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    6 min read

    A Guide to Digital Marketing for Startups

    By John Dion

    Consider this. You have a startup and want to understand what you can do to market your service in the online world. While you might be taking a step in the right direction, you’re concerned about the intricacies of the process, how much money you’ll need to spend, and the eventual results. Besides, while you might be able to handle several tasks on your own, you may also benefit from looking at what a digital marketing agency for startups can do to draw attention to your business.


    If you decide to go at it on your own, you not only need to learn the ropes but also ensure that you can dedicate adequate time to the process. In addition, you need to bear in mind that while some methodologies have remained the same over the years, new trends keep making their way to the digital marketing landscape. An example in this case is the surge in video marketing over the last few years.


    For optimum results, following the approach that professional digital marketing agencies take is ideal. Fortunately, their expertise notwithstanding, most tend to work along similar guidelines.

    digital marketing agency for startups

    How Does Digital Marketing Work for Startups?

    A typical digital marketing strategy for startups requires paying attention to different aspects such as building a strong web presence, getting adequate leads, and generating sales. More often than not, this involves using different methods and tools. For example, search engine optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in driving organic traffic to your website. Ensuring that your website delivers a great user experience (UX), on the other hand, is necessary if you want its visitors to perform desired actions.


    A key aspect of getting your marketing right is ensuring that you provide high levels of customer service. While you might not view customer service as a means to promote your brand, know that news in the online world has the potential to travel fast and wide. For example, if a customer is unhappy with the service you provide and posts about it on Twitter, there is no telling how many people’s buying decisions it might affect. Fortunately, the converse holds true as well.


    Some of the other types of digital marketing that startups might benefit from include content marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, and video marketing.


    Do Your Groundwork

    Digital marketing agencies for startups begin the process by defining their clients’ businesses. While effective digital marketing gives you measurable and tangible results, identifying the purpose your business serves, its customer base, and what makes it unique aids in creating suitable strategies.


    Remember that goals tend to vary from one startup to another. These may include, but don’t limit to, creating brand awareness, building a customer base, attracting visitors to your website, or getting people to try your service for free.


    When it comes to setting a budget, you need to do so by keeping your goals in mind. If you have basic technical knowledge and are willing to learn, there are aspects you may cover on your own. If you’re hopeful of seeing quick results, you may need a higher budget to make the most of social media platforms and ad campaigns.

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    Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition

    Determining what sets your business apart from its competition is crucial in devising a good digital marketing plan and your unique selling proposition (USP) gives your target audience the reason it needs to choose your brand over others. Refine your brand’s identity if you feel it’s necessary because it plays an important role in maintaining consistency.


    Coming Up With a USP

    If you feel that coming up with a USP for your startup is a challenge, consider brainstorming ideas with people from different departments of your business. Aspects that typically need your attention through the course of this process include:

    • Identify your target audience. Start by identifying the demographics you wish to target based on factors like location, age, gender, income levels, educational background, and other traits. Then, you may break your audience down into different buyer personas. With knowledge about your target audience, creating a USP that appeals to your potential customers becomes simpler.
    • Analyze your competition. This step involves taking a close look at what other businesses in your field have to offer and how they go about promoting their brands. This gives you the ability to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and you may use this information to determine what sets your business apart.
    • Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Identifying your strengths enables you to highlight them to your target audience. Knowing your weaknesses, on the other hand, gives you the ability to make required improvements.
    • Determine what makes you unique. Rely on the information and the data you gather in the previous steps and look at what makes your business different from its competition. This could be how a product/service addresses a pain point, how you price your products/services, the quality you provide, or any other aspect that resonates with your target audience’s needs. This is your USP.
    • Use the right words. When you put your USP down in words, it needs to be short, simple, easy to remember, and to the point. Refrain from using technical language or jargon your audience might find confusing. You may also consider using a tagline or a slogan that can help make your USP memorable and easy to recall.
    • Test. Test the USP with a small group of people to determine if it finds favor with your target audience. The people you test it on should ideally be able to understand what sets your business apart and why they should choose you over others by looking at your USP. If this does not happen, you might need to get back to the drawing board.

    digital marketing services for startups

    Focus on Your Website

    When creating a new website, pay due attention to form and function. Form refers to the aesthetic appeal of your website. Use fonts that are easy to read and ensure that the color palette is in line with the colors your brand uses. A cluttered page tends to work as a turn-off, so your website should look orderly and be easy to navigate. In addition, your website’s users should be able the find the Information they’re looking for in a quick and easy manner.


