Best Marketing Strategies for Startups

July 3rd, 2021

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You’re thinking about opening a business, and you have a fantastic idea- something that could completely change the game, or maybe something you’re passionate about and know you can do better than anyone else. 

You have the money, the time–really, you have everything you need. But who is buying your product? How will anyone ever find out about what you do? If you make the best pizza in the world, but no one was around to eat it, is that really considered a success? Without a marketing plan that doesn’t suck, nobody is going to know who you are or why they should care. And successful marketing is all about visibility.

Let’s talk about how to get people buzzing about and engaging with your business without breaking the bank. One blog post can go viral, but it has to be done right.

What is a marketing strategy?

Jumping into content marketing without a strategy and plan in place is a recipe for disaster, especially for small businesses. Many brands underestimate the resources it takes to post quality content consistently. Remember, your strategy needs to be successful and feasible for the team you have to execute. Trying to rank number one on search engines, for example, is probably not the most effective strategy, no matter how much you think you know about search engine optimization.

Developing a marketing strategy can feel daunting and take up a lot of your time. Without one, however, you may find yourself investing valuable money for little to no return. 

Opening a business means nothing without consumers. Marketing will become a critical department within the company to expand and grow the company. Starting with an excellent foundation at the beginning allows you to build more efficiently towards your goals.

Tips to creating a marketing strategy 

Be a SMART ass 

Seriously! Use SMART goals to focus on your principal business goals. Oh, I’m sorry, do you not know what I mean? SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Lots of people like to toss vague goals in the air. “We want to make millions in profit!” “We want to be featured on Good Morning America!” While aspirational, these types of goals are impossible to achieve without structure. 

An example of a SMART goal is to increase organic traffic to our website by 20% by the end of the fiscal year. 

It is specific, there is a clear marker of success, and a marketing strategy can be developed based on this goal. Whether it’s for SEO, email marketing, or influencer marketing, an effective marketing strategy starts with being a SMART ass.

Nail down that target audience 

For a startup, access to working capital is vital for all marketing efforts. Unnecessary spending can cause any company to come crashing down. The best way to streamline your marketing process and create efficient returns on your marketing investments is by having a well-defined target market. 

For example, if you are a skateboard producer, you don’t want to pay social media platforms to put your ads in front of wine-moms (even though I am sure some of that market knows how to shred). You need to get your ads in front of JUST your audience. Broad marketing and audiences rarely show good returns.

Have a clear and compelling message using targeted keywords and use platforms that allow you to easily access your target market.

Have a budget and stick to it 

Managing finances when your company is just getting its feet off the ground is a complex balancing act, especially for advertisers. Analyze your financial model and understand how much you can feasibly invest in marketing your products. Going into debt through marketing is foolish and will end up taking resources away from departments that allow you to actually produce your product. All that marketing for no product? Yeah, I don’t think so.

Don’t be afraid to get clever! There are a surprising amount of marketing tactics that cost relatively little. Anyone can create a social media account for free and begin posting–Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google Plus don’t have registration fees. Grow your audience and connect with existing customers. We offer plenty of guides for getting started on your preferred social channel!

Did you know, when Reddit launched, the founder traveled the country with $500 worth of stickers and handed them to strangers or put them in obvious places? That odd approach ended up being the kickstart to the insane amount of attention Reddit gets today. 

Marketing strategy examples 

Build a referral engine 

Word-of-mouth marketing is seriously the most powerful marketing technique out there. Trust us. We know what we are talking about. The best referrals develop organically when an excited customer shares their experience with others. But, a referral marketing strategy can deliver those recommendations a little faster. Consider the following strategies:

  • Contact influencers and inquire if they know anyone who will love your product or service.
  • Create a referral program that incentivizes customers to refer their friend 
  • Repost positive user-generated content from existing customers on your blogs or talk about it in your podcasts.
  • Build a campaign that champions a cause your followers care about or offers benefits for both your brand and your customers. Some affiliate programs are a solid way to gain new customers from brands targeting the same audience.

Host a contest 

Everyone loves a good competition. Some people love it too much, like those psychos who love playing Monopoly.

Anyways, use that natural competitive spirit to your advantage. Offer prizes when people use your products creatively and post about them. Do something as simple as asking people to repost/like/share/comment on your social, offering a free sample or product to a random winner who participates. 

Using this method effectively, you can increase brand awareness, do market research, and get your products into more customers’ hands. It also has the perk of offering a reward, which garners a lot more affection and loyalty out of your followers. 

Fun fact, Youtube actually did this when they first got started. They offered a free iPod Nano every day to people who uploaded and invited their friends onto the website. Now that is more on the expensive side, but you catch my drift. Competition motivates people and can jumpstart your growth.

Make it exclusive 

Does anyone remember the hype around the new app Clubhouse at the beginning of 2021? It was an invitation-only audio app offering people a chance to join conversations happening live in digital “rooms.” The exchanges could be between anyone on the app, including the celebrities who were on the app. 

The key to their hype, in the beginning, was that only existing Clubhouse members could invite others. Suddenly, everyone was trying to get an invite, contacting Facebook groups and connections all over the place to get the sought-after ticket to the new, hot app. The FOMO was insane and resulted in millions of app downloads in a short time. 

(Yes, I followed the hype and am also on Clubhouse).

Let us take you on a journey

Look at me and tell me you wouldn’t be STOKED if your brand went viral. Think of it. The cost-efficiency of one piece of content or one campaign bringing in loads of leads and new customers. 

The social conversation swirling about your incredible products.

The uptick in sales and profit.

Your old fling from high school, all of a sudden, messaging you on Facebook saying, “Hey, it’s been so long, we should catch up.”

All that hard work, and you finally get to see it take off. 

If you are into this, and you think you are ready to handle the waterfall of rewards, it’s time to contact us here at Nowadays. We create no-bullshit, creative, and explosive campaigns. We’re not afraid to shake the proverbial tree of marketing, and if you have the nerve, your brand can reap the rewards. 

See you soon.



How to Use SMART Goals | UCLA
How Reddit Built Its Empire On 500 Bucks, Stickers, And Giving People What They Want | Fast Company
Clubhouse Going Viral | Marketing Mind