Your Guide to Digital Marketing for Startups: Top 6 Elements to Add to Your Strategy!

✔️ Technically Reviewed And Approved By Nomadic Team

This post was written by the amazing writers here at Nomadic Advertising!

September 7, 2023

Every startup owner with an online presence wants a larger audience, more signups, more subscribers, more followers, and more sales. However, startups tend to be cash-strapped. The challenge is figuring out how you are going to market your business effectively without “breaking the bank”.

Luckily, the secret to getting people interested in your business from the start isn’t outspending competitors. It’s more about marketing your business creatively, and that’s how we can help you. By thinking “outside the box” you’ll probably get more traction than by trying to outspend everyone else.

Here are our top six digital marketing tips for startups. Be sure to add them to your digital marketing strategy to see a significant difference!

Top 6 digital marketing tips for startups

Digital marketing for startups is a vast subject. However, we suggest you focus on market research, branding, website development, social media marketing, advertising (mostly PPC), and SEO. More on this below;

1. Market research for startups

This may be an obvious tip. However, many startup owners proceed without doing thorough market research. It’s worth noting that digital marketing won’t go very far if you choose a niche that doesn’t have the market to sustain your business or match your marketing efforts.

Market research uncovers the environment as it is. You must explore your niche both externally and internally to guarantee a more thorough understanding of where you stand.

External market research

When studying the external environment, conduct what is known as PESTLE analysis. This researches the politics, economics, social, technology, legal, and environmental aspects of your existing business or business idea.

You should also do a market analysis to see who your potential customers are and their demographics. Market analysis also involves studying the market trends that your startup will operate in.

Lastly, conduct a competitive analysis to uncover your competitors, their market share, and the strategies they use to market themselves online. You should also study pricing, market saturation, among others.

Internal market research

This is about analyzing the microenvironment in which your business will operate. For instance, you need to ask yourself what you can do internally to understand your market.

Perhaps a website audit may be in order when you want to uncover the source of clients, their demographics, preferences, etc. This is assuming you already have a relatively new online business with customers and you are trying to market it better. Luckily, there are powerful tools like Google Analytics that can help you do a thorough website audit.

A social media audit can also help you understand the microenvironment of your startup better, by paying attention to metrics from different social media platforms. It also helps to audit the social media presence of your competitors to better understand your niche and ideal customers.

A thorough market research for a startup shouldn’t end without a SWOT analysis aimed at assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats faced by your startup.

2. Branding for startups

Branding is also an important digital marketing aspect for startups. We recommend you think of your ideal brand from the onset.

So, how does a startup set out to build a recognizable brand? Well, think of uniqueness, consistency, and trust!  Set out to create a recognizable and trusted brand with loyal customers. This will involve coming up with unique taglines, logos, colors, and an original value proposition. Your website and social media presence should also communicate your value proposition and match the brand in every other way, including colors and logo.

When doing your startup logo, there is no wrong or right way to go about it. For example, you can focus on simplicity and borrow inspiration from globally recognizable logos like Nike. Your company logo will last years before there’s a need to rebrand. We recommend you focus on timeless color choices i.e., classic colors and minimal styling.

For instance, when choosing the font, we recommend keeping things simple i.e., having one or two fonts at most (one for the main text and the other for the tagline/body). Most importantly, consider fonts from the same family, as they already complement each other.

As for colors, consider those that resonate with your brand. What feeling do you wish to communicate? Different colors have different meanings, for example, red represents energy, which can trigger potential buyers. Green is about health and nature, making it a perfect color for a brand looking to convey just that.

When thinking about your brand tagline, focus on the company’s long-term goals, mission, and what you want your startup to be known for. Choose a vocabulary and brand messaging framework that resonates with that and the core values of your company. Most importantly, focus on how your target audience loves to communicate.

When you finally have your brand colors, logo, tagline, etc., ensure the brand is consistent across every online marketing channel. Your website, social media channels, emails, and other digital channels should have consistent messaging to build brand recognition.

3. Startup website development

Website development is also an integral part of a startup’s online marketing strategy. In fact, all startups, even those that don’t sell anything online, should have a website. What’s more, the website should be built strategically, ideally by professionals. Why? Well, there’s no need to have a website that won’t stand out and inspire potential customers to enquire or make favorable purchasing decisions.

A professional website must have a compelling and organized homepage and service pages for each service you provide. Ensure you add all important elements from high-quality content (images, videos, and blog posts) to compelling CTA (Call-To-Action) buttons and clear messaging.

If you work with a good website developer they will also make your site easy to navigate and follow basic UX guidelines. They’ll also take care of important aspects like website speed and responsiveness, ensuring no website visitors leave your site because of technical reasons. Web development experts can develop mobile-friendly sites that offer the best possible user experiences regardless of the devices used to access the site.

