Startups are often in a position where they are unable to spend a lot of money on marketing. This is not uncommon because they struggle to secure funding from overly conservative lenders. It’s led many startups to bootstrap their marketing operations.

There are still a range of affordable Internet marketing strategies for startups, and this article is going to show you some of the best one’s businesses like yours are using right now.

1. Drilling Down Into a Niche Audience

Corporations still target niche audiences, but they can spend far more of their marketing budgets on targeting generalized audiences in an attempt to pull in casual fans. Startups shouldn’t do this because most of their marketing dollars are going to be wasted.

At this point, you should be looking into your niche audience. This is the small amount of traffic that you can rely on for purchases each and every time. Spend time and effort trying to find out what your niche audience wants and how you can reach them.

2. Content is King in Every Industry

Content marketing remains the best free marketing option around. It’s what powers your social media campaign and keeps people coming back to your website for more.

These days Google wants long form content on specific niches. Don’t focus on how many readers you are getting because this number means nothing. Instead, concentrate on how many readers are engaging with your content both on-site and on social media.

3. Focus on Building Your List

Your newsletter list is crucial because this is the only direct link you have with your target market. If you are selling on Amazon, for example, someone can make a purchase without ever making contact with you. Should Amazon ever disappear for any reason you would lose your customers.

A newsletter list is yours forever. This is something that is under your control. Make sure that your startup focuses on building its newsletter list from the beginning. It’s one of the most valuable assets you can have.

4. Choose Facebook Ads Over PPC

Google’s PPC marketing platform can make a lot of money, if you know what you’re doing. Startups are not advised to use PPC because it can drain your budget fast. An alternative to PPC is Facebook ads. You can test for a far lower amount of money and you have a range of targeting options that you can take advantage of.

Facebook and their Power Editor come with targeting options that allow you to drill down to an extremely specific audience.

It does demand a lot of testing to start making money from them, though. The chances are your first few attempts won’t yield any spectacular results. Keep pressing with your testing and you’ll eventually start to see some results.

5. Maintain a Small Number of Social Media Channels

Social media is perhaps the most effective platform for getting to your audience. On the other hand, it can also get time-consuming and expensive. Startups are often tempted to hit up every channel so they can easily reach as many people as possible.

Startups don’t have the resources for this, and so they should focus on the channels that matter most. Choose Facebook and Twitter plus one other niche network. At this point, you don’t need anything more than that.

Conclusion – Keeping Your Marketing Efforts Affordable

It’s easier than you think to keep your startup marketing efforts affordable simply because throwing money at the problem isn’t the answer. Begin by making your experiments small, and once you find something that works you can begin to scale up.

What do you think is the most effective marketing strategy for startups on a budget?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

AJ Agrawal

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify