Digital Marketing For Startups – How To Create an Effective Strategy

Digital Marketing For Startups – How To Create an Effective Strategy

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Dec 15, 2023 20:49 IST

Digital marketing can make or break a startup. New businesses need to put great attention to it. What is even more challenging is to create a marketing plan that lets you stay ahead of the competition. So how should you create an effective digital marketing strategy for a startup? 


Crafting a strong and effective digital marketing plan is critical for new businesses striving to stand out in today's competitive landscape.

Find out all about startup business marketing strategies today. 

Digital Marketing for Startups

Let’s look at the background work before you choose a digital marketing strategy for your new business. 

How to Determine Marketing Strategies for Startups?

Prioritise Goals

Your startup idea can be great and innovative. But it is important to know what makes your business different and better from your competitors. 

For long-term growth, set goals first and work on specific objectives. 

Setting goals can help you align your short term objectives. For new businesses, goals can be raising brand awareness, retaining customers, or becoming a market leader.   

For example, many startups have the goal of cultivating brand awareness. To do that, you will need to focus on how your brand reaches and interacts with clients or customers. 

Do question whether your product or service is answering the needs of the prospects. Your objective then should center around any marketing effort that helps people recognise the product and your brand. 

Know Your Target Audience

First of all, not every customer has the same reason for buying a product. That’s why startup owners should focus on identifying the target market. 

So what happens when you do not define your target audience? 

Lower conversions and sky-high marketing costs. Eventually, you will run out of funds before gaining any success. 

According to CB Insights, 38% of new businesses fail because they run out of cash. And, 35% of startups do not have any market need. 

When you know what the target market wants, you will save time and money. Begin with marketing research. In this process, you will be able to draw a few important parameters including 

General demographics: Look into age, location, gender

Your competitors: Check their marketing practices from advertisements to emails

Marketing segmentation – Once you have an idea of your target demographic, narrow down more. Do one-on-one customer interviews, send surveys, use web analytics tools such as Google Analytics, etc. Also check our blog on customer segmentation




Customer Persona – It is nothing but a believable archetype of your ideal customer. It has all the traits of the target audience from the insights you gained from your marketing segmentation practice.

A customer persona should also be specific.

Let’s say, your target market covers an age group of 25 to 30 years. They are men from one region and they earn around ₹3 – 6 lakhs per annum.

Now your customer persona should be one person. In this case, a 28-year-old man from a particular city within the region earns ₹4 lakhs annually.

Define Your Budget

As a startup business owner, you have to prevent financial errors at any cost. Allocate time to review your finances and make estimates to achieve your long term goals. 

Create Your Website

A strong brand presence starts with a good website. But, according to Fundera, 35% of small businesses still do not have websites. As of now, there are more than 1.92 billion websites (Internet Live Stats). 

As mentioned earlier, you have to know your target audience and your primary business goals. After all are in place, create your website. 




A website is the centre of future digital marketing campaigns. With it, you can create visibility on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. That is how your prospects will come to you. 

Let’s look into the focus areas of your startup’s website. 

  • Website Architecture – Your site should be clean and navigable. Web design professionals go for a flat hierarchy where users are able to access information with 2 to 3 clicks. 
  • Homepage – Give special importance to your homepage. Highlight how your brand solves the queries your customers have.
  • Website Speed – It is again necessary for providing the best user experience. And it is an important Google ranking factor. 
  • Mobile-Friendliness – Most of your prospects will use their smartphones while viewing your website and it is another Google ranking factor. 

Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy for a Startup

A digital marketing strategy can increase conversion rates when executed well. New businesses or old do not just use one digital marketing strategy but a combination of different tactics. Know that multiple digital marketing strategies are for different digital channels. 

  • Search Engine Optimisation or SEO

Once you have your website up and running, it is time to increase your organic traffic. This you can do by following search engine optimization best practices. 

Extensive keyword research and following Google ranking factors should be your priority on the SEO front. 

You should learn or hire a team that knows how to rank your website on Google with SEO guidelines

Without SEO, no matter how well-designed your website is, people won’t find it.  

Here are some benefits of SEO you should take advantage of

  • It is cost-effective compared to the ROI you get
  • Your brand will have authority over the niche
  • By gaining authority and Google search engine visibility, your customers will trust you

Do check out SEO courses

  • A Realistic Content Marketing Plan

You will need an amazing content marketing strategy to offer value to your prospects. It is a continuous marketing effort that pays off in the long run. 

At its core, there are written, aural and visual forms of content. You have blogs in the written medium, while there are podcasts to listen to and videos to watch. 

The focus of your content marketing strategy should always be reaching the maximum number of prospects and interacting with them through all mediums. 




And, you also cannot ignore how newer technologies are shaping consumer behaviour. You may want to learn how brands are approaching a viable content marketing strategy

The advantages of content marketing come from following SEO best practices. But there are more. 

  • With consistent content creation that is of high quality, you are able to retain customers
  • You can engage your target audience and create a lasting impression
  • Driving conversions becomes easier through building a larger community 

At the early stages of your startup business, you can try out different content marketing forms and find out what works best. Here are some types of content that startups in any industry can benefit from. 

