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Bootstrapping startups spend endless hours creating extravagant online and social media marketing campaigns to build brand recognition, and for good reason: they are an inexpensive way to spread word of the company to their target audience. Experiential marketing is the process of creating an experience for consumers which results in a sensory connection to a brand or company and its products or services and leaves a lasting positive impression. The campaign involved Brand Ambassadors and “Moolamen” in red morph suits with QR code boxes strapped to their chests, explaining the app to festival attendees and helping them register. Various business professionals estimate that the growth of experiential marketing now exceeds digital advertising, and with the development of social media, you have a new monster altogether. In the past few years, the emergence of social media and other platforms has facilitated the evolution of the consumer.
When planning campaigns with teams attending events or expos, strive to be the one booth that everyone at the event recognizes. Another vital element is ingenuity, which is something that cannot be taught.  The concept of advising someone how to plan an effective activation is similar to a company commissioning a viral video, in that the ability to project how a viewer or consumer will perceive the brand is analogous to fortune telling. Brainstorm ideas with those who best know the brand, what it represents, and the objective of the campaign. Dig into your memory bank and think back to kindergarten when learning about sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
After a concept has been agreed upon, the process turns to designing the initiative to be both manageable and cost-effective. Not in the context of food, but rather ensuring that the consumer’s experience is as natural an impression as possible.
There are numerous marketing activations that have effectively had consumers talking for years at minimal cost to the company.
Based on the new development of the experiential consumer, implementing data collection with the experience is of the utmost importance.
The ultimate goal of experiential marketing is for the consumer to remember the experience and discuss it with others after the campaign.
While the value of digital marketing cannot be undermined and should not be overlooked, startups should consider a more gripping approach. The term “startup” is interpreted by many as the beginning of a new project, venture, or company.  The natural progression after the initial launch of a project includes building momentum toward an ultimate goal.
The actual term a€?bootstrappinga€? originated in the 19th century from the expression a€?pulling oneself over a fence by onea€™s bootstrapsa€?. Startups that start out bootstrapping are generally more efficient, focused, and possess a greater ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
Crowdfunding is a platform which allows regular people to display their ideas by using the power of social media and video outlets, such as YouTube, to pitch their projects to a large pool of micro-investors.
Figure out your missing piece, and outline a proposal for what you plan on giving in return for what you need. The commission your affiliate and pay-per-click advertising charges might cause you to bite down on your hand, but the flipside to that is ita€™s measurable, sets the startup to be a€?in business,a€? and collects valuable information throughout the process. Even better than PPC (pay per click) is utilizing organic search methods through a search engine. Once your blog or site has garnered enough traffic, put forth fun and engaging contests that will further increase your brand exposure and loyalty. In the past, large companies might have hired training consultants or paid for specialized training conferences.
Bootstrapping is a great way for startups to scale up and organize, make mistakes, and get the right people involved. Remember the days when the best way of marketing something wasA  TV, newspaper, or giant billboard ads? The right combination of perfect timing, customer demand, and knockout marketing for startups is hard enough to come by. However, it can be all too tempting to pitch your startup to the biggest name on TechCrunch, instead of looking for the journalist who has a small, yet loyal following that matches up with your brand’s unique messaging. However merely showing up for trade shows won’t generate the exposure you need for your startup. The majority of your success depends on the amount of work you do in the weeks and months leading up to the show.
You’ll be surprised at how someone will know someone who knows someone else that needs your startup or is interested in helping to spread the word about it.
Also, remember that unlike brand advocates (usually happy customers, friends, and employees), influencers, or brand ambassadors are typically compensated for providing their opinion. Although you don’t want to waste time pitching your startup to everyone, you do want to use every appropriate opportunity to introduce it to those whose interests align with your company, no matter how big or small.
Once you’re about to launch your product or service, offer to blog about a topic of interest to your and the blogger’s audience. Paid social, when done correctly, can be a great way to target the audience you’re looking for. The advantage to you is that in exchange for trying out your Beta product or service, you can request feedback in order to make tweaks before the official launch of your perfected product or service. Stefanie Isabel Kobsa does inbound marketing at Linkbird,a tool for increasing online visibility through SEO, content marketing and online PR. However, there is one thing that startups do not have that other, more established companies with several years of experience and presence under their belt generally do: a high online visibility. If you want to increase the number of your leads, sales, and eventually your revenue, you need to be visible on the Internet. The necessity of (and existing potential in) increasing your company’s online visibility should be a no-brainer. Either find out manually on which pages you rank (by doing a Google search for individual keywords), or get some help with a software that can display your ranks for you. As much as you need to stay informed about your current situation in the rankings, it is crucial to take a close look at your biggest competitors and educate yourself with regard to their positions in the SERPs. You need to know your most relevant keywords if you want to rank for them. Think of what it is that you provide and what terms people are likely to Google if they are doing a search for similar products or services. Search volume also plays a crucial part here: the higher the search volume, the more difficult it is to rank.
Great content and visibility belong together like Sid and Nancy, Jay-Z and Beyonce, or Kurt and Courtney. You catch my drift. However, you should not simply scribble away and hope that your readers will find it interesting.
