Serial entrepreneur. also: guerrilla marketer, addicted to startups, and committed to growing Michigan technology sector.
As the others mentioned, marketing on a tight budget can be very challenging. But I have had success with tighter budgets than yours. Here's what I would consider.
1) Assuming a 40 hour week, you're budgeting $400/week, $1600/month. Rather than bring in a $10/hr level marketer, bring in a higher quality marketer for more pay and less hours. You would be amazed at what an experienced marketer can do in just a handful of hours.
2) Shift your expectations slightly from "strategy and implementing" to only "strategy". For a $50 Clarity call, you can get a strategist to get you started in the right direction. If you build a relationship with the strategist, you can check back in whenever you need the guidance.
3) Look at existing tools that you can leverage to help with implementation. Inbound marketing tools will help you establish a strong presence for relatively less effort. A Clarity expert can point out a few tools based on your requirements.
4) Lean on partner resources as much as you can. Sponsor content on their blogs. Contribute at their conferences. Leverage their existing channels and marketing resources to get your company out to a larger audience. This is one of the most cost effective steps you can take.
5) Find a way to open up more money for marketing in the future. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows about it, then what's the point?
I know you are looking to bring in a great marketing talent right now, but you might have to scratch and claw your way for a little while. I would strongly recommend getting on a call with a Clarity expert to discuss your requirements in more detail. They will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration in the long run.
If you would like to chat more, I'm here to help! Otherwise, give one of these fine experts who responded a chance.
One of my startups leveraged mobile videoconferencing to provide real time coaching lessons. We implemented https://tokbox.com. It is platform independent, relatively easy to implement, and highly scalable.
They have plenty of customer success stories to back it up as well. https://tokbox.com/customer-stories
If you have additional questions around implementation, I am here to chat.
Best of luck!
Your interpretation of Facebook's ad platform is pretty accurate and it may not be the best fit for your purposes. This may not be the answer you're looking for, but I don't feel that traditional FB and Twitter ads offer the quality or quantity of leads you are looking for.
Given that you are hyper focused on location, you want to target groups / events / organizations in your area. You are targeting small business owners so you may want to target professional networks like LinkedIn. Posting into local groups or running ads should be more successful than FB and Twitter. You are targeting business minded people while they are on a business minded network.
I'm sure you are targeting ad networks because they are automated and light touch. But you may want to look at listing on websites like https://www.sharedesk.net/.
Lastly, there's always a good old fashioned Craigslist post! :)
If you would like to talk more about your options, feel free to give me a call. Best of luck!
It's never too late to develop your first app. The most successful companies/apps are started by people with unique perspectives targeting like minded customers. As a 41 year old, you certainly have insights and perspectives that others do not.
Are you looking to develop the app, yourself, or are you considering bringing in a developer? Either route is possible, but the latter is much more time effective. There are plenty of programs designed to pair visionaries (like you) with technically minded people (developers). Some programs are even free or offer development a reduced rate.
You are off to the right start by posting on Clarity. I would strongly recommend having a conversation with mentors on this site or in local networking groups. If you would like to talk about getting off to the right start, I would love to help.
Best of luck and keep hustling!
Without knowing the details about your start-up (sector / timelines / team / product or service) it is tough to give a concrete answer. But here are some good rules of thumb.
1) Know your story
Before any investor comes on board, you need a clear story to tell. What is your big idea and how does capital get you there?
2) Demonstrate traction
Proving that your product / service is successful on a smaller scale is a must have. A start-up without any traction is too dangerous for an investor and not interesting enough for crowdfunding.
If you would like to talk in more detail about how to tell a convincing story, or to demonstrate traction, give me a call.
The best way to “produce results faster” is to evaluate your current efforts and determine points of optimization. A/B test your existing messaging to see if you can squeeze more conversions out of your existing leads. Lead generation won’t mean much if you don’t have an effective way to convert those leads.
Long tail keywords are certainly a good place to start. Make sure your messaging on your site supports leads obtained through long tail keywords. If you are targeting an audience that is primed to purchase, you need to keep them primed as they move through your site.
I worked in a niche, enterprise software company for quite some time and ran into a similar dilemma. You're right that you will never win a bidding war against established players. That leaves you with 2 options. 1) Fight them where they are not or 2) Fight them where budget isn't a determining factor.
1) Fight them where they are not
Identify partners that are already providing value to your target audience. Determine how you can provide a joint value proposition with the partner to the customer. Sponsor content on their blogs / websites / events. Arm the partners with all the materials possible so they can generate and convert leads for you.
Leads generated by a trusted partner will greatly shorten your sales cycle. In my experiences, we observed 6+ month cycles without a partner involved and a <1 month cycle with partners involved.
2) Fight them where budget isn't a determining factor.
User groups or meetups are a great way to get in front of niche audiences. Attendees are more qualified than any keyword driven campaign can accomplish. Additionally, these meetups are typically less saturated by bigger players. It is your chance to become the voice of the people, rather than just another vendor.
The same logic applies for online forums. Obviously, forums are a collection of similarly motivated people. Identify the right forums and inject genuine content while engaging in other users’ content. If you have the time and ability to participate you will quickly become a thought leader in the niche. This is one of the lowest budget steps you can take to grow and convert quality leads.
Like I mentioned, I spent a long time in this niche software and spent a long time spinning my wheels. Fortunately I had enough time to experiment and implement strategies that yielded success. Hopefully this advice can help you shortcut the process!