Fortune? Secret strategy? Millions in funding? What is the key to startup success?
Definitely not the latter. Outspending competitors does not guarantee a victory.
And if you are looking to build a brand for your startup, it is better to think and craft innovative marketing strategies. In this article, you’ll see that the best ideas are simple.
So, throw away a bank scheme. Robbery’s off. We’ve collected eight samples of proven marketing tactics for your startup.
Eight Examples Of Innovative Marketing Strategies For Startups
1. Come into The Spotlight
627,000 startups with different budgets launch each year in the US alone. Not to mention millions worldwide competing with you for your customer’s attention.
But here’s the thing. No matter how big your marketing budget is if there is no authenticity distinguishing your brand from the crowd, you will struggle to make a dent in the market and fail to build a strong brand.
There are some examples of a “sparkle” that makes a business shine:
- Follow the latest trends in customer service
- Implement an innovative pricing model
- Harness the power of a personal brand
- Experiment with website design, tech, etc.
But it should be unique and fitting to your business.
Maximum Effort is a small ads agency. It came into the spotlight thanks to Ryan Reynold’s personal brand. His specific sense of humor lies at the core of each campaign they create.
The approach he offers is tested on the big screen. People love it. This is proof for a business to give money to this startup.
But in addition to Ryan’s charm, Maximum Effort provides its own ads’ distribution channels via Reynold’s 16-million Twitter and 36-million Instagram followers.
That’s the power of a personal brand.
2. Make the Most out of Social Media
A startup’s success isn’t always about a big budget. You should be open to free marketing channels, like social media groups.
There’s no doubt that a part of 3.96 billion social media users worldwide will like your product. Let them know you exist! Post content to increase website traffic, expand reach, and show your expertise in the industry.
Just look at Elon Musk’s Twitter posts. Many people got to know about Tesla startup right from his posts on this social network.
An example of startup success on Facebook is the Paperless Parts manufacturing company page. To earn the target audience’s trust, its marketers posted customers reviews.
- Now they have $500M+ in orders processed.
TOMS shoe startup made a bet on Instagram potential. Each year, this brand runs the “One Day Without Shoes Campaign”. For every barefoot pic under #withoutshoes hashtag, they donated a pair of shoes to a child in need.
It brought them 965k followers and worldwide popularity.
3. Develop SEO-optimized Content
Time to engage consumers, who missed your social posts. Catch them on Google, looking for something similar to your products. If you’re not there, hurry up. It is another free marketing channel your competitors probably use.
SEO will bring you:
- Potential customers.
- Brand awareness.
- Trust and authority.
Start with a keyword strategy for your blog and website content. Wait a few months for the first result and then enjoy it for years!
To achieve more, hire an SEO specialist or an agency.
Touch of Modern is a startup offering unique cloth. Together with the Inseev agency, they:
- Posted SEO optimized content on the blog
- Fixed tech SEO details on a website
- Launched a link-building campaign to boost its domain reputation.
In six months, they got +2,465% in organic visibility and +4,393% keywords in the Top 10 positions.
4. Use Email Marketing Wisely
- Segment your list to send emails only to the right person.
- Send emails that look like you manually typed out a message to a friend. Avoid bright banners and animations that make it look overly promotional.
- Keep the email short and easy to read.
- Provide expert advice in the email.
- Personalize the content.
You probably heard about Backlinko SEO startup. The emails its founder Brian Dean sent to its subscribers were featured in HuffPost, Entrepreneur, and even Forbes!
This example includes all the tips we’ve mentioned before:
- Behavior-based personalization.
- Written in a concise, friendly manner.
A question at the end engages the subscriber to answer.
5. Invest in Ads
Content marketing, SEO, and emails are a long-lasting story. Want fast results? Pay for Ads.
The choice depends on the target audience and startup nature. When one benefits from TV, print advertising, billboards, others prefer online advertising on:
- Google ─ to reach consumers who already know what service/product you offer.
- Socials ─ to reach those, who don’t. Use it to find a niche audience.
- Twitter users enjoy reading trends and news in a short form.
- Facebook is more about building a personal brand network for people reading in-depth info.
- Instagram is a visual content network first. It is better to work with influencers on this platform.
