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5 client acquisition strategies to run now, with zero budget

User acquisition is one of the most important, and at times daunting, tasks to overcome in any business, but particularly within the startup realm. You’ve executed on a great idea, raised some pre-seed money, and finalized your tech stack and/or prototype. Now’s the time to prove your chomps, build a user base, and get some market traction. For those of you with zero budget and expertise, here are five ways to ramp up user acquisition right now, via free online channels (other than social).

Grassroots amplification. If you’re getting your startup of the ground and need to gain some pre-launch steam, focus on grassroots amplification. Sites like Betalist and and feeds like Reddit’s /r/startups are your best friends. Do the leg work and submit your startup profile on these channels sooner rather than later.

Grassroots amplification, part 2. Build on your foundation. Expand your presence via sites like StumbleUpon and ProductHunt, and begin to participate in relevant forums, chats, and blogs. As you hit launch time, you’ll also want to get your Crunchbase page live and curate a topic page on a site like

Blog outreach. Build out a network of blog and influencer partnerships. Cross-promote existing content or create custom content for guest/contributor posts. Free tools like Coschedule Headline Analyzer will help you build your most powerful content, on your own blog and off. While zero cost service providers such as Airtable will organize all content planning and management duties.

Referral programming. Offer a compelling, two-sided referral program rewarding users for registrations. Share liberally on social and email channels.

HARO. If you’re looking to get your name out there and don’t have the resources and/or bandwidth to run a full fledged PR shop in house (or hire an agency), get on the HARO bandwagon. HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, connects journalists with subject matter experts, broadcasting topic-based feeds three times a day, directly to your inbox. Thought leadership made free and easy.

Need more tactics to get off the ground? Stayed tuned for part two, or drop me a line at

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