Marketing a start-up with zero marketing budget?


It's been 3 months since we launched our startup and it's has very little traction. What are some ways we can market it without using any money, just our time.

Some things we have on the whiteboard:

  • Contacting blogs to try and get them to cover us
  • Writing guest posts and sending it to popular blogs
  • Joining popular groups and try to promote to them

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asked Feb 4 '14 at 21:50
Bethany Myers
21 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


Here are some of the best no-cost things from a longer answer of mine on Quora about how startups can initially draw attention to their product.

  • Be active members within community sites that serve your target market. Forums, social networks, twitter chats, etc.
  • Setup Google alerts, twitter saved searches, and other monitoring tools for people asking questions about the type of service you provide.
  • If you have multiple competitors, search for comparisons of them ("Sprocket Co. vs Widget Inc."). Leave a value-adding comment on the article mentioning your own service, and/or email the creator asking if they'd be interested in comparing your own service to these competitors.
  • Leverage your first customers / users as much as possible. Ask for referrals, incentivize them to invite others, show them off for social proof, etc.

Everything that I see you've listed from your whiteboard is very generic ("contacting blogs", "popular blogs", "popular meetup groups"). Relevance is much more important than reach. Marketing is all about identifying audiences and either reaching them with a message or drawing them in with value. Really good marketing is about being a member of those audiences yourself, and being able to talk with them as a peer.

Even if you're a mass-market consumer web service, you can't boil the ocean as a startup. Choose a specific niche to focus on first, get enough traction there that it grows within that niche on it's own, and repeat. That's how Facebook, Yelp, and Twitter all did it.

Some helpful resources:
answered Feb 5 '14 at 16:30
Jay Neely
6,050 points
  • Ahh, I see a bug :) The extra new lines at the end not getting condensed... pushing a fix live. – Nishank Khanna 10 years ago


Create quality content that your customers would find useful, and promote it to communities where your audience is.

answered Mar 9 '14 at 04:41
Chrissie Gray
1,107 points

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