How to create a marketing strategy for a startup

Launching a new start-up is a super exciting time, you’re full of enthusiasm with a new idea you cannot wait to share with the world. To help you reach that ambition a clear and effective marketing strategy is going to be crucial to your success.

A startup needs to be able to adapt and pivot quickly however, a fixed strategy is unlikely to work perfectly first time so it’s a blend of having a clear plan but being flexible to change when you either see results and double-down in one area or don’t and have to move to test something new.

Creating a marketing strategy for a startup also presents some unique challenges. For example with a trading business they will use prior data to inform their new strategy and be able to make accurate predictions based off this. With a startup we have none of this. Therefore we need to be creative and resourceful in our planning.

Since we can’t get any historical data we need to look elsewhere and fortunately there are several places we can do so. We can use tools such as Similar Web and SEMrush to get a picture of what industry competitors are doing with their marketing with regards to advertising spend, SEO targeting and content creation.

You can also review competitor websites yourself, look at their content, social media, newsletters etc. to get a feel for how they’re marketing their products and services. Now this isn’t what to copy, in fact as a startup you often need to do the opposite to stand out but it helps give you a picture of what is working for others.

It’s likely if you’re launching a startup you and/or your senior team will have some prior experience in the sector your startup serves. Lean into that experience and consider marketing campaigns or activity that worked well in your previous business or for your employer. Even if your industry experience isn’t directly the same as your start up, related or even disparate results can be valuable to learn from.

A massive competitive advantage for a startup is to speak to your target market. Get out there to events they attend, meet them for coffee, attend webinars and DM them on social media. The more you can understand your audience the much better chance you have of creating marketing campaigns that will resonate with them.

As mentioned earlier crucial to marketing success for startups is being able to to adapt and change at speed. This gives you a huge advantage over incumbents who might be slow to change and have layers of internal processes to filter through.

A startup’s key strength is your ability to pivot, in marketing terms this means running a campaign based on your research and hypothesis but then being able to change quickly to an alternative method if things aren’t going so well. Or more hopefully investing more into something which gets traction for you.

So we’ve identified how important an effective marketing strategy is for startups but we also know there are some inherent challenges for startups given the lack of historical data to pull from. By using your own past experiences and immersing yourself in your target market and speaking to customers we can start out with some useful predictions.

It’s then down to a startups biggest strength, your flexibility to change and adapt. Any marketing strategy should always be a dynamic document you’re consistently refining and updating but especially for a startup when you’re testing to see what works well for your business.

As always if you’d like help creating your marketing strategy you can request a consultation call with me today.