Effective Startup Marketing Strategies for 2021

Looking for some simple strategies for startup marketing in 2021? Have an incredible idea and don’t know how to get the word out? Have a side hustle your self-funding? Read on to find 8 easy startup marketing strategies that could cost you nothing at all and help grow your business in 2021.

Startup Marketing 101: Referral programs

A classic for startup marketing is the referral. From the early days of Gmail invites, to Uber codes to the proliferation of meal-kits online, one thing is clear: referrals work.

Sometimes the best way to market to new customers is to avoid advertising altogether; instead, create a system that lets your customers do the marketing for you. It’s proven that people are four times more likely to buy a product when it’s referred to them by a friend, so why fix what’s not broken?

Despite endless digital ads and endorsements from influencers, we still trust personal recommendations more than anything else. Establishing a referral program doesn’t cost much, and depending on how you structure it, might be entirely free.

Most E-commerce solutions will have this function built it, but it’s up to you to use it effectively.

Look at your potential audience and ask: what would THEY want? Would you offer your current customers a discount on their subscriptions in exchange for referring a new customer, extra features, or even a cash reward?

Remember: referrals are only as good as the value they bring to your customers, not just to you.

Email marketing

While not exactly glamorous, Email marketing is undeniably the most cost-efficient marketing startup marketing strategy around, with some sources claiming a return on investment (ROI) of 400 percent or more.

Don’t worry about size: as long as you have a good list (personally curated, rather than bought), and a steady stream of outgoing email blasts that give your customers value, you should be able to see a significant return on any time or money you put into it regardless of if you have 1000 or 100,000 users.

Tools like Mailchimp and Hive can also connect to your e-commerce and advertising platforms, helping streamline automation, audience tracking and analysis and much more, while offering robust and reliable email delivery at low prices.

Press releases and news features

Let the local media work for you. Sending emails, tweeting at journalists you engage with, or sending press releases can be an inexpensive way to get your brand mentioned in major publications, and possibly pick up some inbound links along the way.

If you do the work yourself, hunting down and emailing journalists, press releases can be very effective as a startup marketing plank. However, make sure you are finding the right publications to build relationships with their audience and offer value…not just trying to secure free advertising.

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Content marketing 

Content marketing takes many forms and most require an investment of nothing but time. Many startup marketing strategies put content marketing front and center.

The easiest starting point for a startup marketing strategy is to manage an on-site blog, adding new content a few times a week that informs or entertains your readers in some unique and practical way, is searchable and easy to digest. But don’t stop there!

Go live on Instagram or LinkedIn and answer questions, demonstrate products or ask questions to your audience on a weekly basis. Create recipe videos or outfit styles based on your products. Write a cookbook using your plates or glassware… the opportunities are endless!

Once you start your Content marketing, remember: to be an effective startup marketing strategy the key is consistency. If you can only post once a week, do it!

But be consistent: set a schedule, and stick to it. Once your audience becomes accustomed to your weekly updates, they’ll be that much more likely to become customers when they’re ready.

SEO

If you’re spending time writing blog posts for your content-marketing campaign, you might as well invest in improving your search engine optimization (SEO).

New to SEO? It might seem like arcane computer magic, but with a bit of research you can easily understand the basics and implement better SEO as part of your startup marketing strategy.

It’s actually deceptively simple: Online tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer or Ubersuggest will help you identify relevant keywords that attract traffic to your site with low competition, then update your site to include those keywords.

Tools like Ubersuggest or Rankmath will help find any structural changes, high or low quality content and potential backlinks to your domain. By making incremental changes and improving your site and content, you’ll begin to see progress, and traffic that continues to grow consistently.

This strategy is very time consuming, but the results can be outstanding and well worth the effort!

Social media 

Social media is an essential part of any startup marketing plan. Start by establishing profiles for your business on major platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Flesh out your profiles; and start sharing content that your audience will enjoy.

Much like other content marketing, Social media marketing requires you to be consistent: answer questions promptly, post regularly and don’t just push people to buy buy buy… customers will engage with accounts that provide both value and entertainment, so let your personality show through.

Community Building

Have a niche product? One incredibly effective startup marketing strategy is using social media or online forums like Reddit or Quora to engage your audience!

Reach out to individuals, participate in threads and make sure to stay connected and reply to questions or offer deals or discounts to interested consumers. Using this startup marketing strategy can help show your expertise in your industry, offer unbiased opinions to help build reputation, and learn more about your audience first hand.

In time, you could grow an audience of thousands with very little money, representing an ever growing avenue for exposure if you stay with it!

Personal branding

When it comes to startup marketing: Personal branding is essential. To help grow awareness and reputation, you’ll need to promote yourself and your expertise across social media, LinkedIn or a dedicated blog, earning new followers and a separate source of traffic and interest.

Remember this is not your BRAND: this is YOU!

While startup marketing is obviously important to you business, modern marketers have learned that the people behind the brand are just as attractive to consumers… so let them get to know you!

The value here is that people tend to trust other people more than corporations, so eventually, you’ll have a separate, powerful outlet you can use to syndicate your content or attract new leads — without paying a penny.

Heading Photo by Shannon Rowies on Unsplash