    • Blog Post
    • Case Studies
    • Whitepapers
    • Emails
    • Podcasts
    • Social media
    • Videos

Gaining organic traffic is not enough as a digital marketing tool. You would need to set aside some investment for paid ads too. Check out organic vs paid marketing strategies and find out when you will benefit from paid searches. 

You can use Google Ads to increase search engine visibility. All you have to do is research the keyword you want to rank for. Then you pay when anyone clicks on your ads that come from the paid search results on Google. 

But there are some things to consider before you set up Google Ads. 

    • As a small startup business, it is important to determine your audience based on your business location. 
    • Choose relevant keywords that you know your audience searches for
    • Your competitors will also use Google Ads. And Google states that customers go to paid ads to compare the prices and the USPs (unique selling points) of brands. So, highlight these. 
    • Begin with a low budget. That is, a higher budget may not yield the best results. Once you start earning profits, increase the budget. 
    • Ensure there are a good number of searches on the keyword you will use for your paid Google Ads
    • Regularly monitor the success of your paid campaign. Look at the click-through rate (CTR). Google mentions that when the CTR is less than 1%, your ad is not reaching the target audience.
  • Social Media Marketing 

A Kepios study shows there are 4.62 billion social media users in the world. These users contribute to 58.4% of the global population. 

The same study shows that Facebook has 2.910 billion monthly active users. From here 82.9% of Instagram users use Facebook and 77.8% of Instagram users go for YouTube. 

Social media is a great marketing tool for startups. Just like SEO, it can increase organic traffic. For that, you have to interact with your target audience more and more. According to a Vendasta study, 44% of local businesses use social media for boosting brand awareness. 

Check out more of its advantages. 

    • It is best for creating brand awareness at little-to-no cost. Your startup can become popular much faster. 
    • 63% of users expect businesses to offer customer service through social channels (DreamGrow). This means, your target audience will expect you to communicate directly to them. In this way, you get to improve upon your product or service through direct customer feedback. 

Here are some best social media marketing tips for startups.

    • Determine the relevant social media channel. It should centre around where most of your target audience is. Choose more than one and test your campaigns. 
    • Live-streaming on Facebook is a popular way to generate interest. It has an engagement rate of 4.3% compared to non-live-streamed videos ( 
    • Focus on posting topical and trending social media posts. Refer to Zomato digital marketing strategy. 
    • Use the metaverse to your advantage. Virtual reality and augmented reality posts are becoming popular social media buzzwords. 
    • Don’t ignore influencer marketing. You can collaborate with influencers to promote your product through a campaign. Check out Airbnb digital marketing strategy.  
    • Follow your competitor brands on social media channels for market research.
  • Email Marketing 

According to Litmus, a good email marketing strategy can return $42 for every dollar spent. So this is one of the low-cost digital marketing channels that can benefit in generating leads. 

Check out some tips on effective email marketing. 

    • Personalise your messages. Automate them so that customers have a smooth buying journey. Customers will never click on random emails and may unsubscribe to your newsletters.  
    • Segment your email lists. You should send different emails to your potential customers and your existing customers. 
    • Work on an attractive email layout. According to Campaign Monitor, 70% of subscribers delete emails when they don’t look good.
    • Create good landing pages from the CTA (call-to-action) buttons on your email body. 

Parting Thoughts

So this is all about digital marketing for startups. All of them are cost-effective digital marketing strategies that a startup should have. 


How crucial is it for startups to set clear goals before diving into digital marketing strategies?

Setting clear and achievable goals is paramount for startups embarking on digital marketing strategies. Goals serve as guiding beacons, aligning efforts towards long-term success. These objectives could range from brand awareness, customer retention, to establishing market leadership. Clarity in goals aids in streamlining marketing efforts towards fulfilling specific milestones crucial for a startup's growth trajectory.

Why is identifying and understanding the target audience imperative for the success of a startup's digital marketing efforts?

Understanding the target audience allows startups to tailor their marketing strategies effectively. Failure to define the audience may result in lower conversion rates and increased marketing costs, often leading to financial strain. Comprehensive market research helps in profiling the audience demographics, preferences, and behaviours, facilitating personalised marketing campaigns that resonate and engage with potential customers.

What role does a website play in the initial stages of a startup's digital marketing strategy, and why is it considered the cornerstone of online presence?

A website serves as the foundation for a startup's online presence. It acts as the primary interface between the business and its potential customers. A well-designed website not only creates visibility on search engines but also facilitates brand communication and interaction. It needs to be navigable, responsive, and aligned with the business's goals to attract and retain visitors, making it indispensable for startup marketing efforts.

How can startups effectively utilise content marketing to establish a lasting impact and engage with their target audience across various mediums?

Content marketing offers startups a means to provide value and engage with audiences through diverse mediums. It includes written, visual, and auditory formats, such as blogs, videos, podcasts, and more. Consistent and quality content aids in customer retention, engagement, and community building. At the nascent stages, startups can experiment with various content forms to ascertain what resonates best with their audience.

What are the key considerations and strategies for startups planning to invest in paid advertising, particularly using Google Ads, to boost their online visibility?

Paid advertising supplements organic traffic efforts and demands astute planning for startups. Begin by defining the target audience, selecting relevant keywords, and highlighting unique selling points. Commence with a modest budget, focusing on location-based targeting and monitoring campaign performance closely. Regular assessment ensures optimal results, keeping an eye on the click-through rate and adjusting strategies accordingly.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio