The cheapest way to promote your startup is by going to lot of meetups and writing about your startup everywhere. However here is a list of few known methods of online promotion of your startup.
1. Influencer Outreach: Search and reach out to several influencers on existing networks (Twitter/LinkedIn) first get acquainted, talk to them about your product/service, if they love what you are doing either you work on an affiliate marketing commission or create a brand advocacy program and pay them (This will however take time and you need really great sharp networking and negotiating skills to pull this off).
2. Creating exclusivity and scarcity: People always love exclusivity and if they like this a combination of that with a lack is deadly. But for this to work your product/service needs to be really great and then deploy social networks to let people know about this, you can do this in several ways:
- You need your closest friends + team to support you to message their friends on their networks (remember the offer has to be really compelling)
- Build a strong email list, you could use LinkedIn’s connections export or Gmail contacts of both your personal lists and your closest friends as well (this should be a considerable amount – 1000 +) then choose an email marketing software (mailchimp or sendy) and create atleast 4 sets of emails within a time interval of 15 days
3. Run contests on social media(but ensure its done right and the reward is great (no simple gift-voucher) – There are various versions (caption the photo, slogan, guess who….) of it as well many apps that will help you do this, this is a very powerful way to gain traction and get people to know your startup.
4. Reach-out through comments and posts: Select the groups and forums that represent your target audience and comment on the existing posts in the form of answers, suggestions, ideas, appreciation…) and when people like your comment they will surely be quick to learn more and hence your Startup ( Be sure to ensure your profile has a clear mention of your Startup).
5. Give-aways: It could be a simple yet a powerful ebook that would just make your target audience feel smarter and better about their lives, you could design it your powerpoint and convert it into a pdf to start with and then host it on your site with a simple landing page that collects name and email ID and link this back to your email marketing app (Mailchimp/sendy).
6. Your own product: You could build the traction within your own product by asking your target audience to invite their friends (dropbox) and get rewarded (more space) or find their friends and feel belonged.
7. Get Listed: There are several product and startup listing forums, get listed there and when people search for a certain product/service your startup will turn up in search results.
8. Reach out to journalists/bloggers: This however is very country specific, however you must build a great network and reach out them as content curators/generators either by consistently providing stories about a topic that is mutually interesting and making business sense and you will get some space with a line or two written about your startup.
9. Meetups and Sponsorship: Be present in meet ups where you will find your target audience, sponsor powerful mega-conferences or events, event a small amount will make a big difference of meeting your target audience in the same room (However you might want to have a great follow-up strategy after you exchange cards).
10. Explainer Videos: No need to maintain all the social networks rather than YouTube channel, since its has become 2nd largest search engine now. Reduces spending on various purpose at various situation. Make once and use it for years. Presentations, fund raising, sales meetings, social media campaigns, exhibitions, stalls, and even in HR desk for induction & interview sections. Which are very attractive & viral in nature, increases traffic & make the people mind to buy your product/service very soon.