If you’re lucky enough and people already talk about your company on the net, it is crucial to be aware of those comments, also known as brand mentions. Brand mentions are a perfect way to find high-quality link sources, since websites that already contain a mention of you are much more likely to link back to you.

Consequentially, you need to stay informed of your brand mentions and use them to your advantage to do link building.
Find websites that could be interested in testing your product or writing a review about it. Those websites could be your potential customers, the hubs where your customers hang out, general advice-pages in your industry, or online publications. Get all addresses, contacts, and professional positions in one place, and ideally add information such as “communication status,” or comments to help you remember specifics about the respective contact. Keep in touch with your contacts as well as influential people in the industry. Use templates to make your communication more effective and most of all, be consistent. By tracking the data you’ll be able to know with certainty whether you are successful in your visibility efforts, saving costs, time and manpower on behalf of your company and leadership. Stefanie Isabel Kobsa does inbound marketing at linkbird a tool for increasing online visibility through SEO, content marketing and online PR.
Every day we are inundated by brands fighting for our attention; how can you possibly make your startup top of mind? Rather than trying to attract any potential customer, zero in on a target segment that will help you reach your short-term goals. Notwithstanding traditional and non-traditional media marketing avenues, entrepreneurs need to expand their approach to include experiential marketing and make the most of their opportunities by engaging customers or possible investors, and building excitement with the public in general.
An example of a recent successful experiential campaign involved MOOLAGRAM, a new app that is a community where people and businesses connect on their terms.
First, the bright red morph suits drew the attention of festival attendees and served as an icebreaker for engagement.
Experiential marketing fits the requirements of early-stage companies because the startup does not have to dish out previously budgeted resources for publicity.
Now, successful marketing must target the experiential consumer who requires engagement to stimulate various senses to strengthen their connection to the brand. The goal is to be the most visible brand at the event.  A successful campaign should be judged by how many attendees experience the brand.
It is critical that every idea mentioned at these sessions be explored and investigated, as the most memorable and unforgettable promotions are regularly derived from profound and provocative ideas which will ultimately spur raw emotional reactions within consumers. As mentioned throughout this article, success hinges upon the ability to appeal to the consumers’ senses. A startup can have the best idea in the world, but if they cannot figure out how to pull it off (and sometimes repeatedly), all they have is an idea and no campaign. For the most part, the largest resource involved was the time invested by the marketers to canvas the targeted area.
However, ambassadors must remain professional throughout the campaign even in the most enticing atmospheres. Collecting data clarifies customer trends, allowing marketers to tailor campaigns to fully engage and convey an impression upon the end user.  Technology can serve as a tool to provide that data.
More importantly, the consumer should recognize the brand and how it applies to their world.
If done right, witnessing a group of brand ambassadors in memorable branded outfits, running through the streets or a festival handing out sample products or tickets to an upcoming event, will have as profound of an impact upon a consumer as any of the most creative digital campaigns. Companies today have adopted this a€?by any meansa€? philosophy with regard to how their business is started and run.
Whereas a substantial investor would have been needed in the past, crowdfunding makes it possible for individuals to leverage the masses to reach their investment goals.
Creating manuals and self-help guides to difficult tasks conditions your team to be resourceful, and is fundamental to any great organization. Creating marketing partnerships allows companies to leverage each othera€™s marketing resources and widen brand exposure.
Hiring interns provides the startup with an assortment of talent in different areas of expertise.
In other words, youa€™re able to create and save your work on one device, and have that work be accessible with all your devices.
Creating engaging content which resonates with your target audience is a great way to build trust with your audience and get better organic search results from Google.
Since the majority of web searching is done through Google, applications such as webmaster tools and Google Analytics are essential in measuring your site performance.
Ita€™s key for any business to bring in quality individuals, but for a startup, ita€™s absolutely crucial. But when you’re just coming out of the gate into an over-heated business world, you’ve got your work cut out. Obviously, you’re not going to pitch your productivity app to a travel journalist or blogger.
However, it doesn’t have to include cheesy social mixers where business cards are robotically served up like tasteless water crackers. If you’re OK with that, an endorsement on social media or in a blog post, can go a long way to getting your startup the exposure it needs with the right audience. The more you learn how to distill your message and brand story, the better chance you’ll have at landing your dream accounts. Pave the way by developing relationships ahead of time with key bloggers in your industry and ones your target audience is likely to care about. Since you set the monthly budget, you can reassess how your campaigns are doing and periodically adjust.
It lets them try out new products for free, while everyone else eventually gets charged for the perfected product. A satisfied Beta customer also may agree to provide a testimonial or participate in a case study.
However, with a good plan in place for getting the most exposure, your B2B startup will be well on its way to success.
Startups make for great business places, as they usually have more fluid hierarchies, open communication channels and often focus on interesting and fun products that are designed to make your customer’s lives better.
Today, online visibility is a key factor for every business, no matter what industry you find yourself in. Yet, sometimes it is hard for a startup CEO to realize and accept this fact since content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are fields that require both expertise and patience before you’ll see any results.
