Building a startup right from the scratch is remarkable and takes a whole lot of effort. Unfortunately, many bootstrapped startups are unable to sustain themselves in this competitive market. No, we am not trying to make you insecure or anything. That said, you do need to know what you are up against and what are the possible mistakes that can lead to this downfall. Going by the stats – one research indicates that as many as 75 percent of venture-backed companies never return cash to investors.

“Successful bootstrapping is all about discipline and stamina”


What Can You Do To Turn Around This Situation? How To Succeed as a Startup

For one, the important thing is to learn from other people’s mistakes and successes. For example, there might be some common mistakes that everyone is making. So, analyse the mistakes that you must avoid and the strategies that turned out to be successful and draw attention from them.

Today we are going to talk about some of the most successful and effective Marketing Strategies that you can espouse for the success of your bootstrapped startup.

“Positioning” Is a Marketing Management Aid Which Refers To: Consumer Opinion – You Must Find the Right Audience First

person holding white and blue click pen
Image Source: Melanie Deziel

It is impossible for bootstrapped startups to splurge on a public relations agency. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t take things in your own hand. To start off, focus on the prospects or the target audience whose problems you can solve because, in the end, it’s the people who are gonna pay you to solve their problems. 

So before anything, go out in the market and analyze the pain points that are directly relatable to your brand or product. Many businesses have a wonderful strategy but the only problem is that they are pitching to the wrong audience. 

Here’s another example. How many of you used to watch The Daily Show all the time with Jon Stewart? When the host Jon Stewart said goodbye to his show, they witnesses that nearly 40% of Jon’s previous audience demographic has stopped watching it. It’s not that the new host wasn’t good. But the thing is that he missed the memo – that is, he did not cater to their existing audience and instead, focused on doing his own new thing. 

So before you move onto anything else including your strategies, scaling process, prospecting efforts and more – make sure that you find the right audience and the appropriate market for your product. 

Submit Your Startup to Startup Directories and Review Sites

People often tend to neglect this one without realizing the massive potential such platforms have. One of the best marketing strategies for bootstrapped startups is to simply piggyback on other platforms. And it’s not even a gamble because most of these platforms are pretty much free. 

Why do you need to submit your startup to these directories?

When you are pressed for funds, you surely can’t afford to get much of press coverage yourself. And this is where these startup directories benefit you. These directories are the best places to get feedback, early adopters and massive press coverage.

This is the way to put your product out there for your audience to see and discover. Plus, by the time you have gathered the means to market your product or brand probably, it would’ve already gained some traction – thanks to these directories. 

Target the Viral News Because Viral Marketing Is Least Likely To Occur via Uninteresting Stories

It may seem confusing at first but hear us out. Rather than calling from person to person in order to pitch your product, why not find out what’s viral and target that. 

For example, a few years back when the famous clothing store GAP unveiled its logo, people had two reactions. Either they were outraged or simply amused – it was that bad. And we don’t blame them.

99design, a startup that helps people crowdsource new logo designs was just trying to establish its foothold in the market at that time came out and grabbed this opportunity with both hands. So the company very astutely created a competition on its platform where people had to come forward and pitch better logo designs for GAP.  

This helped them generate a whole lot of traffic, something they could have hardly achieved without leveraging a piece of news that was already viral. So, look around and check whether you can also capitalize on something that is already a trending topic. 

Word-of-Mouth Referrals From Early Customers Builds More Brand Loyalty

three men in jacket laughing at each other
Image Source: Jed Villejo

This can’t be said enough times – you have to continuously engage with your existing customers. First and foremost, it’s obvious that the more you engage your customers, the longer they will continue to avail your services. But this is not the only reason. 

These satisfied customers are the ones who are going to bring in more customers by creating a buzz about your brand in the market. This is another form of referral, that is word-of-mouth referral. While you are at it, don’t forget to take feedback from the existing customers that ultimately results in the betterment of your product or service.

Learn How To Promote a New Product and Your Brand at Various Events & Exhibitions

Despite the tech revolution and all, some people still enjoy doing business on a one to one basis. It’s obvious that one can’t have the same conversation online or on the phone as they can have in person. Thus, try to attend the events and local meet-ups that are related to your domain and find out more about your competitors and target audience. 

The best part about these events is that you get to directly pitch your product in front of your audience. Secondly, you can see what your competitors are doing better than you. 

Also, why not organize your own event? It will be even better than attending another event. This marketing strategy may take more effort, but it can help you gain an unsurmountable authority in the market.

Build Connections With Social Media Influencers (or Become One Yourself)

We can’t stress it enough, but please never underestimate the potential of social media influencers for bootstrapped startups. In fact, in this day and age, they are turning out to be even more influential than the real A-list celebrities. According to the statistics, non-celebrity bloggers are actually 10x more likely to influence the purchase than an actual celebrity. And it is for this that big brands pay millions to their celebrity brand ambassador. 

While the big-shot celebrities have a wider outreach, these social media influencers boast of their own loyal fan base. Take a scroll through social media and have a look at the legion of followers some of these social media influencers enjoy. The plus point is that they are normal, regular people which makes them more believable and trustworthy. 

So, connect with a popular social media influencer in your domain and ask them to promote their product, or review your product to generate early traction. Developing a relationship with these guys and gets bootstrapped startups up and running effectively quickly.

Partner With Another Brand That Is More Successful and Well Established

Partnerships could be enormously defining the moment for your business. When you come together with an established firm, the validity of your business increments as they coexist with you in putting the word out about the benefits your business offers.When you co-brand with an already famous, or at least a brand a has some existing follower base then you automatically adopt their following base. This way, you can build awareness and build up your business without spending much. 

Take GoPro & Red Bull, for example. They both are poles apart – the former sells portable cameras while the latter is an energy drink. However, one thing that is common between them is that they both fall under the ambit of lifestyle brands. Therefore, GoPro and Red Bull have very successfully collaborated with each other many a times based on this common point. As a result of this collaboration, both the brands have benefited tremendously resulting in them becoming a household name. 

Churn Out Useful Content That Is Engaging and Relevant to Your Target Audience

Since you are hard pressed for cash, you can’t do a lot when it comes to promoting your brand and generating traction to your website. But you still have content marketing to fall back on. Make sure that you write the content that is relevant to your audience and something that can help them out realistically. 

However, people tend to overlook some common content marketing mistakes which might prove to be a problem for your business. The important thing to remember is that don’t make it promotional – your blog and other content writing platforms are not the platforms where you should be talking about your company’s services and its plus points.Instead, churn out useful content that gives actionable tips to your audience which might compel them into sharing your content and thus increasing more traffic. 

Leveraging Consumers To Promote a Product or Service Is Known as Viral Marketing for Your Brand

Try to make your content viral so that it will directly benefit your brand. It is like a long haul achievement that can be accomplished just through benefit showcasing. That is, make informative videos or organize Webinars to tell the people why your brand is beneficial and worth trying out. 

For example, YouTube is a tremendous asset when it comes to video marketing. It not only helps in audience engagement, but also educative content keeps the audience intact, rise in subscribers and also increase traffic to your website. YouTube has helped brands to create a firm position for themselves in the industry which couldn’t have been achieved otherwise.


So these were some of the most effective marketing strategies that a bootstrapped startup can adopt. Moreover, don’t forget that bootstrapped startups can create a niche trend in the industry only when it explores different avenues with products or services that don’t already exist. 

Innovation must be the soul of all bootstrapped startups. Marketing the product doesn’t come with a hefty price when the product is exceptional and when there is a scope of creating a tremendous buzz about the product in the market.

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