Startup Marketing

Startup marketing

Why startup marketing differs from marketing a business that has been operating for few years? Could it be that we are missing something, hence the 90% failure of startups? 

The thought of starting a business can be very exciting. The confidence you have on the types of startup marketing strategies you have researched about, including the most popular one, internet or digital marketing strategies, you are almost 100% sure your business is bound to be a success.

We see, read and hear about so many successful entrepreneurs and think that it will be easy for us to be successful as well. The truth is, most of those overnight success stories we hear about are often the results of behind the scenes years of hard work.

Startup marketing can be very challenging, often because of insufficient marketing, insufficient operating funds, lack of skill, etc. Hence it’s very important that every effort you put in is well planned and properly executed. 

The most important aspect that needs attention before marketing your startup is laying a solid foundation, which is ignored by most people.


When building a house, a solid foundation is a necessity for the house to be strong, same goes for a startup. The key is to lay a solid foundation that will not be shaken when tribulation threatens to destroy what you have already built.

The following basics must be covered before jumping into marketing your startup.

1. Identify your target market


When you have an idea and truly believe in it, it’s very likely to believe that your product or service is going to be loved by everyone, simply because everyone needs it. The truth is, only a certain portion need your product or service. And that’s the market you must focus on.

Marketing your startup to everyone is a waste of resources. The key is to identify a niche target market and go after market share aggressively.

How do you choose a market?

1.1 Features of the product and services – Analyze the features of your products and services. Determine the benefits that your customers get from your products and how your products/services fill the needs of those customers. Make a list of those features and needs to make the analysis easier.

1.2 Market Size – Are you targeting a regional demographic? Male? Children? If you are marketing B2B products and services, you might need to decide on the size of the businesses you want to market to, know the people who make the buying decisions.  

1.3 Market Wealth – Does this market have the money to spend on your product?

1.4 Market Competition – It is very important to answer questions like: Are your competitors going after the same market segments as you are? Are they reaching segments you hadn’t thought to consider? How are they positioning themselves? Is the market saturated?

This will give you a general sense of the approach they’re taking to do marketing and whether it’s allowing them to create engagement online. It will also help you understand which markets they’re targeting and whether their efforts appear to be effective or not.

1.5 Value Proposition – Is your value proposition unique enough to cut through the noise? How will your product or services make your client’s life easier or better, or just more interesting?

2. Defining keywords


Now that you know who your target market is, start building keywords to use on your website, social media, blogging and any other online platforms you want to use for your online marketing. When properly defined, these keywords will send traffic to your website. Another reason why every business must have a website.

3. Define success


Success is different for any startup, R10000 monthly profit can be defined as success by startup A while startup B will define R1000 000 monthly profit as a success. Write down your defined success or share it with your team to make sure that everyone understands what’s required of them. Be consistent. Make sure that your success is tied to real growth and measured the same way every month. This could be measured by signups, revenue, profits or anything that leads to the growth of the business.

4. Setting core metrics


Set measurable and specific core metrics. For example, let’s assume you’ve defined success as 500 new sign ups per month. You might measure the conversion rate of three calls to sign up. The idea is to have a few highly valuable metrics based on actions taken throughout the customer acquisition funnel (e.g. signups, newsletter subscriptions, eBook downloads).

Record baseline metrics right away so you can easily determine your growth.

5. Estimate conversion rate


Conversion rate is one of the best ways to measure performance of an advertising campaign. A conversion could be, depending on your business goal:

– getting a website visitor to call your business
– downloading an ebook, mobile app, etc from the website
– making a purchase
– signing up for subscription
– completing a lead form
– engaging with online chat, etc.

Wondering how to calculate a conversion rate?  Easy.
Conversion rate = (conversions / total visitors) * 100%

6. Set a budget


At the end of the day, it all boils down to money. How much can you afford to spend on your startup marketing strategy? More importantly, carefully plan how you intend to divide that budget. Are you going to spend 30% on social media, 20% on email campaigns, 20% on blogging and 30% on google ads? It is important to make sure you have the logistics before you start spending.  And most importantly, you need the help of a Digital Marketer to assist you in identifying the best digital campaigns for your business.


Startup marketing is a complex science. A great marketing strategy will fail if the foundation is not solid. Some great business ideas have failed due to poor laying of foundation, while others have spiraled to billion dollar fame. It’s all in the laying of a foundation.