As a sustainable start-up, it can be challenging to navigate the world of marketing while keeping costs low. However, with the right strategies and a bit of creativity, it is possible to create a marketing plan that is cheap and effective.
In this blog, we will be providing tips, tricks, and best practices for implementing a sustainable marketing plan without breaking the bank.
Social media is one of the most cost-effective and powerful tools available for sustainable start-up marketing. Platforms such as Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter can be used to reach a large audience without spending a lot of money.
By creating and sharing valuable, relevant and consistent content on social media platforms, sustainable startups can:
- Attract and engage a target audience
- Build brand awareness and loyalty
- Generate leads
Of course there are many ways to utilise social media without breaking the bank. Maximising the impact of social media marketing efforts on a budget is possible through the use of these strategies…
Joining and Creating Online Communities
Take advantage of your social media by joining or creating online communities that are related to your products or services. This could include groups dedicated to sustainability or eco-friendly products. You can connect with potential customers who are already interested in your products or services, and build relationships with them. Through this, you can also share your sustainability initiatives and educate the group members about your products and services.
Utilise the features and tools provided by social media channels such as Facebook groups, Instagram stories and Twitter polls. Startups can perform market research, receive feedback and create a sense of community which is imperative for building a successful business. For example, create a poll on your Instagram story to ask your followers what they would like to see next from your brand, such as a new feature or product!
One of the key benefits of online communities is the ability to share and educate others about your sustainability initiatives. This can include information about your recycling programs, energy-efficient practices, and sustainable products. By sharing this information, you can differentiate your brand from competitors and establish yourself as a leader in the sustainable space.
Highlighting Your Sustainability Initiatives
Social media is a powerful tool for building an eco-friendly sustainable brand. By sharing content that highlights your startup’s sustainability initiatives, such as recycling programs, energy-efficient practices or your sustainable products.
Highlighting your sustainability initiatives on social media is an effective way to establish your brand as a leader in the eco-friendly and sustainable space. This can help to differentiate your brand from competitors and attract customers who are interested in purchasing from socially responsible companies.
One way to spotlight your sustainability initiatives on social media is by sharing behind-the-scenes content that shows the steps your start-up is taking to be more eco-friendly. For example, you can share photos and videos of your recycling program, energy-efficient practices, or sustainable products. This can help to educate your followers about your initiatives and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
You can also leverage social media to share your sustainability initiatives with a wider audience. By tagging relevant organisations, influencers or individuals who are interested in your initiatives, you will be able to expand your reach and impact.
You can also use social media channels such as Instagram, Tiktok and Pinterest to showcase your sustainable products and services in a visually aesthetic way. This can help to attract new customers and increase the visibility of your sustainable products and services.
Attracting and Engaging Your Target Audience
One of the first steps in attracting and engaging your target audience is to understand who they are and what they want. By creating a business account on social media platforms, you have access to useful data analytics such as insights on audience demographics, engagement rates, and reach. You can use this information to optimise your social media strategy and create content that resonates with your target audience.
Creating a buyer persona can also be helpful in understanding your target audience and their needs. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, and it helps you to understand their demographics, behaviour, motivations, and pain points. By creating a buyer persona, you can create content that is tailored to your target audience and increase the chances of attracting and engaging them.
Take the opportunity to use social media as a tool for customer service and building a loyal customer base. By having an active presence on social media platforms, you can respond to customer inquiries, complaints and feedback in a timely manner. This will help build trust and loyalty with customers. You can also share your positive customer testimonials and reviews, as a start-up, you can demonstrate the value and quality of your products and services.
Utilise Free Tools and Resources
Making use of tools and resources that are available for free is a great way for your sustainable start-ups to market their business on a budget. Whilst many sites ask for a monthly payment, there are some useful and effective free tools out there!
A great free tool is Canva, a graphic design platform that can help you create professional-looking marketing materials like social media posts, infographics and videos. It offers a wide range of templates, images and icons that can help you create eye-catching graphics for your brand.
Another free resource that can be extremely valuable for sustainable start-ups is email marketing. Platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer free plans that allow you to send emails to a limited number of subscribers and track the success of your campaigns. Email marketing is an effective way to keep in touch with your community and provide them with updates on your business and new products or services.
