Low on Budget? How to Brand Yourself as a Thought Leader in Your Industry

When you have a great product to sell, is it only the value proposition of the product that entices the buyer, especially when it is new on the market?

The answer lies in personal or self-branding, which new-age entrepreneurs are using to be one up their competitors by building repute and establishing an online presence. This opens up the door to business growth and development and sets them apart from their peers.

Look around and you’ll find examples aplenty, where co-founders of startups are leaving no stones unturned to become a brand everyone reckons with. They find ways to connect with their target audience on several platforms with various tactics. The audience, in return, is happy to connect with them at different levels such as directly shooting their queries directly or getting involved in a discussion. That’s the level of engagement guaranteed by personal branding, which eventually culminates into the success of their startups.

While there are several routes to an infallible personal branding, here are our top picks that’ll serve the same purpose but in a budget-friendly manner.

1. Use Blogging as a Tool

 

Blogging is one of the most powerful tools to get started on branding. It’s an exercise that’ll give you unlimited creative information, which you can use to write dense, information-laden write-ups. Make sure that the information used in the write-ups are useful to the readers, speaking of which, you also need to ensure that the blog is promoted to the right people!
Joel Gascoigne, the co-founder of Buffer frequently blogs about his takeaways from his journey as an entrepreneur and how to build a strong startup culture.

 

Similarly, Gary Vaynerchuck is another name to reckon with, offers advice to entrepreneurs and posts about social media marketing, storytelling as well as the art of the hustle.

There are many blogging platforms, which lets you create an account for free. All you need is to get a domain and start voicing your opinion right away. And to increase the footfalls, don’t forget to post regularly and promote the blogs on social media platforms.

Platforms to publish WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, Weebly, Squarespace, Joomla or Ghost.

2. Be an Active Member on Answering Websites like Quora

 

Q&A websites like Quora help you establish yourself as an expert, drive traffic to your blog and get more mileage for your startup. Instead of limiting yourself to answering questions once in a blue moon, you need to stay active on the platform.
It all begins with creating your profile and adding as many details as you can. Next, follow the categories that are relevant to your startup’s niche to know the latest questions asked by the users. On the same lines, you can follow people who’re from the industry and are tremendously popular with the community.

You might just want to test the waters a bit, so go ahead and answer a few, simple questions. This will help you gain enough confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be able to start answering questions regularly!

3. Leverage Your LinkedIn Presence

 

 

LinkedIn is rapidly evolving into a platform where startup co-founders and founders regularly write, share or engage with various posts. Make the most of the platform by creating an All-Star profile, which not only talks about your achievements/accomplishments but also about your startup. It’s also important to have your startup’s LinkedIn page created to increase your visibility.

Along with these, don’t forget to connect with peers or anyone who’s relevant for knowledge sharing and exploring business opportunities by sending them a custom invitation.

Also, join some groups where you can share informative content and post comments to interact with the audience there. You can do this for the posts on the feed as well. Don’t know which posts to comment on? Use the search button to get sorted!

4. Be Omnipresent on Facebook

 

Facebook is another platform that’s huge and can help you make the most of your startup. With more than a million user base, the social media platform teems with startup owners and entrepreneurs looking forward to increasing their fan and follower count.

The question is, how?

For starters, you can opt for Facebook’s paid promotion feature that lets you reach your target audience. They have some economical packages using which you can promote your page or individual posts and gain traction on the platform.
And just like LinkedIn Groups, you can also become a part of Facebook’s Groups where you can participate in discussions pertaining to your industry.

Last, but not the least, go for Facebook instant articles, which will show up on your target audience network’s newsfeeds. Here again, you can take the help of paid promotions for quicker results.

 

5. Host Twitter Chats

 

Twitter chats are basically conversations that center around a particular hashtag on the platform. More often than not, these hashtags are the ones that are in trend and pave the way to easily interact and engage with the masses.
It’s an interesting way to connect with your fans and followers, understand their pain points and subtly promote your brand or business.

Since Twitter chats are public, recurring and based on specific topics, you can easily use them on a regular basis.
To make the most of this unique feature, you need to host a chat right away as this is a great exercise in enhancing your social media presence, getting instantaneous feedback/provide support and build a community that supports your venture.

In fact, even LinkedIn has its own Twitter chat called #LinkedInChat! You can get the hang of existing chats by searching for them. When you’re ready, come up with a plan such as choosing a unique hashtag, setting the day and time for the chat, find some moderators, add new members and start the discussion. While you’re at it, don’t forget to promote the chat on other platforms as well as summarize the different parts of chat for quick reference to the newly added members.

 

6. Youtube Videos

 

YouTube is yet another channel, which is immensely popular with new age business owners and entrepreneurs.
It enables you to create a wide range of videos. However, your main focus needs to be solving the problems of the end-users (via your product/service) by using the platform instead of being blatantly promotional.

After a certain stage, you may want to use videos not just to educate and inform, but also give a sneak peek into your startup’s culture, your working methodologies, how you address problems in real life and so on and so forth.
Remember, the more candid you will be in your efforts, the better your audience will relate and thereafter, connect with you on the video sharing channel.

