A Founder’s Guide To Marketing For Startups

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Shorter Version

Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

You have a vision. The challenge is turning it into reality. Your success depends on how well you can engage with your potential audience, and eventually turn them into paying customers. In order to measure your success, you have to create benchmarks. How much can you afford to spend to get a customer? That is your maximum cost per acquisition, and your goal should be to lower that number as you refine and improve your efforts. It is important to think about marketing for startups from an analytical point of view first, and it is equally vital to ensure the company is reinvesting enough revenue back into marketing to bring in a future stream of customers.

The main focus

Digital media and social media marketing should be the bulk of your focus as a startup. The results are measurable and scalable.

The most important component of a digital and social media campaign is engagement with the audience.

For example, follower count pales in comparison to having an audience that is engaged through comments, likes, and shares. Digital media also offers access to many different channels: Facebook and Instagram ads, Google and Youtube ads, organic search engine placements, emails, and landing pages, etc. By presenting a consistent and compelling message across your message and content, you can make the most of every channel and reach more customers.

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Longer Version

Est. Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Close your eyes and imagine the happiest memory you had at In-N-Out burger (if you haven’t been, watch this legendary video of Anthony Bourdain eating at In-N-Out). Do you still remember the red color on the walls that contributed to your feeling of hunger? Was there perhaps a welcoming feeling you got when the associate at the counter greeted you with a smile? Did the simplicity, the bright white color, and constant cleaning of counters give you the impression that you were eating at a clean establishment? Did the burger taste just as good if not better than you had predicted? Was it fresh like they advertised? Were you a bit sad when it was all over? That’s how it made me feel. And that’s the power of branding.

Imagine how you want your new business to be perceived

When you launch a new startup, create a brand that leaves an impression and stays in their memory, a brand that has a consistency in message and communicates in simple terms to your audience.

So begin by establishing a brand, a logo, a marketing brochure, and a responsive Website. Then, jump into learning the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or hire an expert to add SEO plugins and other SEO best practices, such as a blog section. If your business is local, make sure you start by creating a Google My Business page, a Yelp page, and a Facebook/Instagram business page. Additional business directory placements can also help you rank higher for local search results, as the search engine crawlers have more places to validate the data about your business.

Create a Facebook Pixel and copy it onto your website code. This will come in handy in the next step. Post lots of content (memes, pictures, specials, etc.) on your different online profiles. Keep it at 5-10 posts per week and try posting a press release, articles, blogs, and other content introducing yourself to the world.

Go to market

Now that you have a brand, it’s time to go to the market. Create a Google Ads Pay Per Click account. You can watch YouTube tutorials on how to set them up and Google will also give you support and call you to set it up, or review it for you. This will cover directional traffic: people that are online searching and brand shopping between you and your competitors. Install Google Analytics on your website to monitor visitor behavior in order to improve conversions. Create landing pages geared specifically toward a marketing message with a video and customer testimonials. Your main website isn’t necessarily the first place you want your audience to land on.

Being social is important marketing for startups

It’s now time to push ads on Facebook and other social sites when marketing for startups. The Facebook Pixel you installed in the previous step will allow you to show ads to the audience who have been in contact with your brand before. The Google Ads platform will also allow you to re-market to them using Google and other partner platforms like Youtube. You can create simple promotional videos online by creating slides with short videos, your marketing message, and background music. You should show your audience a mixture of images, slides, and video ads on social platforms. Lastly, build a larger audience by creating a lookalike audience on Facebook, whereby Facebook will use data points to find similar people to show your ads to.

The success of your marketing campaign will be defined by numbers, so make sure you know yours. Your cost per acquisition needs to be low enough so that you don’t burn all your cash. Have money left over to reinvest back into marketing your startup. You should strive to constantly improve the conversion rates amongst all your campaigns and try to get a lower cost per click and a higher click through rate. You should remove non-performing keywords, ads, and other components and replace them with new ones regularly.

Put most of your money into channels that have the lowest cost per acquisition.

Be marketing savvy

Not long ago, a golf club company would show an ad on Fox News because the audience would likely be an older demographic and likely could afford to play golf. Where we are now, anyone can create audiences based on demographics and other more targeted attributes to show marketing messages to people that are more likely to buy from them. This can be a powerful tool in the hands of the right founder, who is marketing savvy. And by savvy, I mean having enough of an understanding of these marketing channels to know how and when to use them, and who to hire to manage them.

While marketing for startups does not end in the digital space, data modeling and other modern analytics tools can help you target the right audience when you go offline. Consumer and business data is available for purchase with a simple Google search with geographic, demographic, and financial attributes that will help you narrow your marketing efforts to the right audience.

Actionable Steps


Make a website

Create a simple responsive Website using an online website builder like Wix that will let you purchase a domain and host the website as well. Add an SSL certificate to your website, especially if your site takes customer information. Here are some good guidelines as to whether or not you need an SSL certificate.


Be in the know

Stay up to date with the best SEO practices and read articles to stay competitive in this channel as it could potentially bring the best quality clients at the lowest cost when marketing for startups.


Do your research

Learn about re-marketing and click funnels. Use additional tools to automate your marketing so you can focus on operations.

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About the Author

Farbod Javaherchi

Farbod Javaherchi

CEO, Novia Marketing

Farbod is a serial entrepreneur having started 8 different companies in marketing, sales, and technology since graduating college. In 2015, he founded Novia Marketing, an innovative lead generation and full-service marketing agency. His clients have ranged from one-time data buyers to presidential candidates. He also owns a SAAS platform called SYNC Profiles for local businesses to help them gain better visibility online, manage their data across the Internet, and generate positive online reviews.
Full Bio | Connect With Farbod | LinkedIn

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