8 Best Marketing Campaigns and Strategies for Startups

5 minute read

Marketing a startup can seem like an impossible task.

Thinking of an effective strategy is challenging and creating startup campaigns that yield the best results can prove to be even more difficult. 

Luckily, many companies like yours began as small startups and later experienced major growth due to stellar startup marketing ideas and creative yet effective marketing campaigns.

In this article, we’ll share some of the best startup marketing strategies and discuss campaigns that led small companies to become the multi-million dollar household names we know today.

What Are The Best Marketing Strategies for Startups?

Marketing is what can cause the success or failure of any startup.

If you’re looking to become a well-known brand that sees major financial success and growth, then time would be wisely spent concentrating your energies on devising a marketing for startups strategy that sets you up to win.

Here’s how to begin!

1. Start a Blog and Focus on SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) has serious repercussions on everything that’s put online, pushing your content into the spotlight or leaving you lost in web obscurity.

When used correctly, SEO is a cost-effective way to ensure your marketing strategies will reach the right type of potential customers.

SEO takes time and research to do right, but it’s well worth the extra effort to write it into things like a blog post or a website.

How Does SEO Work?

If you intentionally scatter the keywords you know your best-fit customers are searching for throughout the blog posts you write, the search engines will reward you by sending new users your way.

This is a foolproof marketing tactic that every startup should implement.

Keywords can be found by doing keyword research with tools like Semrush or Ahrefs.

Use the blog posts you create to link to the services or products you offer on your website. If you have not already optimized your content for SEO, start doing it immediately.

Become very familiar with this content marketing strategy, as it increases website traffic and brand awareness simultaneously.

The stronger and more thought out your optimization, the better your content will perform.

If you’re not a writer, you can always hire someone to create a blog for you to guide potential customers to your web pages and educate them about your products or services.

TIP: Use Dia Creative to write SEO-focused blog posts that rank.

It is good to note, that even the frequency of posting can change things for better or worse, so make sure to also research what time and how often you should be putting up a new post.

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out the video below:

2. Find and Market to Your Target Audience

Who are you marketing to? Who will want to buy your product or use your services? Have you identified your target audience and created buyer personas?

Finding your target audience is one of the first pages in the startup marketing playbook. This business strategy is used by all of the successful startups.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Your buyer persona is the ideal customer to whom all of your marketing materials and marketing channels will speak.

Giving your buyer persona(s) a made-up name can help bring them to life (i.e. Stay-at-Home Sally or Gail About Town).

Crafting the perfect voice to speak to them, solve their problems, and make them feel comfortable with your brand will all be part of the marketing plan you put together as you start the business.

Zeroing in on the people who are most likely to buy from you is an imperative marketing strategy.

How Do You Find Your Target Audience?

You can create your buyer personas by:

  • Using marketing research.
  • Looking at existing customers (especially satisfied customers).
  • Analyzing any data you’ve collected on your best-fit customers.
  • Crafting educated marketing strategies to attract this same type (or types) of new customers.

Where does your target audience congregate? Are there specific social platforms or groups they can be found in?

This should all be part of the data set you put together when you’re identifying the members of your target audience.

You need to not only know how to speak to them but also where to speak to them.

TIP: If you don’t know where to start, Dia Creative can identify your target audience and create your buyer personas for you.

3. Reach Out to Influencers

Invoke the power of influencer marketing!

It takes a lot of time to build up thousands of followers on social media accounts, and this is why one of the wisest startup marketing ideas is to use someone else’s.

According to LinkedIn, 49% of social media users say this type of social media marketing can convert them into new customers.

Watching someone they follow use your product is indeed a powerful tool when it comes to raising brand awareness.

How Do You Find an Influencer to Partner With?

Do some market research and find the right influencer to market in your particular industry.

Who will best reach and speak to your target market?

You don’t need a celebrity.

There’s a multitude of influencers who can generate leads for you, but remember to pay attention to what’s going on in their engagement, and don’t just look at the total number of followers they have.

This is their online space, their playground, and you need to make sure the kids in the sandbox are the ones you want to play with, too.

  • See how influencers and their audiences speak to one another.
  • Identify their pain points.

When creating marketing for startups, finding the right influencer or influencers to work with is crucial.

Do your due diligence and make sure it’s a good fit!

What Influencer Marketing Content is the Most Popular?

Video marketing from influencers is one of the most persuasive tactics.

Consumers love to see their favorite influencers actually using the products they’re contemplating buying.

Pay close attention to how the potential influencer interacts with their channel to see if this gels with how you perceive the branding of your product and if it will increase your startup’s visibility in the right way.

4. Use Social Media for Digital Marketing

Social media is one of the driving forces behind successful marketing.
Use social media to bolster your digital marketing efforts.

There are a multitude of social platforms, but you don’t necessarily have to be on all of them.

