3 Perfect Marketing Strategies for Early-Stage Startups
Whatever start-up stage you are in, even at the idea stage, marketing plays a vital role in your business. If you want to know if your startup idea is worth pursuing, you need a way to reach your potential customers. If you want your product or service to stand out and gain traction, you need to have a strategy to reach your buyers.
Needless to say, we live in the period of human history with the greatest competition for people’s attention. Putting your product or service in front of people’s eyes sells for a premium – the ability to offer this privilege for sale is what makes Google and Facebook two of the biggest companies in the world.
At the same time, according to the Startup Genome Project, premature scaling is the main reason for boot failure. Overspending on promotion is a classic example of premature scaling – early stage startups usually have very limited resources and they can’t afford to waste them.
For this reason, choosing the right marketing strategy for early stage startups is one of the most important decisions you can make as a startup founder. Here are three that work well for early-stage projects with few resources:
1. Content Marketing through LinkedIn
“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” —Seth Godin
If your startup is focused on B2B, then LinkedIn may be the perfect channel to focus on. You can use it to share blog posts from your website (a really good idea if you’re also implementing SEO), but you can also create native LinkedIn content – it reduces friction and could increase reach and the engagement of your content.
If you’re creating useful content, then LinkedIn lets you start an audience using your own professional network as a launch pad. By connecting with people in your industry (who may also be potential customers), you increase the chances that your content will be featured in the eyes of potential stakeholders in your business.
Remember that in B2B, the most important criterion is often not how many people know about your business, but rather – which people. LinkedIn gives you a great opportunity to put yourself in the eyes of decision makers and budget owners.
2. Content Marketing Through Your Website and SEO
“In 2004, a good SEO made you stand out on the web. In 2014, a good SEO is the result of being remarkable on the web. —Rand Fishkin
The beauty of SEO in 2022 (even more so than 2014) is that it’s a lot simpler than it looks. Quality content combined with good targeting – i.e. providing information that people search for on Google – are by far the most important factors.
In other words, the key to SEO success is to provide the best informative content in your niche.
The beauty of SEO is that it can give you a steady stream of traffic to your website even after you stop posting new content. Although ranking on Google takes time and effort, once you’ve succeeded the returns on investment, in the long run, are enormous.
3. Affiliate marketing via influencers
Influencer marketing is undoubtedly one of the most powerful promotional tools in the age of social media. This is especially true for startups that offer innovative solutions. People generally need social validation to try innovative products and brands, and a recommendation from their trusted influencer is the perfect tool for the job.
The problem with influencer marketing is that it is quite expensive, especially if you want to work with the top influencers in a niche.
The solution to this problem is affiliate campaigns. By giving influencers a (generous) percentage of sales, you incentivize them to promote your products at no upfront cost. Naturally, convincing influencers to participate in affiliate campaigns is more difficult. However, if you have a very good match between your product and the audience of influencers in a niche, it is possible.
This strategy is a staple in the market for online courses and fintech solutions, but it is much more widely applicable.
In summary, with limited resources, the ideal startup marketing strategies are those that require more effort and less capital. The effort is something you can afford as a newbie founder. Once you grow, you can move on to more capital-intensive marketing strategies.