StartUps: making a splash without the cash

Do you have favorite "cheap tricks" as an early stage entrepreneur to get maximum bang for your publicity buck? This Q&A with a young entrepreneur shares some insider tips.

I got an email today from a young healthcare tech entrepreneur. Since her question would help other entrepreneurs too, she kindly allowed me to republish some of today’s correspondence here . . . I’ve lightly edited it to protect privacy.
“I took your advice on speaking at conferences after that awesome lunch and learn Write2Market did and got a spot at the  Summit in Boston as well as another premium national conference . . .  Yesterday, I was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list  and I’d like to leverage this as much as possible. I was hoping we could work with you guys on making this happen. I know you said to do this promotion before the event happens, but in this situation, I didn’t know about it until the article released. How can I get the most exposure out of this on a budget?
I wrote her back . . .
“CONGRATULATIONS! I am super excited for you. So glad those ideas in the marketing for startups seminar helped you! I assume you don’t have a budget for an agency just yet–agencies aren’t a first step for a startup.  But at this stage, as you develop your sales opportunities and build your investor network, here are some direct thoughts on going gorilla with this exciting development . . . 80% of the people you need to reach in healthcare devices are already on LinkedIn.
  • Attend our healthcare marketing trends webinar. ASK YOUR QUESTIONS!! Seriously, this format is perfect for it and you can get a LOT of insight.
  • Essentially you will want to put out your own press release if Forbes did not. BusinessWire has great healthcare distribution. Use it. Costs $400 but in this case, the link traffic back to your firm is worth it.
  • You’ll want to write a post on LinkedIn, and email it in LinkedIn to EVERY contact or investor or invest your want you have. Cross post it to LInkedIn Healthcare Groups with energy. Many people don’t realize this, but the healthcare business on LinkedIn is strikingly large—one of their largest groups of business leaders. You can see my post on Healthcare Marketing and its reach  (over 10,000 views) to get a sense. I emailed 20 people. 10,000 people came.
How you write people as you share the post will depend very much on your next milestone or goal for your company.
What do you need? Manufacturing? Distribution? Investment? Sales? Pick ONE as the next best thing for you. Your advisory board could help.
  • Depending on where you are in your product development cycle, you may want to use a tool like SalesLoft Prospector and Cadence to send an email to the top 250 people you want to know about this–like investors in healthcare devices. Use the Advanced People search and keywords specific to your device to really get the the right eyes on you.
  • Sign up for SEMDA, the local medical device manufacturing show March 31.  See if you can get on a panel to go for free. Do the same thing with HIMSS locally. Email conference attendees BEFORE the event saying you are booking meetings (as a Forbes 30 under 30 person your credibility and desirability are even higher). Work this conference, the Summit and the other “ahead” with an intro about the Forbes accolade.
  • Consider contacting those events you’re speaking at, and the ones that didn’t get back to you, and see if this new accolade helps them re evaluate placing you on panels. (It will.)
  • Write an Op-Ed for our local paper, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, on the state of healthcare manufacturing and what it contributes to our local economy to build your own local network.  Rick Badie there is a thoughful curator of interesting perspectives. Here’s a piece I recently submitted on one of my own topics of passion–investing in our Atlanta entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This stuff doesn’t get any easier as you get bigger :)–there’s just more and more of it. Check out our Industry Leadership Methodology for some quick inspiration.”
Do you have favorite “cheap tricks” as a solo entrepreneur to get maximum bang for your publicity? I would love to hear them–or have you share them in person at one of our local marketing events for national thought leaders.


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