8 Marketing Tips for Startups That Actually Work

Samantha Pratt Lile
July 19, 2022
 min read
8 Marketing Tips for Startups That Actually Work8 Marketing Tips for Startups That Actually Work
Table of Contents

Most startups are fairly scrappy operations. After all, unless the founders can score a significant investment, it’s unlikely they will have access to a large amount of capital to use for business processes like marketing. That lack of funding can lead to a lack of growth when the organization doesn’t have the funds needed to promote the brand and attract a new audience. How can a startup grow if the target market doesn’t know it exists? Likewise, time is often of the essence to a startup, and founders don’t have the luxury to wait around for an audience to grow organically. 

Fortunately, savvy professionals can get the word out about their startups in time and without breaking the bank. It might not be as simple as hiring an experienced marketing consultant, but with some effort startup founders can find effective ways to market and promote their brands.

So, how do you conserve valuable resources for your startup while developing a marketing strategy that drives the growth you need? Consider the following eight marketing tips for startups that actually work:

1. Research your target market

Too often startups fail to thoroughly research their target markets, and they create products or offer services that their audience doesn’t want, need or appreciate. Plenty of founders were excited to introduce their creations, only to discover their potential customer base failed to share their enthusiasm. Therefore, it’s vital to thoroughly research your target customers’ needs, then design and market your brand to meet those desires.

2. Establish your brand

It’s not enough for a startup to offer an excellent product or outstanding service. Founders must solidify the concepts of their businesses and their brands. What is your business about? What goals do you hope your brand will accomplish? What makes your startup unique from your competitors, and what image do you want to present to your target audience? It’s vital to answer these questions before developing any marketing strategies, and it’s just as important to remain consistent in your brand presentation throughout marketing campaigns.

3. Define your goals

When a startup has a low marketing budget, it’s even more important to set clear and detailed goals for any marketing campaign. What will mean success for your brand? How will you measure your progress toward those goals? A startup might set marketing goals of generating a certain number of leads, securing a set amount of subscribers or even attracting certain traffic to its website – all markers of publicity and potential growth.

4. Determine your budget

No matter how meager, it’s important for startup founders to determine a marketing budget that will support their strategies. How much cash do you have available, and how much can you afford to spend on promoting your brand? What amount of money will it require to successfully meet your marketing goals? While it can be difficult to anticipate how much money will be required to achieve positive results, most startups will only be able to budget however much they can spare. Because that largely means relying on grassroots strategies, teams also should budget the amount of time they can afford to dedicate toward their marketing campaigns.

5. Engage through social media

Social media is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers. Some social media platforms already boast the ideal audience for startups of particular niches. More than half of social media users already rely on platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for product discovery, and 4 in 10 use social channels for product research. Still, it’s vital to identify in which social media channels your target audience resides. Once you’ve determined the best social media outlets to promote your brand, it’s important to learn what communication methods are most successful and master those techniques.

6. Create quality, optimized content

Once you’ve found your audience on social media, how do you engage with potential customers? It’s important to invest time into creating quality content to share with your audience and optimize it for superior results. You don’t need to create content that is obvious advertising, nor do you need to include any direct calls to action. Instead, post and share ideas that interest your audience, allowing them to gradually get to know your brand. Seek topics with which your audience naturally will want to engage. Be sure to interact with your audience, replying to its comments and connecting with your loyal fans. While it can take time to build a social media following for your startup, it’s a worthwhile effort that can help establish trusted client relationships.

7. Attend industry events

Many marketing strategies have indeed transitioned to virtual channels such as social media, but that doesn’t mean in-person interactions aren’t still an effective way to promote and market a brand, including a startup. By attending industry events such as trade shows, startup founders get the chance to communicate and network with both competitors and potential partners, as well as investors, influencers and industry experts. Not only can startup founders promote their new brands, but they also can leverage valuable relationships with key players that might help their future success.

8. Try a referral program

Referral marketing can help a startup quickly build a large following. By allowing customers to promote your startup for you, you harness the power of personal recommendations – long a powerful marketing tool. When potential clients learn of a brand through a referral, they are more likely to trust the brand and become repeat customers. While it’s possible to build a referral program from scratch, tools such as Ambassador and Referral Factory are considered worth the investment since they take care of the referral program’s more difficult details, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on promotion and growth.

Whether you’re seeking content to build your audience on social media, announcing your startup at an industry event or communicating your overall marketing strategy to teams and investors, a visual presentation can serve as a valuable tool to convey your concepts and ideas. You don’t have to be a professional designer to create high-caliber, engaging and effective slide deck presentations when you can rely on’s Smart Slide templates and the power of artificial intelligence to handle the design details for you. 

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager. Examples of her published work can be found at sites including the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Buzzfeed.