Knowing your current rank (or the pages you are on) is essential to understanding your development curve and measuring your overall SEO success.
If you want to boost your online visibility, there’s no way around creating interesting, informative and relevant content.
Keyword research is an excellent way to find out what it is, in fact, that your audience is interested in learning about. Use a keyword research tool, such as one of these free options, and glean some new insights into the topics and keywords that are in high-demand in your industry right now. Set up Google Alerts to send a message straight to your inbox each time your company or CEO get mentioned, and keep a close eye on those Twitter notifications.

Even if you are a fan of chaos and the supposedly creative energy it brings, it is essential to have all your contacts in one place and be able to quickly access your data when doing outreach. This way, if you want to reach out to someone, you’ll have all the necessary data, plus additional information at hand.
This way, you’ll be able to focus on just those startup marketing strategies that will result in maximum return in online visibility. Our full and part-time marketing courses will teach you the marketing skills you need to help an early-stage company grow their brand and customer-base.
Marketing your startup in today's competitive business economy is undoubtedly difficult, but there are steps you can take to make sure your startup gets a fighting chance at success.
Maybe this target segment is made up of early adopters, who you think will buy your product quickly — or quite simply, they may be a target audience you know how to reach.
ICE Factor (the experiential marketing agency where I work) was hired and given the objective of engaging consumers and encouraging them to download, register, and actively use the app, all while developing brand awareness.
The outfits also reinforced branding, as the business portrays itself as an exciting and dynamic company, and red is the color of the app. At the same time, engagement campaigns allow the consumer to experience the brand, burning a significant imprint in their memories. The beauty is when a company strikes a nerve with its audience who experiences the brand; the payoff can be tremendous and potentially be that elusive tipping point sought after by so many startups. As a result, it is imperative to create a measurable campaign while maintaining its memorable qualities and quirkiness, which help connect the consumer with the brand. And the time of startup founders and their employees is one of the few resources that (although valuable) is readily available. Experiential marketing is a perfect fit for startups, given that innovation and ingenuity, along with manpower (rather than disposable capital), are the perfect blend for an impactful campaign. Given that traditional customers have evolved into experiential consumers, startups must modify their marketing strategies to include this additional and important aspect, as the relationship and associated opportunities between startups and experiential marketing is undeniable. Bootstrapping is the business ideology of starting and growing a business by relying heavily on resourcefulness, creativity, and patience. Startups in early stages should be focused on gaining as much information as possible about every aspect of their business.
Hiring interns is also great in developing management and HR within your organization, while getting help with day-to-day tasks.
As a startup, you want to attract individuals that believe in the companya€™s vision, culture, and potential.
The last thing a reporter needs is a fact-filled sheet of statistics accompanied by bragging rights for your startup.
If possible, arrange a particular time so that you can make sure the right person is there for the meet and greet.
Networking should happen every time you have a discussion with another person, regardless of the informality of the occasion. Remember that they likely receive many requests to test products, so be patient and allow time for them to give you an honest opinion. If your potential customer cannot find you on the net because you rank on page five for relevant keywords, then how are you going to turn her into a client? Reach out to them, thank them, and ask them if they might be interested in writing a review. Comment on other people’s articles, form professional relationships with influencers in your area of expertise, and then leverage these contacts to propose PR-cooperation. This will not only simplify your entire communication structure, but also render it more effective. When you start doing outreach, it’s easy to get a couple of positive responses and then think you’ve done enough for the rest of the week. If you do not analyze the methods you deploy, you cannot detect what works well for your company and what doesn’t. Whatever the case, staying focused will help you reach your target customer more efficiently, and it is a better use of your limited resources.
Most importantly, the QR boxes alleviated one of the steps of the download and also provided real-time, measurable data regarding the success of the activation. Breaking down a promo booth or equipment can be time consuming and extremely taxing when doing it on a weekly basis.
However, to make the most of the opportunities, everyone must realize that during the event is neither the time nor the place. Bootstrapping allows talented startups to start and grow their business with little-to-no investment capital. In a world exploding with ways to grow your business, young startups are utilizing todaya€™s most innovative tools and applications to efficiently manage, grow, and even finance their business. Adopting a a€?test everythinga€? mentalityA  will allow a young startup to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Along with fine-tuning your startup, an added benefit to bootstrapping is the additional value it brings in the eyes of investors. You don’t want to launch your press release until you have all your ducks in a row — including a clear picture of how your startup fills a need or solves a problem. For that reason, it is absolutely imperative that you monitor your visibility, your number of backlinks, and those of your competitors on a daily (or at least weekly) basis. Almost all festival attendees had experienced the team and brand by the time they left the event. With that being said, you must also “GO BIG” or at least fake it, but never lose the illusion that you have put all available resources into the activation. Bootstrapping allows startups to make valuable mistakes and learn from those mistakes, but while avoiding significant losses in investments. Potential investors are more likely to invest in a startup with the ability to comprehensively analyze, communicate, and justify their current and future goals. If you have a friend and haven’t heard from her in a number of months, you might write her off of your list of close friends. If you don’t hear form a person for a long time, you are likely to forget them and might become less open to sharing their content or work with them in the future.

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