You don't need to outspend your competition. You just need to out-think and out-work them.
Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing
The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Do your products sell themselves?
Having a great product is essential, but that alone isn’t enough to make your startup successful. Aside from your fantastic product, you’ll also need a stellar marketing strategy to grow your startup. But for many entrepreneurs, it's simply not realistic to spend a lot of money to acquire new business.
Instead, consider a few of these cost-effective marketing strategies that can help generate early successes.
Affiliate marketing is the most cost-effective marketing strategy that works. I believe all businesses — regardless of size — should adopt referral, or affiliate, marketing. I've used it with a good deal of success and put it to work in all my online businesses.
Here's how it works: Encourage people to recommend your products to others, and pay a commission only when someone purchases your products through those referrals.
Start by setting up an affiliate program though networks such as ShareASale or ImpactRadius. You then can promote your affiliate program by featuring it prominently on your website and inviting customers to join the program. Additionally, you can choose the right reward structure — one that’s compelling enough for your network's members to engage.
Email outreach also can serve as an efficient tool when communicating with influencers:
Create a list of influencers and experts in your industry,
Send an outreach email requesting they try your product for free, and
Explain the monetary rewards they could earn by referring a user.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, nearly 90 percent of brands use content marketing to grow their businesses. It's the perfect marketing strategy for startups and small businesses because it works within the confines of limited resources.
Even though content marketing is extremely popular, not everyone finds success with this tactic. Lack of a documented content strategy is one of the primary causes. Without this crucial piece, your efforts will be less effective. As a result, you could face significant challenges when you attempt to implement content-marketing tactics.
Streamline your content-marketing process by creating an editorial calendar. Identify any bottlenecks and evaluate your content planning. Measure your strategy's progress, tracking how well your content is performing to attract the audience.
More than 540,000 new businesses launch each month. That means you'll encounter some serious competition to grab your target market's attention. If you want to generate favorable and frequent public-relations mentions, build quality relationships with the journalists and bloggers in your industry.
Be prepared that you might not always get a response when you make your pitch. You can increase the likelihood of getting coverage if you differentiate your pitch so the tone or angle of each is exclusive to the journalist and her or his publication. Do some research to discover which writers or videographers cover which aspects of your industry. Then, tailor your press release, teaser, or pitch-by-phone to fit those respective beats. Free tools such as Help a Reporter Out can assist in your quest to gain access to email addresses that belong to journalists looking for interviews in your space.
When you’re launching a bootstrapped startup, the real challenge is coming up with a marketing strategy that requires little to no funding. Piggybacking another well-grown platform is a great strategy to get your product in front of potential customers. Airbnb’s integration with Craigslist is a perfect example of ad hoc integration for user acquisition.
Craigslist doesn’t allow integration with any third-party services that cross-post listings to the site. To build a backlink and attract users, the team at Airbnb reverse-engineered how Craigslist's forms worked — then made Airbnb's own site compatible with that workflow. Just a few clicks allow users to easily cross-post a listing to Craigslist while also placing a backlink that points to their own site.
The general rule of thumb: Find the right platform you can leverage to grow your startup and create a strategy that works to acquire customers.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Okay. You're looking to make more money this year. Great. You've set some goals and now you need to take action. Where do you turn? What do you do first? Do you tackle passive income, money-getting activites, or do you go after something that could put cash in your pocket right now. In a few hours, even?
Well, that depends on your current situation. But whatever the case might be, there are plenty of ways you can make more money this year. You can make that money online by building sales funnels or hosting webinars or running Facebook ads for that matter. You could also enthrall yourself in the gig economy, manage properties and so on.
While there are literally thousands of ways you can make more money this year, I'm going to break down 49 of the most popular methods. You could implement one or many. It depends on how devoted you are to bringing in some extra cash. If you're serious, you could quite literally exponentiate your income. But it all depends on how hard you work.
This isn't about having special knowledge or incredible skills. There's a difference between having a proper education and a money-producing education. If you live with a scarcity mentality, you'll have trouble implementing some of these strategies because you'll be limited by your own beliefs.
