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Growing your startup with a $0 marketing budget

The one thing I hear from most startups, is they are in the need of more money to grow and get users. I would argue this point all the time, and my response to them is if you get this money right now, how will you grow? Most of the founders don’t have a plan or have not done enough research on who their targeted customer might be. Which essentially leads to a huge waste of funds when founders start marketing.

Team expansion with Maya

ABSTRACT: I wanted to elaborate on some real-life experience on how we grew our startup from 0 users. We initially wasted a few hundred dollars on digital advertising and it resulted in no results. Then came the point where we didn’t have any money for marketing at all, the budget was extremely tight. So we had to strategically figure out how we were going to grow or sink the ship.

OUR STORY: We took a step back and focused on a small group of people who can use our product. When we figured who the small group was, we needed to figure out their interest, behavior, favorite things to do, etc. So we got personal with those of people. Then targeted those areas manually, by becoming part of the spaces they share. The discovery of this came as a truck hit us because then we dropped little air messages in the groups and spaces and that organically grew. We placed ourselves in public forums in which our target user would be and spoke at events, presented our idea, and validated our approach.

Graphing with Maya

By doing it this way we were able to target our message to be cleaner and more understanding, we also were able to build a word to mouth growth in which we turned into a small model to increase growth. This was all happening with ZERO dollars spent. Also, another positive factor of doing customer discovery like this, actually makes marketing spend cheaper when it does come time to spend dollars. I get it you want to go big picture and get the most users, however, it starts with the tiniest steps which lead to the bigger ones.

SOME TIPS for founders in customer discovery trying to grow:

1) Drill your ideal customer to the smallest group you can that would find the most value.
2) Get personal with that group, learn where they eat, work, hobbies….
3) Get placed in the areas where your small group of users can see, or hear about you.
4) You can validate, and optimize your approach for higher conversions.

An list of potential marketing channels

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