9 Winning Marketing Strategies (and Why They Work)

You don't need to set aside a huge budget for marketing. These days, simple giveaways through atypical influencers on Instagram, YouTube, Vine and more can get you thousands of followers and potential customers.

A. Attend Industry Conferences and Trade Shows

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In our business (aviation fire safety), customers become educated about evolving threats and learn about new products at conferences and trade shows. Web and social media can play a role, but buyers rarely make decisions on web contact alone. Usually, they've heard of us from peers or from attending a conference where we spoke or an industry leader spoke on our behalf. - Ross Faith, SpectrumFX, Inc.

A. Give Your Work Away for Free

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The most effective form of marketing we created was the ability to offer something for free that others charge for. It's much easier to put in the time and effort to create something of high value and give it to your audience for free versus trying to sell it to them directly. The secret is having a monetization method in place after they become a free user or download the product. - Zac Johnson, How to Start a Blog

A. Be Authentic

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We're very fortunate that the majority of our clients are referred via word of mouth. Our brand is our exceptional team. Our deliverable is our high work ethic, exceeding expectations, great service and ROI. And that goes a very long way. Networking also offers a truly wonderful way to connect with people and potential clients. Being authentic when meeting people is key. - ANGELA DELMEDICO, Elev8 Consulting Group

A. Deliver

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I'm very proud to say that my company has spent $0 on marketing and more than tripled our revenue from the previous year. All of the startups we've worked with will tell you we provide A+ work with A++ effort. For each company we do well for, it usually brings in at least three more opportunities. - Jon Bradford, Colab

A. Crowdfund to Market Your Business

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We have found that running a crowdfunding campaign not only raises funds from the general public but acts as an effective marketingtool to boost sales and awareness. From the campaigns we have worked on, it has been instrumental in launching a new company, revitalizing a 20-year-old store and transitioning a solely wholesale business to jumpstart their direct-to-consumer sales. - Ariel Sultan, Food Guru

A. Use Inbound Marketing and Word of Mouth

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I communicate with my clients coupled with inbound marketing. Modern clients hate having things sold directly to them. They hate ads, traditional sales pitches and other old methods. By offering something of value outside of my firm's core business and forming a relationship with them, I make them more willing to work with me without having to agonize over an advertising campaign. -Steven Buchwald, Buchwald & Associates

A. Engage on Social Media

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Social media advertising has been huge for us. Being a photography studio, we have tons of content to share. But any type of business can create amazing content to boost interaction and engagement on social media with clients and potential clients. You have to stay on top of it, be consistent and have great content. - Jack Glasser, Glasser Images

A. Leverage Influencer Marketing

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We recently began reaching out to people in the vegan, superfood and raw space who have large social media followings. We compliment their work and offer to send them free product with no strings attached. We find that they often love the product and post amazing photos on social media that we can use to help build our brand. It costs us very little and allows us to reach a massive audience. - Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

A. Be Consistent

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Before we hired our first marketer, we had no plans around releasing our products. Our announcements were random, and because we didn't know when we were making stuff public, our audience drifted in and out of interest. Since our marketer came on, we've found beauty in consistency. Not only does a schedule keep our engineers on track, it helps us build momentum around our product. - Adarsh Pallian, Trippeo

These answers are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.