In fact, identifying which social media to invest in needs to be part of the digital marketing strategies you create at the onset.

Social media marketing can elevate your brand recognition from obscurity to overnight success if you are creative enough (and lucky enough) to craft posts that catch on and go viral.

Knowing which marketing channels to build up and invest in comes back to identifying your best-fit customers.

How to Choose Which Social Media Platform to Market On

Where do your ideal online communities spend their time?

Is it on Facebook (a typically older crowd)? Instagram? TikTok (a typically younger crowd)? Pinterest? LinkedIn (better for B2B clients)?

Marketing for startups has to be carefully positioned on the appropriate platforms, the places your identified buyer personas virtually hang out.

Once you’ve identified the platforms you want to use and invest in (both hours and money), it’s time to set up the pages and implement a marketing strategy for generating content for these new outlets.

What’s the Best Way to Market on Social Media?

Social media marketing is an ongoing process that never stops, but it’s a great way to foster brand loyalty by writing helpful content that your clients can engage with and learn from.

Here are some tips to succeed on social media:

a. Respond to Comments

Being quick to respond to comments bolsters a company as something more than a company, especially if you speak to them in a solid, identifiable brand voice.

b. Craft User-Generated Content

Producing content has become a full-time job for many people as those bothersome algorithms seem to reward continuous posting.

Because of this, it should be one of your marketing strategies to find creative ways to come up with user-generated content.

Getting your customers to tag themselves with your product or make video clips of themselves using your product is an intelligent way to generate additional video marketing that can be turned into more content for the marketing channel(s) of your choice.

c. Hire Professionals

Running social media marketing can be time-consuming and challenging.

If you don’t know which platforms would be best to use as part of your startup marketing strategy, the team at Dia Creative can not only identify where your digital marketing efforts would best be exerted but also run and optimize your social media pages to drive engagement and conversions.

5. Run Ads

It just makes sense as a startup marketing strategy to turn to advertising.

At the start of any business endeavor, ads are a great way to generate new leads and reach targeted potential customers.

Ad costs are easy to control and have the power to create a strong ROI when you implement your previously obtained, diligent market research into your digital marketing strategy.

Deciding which ads to run and on what social media platforms will make all the difference to the future success of your new business!

Turn to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Ads, or Twitter to see exactly where paid ads would work best.

TIP: Dia Creative’s marketing team can identify your target audience and run ads that will extend your reach to potential customers.

6. Give Away Free Products or Trials

Free products or free trial services are a startup marketing idea that always gets new customers in the door.

a. Free Products

Items like free T-shirts or reusable shopping/tote bags do double duty:

  • They excite a buyer because they’re getting something for free.
  • They promote your brand when the consumer uses it while they’re out and about.

When you buy these items in bulk, lowering the cost per item, the concept of giving away something for free can turn into a truly cost-effective marketing strategy to promote business growth, increase brand awareness, and grow your community of users.

Stickers are another consumer favorite, and they’re not just for kids!

Using stickers to build brand awareness

Reddit is an example of the marketing wonders stickers can do. When the company was launched, Alexis Ohanian decided to purchase $500 worth of stickers.

He then traveled around the United States putting them up wherever he thought might be an advantageous place and giving them away.

Look at where this company is today, and then remember their startup marketing strategy all started with a free sticker!

You can also print bumper stickers with a strong CTA on them, something that brings potential customers directly to your website or social media page.

It pays to get creative when it comes to building brand awareness!

Use free trials for brand awareness.
Free products and trials can increase brand awareness.

b. Free Trials

A free trial is another way to rope in new clients.

Free trials can be a win-win—potential clients get to try whatever it is you’re offering, and in return, you may get a paying customer.

It will be up to you to make sure potential customers like your service enough to stay around after the free trial period ends.

When offering free trials, make sure signing up and opting out are as easy as possible.

c. Sample Products

You can also offer a scaled-down version of your product for free.

When potential customers have the chance to use your product, they may be tempted into getting the full version.

7. Have a Referral Program

We all read reviews to see what other people have to say about a product or a service before we buy it. A positive review is even more persuasive when it comes from someone you know and trust.

Therein lies the built-in psychological strength of the referral program!

Referral programs are a marketing strategy that should motivate your particular type of clientele.

As an example, Chase Bank started offering $50 per referral (because they’re a bank, and money seemed apropos).

Dig deep into your marketing strategy box and come up with something creative that will move your current customer base to provide you with word-of-mouth marketing.

Making your current clients some of your greatest marketers is just smart business. They will typically attract the type of client you’re looking for.

8. Use Dia Creative to Help Build Your Startup Marketing Strategy!

As experts in content marketing, our team at Dia Creative can assist you with all of the marketing needs your startup will require. 

Schedule a consultation today to begin strategizing and planning your first or your next marketing campaign!