- LinkedIn is a professional network to reach out to specific experts.
- Banners ─ to return those, who have already been on your website.
What’s the catch? Price.
It relies on the specific of your target audience. Thus, an ads campaign cost may vary from $2K to $15K. But usually, it’s worth it.
Uber needs no introduction. At the very beginning, this startup launched ad campaigns on local websites devoted to careers and jobs.
Here are some examples of Uber banners and text ads.
The choice of websites was the smartest part of their strategy. Unlike other taxi services, its marketers refused to target the end consumer ─ passengers. Uber focused on hiring more and more drivers.
It helped this startup to grow into a ~$8.21B world-known brand.
6. Provide Potential Customers with a Social Cause
What would you buy: a black cap from a cool brand, or the same design cap from a startup donating a % of its revenue to kids who can’t afford it? 70% of consumers choose second. That’s a fact from Markstein and Certus Insights research.
People prefer to interact with services and products that help to make the world a better place. Thus, you can see an increasing number of brands that align themselves with social causes like:
- racial justice, etc.
Be careful! There are cases when companies were accused of performative activism, woke washing, and greenwashing.
You probably know about Carnival in Rio de Janeiro ─ a massive party with a lot of beer. 2 million people attend this event usually. Imagine the amount of litter they produce!
In 2013, Ambev Antarctica beer company offered its consumers free train tickets in return for the empty cans of their beer. In such a way, the brand engaged people to use public transport and recycle litter.
Sure thing, it was highlighted in the news.
7. Offer a Free Trial for Your Product or Service
The idea is simple – startups let people use a free version of their product, keeping the coolest features under wraps. Users understand how cool it is and want more. But this “more” costs money.
It became a common practice with numerous “limits” variations. Here are some of them:
- Output limit, like putting a watermark on the final design.
- User actions (software launches, number of emails imported, report downloads, etc.) limit.
- Time limit when a user has access to all product features but only for some time.
- Feature limit.
Dropbox cloud hosting service uses a free trial as part of its referral program. They offered free-month users a XX GB of free cloud space for a friend invitation.
Dropbox invitation to join its referral program on a website.
They repeated the same scenario with newly arrived referrals. In 15 months, Dropbox grew from 100k to 4 million users startup.
8. Consider Throwing Giveaways
Want an army of followers telling about your brand on social media? Announce a contest where a random winner will get a gift for a simple like/repost, etc. The more participants you’ll have – the better.
Business uses a list of tools to run giveaways. For example:
- drag-and-drop builder with ready-made templates,
- random winner generator,
- analytics reports,
- landing pages builder.
Most of them are free. But if you want to remove branding — switch to its paid version.
Coconut Bowls eCommerce startup launched a giveaway offering its products as a prize (Valued at $1000).
During four weeks it brought them 15K shares, 41K email subscribers, and 37K followers.
But if your brand is just starting out and you don’t have a budget for solid gifts, you can consider using white label solutions – rebrand products made by other companies and give them away as your prizes. It’s easy and cost-effective!
Bonus Point: Choose A Good Domain Name
Building a spectacular website with a brandable and catchy domain name is a great way to generate good-quality organic traffic and establish a strong online presence. If you don’t get your domain name right, no amount of advertising and promotions will help you achieve your goals.
Your domain name is one of the most critical components of a website to get right. That’s how your audience identifies your business.
Your branding efforts will benefit greatly from a strong domain name. Since it will effectively communicate what you do and what you have to offer.
Take a look at these amazing websites with new domain extensions.
Choosing a domain name with a new domain extension as the domain name for your startup can be an innovative marketing strategy.
New domain extensions like .icu, .cyou, .bond, and .sbs offer the availability of contextual and relevant names and add flair to your online brand. So, if you’re having difficulties coming up with a good domain name for your business, maybe you should consider looking into new domain extensions.
To sum up
The best marketing strategy is always a combination of innovation and proven tactics.
Wanna be sure that it will work? Focus on tested ideas. Wanna skyrocket your startup? Think over creative marketing strategy instead.
There are years of startup success and failure stories to learn from. I hope our examples will inspire your creativity to combine budget, experience, and innovation. Good luck!