This is about having an abundant mindset. Remember, if you think you can or you can't, you're right. Those were the famous words of Henry Ford. He should know. His first two businesses went bankrupt before he struck proverbial gold. And that's the truth, isn't it? Don't let anyone or any other thing hold you back. If you want something, go out there and get it.
Ever dreamed of being an author? Now's your chance. Just about anyone can self-publish an ebook these days. How? Simply use Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and you can become a self-published author. Want to sell a print version? Use Amazon's Createspace platform. Your book will print, on-demand, as soon as an order comes in. Want an audiobook version? Head over to ACX. This is a great source for passive income.
2. Create a Shopify ecommerce store.
Ecommerce is hot right now. In fact, it's allure is only increase. And, no, Amazon isn't the only company benefiting from the rise in consumer spending online. Want to take advantage of that? You can easily build an ecommerce store using Shopify. Loads of features and integrations make it simple and easy to quickly launch an ecommerce store in just about any niche you can dream of.
3. Offer gigs on Fivver.
You can sell virtually any type of service on Fiverr. No matter what you do, you can likely sell it there. While prices do start at $5, you can offer up-sells. Plus, once you become top-rated, you have the chance of joining Fiverr Pro. Fiverr Pros are hand-picked from the best talent on Fiverr. And they reap benefits. Fiverr Pros are assigned higher-priced projects and can make much more income than talent in the general pool.
You can babysit or house sit to make some money. You can use online resources such as Care.com to help source work. You can also source babysitting or house-sitting gigs offline as well. Scour your neighborhood or ask family and friends to see if anyone would be willing to give you some work.
6. Walk dogs with Rover.
Use Rover.com to source jobs for walking dogs in your local area. They offer one of the largest nationwide networks for dog walkers and pet sitters. The company manually reviews every single profile before allowing anyone to offer their services on its platform. They vet and verify you. But, once you're approved, you can quickly start making money.
99Designs is a great resource for designers. If you're good at designing, try your hand at 99Designs. Designers compete with each other to win business. You'll have to refine your designs and be chosen to be paid. Like Fiverr, there is a high-end pro solution with 99Designs, but you'll need to be carefully vetted to gain access to this.
8. Rent out your home as a vacation rental.
Whether you AirBnB your home yourself or you use companies like InvitedHome, LuxuryRetreats or Vacasa, you can easily make money if you're in a vacation location. Even if you're not in one of the most sought-after parts of the world, you could still make money renting out your home or even a room.
9. Create an Amazon FBA store
You can launch an Amazon FBA store. Amazon will handle all the shipping, customer service, refunds and payments directly for you. All you need to do is provide your products to Amazon. They even have a nifty FBA calculator that you can use to calculate your costs of fulfilment and potential for profit.
10. Answer questions professionally on JustAnswer
If you hold a graduate degree in law or medicine, or if you're well-versed in computer science or taxes and other areas, consider answering questions professionally on JustAnswer. You'll get paid for every successful question you answer. It's a great resource if you're just looking to make some money without having to do a slew of online marketing.
11. Do virtual assistant work.
Consider becoming a virtual assistant. If you're highly organized and you're meticulous about scheduling and understand all the current office related software platforms, you can make money by helping other people achieve their business goals. Use LinkedIn and other professional and personal networks to source work.
12. Offer professional services on Upwork.
Upwork allows you to offer a variety of professional services. It's the current iteration of Elance, which used to be a powerhouse in online services. Today, you can offer just about any professional service on Upwork. From legal to accounting to website, email marketing to software development, if you have a skill, you can get paid for it on Upwork.
13. Guest blog articles or do ghost writing.
Contact popular blogs and offer your services as a guest blogger. Often, some of the most popular blogs outsource much of their content to guest bloggers. Consider doing that, ghost writing, or even copywriting if you're a great word smith. As a copywriter, you could make tens of thousands of dollars for a single sales letter. But you need to be great at it.
All businesses today know they need social media management. But most have no clue on where to start. By doing social media management, you could easily make a full-time income by helping others to spread the word on platforms like Instagram or SnapChat and Facebook.
15. Build an SEO agency.
Search engine optimization is a complex and highly volatile field. I should know. I've been teaching it for years. But, once you master this craft, not only can you dominate search results and easily get your offers in front of the masses, but you could build an SEO agency doing this as well.