Your website might be one of the first aspects a potential client finds about your business, which means you must ensure they get a good first impression. The elements we’ve mentioned here are all part of a solid web structure and design, but there is definitely more to it. If you don’t have the time to design the best first impression possible to capture your audience’s attention, then we recommend you hire a company that can do this for you. Even if you already have a website, improving your design and overall UX experience is a great way to give it a boost and make sure there are no development issues. Your existing website can benefit greatly from a site audit to identify elements that need improvement.

4. Social media marketing for startups

As mentioned above, startups have unique challenges like financial constraints. However, social media can help even the playing field. Global social media statistics show that there are approximately 4.8 billion active users, which translates to over 60% of the world’s population 1. Social media is also a flexible form of digital marketing. It is possible to launch social media campaigns that are impactful locally and globally without necessarily spending millions.

Social media is perfect for connecting startups to target audiences, collecting/finding feedback, launching new products/services, and running ad campaigns. While many startups will use social media, what most lack is a solid strategy.

But trust us, you need to have a social media strategy!

Here is our professional advice on how to create a winning social media strategy for startups:

Pre-strategy prerequisites

First, you need an ideal customer profile. Your social media marketing strategy must have a target market in mind. The target customers will guide you when doing important things like creating content, setting up social media ads, and even segmenting customers by age, preferences, preferred social media platforms, description, etc.

You also need to define your core business values and goals to have an impactful social media strategy. For instance, are you using social media to gather feedback, communicate with clients, generate leads, raise awareness, etc.? Clear expectations are critical for creating a solid strategy.

Lastly, before you craft a strategy, research the preferences of your ideal customers. You can do this through social media groups and communities, as they are critical in growing brands.

Social media strategy components

With ideal customer profiles, core values/goals, and research on consumer preferences in mind, you can proceed and start creating your social media strategy for a startup.

  • Choose your social media marketing channel/s: You can begin by deciding the most impactful social media platforms based on the above results. With target customers and their preferences in mind, it’s easy to know which platform/s to use to target them. For instance, recruitment startups should focus on platforms like LinkedIn, with the biggest professional recruiter and employee user/customer base globally. If your ideal customer profile is that of young social media users highly likely to follow influencer marketing advice, you can focus on Instagram.
  • Include an organic growth component: Effective social media strategies for startups also need to have ways of leveraging organic growth. For instance, since people like to comment on social media posts, you should have a strategy to encourage such interactions, get feedback, and act on such feedback. It can also involve creating content specifically aimed at collecting feedback.
  • Social media management toolkit: An effective social media strategy for startups must also include social media tools that assist in managing your presence across platforms. It can be anything from scheduling posts to CRM software for responding to customers. Social media tools make the entire process more effective.

5. Advertising for startups

There are many ways to advertise a startup. You can look into the different methods available to find the one that best suits your needs as well as the right way to set up those advertisements. Oftentimes startups will begin by advertising on social media to the public at large, without using all the tools at their disposal.

For example, we have several strategies for creating highly targeted and effective social media campaigns. Also, there are platforms that are better than others. For instance, we always recommend our clients use Meta ads or Facebook ads because you can create highly targeted marketing campaigns that target very specific consumer segments. Instagram ads have the same capabilities. Most importantly, Meta ads and Instagram ads can be set up with varying budgets but still perform exceedingly well, delivering a higher ROI than most online ads.

However, knowing how to properly set up these Meta campaign ads requires a bit of knowledge of how they work in order to harness their full potential, especially to narrow down your startup’s ideal audience.

PPC for startups

PPC ads, such as Google ads, are great for getting high-quality leads and directing them to your website. However, like social media ads, you need some expert knowledge to get value for money. Most importantly, a PPC campaign strategy for startups is paramount given the unique elements of PPC ads, such as bidding, and the high probability of a low ROI if you don’t set a budget wisely.

Generally, a PPC strategy should include the ideal customer. It should also have a well-thought-out budget that considers keyword research, competing bids, business goals, and more. It’s possible to get high-quality converting leads with PPC ads even with a smaller budget. However, some PPC campaign setup expertise is required. You can learn some of our professional PPC tips for businesses in 2023 by clicking here and we hope we can help get you started! However, maneuvering the intricacies of Google ads will take time, and in order to get the best possible results we recommend you also do your research and be willing to experiment, face some obstacles, and hopefully come out the other side with some return to your investment! Of course, you could always hire an expert to help you along the PPC path save yourself some time and energy, and definitely make wiser use of your budget.

6. Search engine optimization for startup

Since startups are constantly looking to scale with limited resources, they need creative SEO strategies. Luckily, you don’t need a bottomless budget to do great SEO that kickstarts traffic and offers organic growth.

An effective SEO strategy for a startup should cover all essential types of SEO with unique approaches specifically tailored for startup growth.

a. Startup keywords: Keyword optimization

You need startup-related keywords to compete effectively with other businesses in your niche. To identify such keywords, you must do thorough keyword research, which should result in a keyword list that guides you when creating content. This may require using high-tech keyword optimization tools but we promise it will be worth it.