Try Google My Business, a free listing service offered by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By setting up a business listing, you can help potential consumers find you easily, and provide them with important information such as your business hours, location and contacts.
Another free resource that can be valuable for sustainable start-ups is Google Trends. This tool allows you to see how often a specific search term is entered into Google, and also how it’s trending over time. By using Google Trends, you can identify hot topics in your industry and create content that is more likely to be shared and engaged with.
There are many free online courses and webinars available that can help you learn more about sustainable start-up marketing. Platforms like Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer a wide range of courses on topics like digital marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing. These resources can help you to develop the skills you need to market your business effectively.
Building relationships and connecting with others is essential when designing a cost-effective marketing strategy for your sustainable start-up.
Networking plays a crucial role in building a sustainable brand and establishing partnerships. By building relationships with like-minded businesses and organisations, you can collaborate on sustainability initiatives and gain access to resources and expertise that you might not have initially. Connecting with industry experts and thought leaders enables valuable insights into sustainable business practices.
Building Partnerships and Relationships
Networking events provide opportunities for you to connect with potential partners, customers, and investors, and to learn about industry trends and best practices. By building relationships with other businesses, industry experts, and potential customers, you can increase visibility, generate leads, and gain valuable insights into the market. One way to network on a budget is by attending industry events and conferences, such as trade shows, and meetups. Brands Lush and Lazy Oaf show us just how it’s done with their ‘Self Service’ collaboration! The cosmetic company, Lush has taken an extreme approach in not having social media sites. However, the business collaborates with other sustainable businesses to get exposure and to build those important relationships that get their name out there!
Additionally, you can also join online communities and groups, such as LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups that are related to their industry, and participate in discussions and share their expertise. Moreover, you can also join local business associations or chambers of commerce, which can provide access to valuable resources, such as mentorship, training and networking events.
Utilising referral marketing is a great and affordable networking strategy for your sustainable start-up. By encouraging satisfied customers to refer their friends and family, you can increase your reach and acquire new customers at a lower cost than traditional marketing methods. This can be done through referral programs or referral incentives, such as discounts.
Networking with Local Creatives and Events
Try networking with local creatives can be a great cost-effective strategy for your sustainable start-up. By creating relationships with local artists, designers, and photographers, you can access affordable and high-quality creative services that can help to enhance your branding and marketing efforts.
For example, local photographers can provide professional photography services for your website or social media content, this can help in showcasing your products and services in an attractive and engaging way. Local artists and designers can create unique and eye-catching graphics, illustrations, and other visual assets that can help to enhance your brand and marketing materials. A local brand has done just that! Take it easy (a family-run indie film lab based in Leeds) have collaborated with Donzo a brewing company to produce “The ideal beer to go out shooting film with” – a perfect collaboration for both brands to get their name out there!!
Networking can be done through volunteer work or mentorship programs. By joining a local non-profit organisation that aligns with your company’s values, you can not only give back to the community but also network with other individuals and business owners that are passionate about the same cause. For example join the Creative Mentor Network, an organisation working towards a more inclusive creative industry!
Another way to network on a budget is through hosting networking events, such as workshops, meetups, and webinars. By hosting and participating in these types of events, you can share your knowledge and expertise with others, build relationships with potential customers and partners, and gain valuable insights into their market. Hosting webinars or workshops can also be a cost-effective way to build your personal brand and promote your startup while providing value to your target audience.
Building a community is a key component in any successful marketing strategy. By creating a loyal and engaged community of customers, industry experts, and supporters, you can promote your brand, generate leads, and drive long-term business growth in a cheap and affordable manner.
Increasing Brand Awareness and Loyalty
First, building a community can help to increase brand awareness and loyalty. By creating a loyal and engaged community of customers, industry experts, and supporters, you can promote their brand and generate leads more effectively. Customers who feel connected to a brand or community are more likely to be loyal and make repeat purchases.