16. Auction items on eBay.
If you have plenty of used goods lying around your house, consider auctioning them off on eBay. While you won't get rich doing this, you could make a pretty penny and put those items to use by selling them. If you don't feel confident running your own auction, you could always turn to outside agencies to help manage the listing for you.
17. Drive for Uber, Lyft or Taxify.
Consider driving for Uber, Lyft or Taxify. If you travel to European countries, especially to those that Uber has been banned in, you'll know about Taxify. Either way, select any one of a number of ride-sharing companies around the world. You can easily earn a full-time income or some side-hustle income by doing this.
18. Sell handmade items on Etsy or Zazzle.
Etsy and Zazzle are great resources for selling handmade items. If you're skilled at knitting or woodworking and any other trade that involves crafting things with your hands, consider selling those items online through Etsy or Zazzle.
Have some used textbooks lying around? Consider selling them on Amazon. It's a great way to earn some income from something you might not be using altogether now.
20. Do PostMates deliveries.
PostMates, and several of its competitors, allow you to do local deliveries. The best part? Even if don't have a car but you live in a bustling metropolis like NYC or San Francisco, you can make deliveries with a bike. It's a quick way to earn some side cash.
21. Do local tasks using TaskRabbit.
TaskRabbit is great for doing local tasks for people in your area. You can get paid for each task that you complete. These can be from incredibly simple things like furniture assembly to more complex tasks like minor home repairs.
Consider becoming a personal trainer if you're in-the-know about fitness and nutrition. However, understand that you might need some certification before beginning. But you could easily make some great money with just a few loyal personal training clients.
24. Tutor students
Well-versed in an area like science or mathematics? Have a knack for tutoring children? You can easily earn some side hustle income doing this. Or, you could do it virtually as well, if you don't have any prospects nearby. You can search for virtual tutoring jobs on Indeed.com, amongst many other websites.
If you're great at cleaning or organizing, you could help local home owners. Either clean houses or help them organize their spaces. Join Maids.com or another service to clean homes in your local neighborhood.
26. Use Mechanical Turk for micro-gigs.
Amazon's Mechanical Turk won't make you rich, but it will enable you to earn a very small amount of side income. It doesn't take much to complete one of these Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) and each one pays a very small amount of money. But, string them together, and you'll have a bit of extra cash if you're hard-pressed for it.
27. Do local tours using Viator.
If you live in a tourist destination, you could do local tours and promote it on Viator. Viator is one of the largest and most trusted online tour companies. You could earn a full-time living doing this depending upon where you live and just how much value you end up providing to tourists.
28. Build a sales funnel and sell info products.
Sales funnels are great tools for selling information products. If you have great information to share, consider building a sales funnel to help you increase the average cart value of whatever it is that you're selling. Understand that most people have to ascend a value ladder and start small before they give you more and more money. As long as you deliver huge value, you can crush it with the proper sales funnel.
29. Create webinars.
Webinars are a great way to sell high-ticket products or services. Once you understand how to craft the perfect webinar, you can quite literally skyrocket your income. Use GoToWebinar or Andy Jenkins' WebinarJam to host your webinar, two of the best in the industry.
30. Start a blog in a profitable niche.
Starting a blog is a great way to make some income. It won't happen right away. But if you follow through and put in the work, you could build multiple revenue streams from this single activity.
31. Purchase dividend-bearing stocks.
There are loads of stocks that bear dividends. It's a great way to earn some passive income while also building up an investment portfolio. Sure, you can make money. But this is also a long-term investment that will bear fruit for years, possibly decades to come. You can compound the returns by reinvesting the dividends back into the stocks themselves.
32. Sell digital designs on CafePress.
You can sell digital designs for t-shirts, mugs, keychains and other gear directly on CafePress. You'll get paid a small commission every single time one of your items sells. The best part? You never need to warehouse, print, ship or deal with any type of customer service ever. It's all done for you.
33. Do affiliate marketing.
If you don't want the hassle of building out your own products or services, you could always opt to doing affiliate marketing. Use websites like Rakuten Marketing, CJ.com, ClickBank and JVZoo to source opportunities for affiliate marketing. If you're good, you could earn a significant income doing just this.