What Are Some Examples of Successful Startup Marketing Campaigns?

When you’re in the throes of starting a business, it can be difficult to take the necessary time and energy to devise a marketing strategy.

There are many ways to create marketing campaigns that buttress your business goals, and dissecting examples of successful digital startup marketing campaigns is one way to gather intel into how it can be achieved.

Here’s a list of the most successful startup marketing campaigns to date:

1. Uber 

Uber was a successful startup company.

Uber is arguably the most popular rideshare platform available, but it didn’t earn this title overnight. Their innovative spirit is one of the things that contributed to their growth.

In 2014, Uber made the move from solely offering ride-share solutions to food delivery with Uber Eats, a platform that allowed users to order food from restaurants in their area.

To set themselves apart from competitors, like DoorDash and Grubhub, Uber Eats offered enticing incentives, like giving users the option to batch orders to get free delivery and cut costs

Ultimately, the company capitalized on the time and place that its potential users would want something delivered.

Rather than pumping money into traditional advertising methods, Uber kept users front of mind and adapted their services accordingly.

Wherever there was a need, they provided an answer.

This vital step is what allowed Uber to pivot its startup branding strategy from a rideshare app to the go-to for all things delivery.

TIP: Establish your startup as a problem solver. Look closely at the market and identify loopholes that your business can fill. Not only will this help your business grow, but it will also help establish your business as an industry expert.

2. MINT

Mint is a trusted application that gives people the ability to manage their finances on the go.

We chose to highlight Mint because of how quickly they scaled their company using expert content marketing.

Mint is another successful startup company.

With hundreds of personal finance tools already on the market, Mint founder Aaron Patzer knew his startup would need to go above and beyond to stick out amongst competitors.

This is why Mint tailored a lot of its content toward young people who wanted to get better control of their finances and felt underserved by existing personal finance tools. 

Patzer’s idea behind Mint was to make it dead simple to get your finances in order and to feel in control of your life.

Mint accomplished this by driving an epic amount of traffic to its website using its personal finance blog tailored to young professionals.

Mint also took advantage of free advertising on hundreds of different blogs of varying traffic levels as well as social media marketing.

TIP: Content marketing is key to scaling your business and connecting with your target audience. Develop a strong content marketing plan to get the word out about your startup and build relationships.

Need help? Get in touch with Dia Creative.

3. Pinterest 

Pinterest's startup marketing campaigns led them to where they are today.

Pinterest is a virtual human indexing machine used for finding inspiration on all things lifestyle.

We chose this company because it bypassed typical marketing campaigns for startups and catered to niche users.

Although Pinterest is a giant in the tech industry today, that wasn’t always the case.

Like most startups, it relied on invitation marketing at first to get the word out, however, they struggled to gain traction.

To better scale their business, co-founder Ben Silbermann worked directly with users and met them where they were.

By holding meetups in person where they could get feedback about their site and also provide incentives for referrals. 

Ultimately, the key to their success was to focus on niche-passionate users, referral marketing, and focus groups to better cater to their audience. 

TIP: Identify your target audience early on so that your marketing strategy will cater to their needs. Think outside the box and meet your users where they are. Host events and focus groups to connect with users and better understand them.

4. Dropbox

Dropbox is a smart workspace that brings files and cloud content together with the tools your team wants to use.

Dropbox is a booming company that had effective marketing campaigns.

We chose this company because of their impressive growth through their affiliate program which allows anyone with a blog or website to earn cash (up to $50) for each new Dropbox Pro subscriber they refer. 

In addition to excellent affiliate marketing, Dropbox takes advantage of referrals.

Currently, they offer 500MB of free storage space for new signups referred by a current user. By doing this Dropbox increased signups by 60%.

TIP: Use affiliate marketing and referrals to encourage current users to share your services with people they know. This will help users market for your startup on your behalf. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Set Up Marketing for a Startup?

Creating a successful marketing campaign for a startup business can be done by defining your target audience, setting your marketing strategies and end goals, determining your budget, doing keyword research, determining your best-fit social media platforms, and utilizing influencers.

Once you’ve got the basics, you’ll want to start running tests and keep an eye on your key performance indicators (KPIs).

What Are Some Examples of a Successful Startup Marketing Campaign?

Mint, Uber, Pinterest, Dropbox, The Dollar Shave Club, PooPourri, and Blendtec are a few examples of successful startups.


In Conclusion

To run successful marketing campaigns for startups, there are so many factors to keep in mind and a slew of market research to be done.

Your marketing ideas need to be creative and appropriate to your audience, your email marketing on-point and relevant, and your brand reputation indisputable as the go-to solution to whatever problem you’re solving for your audience.

This is a complex process that can sometimes seem overwhelming.

If you don’t know where to start, the marketing professionals at Dia Creative can help you set foot on the path to success!

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