Marketing Tactics to Consider as an Early State Startup

Jan 29, 2024

<a href="" target="_self">Matt Bertram</a>

Matt Bertram

Matt Bertram is a award-winning marketing consultant and SEO Expert. He is the lead digital strategist at EWR Digital. Host of the Best SEO Podcast and Co-Host of the Oil and Gas sales and marketing podcast.
A Person Analyzing Different Aspects of Marketing

Marketing Tactics to Consider as an Early State Startup

If you are in the early stages of running a startup, there are specific marketing tactics that you should use to maximize your outreach. As a large percentage of startups don’t make it past their first year, you need to use the right channels and methods in your marketing efforts.

In this article, we will outline the most important marketing strategies that you should be using in the early stages of a startup.

Start From The Marketing Plan

The main thing that will drive your marketing efforts is your marketing plan. Developing an effective marketing plan will depend on the inclusion of several essential components, which we will describe below.

Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is the first step. To gain precise information on the demographics and specific preferences of your potential target audience, you should conduct thorough research before you create your business plan. This will help you more clearly define your product or service, direct your marketing campaigns, and figure out where you potentially stand in the market.

Your research efforts should include looking at your competitors and determining who their target audiences are. If you are developing a unique product or service, you should also conduct surveys and questionnaires among potential customers to more accurately determine their interests.

Communication Channels

The communication channels that you use in your marketing campaigns will depend upon several factors, including your budget, your staff’s availability to populate the channels regularly, the characteristics of your target audience, etc. You should also look at the channels that similar companies are using in their marketing.Different marketing channels can include direct marketing, which includes email and traditional mail. They can also include public relations, or the use of media to publicize your company. In addition, social media and event marketing should be part of your plan.

Marketing Budget

Startups generally have very limited budgets, and therefore determining how much money to allocate to your startup marketing budget can take time and effort. To create a marketing budget that works, you will need to consider multiple factors, including your staff salaries and outsourcing costs, subscription costs, and campaign-based marketing costs. Estimating your ROI will be a challenge during the early period, so calculating your budget as carefully as possible is critical.

Nonetheless, marketing is essential for growth, so there is a sweet spot that experts recommend staying within. In creating a larger sales plan, experts recommend allocating 12-20% of projected revenue to early-stage marketing.

Unique Value Proposition

To make their specific offerings clear, startups need to develop a unique value proposition (UVP). What this refers to is a marketing strategy intended to convince customers that a particular brand or product is superior to that of a company’s competitors.

A successful UVP should contain several elements: it should be relevant to customers’ needs, include a precise quantified value, and offer specific benefits, and it should contain elements that are distinctly different from the UVPs of one’s competitors.

Content Marketing

Content marketing will help you generate leads and sales for startups. Effective content marketing will allow you to boost your brand’s online presence, help you gain name recognition and trust among the public, and ultimately help you attract more customers to your business.

To develop a strong content marketing strategy, you should follow a distinct series of steps:

  1. Establish your goals. Different campaigns have different goals, including brand awareness, profit increase, etc. Make them specific and measurable.
  2. Match your goals to your buyer persona. You can create a buyer persona by extracting common characteristics of your target audience.
  3. Research your competitors.
  4. Do your SEO research.
  5. Revise your existing content accordingly. Whatever company or product descriptions you’ve already created should be revised in light of your research results.
  6. Create a content strategy based on your analysis.


As mentioned above, effective SEO is essential to marketing success for startups. Comprehensive SEO should consist of the following elements:

  • Keywords and keyword phrases. Determine what keywords your competitors are using, and which ones gain the most traction among your target audience. If you have a unique product to sell, be sure to include any distinguishing words on the relevant pages of your website (special materials, components, etc).
  • Accurate and page-relevant content. Your content should be of the right type, length, and voice for whatever you are selling. This includes having appropriate content on each of your site’s pages (ie, general information on the home page, product-specific information on appropriately labeled pages, etc).
  • Relevant and authoritative links and backlinks. Both the links that you provide on your site, as well as any that might lead from others’ sites to yours should be relevant, functional, and as high-quality as possible.

Social Media Presence

Startups need to have a strong social media presence to make themselves visible. Choosing the right social media and using them actively can help your startup’s growth significantly. Establishing yourself on social media will not only help you build brand awareness, it will also give you a strong customer base that you can use to foster customer loyalty.

This does not necessarily mean being present on every social medium out there, though. In your early research into your target audience, you should determine which social media are popular among the audience and focus on those media specifically.

Online Webinars and Expos

Startups should take advantage of all possible means of getting their names out. This includes both taking part in and hosting webinars. Taking part in webinars allows you to showcase your expertise in particular areas and get more involved with other players in your industry. In hosting them, you can connect with potential clients and help to build a base for your marketing efforts.

Similarly, taking part in expos will give you additional exposure. Find ones that either focus on your industry or include local businesses in your area and see if you can take part. The initial investment that you make will bring rewards through the recognition you will gain. Be sure to bring relevant materials to pass out so that people will have something to remember you by.

Conduct Analysis Before Moving Further

Once you make it past certain milestones in your startup’s development, you should take the time to analyze the results of your marketing and determine what your most effective techniques are. There are online tools that can help you track the results of email and other marketing campaigns to show the number of opened messages, clicks, and conversions. You should also examine the patterns in your social media channels. Determine which types of channels and posts are having the greatest impact and place more emphasis on them in the future.

All of these things are important components of building brand equity or the value and perception that people have of your brand. It is your brand equity that will lay the basis for your long-term success.

Sum Up

The early period of running a startup is critical for survival. As the majority of startups don’t make it past the initial stages, you need to make every possible effort to create effective marketing campaigns and continue to hone your strategy so that you can focus on long-term growth.

This involves several things: figuring out your target audience, creating a marketing budget that works, choosing the right communications channels, creating strong content and effective SEO, and establishing a strong digital and physical presence for your company. If you do all these things right, you should see your business start to grow very quickly.


A Person Analyzing Different Aspects of Marketing