Another way to increase brand awareness and loyalty is by actively engaging with your community. This can include responding to comments, hosting Q&A sessions, and creating opportunities for members to provide feedback and share their thoughts. By actively engaging with your community, you can build stronger relationships with your customers and create a sense of trust and credibility with them. Sophie, creator of Pretty Little Marketer has created a strong community on social media with 47.3k followers on Instagram and 126.3k followers on Linkedin, she actively engages with her audience and regularly hosts webinars and Q&A sessions. Sophie has perfectly demonstrated how to successfully increase her brand loyalty!
Another way to increase brand awareness and loyalty is by creating a rewards program for your community members. This can include offering discounts, exclusive offers, and other perks to members who are active in your community. By creating a rewards program, you can incentivise your community members to be more engaged and active, which can help to increase brand awareness and loyalty.
Authenticity, Transparency and Honesty
Building a community can also help to create a sense of trust and credibility with customers. By creating a space for customers to share their thoughts and feedback, startups can demonstrate their commitment to transparency and honesty, which can help to build trust and credibility with customers.
By forming an engaged and loyal community, you can generate buzz and word-of-mouth marketing more effectively and at a lower cost than other marketing methods. When consumers feel connected to a particular brand or community they are more likely to recommend that company or product to others. This is demonstrated by the clothing brand Patagonia, with their community Patagonia Action Work where they “connect committed individuals to organisations working on environmental issues in the same community.” Not only have they displayed transparency in how this side of the business works but they have created a community around a shared value of environmental stewardship, leading to increased customer loyalty and advocacy for the brand.
By fostering a sense of belonging and shared values among your customers, you can create a powerful marketing tool that is both cost-effective and efficient. This is because people are more likely to trust and recommend products or services from brands that align with their own values and beliefs.
Creating a space for customers to share their thoughts and feedback is a key element of building trust and credibility with customers. By allowing customers to share their thoughts and feedback, startups can demonstrate their commitment to transparency and honesty, which can help to build trust and credibility with customers. This can be done through various means such as creating a customer feedback form, hosting Q&A sessions, or creating a customer support group on social media.
Forming a strong community around your sustainable startup is about being authentic, transparent and honest. By fostering a sense of community, you create a loyal consumer base and drive long-term growth for your business. It is important to remember that building a community takes time and effort but with the correct approach it can be cost-effective and a powerful way to market your business.
Repurposing content is a cost-effective way for sustainable start-ups to market their business and reach a larger audience. By repurposing existing content, you can save time and resources while still creating valuable and engaging content for your community.
One way to do this without breaking the bank is by turning your blog posts into videos or podcasts. This can help reach a different audience who may prefer consuming content in a different format.
If this isn’t for you, take the key points from your blogs and create a series of social media posts or infographics to share on your social media channels.
You can also repurpose your content by turning it into a webinar or a presentation. This can be used to engage with your community in real-time and can also be used as an opportunity to gather feedback or answer questions. Additionally, you can also record the webinar and use it as a resource to share with your community.
Utilise social media by republishing your content on different platforms. For example, you can take a blog post and publish it on LinkedIn, or another platform that reaches a different audience. This can help you to reach a new audience and also increase your visibility on search engines.
Repurposing content is a cost-effective way for sustainable start-ups to market their business and reach a larger audience. By repurposing existing content, you can save time and resources while still creating valuable and engaging content for your community. There are many ways to repurpose content such as creating social media graphics, infographics, email newsletters, presentations, case studies and many more that can help you to reach a wider audience and also establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is undoubtedly a cheap and effective way for sustainable start-ups to drive traffic to websites and increase brand awareness. SEO involves optimising your website’s content and structure to make it more visible to search engines like Google.
One of the key elements of SEO is keyword research. By researching and using keywords that are relevant to your business, you can improve your website’s visibility on search engines. This can help to increase brand awareness and attract potential customers to your website.
Hashtags are a powerful tool and an easy way to start utilising SEO right now. They help increase reach and engagement on your social media
Another important aspect of SEO is optimising meta tags. Meta tags are HTML tags that provide information about a web page to search engines. These tags include meta titles, meta descriptions, and header tags. By optimising these tags, you can make your web pages more easily understood by search engines and improve your website’s visibility in search results.