And guess how much does it cost? Zilch!

All you need is a workable camera – it can be your phone camera as well, ensure the audio quality is up to the mark and add a suitable heading, description, and other details.

 

To Sum Up

 

For startups who’re looking forward to leverage branding online, these are some of the most budget-friendly opportunities that are already knocking on the door. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give these a try and knock your competitors out!

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7 Ways To Steal Competitor’s Audience Before Launching Your Startup

Driven by the success of several unicorn startups, budding entrepreneurs are launching their own ventures. No wonder, startups are growing at a breakneck speed even though 50% of new businesses end up failing within five years!

But then, keeping a close watch over your competitors can help you effectively win the race. While this helps you make business predictions and take better business decisions, you can’t ignore an important part out – the target audience.

Businesses often fail because they end up targeting the wrong audience.

Or because, they don’t have the audience to begin with.

And like Rome, target audiences are not build in a day. But not when you can find out a strategy to “steal” your competitor’s audience even before you launch your startup.

Here are amazing marketing ideas that come to your rescue any day for rising above competition by beating them in their own game:

1. Check Out Their Brochures

 

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Brochures are marketing collaterals that are used by almost every business, including your competition. Collect brochures and start analyzing their brochure design and find flaws in them.  Skim through several brochure templates and samples and see what could work better, or what is it that they lack but you don’t. Use the knowledge to your advantage and create a better brochure for your startup that covers all the shortcomings of your competition.

Make your brochure stand out and create a great first impression by using these tips:

  • Know who’s going to read the brochure
  • Give readers only the important material
  • Keep it simple and clear
  • Choose a theme that is in-sync with your startup
  • Use high quality photos in your brochures
  • Add photos and images wherever necessary
  • Use negative space to make the content readable
  • Don’t be experiment and come up with innovative designs
  • Put an emphasis on the headlines
  • Highlight the call-to-actions
  • Don’t settle for low-quality papers
  • Clearly mention your contact details
  • Get inspired with some of the most impactful brochure ideas presented by Canva.

2. The Dummy Client Trick

 

This marketing idea is a no-brainer. Act as a dummy client and make an enquiry or schedule an appointment with your competitor’s firm. Find out how they explain their services to a customer be it over a telephonic call, email or face-to-face. This will help you asses the areas where they are clearly lacking. Keep the details handy and use the knowledge to your advantage to better customer interaction for your startup or your elevator pitch.

Visit as many competitors as you can to get a better perspective and note what are the mistakes they are making and don’t repeat them. Simple!

3. Follow Your Competitor at Events

 

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Events such as seminars, conferences, workshops and exhibitions are frequented by entrepreneurs. Visit these events and in a stealth mode, notice your competitor. If they have an exhibit stand in the events, take a closer look at it. Find out who are thronging their stalls, observe which are the people they are networking with and so on and so forth. Similarly, watch their moves – are they making a presentation or giving away freebies? Are they attending all the seminars or just a selected few?

You may want to interact with the same set of people your competitors interact with and get their contact details as they may turn out to be your competitor’s and therefore, your potential customers and perspective clients.

In addition to this, events will also help your startup gain more exposure from the who’s who in the business. You’ll also be better prepared and more confident about the next event that you attend in the future. Now that’s a great marketing idea!

4. Shift Focus to Offline Advertising

 

Digital marketing is the word for startups due to the advantages it brings to the table. It’s an inexpensive medium and they can easily reach out to millions of target audience at one go. But this doesn’t mean you should completely overlook offline or traditional modes of advertising your business.

Survey the posters and billboards across the city, where your competitors have put up their advertisements. If you find a spot they missed, use the space to advertise your startup. However, you also need to ensure that the hoardings are at a place where they are clearly visible by the onlookers. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste of your resources. Also, if you give your billboards an interesting twist, then there’s no prize for guessing who’ll win the race!

The same goes for advertising in the newspapers and magazines. Observe where are they printing their ads and target the same/similar publications. Follow suit with television advertising and also, advertising in various events as well.

Some other marketing ideas to win offline include:

  • Use an object as a piece of advertisement
  • Opt for Guerilla marketing techniques
  • Create flyers and distributing them at places visited by the target audience
  • Running a radio commercials to get more people know about your startup
  • Placing a television ad for local/international customers
  • Go for direct mailers

There are examples galore, which show how companies have broken the norms and created spectacular advertising, which caught on:

  • Beverage giant Coca Cola created a first-ever drinkable advertising campaign for its users. The campaign was split on traditional media and on online media, meant to target people of varied ages. There was Shazam – using which users could claim a drink or they just drank from a “drinkable” billboard. Either ways, it made an impact and won over the target audience.
  • In another unique Guerilla marketing campaign, Kelloggs Krave created a live art installation using nothing but cereals in San Diego comic con. Needless to say, it did grab the eyeballs of everyone present.
  • Nivea’s award-winning print ad includes a wristband that parents can attach to their children while they visit the beaches. Then, using an app, they can set a distance for them and get alerts when their kids wander off beyond that set limit.