The keywords should then be placed strategically in the content based on your website, based on their importance. For instance, the main keywords must be in titles, meta descriptions, first paragraph, and last paragraph, and spread evenly elsewhere. You also need to use keyword variations (LSI keywords) and include local keywords with your location to target specific customers within your area.

Pro tip: Another important keyword practice to consider is to have unique keywords for each page. Also, remember to see what your competition is doing to make sure you are not falling behind on industry trends or relevant elements. Then, take advantage of Google’s predictive keyword phrase suggestions and related searches to create content.

b. Content optimization

An effective SEO strategy for a startup must also include a content marketing plan or content strategy that includes topics around the main keywords. The content should be created strategically following every stage of the entire customer journey.

Considering customer intent is important to ensure content fulfills a customer’s needs, it also helps to create fresh content consistently. Google, among other search engines, will rank your website higher if you post blog content consistently over the long term.

If you already have content, your SEO strategy should include updating such content in line with the best SEO practices.

c. Backlinking

Startups are relatively new. To gain search ranking authority, they must prioritize link building as part of their SEO strategy. However, not all links will matter. The focus should be on getting linked by high-authority sites.

This takes well-structured outreach campaigns that include strategic guest posts, leveraging on broken links, and more. It takes true industry experts to get high-quality backlinks without using counterproductive practices that can hurt your search rankings.

d. Technical SEO

Startups also need to concentrate on technical SEO elements as part of the overall SEO strategy. This includes ensuring the site is indexed by Google and crawlable by Google’s search algorithms. Technical SEO also includes ensuring the site has the security elements required (i.e SSL certificate) and the loading speed is above average.

Pro tip: For existing sites, duplicate content should be removed, and the site should be made responsive i.e., using HTML and CSS to hide, shrink, resize, enlarge, or move site content to ensure it looks great when viewed using all types of devices.

Startup SEO can get very complicated. If you need help creating an SEO strategy for your startup, coming up with a content plan, or handling other direct/indirect aspects of SEO, we happen to be leading SEO experts.

Nomadic Advertising is a full-service SEO digital marketing agency. Offering content optimization, backlinking, website analytics, keyword optimization, and more.

Are you looking for a startup marketing plan example?

In case you are wondering what a startup digital marketing plan should look like, here’s an example to consider:

Market research: The first component of a startup digital marketing plan should be the research into the existence of a market, the competition, the size, etc. Market research should also include the profile of the ideal customer. You need a clearly defined target audience to create a marketing plan with a significant impact.

Marketing goals & objectives: Think about what you plan to achieve and craft goals that align with your overall objectives.

Marketing strategy: How do you plan to achieve your marketing goals and objectives? This part of your marketing plan should highlight in detail how you will creatively achieve your goals. The strategy should also feature clear messaging to reach far and wide, as well as the technology you intend to use.

Conversion: Your marketing plan should also highlight how you intend to turn website users into actual clients. This should include the sales/conversion funnel/s and buyer journey.

Customer retention: An effective marketing plan also includes strategies for retaining new and existing clients. Once you work hard and convert a client, you should use effective retention strategies for startups like remarketing and affiliate programs or referral programs, among other programs, that foster brand trust and turn existing clients into brand ambassadors.

Marketing budget: Every effective marketing plan must be backed by a budget. In fact, budgets should dictate strategies for startups. It should also include allocations for different aspects and the expected impact.

KPIs: Talking of impact, your plan should define the key performance indicators or how you expect to measure the success of your marketing plan. For instance, will you look at social media user engagement, conversion rates, brand awareness, ROI, or other metrics? KPIs help to derive the best out of digital marketing efforts.

Summary: Lastly, your digital marketing plan should have a summary with metrics and the results of your campaign/s. You should also be able to draw conclusions and improve your marketing campaigns constantly.

To wrap things up…

Startups are unique in many ways, from their resource constraints to their relatively new nature. These aspects present unique digital marketing challenges. We’ve covered the most important elements to focus on to ensure you effectively market your startup online. While it may be possible to implement the above on your own and we hope you are willing to put in the time it takes to take your startup to the next level! However, we understand how time-consuming it is to build your own business and try to grow it on your own, so if you need an extra hand to assist you in this next step, we’d be glad to help you!

We’ve assisted many startups in Canada, the U.S., and beyond in navigating the complex and ever-changing digital marketing landscape. Book a FREE digital marketing consultation today and see what we can do for your business.  Let’s talk about your startup, digital marketing plans, our comprehensive digital marketing services, and more!

Key Takeaways

  • Startups face unique digital marketing challenges like resource constraints and lack of digital marketing expertise.
  • There are many ways to market a startup online. However, a few are exceedingly effective:
  • Do thorough market research
  • Seriously think about branding from the onset
  • Prioritize website development for a better UX
  • Social media marketing is critical and should be done with a solid strategy
  • Don’t forget about the power of PPC ads to get a head start
  • Search engine marketing should be tailored for startups in order to gain authority and boost local ranking
  • Lastly, create a marketing plan before you begin implementing a digital marketing strategy



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