11 Tips for Focused Effective and Inexpensive Startup Marketing

11 Tips for Focused, Effective, and Inexpensive Startup Marketing

Palo Alto Software founder Tim Berry equates startup marketing to throwing darts at a dartboard. While existing companies can get away with throwing their “marketing darts” aimlessly, a startup has to be more precise.

The established company just has to worry about hitting the dartboard; the startup needs to hit the bullseye.

If precision and focus are the name of the marketing game for startup companies, what is the best strategy for marketing your startup? I asked the Young Entrepreneur Council for their advice on how to market startup companies most effectively.

All these entrepreneurs advocated employing focus, consistency, and a variety of unexpected low-cost sources.

1. Determine your marketing goal first

Jeff Chambers of Big Machine Parts recommends asking yourself: “Are you trying to drive sales, build awareness, or build technical credibility?”

Determining your marketing goal will be an important first step and will help you focus your marketing efforts. Build a detailed schedule by platform (e.g. Twitter) that includes the message and campaign duration. This prevents the ‘see what sticks’ method and provides a roadmap on what and when to measure.

2. Either focus on one marketing channel to start, or track each channel to ensure effectiveness

General marketing advice encourages using as many marketing channels as you can reasonably keep up with. However, Joshua Dorkin of BiggerPockets suggests honing in on just one specific channel initially. “Stop trying to be everywhere and focus on the marketing channel that will give you the biggest bang for your buck,” he says.

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Nicole Munoz of Start Ranking Now argues to take advantage of multiple channels, as long as they are tracked for efficacy.

3. Have a consistent online presence

If social media marketing is part of your plan, stick to a schedule and post regularly. By publishing content consistently, you will build your reputation and position yourself at the top of search rankings.

4. Understand your customer’s problem better than your competition

To create breakthrough marketing, understand your customer’s problem better than both your customer and competition do. By articulating it better and seeing this problem from multiple angles, you’ve got a long-term advantage when it comes to creating high-performing marketing campaigns.

5. Have in-person conversations with your customers and experts in your field

Forming relationships, both with your customers and with others in your network, is crucial. Networking can be where you find your first customers, who then become your first evangelists. Good relationships get you your first customers, who are the first supporters of a startup.

6. Focus on SEO through good PR

Build links back to your site by increasing PR efforts. A few media mentions can rapidly increase a site’s authority and visibility. Consider sending out press releases as a way to raise awareness for your business.

7. Feature customer success stories

Customer success stories can be great leads for building your word of mouth and leveraging PR. Focus on getting a few standout customer success stories about your service or product.

8. Know yourself and your target

Genuinely express your brand identity and clearly define your target customer. You need a strong brand identity filtered by your target demographic to make it easier to market effectively.

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9. Utilize your employees’ social media

Encourage your employees to use their social media influence to spread the word about your company. This is an authentic and cost-effective way to market your startup.

10. Exchange your product or service for an honest review

Reach new customers by finding industry experts who produce the type of content your customers read. Offer them your product or service for free in exchange for an honest review.

11. Market your results, not your service

Instead of focusing on your service, focus on the results your customers or clients can expect. Highlight the positive outcomes your customers experienced from using your product or service.

There you have it—11 effective, inexpensive marketing tactics to help startups market in a focused, direct way. Many of these tactics can also be used together, which can be even more effective.

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