something when someone they trust recommends it. That is what customer marketing is all about.
Bonus Tip: Turn the playbooks around on yourself – Repurpose, scale, rinse, repeat
This piece of advice is specific for B2B marketing companies, but since you already have marketing playbooks for your clients, treat yourself as a client! As a part of your business model you are naturally going to develop playbooks for how you conduct business with your clients. If you can do it for your clients, you can also do it for yourself! So use your amazing, proven playbooks to get your business going.
It was not until our third year of business that we treated our own business as a client of ours. Don’t only work in the business, work on the business. This is when we started to scale and grow tremendously as a business.
Network, network, network! When you have no funding, you must spend the time talking to people and spreading awareness about your business. With no money for ads and paid search, most of your initial clients are going to come from the network you already have, as well as free online communities with your targeted audience.
Lastly, I just want to encourage you to not give up and think about this as a marathon, not a sprint. Wishing you the best of luck!
Contact us for best practices!!!