    Given that an increasing number of people use mobile devices to get online, think about the problems they may face. Make sure you design your website for touch because the use of smartphones to access the internet is rather common. For example, large navigation keys do away with the need for zooming in and out. Before the launch of your website, check if it looks and functions how it should on a mobile phone and a tablet because there might be problems with alignment. Ideally, you should opt for responsive web design.


    Creating unique content that provides value to readers is vital in getting more visitors to your website. Blogs give you an easy means to display industry-specific expertise as well as the ability to offer insights into how your company works and its offerings. A well-maintained blog also has a positive impact on organic traffic (traffic you don’t pay for).


    Understand the Elements of Digital Marketing

    Digital marketing includes different elements, and what works best for your business depends on different factors such as your goals and budget. Here are the ones that startups tend to favor the most.


    Search Engine Optimization

    The main idea behind SEO is to increase organic traffic to your website. Digital marketing companies for startups address this aspect by researching the websites of competitors, picking the right keywords, paying attention to keyword placement, and creating highly optimized content. On- and off-page optimization, technical optimization, and link building are also part of the process.


    Content Marketing

    Digital marketers pay particular attention to content, which can come in the form of website content, blog posts, social media posts, white papers, infographics, eBooks, and press releases. While the content you create needs to find favor with search engine algorithms, it also needs to meet the needs and expectations of the end user.

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    Social Media Marketing

    Dedicate some time to learning how this realm works because it gives you an easy way to find out what your customers have to say about your brand. Listen to them carefully and try to offer solutions quickly. Use social media platforms to engage with your customers and provide them with delightful experiences. You may consider using automation for consistency.


    Some of the top social media platforms for marketing include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat, and each comes with its share of advantages. For example, when done right, you may use Instagram to increase conversion rates and boost sales.



    This method requires that you pay a publisher every time someone clicks on a link and visits your website. Keep track of your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns because you can tweak them in different ways to optimize click-through rates. Consider using site links because they let you add multiple call-to-action (CTA) buttons.


    Get Your Digital Branding Right

    While it’s common to confuse digital branding with digital marketing, know that they are complementary to each other but not the same. While digital marketing tends to focus on drawing attention to a business and the products or services it offers, digital branding aims to highlight the values a business represents. This is particularly important from a startup point of view, where your target audience might have little to no information about what you stand for. The benefits of getting your digital branding right come in the form of:

    • Competitive differentiation
    • Customer retention
    • Converting customers into brand ambassadors
    • Long-term growth


    Some of the factors that need your attention in developing a suitable digital branding strategy are the same as the ones for digital marketing, although there are a few differences.

    • Identify your business goals
    • Carry out competitor and target audience research
    • Establish a brand voice and remain consistent in its use
    • Create a brand identity
    • Position your brand in a suitable manner
    • Identify your assets and do away with ones that don’t serve any purpose
    • Identify the digital channels your target audience uses
    • Study user journeys to provide solutions at the right time
    • Track and analyze the results of your efforts

    digital marketing companies for startups

    How Much Does Digital Marketing Cost for Startups?

    The State of Marketing Budget and Strategy guide released by Gartner suggests that the average marketing budget for startups should be 11.2% of their overall revenue. However, this is neither a rule nor set in stone. Besides, just how much of your overall marketing budget you may divert toward digital marketing can vary greatly based on your requirements and goals.


    Bear in mind that not all startups have the same financial capabilities and while some can risk spending a fortune on digital marketing others might not have the same leeway. A digital marketing budget for startups typically depends on:

    • Your industry/niche
    • Your location
    • Competitiveness
    • How quickly you want results
    • The performance of your existing website
    • The digital marketing company you select


    If you plan to hire the best digital marketing agency for startups you can find, it’s important to have a suitable budget. What you need to focus on, in this case, is getting a good return on investment (ROI). Costs also vary based on the size and scope of your digital marketing campaign.



    Digital marketing is wide-ranging, to say the least, and also includes elements such as affiliate marketing, native advertising, marketing automation, and online public relations. No matter which methods you employ, it should not look like you’re putting too much effort from the consumer’s point of view. Simply thinking about what’s good enough for your customers is no longer the way to go and it’s vital that you put them at the forefront of your efforts.


    If you feel you don’t have the required technical expertise or enough time, consider partnering with an agency that specializes in digital marketing for startups. This way, you can focus on your core business while the company you select works on increasing your online presence.

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