Long-Term Strategy of SEO
SEO is also about making your website mobile-friendly. This can be done by using a responsive design, which will ensure that your website looks great on all devices. Additionally, search engines prefer mobile-friendly websites, so making your website mobile-friendly can help to improve your website’s visibility in search results.
Another reason why SEO is considered affordable is that it is a long-term strategy. Unlike paid advertising, which requires constant investment, the results of SEO can continue to drive traffic to your website even after the initial optimisation work has been completed. This means that the investment made in SEO can continue to pay dividends for a long time.
In addition to that, SEO is an ever-evolving field, with new techniques and strategies emerging all the time. This means that sustainable start-ups can always find new ways to improve their website’s visibility and reach a larger audience without having to spend a lot of money.
In summary, SEO is a cheap and affordable way for sustainable start-ups to drive traffic to their website and increase brand awareness. Many of the strategies and techniques used in SEO are free or low-cost and the tools and resources needed for SEO are also available for free.
Guerrilla marketing is a cost-effective and unconventional way for sustainable start-ups to increase brand awareness and reach a larger audience. The main goal of guerrilla marketing is to create a buzz and generate word-of-mouth promotion for a business. Guerrilla marketing campaigns are typically low-cost and rely on creativity and surprise to capture the attention of the target audience.
One form of guerrilla marketing is the use of experiential marketing. This can include creating interactive and immersive experiences that engage the target audience and leave a lasting impression. For example, sustainable start-ups can create pop-up events or installations that showcase their products or services in an interesting and unique way.
Popular forms of guerrilla marketing are the use of street art and graffiti. Sustainable startups can use street art and graffiti to create visually striking and thought-provoking messages that grab the attention of passersby (of course, make sure you have permission for this). This can be a low-cost way to reach a large audience and create a memorable brand message.
Sustainable start-ups can also use guerilla marketing to create buzz by creating stunts or pranks that catch the attention of the public. This can include creating flash mobs or creating unexpected events that are interesting and newsworthy.
One popular technique of guerrilla marketing is the use of viral marketing. This can include creating shareable content such as videos or images that have the potential to be shared widely on social media. By creating content that is interesting, funny, or thought-provoking, sustainable start-ups can increase their brand awareness and reach a larger audience without incurring significant advertising costs. UNICEF did just that, with their ‘Dirty Water Campaign’ where they used vending machines that dispense “dirty” water, with the goal of drawing attention to the poor quality of water that many people are forced to consume.
Another form of guerrilla marketing is the use of ambient marketing. This type of marketing involves placing ads in unexpected or unusual places. For example, a sustainable start-up could place ads on park benches, bus stops, or elevators, to capture the attention of the target audience in a unique and unexpected way. This can be a low-cost way to reach a large audience and create a memorable brand message.
It is important to keep in mind that guerrilla marketing requires a lot of creativity and planning, as well as a deep understanding of the target customers. Sustainable start-ups should also consider the legal and ethical implications of their marketing campaigns, and make sure that their campaigns do not violate any laws or regulations.
- Social media is a cost-effective and powerful tool for sustainable start-up marketing. Platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter can be used to reach a large audience without spending a lot of money.
- Joining and creating online communities related to your products or services can also help to connect with potential customers, share sustainability initiatives and educate them about your products and services.
- Highlighting your sustainability initiatives on social media can establish your brand as a leader in the eco-friendly and sustainable space and differentiate it from competitors.
- Networking is a cost effective tool and plays a crucial role in building a sustainable brand and establishing partnerships.
- It is important to actively engage with the community, create a rewards program, and be authentic, transparent, and honest.
- Repurposing content can help reach a new audience and increase visibility on search engines and helps keep things on a budget.
- SEO is a cost-effective way for sustainable startups to increase website traffic and brand awareness.
- Guerrilla marketing campaigns are typically low-cost and rely on creativity and surprise to capture the attention of the target audience.
Take your sustainable start-up to new heights! It’s time to revamp your marketing strategy and set yourself apart in the green movement.
Let’s make it a reality. Email us and let’s chat about unleashing your full potential!