34. Do email marketing.
Email marketing is massive. The money truly is in the list. But building that list is hard. However, if you're going to learn anything about online marketing, you should definitely learn how to market via email. It's estimated that for ever person on your list, you can expect to generate a dollar per month income. So, if you have 3,000 people on your list, you can earn roughly $3,000 per month.
35. Become a business coach or a consultant.
If you have experience in business or another field, you can always get paid to be a consultant. Business coaches and consultants earn a considerable amount of income. No matter what field you have expertise in, you can likely sell your services to others. Check out Expert Secrets to help monetize you understand how to monetize your knowledge.
36. Get paid to search the internet.
Many websites will pay you simply to search the internet and provide thorough, well-researched answers to burning questions. Sites like AskWonder and others will help you make a bit of income. You'll need to apply to become a researcher, but once approved, you can search and answer away.
37. Trade cryptocurrencies.
Risky? Sure. But you could make a good sum of money trading cryptocurrencies. Sure, today it's BitCoin and LiteCoin and Etherum. Tomorrow? Who knows. The point? Learn the ins-and-outs before diving in headfirst. But there is some serious money to be made in this niche.
38. Recycle your mobile phone.
You can use Gazelle and other websites to recycle your mobile phone. If you have a fairly recent mobile phone that you're no longer using, consider selling it to earn a bit of extra cash. You won't get retail prices for it, but it's better than leaving it lying around your house tucked into some random drawer.
39. Sell used items on Craigslist or Facebook's Marketplace.
You can always resort to selling used items on Craigslist. It's still a great resource for used goods. But you could also turn to Facebook's new marketplace. It's the middle icon at the bottom of your Facebook app that looks like a storefront. You may or may not have better luck on Facebook's Marketplace but the point is that the resource is there for you to use and it's free.
40. Flip domains or websites.
You can flip domains or websites if you're in need of some cash. You can use Flippa, Deal Flow Brokerage or even GoDaddy Domains. Buying and selling domains and websites can be extremely lucrative if you understand and know what you're doing.
41. Become a mystery shopper.
Many companies are hiring mystery shoppers. Both online and offline. They want to know the user experience. How do people feel shopping on their sites or in their stores? This can be lucrative if you're thorough and really report on all the details. You can search for mystery shopper jobs on Market Force, Best Mark and on other sites.
42. Create YouTube videos.
You can create YouTube videos to earn an income online. Stevin John, the name behind Blippi, has created a children's educational series on YouTube has nearly 2 billion views and over 1 million subscribers, grossing millions of dollars in passive income per year just by creating educational videos on YouTube.
43. Trade forex
Forex stands for foreign exchange market. You're playing the pricing difference between currency trades. Sometimes, the difference can be in the thousandths of decimals. However, when amplified by large trades, it could gross you significant returns on capital invested if you play the markets right. Companies like ETrade, Simpler Trading and Ameritrade provide platforms for trading currencies.
44. Flip houses
You can certainly flip houses to make money. If you have the capital, you can buy, upgrade and re-sell a home. Today, there's a house-flipping craze with new shows popping up virtually every week on networks like HGTV and DIY. It takes some knowledge and know-how to do this. But, when executed properly, you could earn a significant income.
45. Open a checking account.
Most banks will pay you to open a checking account. Either they'll give you a cash incentive or they'll give you a free gift in the form of vouchers or gift certificates.
46. Test websites.
You can test websites to earn a part-time income. Websites like User Testing, What Users Do and many others will pay you to test out websites and report the user experience back. You won't make a fortune doing this, but you can make a bit of money when things are tight.
47. Become an extra in a movie.
Have desires of fame and stardom? Well, before you get there, you could opt to be an extra in a movie. Extras get paid a healthy sum for hanging around and doing very little work. You can use websites like BackStage and others to source extra work in movies and tv shows.
48. Do data entry work.
Do work as a data entry specialist. You could transcribe insurance claims, or simply do basic data entry work that's needed by just about every small business around the world. Source jobs through your personal or professional network or even on LinkedIn.
49. Participate in online focus groups.
You can participate in online focus groups in your spare time. You can use InboxDollars, SurveyJunkie or any other number of websites to get paid for your opinion.