The Seven Steps to Marketing Your eCommerce Startup Without Breaking the Bank

If you want your startup to be successful, you have to make sure that people know it exists. That’s why marketing is essential for new businesses, especially those using an ecommerce model. The internet has over 1.3 billion sites on it, so there are a lot of domains competing with yours for traffic. Marketing your startup effectively is the best way to make your site stand out, entice customers, and start generating the revenue you’ll need to become a thriving company.

marketing budget for eCommerce startup

That being said, not every startup has the budget required to pay for a marketing blitz, at least not in the conventional sense. However, that isn’t to say you can’t think outside the box—when it comes to reaching your audience and securing funding. The following are seven creative strategies we recommend to ecommerce startups who are struggling with the costs of marketing. Use these tips to market your brand on a budget, or increase the amount of available marketing capital you have without ever going near a bank.

  1. Learn the Key to Generating Word-of-Mouth Buzz: what’s your answer when people ask what you do? Do you have an elevator pitch ready to go, or do you mutter something vague about being an entrepreneur under your breath? If you want to get people talking about your brand, you have to build a compelling narrative around it. When you’re in the early stages of starting a business, it’s critical that you make it sound exciting to anyone who asks about it. Those people will be among the first to search for your company and end up on your landing page.
  2. Get Social Media Savvy: how active is your brand’s Facebook page? What about Twitter? Maintaining active accounts on the world’s largest social media platforms is an excellent way to let customers know you’re there. You don’t have to stick to posting on your own page, either. Comment as your page on public posts that are drawing a lot of attention. A single well-placed and inoffensive comment can win the admiration of hundreds (or even thousands) of potential customers, whose first impression of your brand will be a positive one.
  3. Become a Master Blogger: customers want to give their money to businesses that seem like authorities in their respective fields. The more you know about your products or services, the more you should be flaunting—um, we mean sharing—that knowledge. Studies show small businesses that blog more than 11 times per month have more than triple the traffic of those that don’t. If your startup is larger, you might want to consider blogging up to 16 times monthly.
  4. Offer E-Coupons: people love coupons. It’s an indelible truth of marketing since time immemorial. If you’re trying to build up your email list, consider offering a discount or special deal to each person who signs up. For a mere 10% off a single purchase, you could acquire a huge number of contacts who you’ll be able to reach time and again in the future.
  5. Lure Influencers to Your Side with Rewards: if you’re having difficulty coming up with the required number of blog posts per month to increase traffic, consider reaching out to influencers—social media users who already command impressive followings. Offering them free samples of your products or other rewards can compel them to generate buzz for you amongst their audiences.
  6. Supplement Your Marketing Budget with Crowdfunding: those of you who have your hearts set on paying for advertisements and other, more conventional types of marketing may need a creative way to raise money, so consider crowdfunding. Make a professional-looking campaign and include a video of your products or services in action. A lot of people will donate if you can get their interest this way, and offering prototypes as a reward never hurts.
  7. Apply for a Short-Term Working Capital Loan: if you want a more reliable source of funds, consider going to a private lender. Companies like Mulligan Funding will provide you with short-term working capital loans or lines of credit, which you can use to fund your marketing expenses. Better yet, such companies make the borrowing process faster and easier than most banks. You won’t have to put up your house as collateral, or wait months for approval—sometimes a one-page application and a personal credit check is all it takes.

Remember, as an ecommerce business your goal will be to increase traffic to your landing page—so some of your marketing budget should go towards making it as professional as possible. Use the tips above to raise money creatively, and to reach your audience in unique ways. You won’t be disappointed with the results.