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You don’t need to outspend your competition. You just need to out-think and out-work them.

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.

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.
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