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5 Low-Budget, High-Impact Marketing Tactics for Startups

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Where do you start with digital marketing if you are a startup? Do you delve into Facebook Ads or do you set up a website and hope for clients to come? The truth is that for most startup owners, the digital space can be a scary place. You have all this stuff about SEO, PPC advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, plus so much more. What’s worse, hardly have you yawned in the morning and there’s a new trend online on digital marketing. 

How can you focus on what really matters? And by matters, I mean what really brings results without breaking the bank. Let’s take a close look at 5 tactics that can do exactly that.

1. Topical Authority/SEO

Topical authority entails creating content SO GOOD that it ranks for several keywords around the same topic. For that, you need to write content that is:

  • In-depth
  • Well-researched (with outbound links to prove it)
  • Easy to read: scannable and skimmable.

The easiest and fastest way to conquer the heights of SERPs is to create content that covers the latest research, insights, issues, or trends. 

For example, if a tech startup creates content around the keyword ‘new tech,’ this would be traditional SEO. Topical SEO would be if the company used the keyword ‘Apple AirPods Pro flash sale.’ 

Topical SEO has the advantage of low competition. But how do you get these topical SEO keywords? You can check out social media accounts or websites related to your niche to look for topical SEO keywords. Alternatively, you can use Google itself, such as the ‘related searches’ section or ‘Answer the public,’ to get relevant keywords. 

2. Use Social Listening Tools

Yes, social media marketing is great for any business, including startups. But there’s a little thing called “competition” that prevents new businesses from making strides on social media without huge ads budgets.

One way you can turn the tide is to use social listening tools. These tools help you “listen” everywhere on social media. You get to learn what people are saying about your brand, your competitors, and more. 

Let’s say you launched a new app and you’re expecting it to get 1000 downloads overnight. Yet, six months go by, and only five people have downloaded it. 

What could be the issue? 

You try to do a bit of research on social media, and you stumble on a tweet saying, “Don’t use the X app, it’s terrible.” 

How many customers are saying your app is terrible? What’s wrong with it? 

With social media listening tools, you’ll get an extensive account of what people say about your product. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll know how to modify your product and what pain points to use in your marketing strategy. 

3. Launch a Referral Program 

Referral programs are an excellent way for a startup to build a large following quickly. The concept around this strategy is letting your customers promote your product for you. 

Did you know that 92% of people trust recommendations more than any other form of marketing? When you offer your customers incentives to refer your brand to their friends and family, you get to build your customer base fast. 

A referral program is the secret behind the massive success of Dropbox. There are hundreds of referral tools out there, so pick your favorite and get started. You’ve got nothing to lose!

4. Work with Influencers 

Today’s customers don’t trust brands. No matter how carefully choreographed an advert is, today’s customers will gladly gloss over it. In fact, a growing number of people are using ad blockers to get companies out of their hair. 

So how do you reach your customers? 

With the help of influencers. They are people who have built a reputation on social media because of their expertise on a certain topic. Social influencers are important because they’ve already built trust with your target audience. Because of this trust, they are better positioned to persuade their followers to purchase your brand. 

Most startups operate on a tight budget. Therefore, the best approach would be to target social influencers at the micro and macro-level. Such influencers tend to have a high engagement with their followers making it easier for you to make sales. 

Statistics show that micro-influencers have 22.2 times more real conversions weekly. Also, they charge less, and some may be willing to mention your brand for discounts or a free supply of your product or service for a time. 

5. Promote a Social Cause 

Promoting a social cause helps you connect with your audience. This strategy is powerful because it shows that a brand is human. It communicates that you care about something that’s affecting society, and by extension, your potential clients. 63% of consumers are willing to buy from companies that promote a social cause. Most of them are ditching those that don’t promote one. 

How do you choose a cause to support? Research your local area to find a cause that connects to your values. Supporting a cause doesn’t always mean giving money. You can also have your team donate time to serve the social cause. Look for what melts your heart. 

Wrapping Things Up

Building a business from scratch is hard. I’ve worked with hundreds of followers and I know that, more often than not, marketing is the thing that involves the most guesswork for startups.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The proper tools and the tactics can help you eliminate guesswork. All you need to do is spend more time researching what your customers really want. Don’t assume you already know it. Ask. Use social listening tools. Be social on social media. Engage. Then analyze and execute.

Need more inspiration? Check out some additional low-budget, high-impact marketing tactics for startups.

About the author


Adriana Tica

Adriana Tica is a trend analyst, marketer and writer with 15+ years in the field. She owns two digital marketing agencies, Idunn and Copywritech, and a recently-launched consulting business. On SiteProNews, she shares Ideas to Power Your Future on topics like digital trends, marketing, SEO, copywriting, and more.