Start ups 1
12 April

Thinking about ... Marketing for Start ups

A strong digital presence sets the stage for a compelling first impression, attracts the right audience, and secures the ideal customer base from the outset.

Thinking about... a dinner party with a few close friends when you've just moved into a new home

The kitchen is far from ready, you have unpacked the plates, the bowls are still in a box, but it doesn't stop you from inviting your pals over and having fun. You focus on what you have — choosing the wine and preparing a simple chocolate dessert — and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression.

The same applies to startup companies and their marketing. There's no need for a full-blown marketing infrastructure to start making meaningful connections with your target audience and drive business growth.

A startup needs a minimum viable marketing strategy: essential marketing elements that allow it to start building a brand and promote it across online platforms. This framework helps the startup focus its limited resources on high-impact digital marketing efforts, ensuring that every pound and hour spent goes towards building a solid customer base, validating the product-market fit, and establishing early brand awareness.

The key is to start small, learn fast, rinse, and repeat, gradually expanding as your startup grows and evolves.

Thinking about... doing more with less in online marketing

Marketing for startups needs to be flexible. I ‘traded’ my marketing services and created social media posts and graphics for a video once. Printing companies sometimes exchange their services for high-quality photographs with photographers through contra-deals. Creative collaboration between businesses can mutually enhance value without direct monetary exchange. The secret is to know who you are and what you stand for so you only associate your brand with organisations and entrepreneurs that share your values.

To do that, you must define a clear value proposition and a unique selling point highlighting what makes your brand memorable. You'll also need brand core values, mission, and vision — fundamental elements that will be reflected in every interaction with your audience. This way, you build brand awareness and communicate the essence of your brand through consistent messaging across all marketing channels.

Thinking about... balance in digital marketing for startups

What elements can make a minimum viable marketing strategy without requiring a significant marketing budget?

  • Branding Basics
  • A clear brand message that communicates what the startup offers, its value proposition, and differentiators
  • A well-defined targeted audience
  • Essential brand elements like a logo and a consistent style guide for consistency across all platforms
  • A simple, user-friendly website or a landing page that provides information about the product or service and how to buy it
  • Basic SEO for increased visibility and attracting more targeted traffic
  • A spreadsheet that includes web content and a few key informational videos to build trust with your audience
  • Profiles on 1-2 social media platforms where your target audience is most active
  • A basic email marketing setup to collect email addresses and begin building relationships with potential customers through regular updates and insights.

This minimum investment can lead to a scalable and solid digital marketing strategy as your brand grows. It's a framework that helps you prioritise and be intentional about digital marketing activities when you don't have the time or resources to invest in random experiments.

Thinking about... ways to build a solid online presence as a startup

You'll need a website (or a landing page) to articulate your brand's value proposition, showcase your products or services, and provide a pathway for customer interaction.

Start with an intuitive layout that helps visitors find the information they want in seconds. A clean, mobile-friendly design with well-organised sections enhances user experience and reduces bounce rates.

Other elements to consider when creating your startup's first website:

  • Fast loading time — when page load time extends from 1 second to 3 seconds, the likelihood of visitors leaving the site surges by 32%.
  • Clear Call-to-Action buttons — you want to guide visitors towards taking a desired action, whether subscribing to a newsletter, buying, or contacting your team.

Should digital marketing for startups also focus on SEO efforts? Yes. Building your website with SEO in mind will help you drive growth, visibility, and customer acquisition because it attracts people who are more likely to buy. Here, too, you want to start small and expand gradually after you get more data about your audience and how they interact with your content.

SEO essentials for startups include:

  • Keyword research (you can use Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, or MozBar to identify keywords to target)
  • Meta tags and descriptions (you can use AI to write them)
  • Image optimisation (here, too, AI can help you with descriptive file names and alt tags)
  • Backlinking (start with guest blogging and creating shareable content)
  • Social media engagement (to increase your content's visibility and shareability).

Thinking about... creating content

Think of content as the wine selection at your dinner party. Just as a fine bottle can elevate the entire meal, top-notch content can significantly enhance your brand's appeal. On the other hand, an abundance of low-quality wine will likely leave your guests with nothing but a headache.

When creating high-quality content, focus on formats with engagement potential that can also support your sales efforts.

Here's a list of relevant content types — from "must-haves" to "nice to have":

  • Website content: Home page, Product/Service pages, About Us page, and Contact Us page
  • Case studies and testimonials
  • Content for social media channels
  • Content for online advertising (Google ads and social media advertising)
  • Interactive content: quizzes, assessments, or calculators
  • Content for personalised communication via email (newsletter and drip campaigns)
  • Video content: explainer videos, video testimonials, behind-the-scenes content
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Webinars and white papers
  • Ebooks and other downloadable content.

Choosing the best types of content for your startup business depends on your business goals, target audience, and the marketing channels you'll prioritise. Market research and competitive analysis can provide valuable data for your content marketing strategy and guide your first digital marketing campaigns.

Thinking about... tracking progress when you build a new business

When building your startup's first digital marketing strategy, you need to define what success looks like and how you plan to measure your efforts and results. Every marketing campaign must have a clear purpose — to increase organic traffic, generate leads, or raise brand awareness — and include KPIs that help you establish whether you've reached the goals.

Start with basic analytics through tools like Google Analytics to track website traffic, user behaviour, and the effectiveness of your marketing activities. This way, you gather valuable data to inform your marketing strategies and increase online visibility.

Thinking about... self-reliance and delegation in digital marketing strategies

Many startup founders overlook the value of their core team's time, leading to a default assumption that handling tasks in-house is more efficient.

However, this perspective misses a crucial point. By allocating specific responsibilities to professionals, founders can liberate their schedules, redirecting their focus toward revenue-generating activities.

Does it mean you must hire a team of digital marketing experts from day one? It's not that simple.

Finding the right balance between direct involvement and strategic outsourcing is a nuanced process. Work closely with your external partners until they fully grasp the nuances of your business.

Participate in building a digital marketing plan and keep an eye on how your message reaches potential customers. All startup core team members can help create content and play crucial roles in establishing a strong social media presence for the company and increasing brand visibility.

HAVE I GOT YOU THINKING ABOUT how digital marketing for startups can help you grow your business? Are you ready to make some informed decisions about your marketing and connect with potential customers?

We're here to help — social media marketing strategies, email marketing, blog posts, video marketing, and more digital marketing services tailored to your needs. To get started, message me at and tell me more about your startup and its targeted audience.

See our profile on DesignRush

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