5. SEO Competitor Analysis

 

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SEO competitor analysis is another mainstay of “spying” on your competitors and one of the best tools that you can use for this purpose is Aherfs. Used mainly as a backlink checker, it is in direct competition with several other analytics tools and also, with Moz and SEMRush.

It has several features and even more benefits. You need to wrap your head around it, if you’re just getting started in SEO and in no time, you’ll be able to use it as a pro! All you need to do is follow some easy steps and do your competitor analysis.
Apart from Aherfs, you can also use more SEO tools such as – Alexa, Infinitigraph, Moat, Simply Measured and FollowerWonk, for competitor analysis.

6. Stalk ‘Em on Social Media

 

We all know social media is where a major chunk of the target audience is. However, it is difficult to become an influencer on social media platforms and get millions of fans and followers for your account.

Stalking on social media is real. Brands and businesses often follow their competitors on social media to track their social media activities and know what, they can also steal their audiences without as much dropping a hint!

The process is easy:

  • Network aggressively – Start networking aggressively by reaching out to the customer audience of your competitors. Target the ones who belong to the same niche as your business and start interacting with them.
  • Know their activities – Find out all that you can about your competitor’s social media activities. What are the kinds of posts they frequently post on their pages, what is the time they post the most often, which posts get the most number of likes and shares from their followers etc. This will help you predict the kind of content your target audience will like to see on your pages too.
  • Don’t restrict to just one social media – Never restrict yourself to just one or a couple of social media channels. There are several options out there for you to explore and you can take your pick from any of them. For instance, you can also use Snapchat, Instagram and even Pinterest to make a connect with your target audience and do it better than your competitors.
  •  Gain important insights – Insights about potential customers such as which country do they belong to, what are their spending habits, what is their gender, what are their age groups are immensely useful. Figure this out for your competition and use it to your advantage.
  • Read their comments – Reading comments on various fan pages and your competitor pages can work wonders. You’ll get to know what your target audience likes and what do they dislike. You can use it to search for unsatisfied customers and those who have written negative comments and try to address their issues and convert them into your customers.

Follow their followers – Another important step you need to take on social media for stealing your competitor’s target audience is to follow their followers. A lot of them will also follow you back, therefore increasing your follower count. Easy!

7. Use Brand Mentions

 

Monitor your competitor brand mentions and try to understand how you can utilize the platforms with their brand mentions.  There are several tools that can be used to monitor brand mentions online. These include but are not limited to:

SocialMention – This tool brings several features that focus on everything right from blogs to videos. Using it is also very easy. All you need to do is enter a keyword or a company and it’ll tell you what’s being said about them across various social platforms. Also, it provides you an insight about how many times the mentions have been made. Don’t want to lag behind? You can also subscribe to its RSS feed.

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Complaint Search – An interesting addition to the list is Complaint Search. The tool from Go Fish Digital helps you learn what people are talking about a brand on various websites. This is what makes it an exceptional tool for be the fly on the wall and know what your competitors target audience is talking about it. You can use this tool to address the common concerns they have regarding the business and use it to enhance the services/products offered by your startup.

Cyfe – You can use Cyfe to monitor and track your competitor’s Twitter mentions, the Facebook posts, social searched and other relevant data. Using the tool, you can also create monitoring dashboards, which’ll give you a better insight. There’s a free plan, which you can opt for or settle for other plans, which are nominally priced.

Google Alerts – Get alerts in your inbox when the search engine finds a mention of the company on the web. While most companies use this tool to create alerts for their brands, you can take a different route and use it to keep a close watch over your competition! Set it to search your brand’s mentions and get detailed results that can be used for a detailed analysis. Apart from creating alerts for their name, you can also set the alerts for related keywords.

Similarly, you can take your pick from several other brand monitoring tools, which won’t burn a hole in your pocket and yet, get you insights about competitor brands.

Conclusion

 

These are eight different ways through which you can definitely steal your competitor’s audience and convert them to your own! Have any other clever marketing ideas on the same lines? Do let us know via your comments!

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There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum

There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don’t look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn’t anything embarrassing hidden in the middle of text. All the Lorem Ipsum generators on the Internet tend to repeat predefined chunks as necessary, making this the first true generator on the Internet. It uses a dictionary of over 200 Latin words, combined with a handful of model sentence structures, to generate Lorem Ipsum which looks reasonable. The generated Lorem Ipsum is therefore always free from repetition, injected humour, or non-characteristic words etc.

There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don’t look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn’t anything embarrassing hidden in the middle of text. All the Lorem Ipsum generators on the Internet tend to repeat predefined chunks as necessary, making this the first true generator on the Internet. It uses a dictionary of over 200 Latin words, combined with a handful of model sentence structures, to generate Lorem Ipsum which looks reasonable. The generated Lorem Ipsum is therefore always free from repetition, injected humour, or non-characteristic words etc.

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It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Why do we use it?

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

What is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.