Marketing is like getting your first job. You need experience to get the job but you need the job to get experience.
The more and more I work with startups and small businesses the clearer the parallels become.
Hear me out.
When you're starting out in business what you really need is some great marketing to get the word out there and get your idea off the ground.
The trouble arises when you look at the costs and sustainability of creating and maintaining this great marketing. You need sales to generate income in order to pay for the marketing but to get the sales you need the marketing.
See the problem?
So, what can you do to get out of this sticky situation? Well, when you're just starting out it really pays to go back to basics and get old school. Hit the pavements, build those relationships, cold call. Marketing is not a magic pill that gets you out of doing the hard yards. It's a great way to scale and enhance your business but it's very difficult to cut through all the noise online with little or not budget.
If you've got an online store, don't poo-poo the idea of being stocked in phyiscal stores and having a market stall. Send your product to micro-influencers (people with 5k - 20k followers), pitch yourself to blogs and make the most of what social media has to offer. It's still possible to get some great engagement on instagram, pinterest and twitter. When it comes to Facebook though, it's very hard to get a decent result without at least a small budget.