To pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Bootstrapping means to make something out of nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. In the context of business, it means starting or expanding a company using just its generated revenue and the skills of the entrepreneur. And for many small construction or trade businesses and startups, bootstrap marketing is a necessity.
Are You Already Bootstrapping Your Business?
In contrast to bringing in capital investment or taking on lots of debt, bootstrapping uses creativity and low-cost techniques. So, if you’re building your business without borrowing lots of cash or outside investment, you’re already bootstrapping. You may have financed the initial stages of the business yourself, reinvested sales profits while keeping operating costs as low as possible. And your marketing may be limited, as the owner shoulders all the financial risk. But it is possible to explore some imaginative marketing options and still keep the costs down. Enter – bootstrap marketing.
Here’s what you can do – or more importantly what you should not do – to better bootstrap the marketing in your small business or trade company.
Don’t Try to be All Things to all People
At the beginning, it may be tempting to try to spread your net far and wide to catch as many potential customers as possible. But this often dilutes your message and misses your ideal market. Think about what you do best, and zero in on just those customers. For example, if you work in plumbing construction, you’ll want to market to commercial companies or industrial clients, and not necessarily residential premises or individual homeowners.
Social media is a really inexpensive, or free marketing tool, so make sure you’re using the same platforms to talk to your customers. You can create your own content, or inexpensively get professional assistance in content creation. Think Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, for easy-to-digest content and simple marketing.
Advertising Doesn’t Have to be Glossy
Print advertising and letterbox drops can be effective if targeting a small, local market, but costs for print runs can add up quickly. Advertising platforms such as Google AdWords can keep costs small and are easily controllable, with a pay-per-click pricing. You can also limit the amount of clicks you want to receive, by adding a ceiling amount per day.
Unless your new business needs a website with extraordinary, never-before-seen features, chances are that an off-the-rack, customisable site will do. Platforms such as Weebly, Squarespace or Wix are inexpensive ways of showcasing your business and giving you an online presence. And if you don’t have the time or skills to create one yourself, designers can use these platforms to make one for you inexpensively, that you can maintain and easily add to moving forward.
Industry Trade Shows
It can cost a lot to be an exhibitor at a trade show – especially when you’re just starting out. It can mean a pricey booth or kiosk and lots of shiny, hard copy, marketing material on hand.
It doesn’t, however, cost much to be an attendee, while still giving you the opportunity to network with prospective customers and check out what your competitors are doing.
Blog, Post & Comment
Share your news through the blog site on your website – a free site like WordPress can make this easy. Commenting on other company’s blogs and social media posts is also a free way of getting your name and promoting your services to customers. But make sure your input is worthwhile and positive, and complementary (and complimentary) to their post or ideas. You don’t have to agree with everything that is said, but you’ll not do your new business any favours if you try and trump a competitor’s post. Complimentary ideas include positively commenting on other posts from businesses in other trades or congratulating a similar, more established company on work they’ve won or completed.
Finding mutually beneficial partnerships means you have less marketing work to do. Partner with complementary businesses to co-promote your services, with the promise that you’ll do the same as you grow your business. For example, as a plumber, you may have several carpenters that you enjoy working with. Marketing your services together and using each other as referrals could bring in more work.
Ask for Feedback
With each job you complete, ask for feedback. Build a list of customers or prospective customers you can communicate with directly and use these testimonials to talk with them through a newsletter, on your website and on social media.
Talk with the Experts
Sometimes it can pay dividends, to pay the experts. Work out exactly where your time is best spent and what your strengths are and focus on those. Teaming up with experts in other areas, can save you time and help stretch that marketing budget further and more effectively.
If you would like to get more advice about how bootstrap marketing could further your new trade or construction business, contact the team at Consultya on 0428 20 40 50 or email@example.com.