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How Smart Startups Use Marketing for Success

Marketing is changing and many marketers believe it has changed more in the past two years than in the five-decades before that.

Most startups have some whiff of digital marketing. Most have a variety of tools in their quivers, but digital marketing tools are not equally effective. Some hit the bullseye, others fall way short.

Six of the best digital marketing strategies which should be adopted, include:

  • Email,
  • Social Media,
  • Pay-per-click,
  • SEO
  • Content marketing, and
  • Viral marketing


Emails are still around. They deliver a nice return on investment (ROI) for marketers.

A recent survey by Demand Metric and the Data & Marketing Association concluded email marketing returned an impressive ROI of 122% — four times higher than the other marketing tools which were reviewed and studied.

The best part is you don’t have to break open the piggy bank to run an email campaign. Despite being highly effective, not all startups can harness email marketing’s true power. Some brands have excelled and others fizzled.

Here are what smart startups do to increase the odds of a successful email marketing campaign:

  • A lot depends on a subject line — make it catchy, engaging, and benefit-rich
  • Avoid industry jargon in your email — write in plain, convincing language
  • Break up text so it’s easy to scan — use bullets and subheading
  • Talk about the benefits you offer
  • Make sure your emails are optimized for mobile devices

Social Media

According to one report, 90% of marketers confirm social media is important to their business success. 89% indicate social media campaigns increase exposure for their companies.

Social media marketing is the 2nd most important marketing strategy for entrepreneurs. Why?

The following is a list of the benefits offered by social media marketing:

  • It increases exposures and traffic
  • Social media marketing develops loyal customers
  • It improves search ranking and generates leads
  • It establishes thought leadership
  • Increases in sales

Despite businesses increasingly adopting social media, not all are doing it right. Many make fatal mistakes. How?

First, choose the right channel. Develop a strategy unique for your business. Just because one business is getting great success through Twitter, for example, doesn’t mean you will enjoy the same level of success through the same tool.

If your target market is on Facebook, make Facebook your focus. Same for LinkedIn if your target market uses this professional social media. As a startup, the best channel to use is the one where your potential clients gather.


Pay-per-click is a methodology of using search engine driven advertising to bring traffic to your site. If used properly, PPC can be a powerful tool which finds sales-ready leads.

PPC advertising brings practical advantages such as:

  • You can reach your buyers with the right ad
  • High ROI as you will have to pay only when a hot prospect clicks
  • Control over how much you want to spend
  • You won’t have to wait for results
  • Data and insights sharpen other marketing strategies

Your goal is to build a successful campaign when generates more conversions than clicks as PPC campaigns can wipe out a budget fast.


Search Engine Optimization is not a matter of “build it and they will come.” There are thousands of sites just in your niche. How can your site rise to the top when potential buyers search for the keywords relevant to your product and service?

SEO increases traffic to your site, but it does more — it builds trust. If your site ranks high with buyers who search on your keywords, you give the impression that you are reputable and your company is a safe one with which to do business.

There are many challenges which involved SEO and these challenges are faced by startups.

Content marketing

Content should be the core of your marketing.

Conventional marketing has become less effective, but forward-thinking marketers know there is a better way.

Welcome to content marketing.

Used by leading brands, content marketing is used by prominent organizations such as P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and John Deere. Small businesses and even one-person shops use it. Why?

Because it works.

Content marketing is vital to your bottom line and good for your customers

There are three reasons and benefits, for businesses which use content marketing:

  • More sales,
  • Less cost, and
  • Better buyers who are more loyal

Marketing is not possible without great content Regardless of the type of marketing ideas you use, content marketing should be the core of your process — not an afterthought.

Search engines don’t reward businesses with fancy site designs. Sites with quality, consistent content is rewarded. PPC only works if great content is behind it.

Viral marketing

Viral marketing may be the best way for a startup to create a healthy buzz about your business. Content which goes vital makes your business an overnight success.

Viral marketing, at its core, is a result of the combined efforts of the other techniques.

To go viral, do something incredibly hilarious or weird. Leverage social media to get noticed and shared by others.

A viral video or content will drive traffic to your site and when you’ve gone from obscure to trending, your work is half done. The other half is converting the traffic into buying customers.

The Takeaway

Building a winning startup is a fight in the fierce competition in the business world. Choosing the right digital marketing strategies will make you stand out.

The ones here are proven to yield a high ROI.

What strategies do you want to add to this list? Share them as a comment.

Jerry Nelson is an American freelance writer living the expat life in Argentina. You can find him at any of hundreds of sidewalk cafes and hire him through Fiverr.