Digital Marketing for Startups

Here are 6 simple and effective strategies to help startups get started with digital marketing.
Written by
Maddie McElhenny
Published on
June 5, 2024

Digital marketing is essential for elevating your brand and building lasting relationships with your audience. But as an entrepreneur already facing a never-ending to-do list, adding another thing into the mix can be overwhelming. With so many marketing platforms and techniques available, where do you focus your limited time and resources? These six simple and effective strategies can help you get started.

1. Choose the Right Platform(s)

Digital marketing encompasses various strategies: social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and more. Trying to do it all is neither feasible nor strategic. Once you’ve determined the basics of your branding and marketing strategy, take a look at the platforms and choose the right one(s) for you and your business.

Social Media Marketing

With 4.8 billion social media users worldwide and 6.6 social media accounts per the average internet user, social media is a strategic place to be. 

Social media is a low-barrier and low-cost way to engage with your target audience and build trust and loyalty. Think of leveraging social media as a two-way conversation platform.

Get to know the different platforms, where your target audience spends their time, and what type of content you plan to share. Then, choose 1-2 high-potential social media platforms to conquer. Facebook and LinkedIn are ideal for a wide reach of business professionals and offer paid and organic social post options. X/Twitter is ideal for conversations and trending topics, and Instagram and TikTok are ideal for visual products or services, especially short-form videos.

Email Marketing

Source: Justin Morgan, Unsplash

There is a similar number of email users worldwide—4.5 million. For customer acquisition, in particular, it’s known to be 40x more effective than social media. 

Email marketing allows you to directly send messages, often in the form of newsletters, promotional offers, updates, event invitations, and more, to a larger and targeted group of people—whether customers, prospects, or leads. You can segment these messages to meet certain groups' needs and interests better, increasing the likelihood of engagement and action. Personalized emails are six times more likely to convert. 

Check out Substack as a place to start for email marketing. Its community aspect is a huge benefit and can help you connect with new prospects and grow your email list. 

Content Marketing

Source: NeONBRAND Digital Marketing, Unsplash

90% of organizations use content marketing in their efforts. It is 62% less expensive than traditional marketing channels, leading to 6x more likely conversions.

Content marketing focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing valuable content to help establish you as an authority in the industry and build trust with your audience. Blog articles are the most known forms of content marketing and can live on your website as a resource, your LinkedIn page, or another community such as Medium or Substack. In addition to blog posts, other forms of content marketing include case studies, newsletters, infographics, videos, podcasts, and eBooks. Content marketing intersects social media and email marketing, as content can be repurposed and reshared through those channels.

2. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

The quality of your content and message matters. It should be informative, accurate, reliable, and relevant to your audience. Content that goes deeper to encourage engagement—such as likes, comments, and shares—has a much greater impact than frequent, less meaningful posts. While showing up frequently and consistently is key, it's never a good idea to post something for the sake of it. 

Need help brainstorming article ideas? Sharing your personal experience, things you're passionate about, and trending topics resonate well. Or, take a shot at short-form video — currently the most popular form of content. Videos do not have to be long or complicated. Meta advises that your video be less than 15 seconds long for the highest engagement. 

3. Lean on Automation and AI-Generation

Leverage software to streamline your marketing tasks. Automation tools not only save you that valuable time but also ensure a personal touch.

  • For social media, batch and schedule content directly on the platforms or use a third-party service such as Hootsuite or Buffer. 
  • For email marketing, HubSpot and Mailchimp create campaigns, automate email segments, and provide detailed analytics.
  • For content management, CoSchedule and Trello both have calendar features to help with content planning and execution.
Meta Planner Social Media Calendar
Meta Planner

AI tools are another way to save valuable time in digital marketing efforts. 67% of small business owners and marketers use AI tools for digital marketing, specifically content or SEO marketing. AI also helps increase content marketing ROI for 68% of businesses.

AI tools are not the be-all and end-all, but they’re a helpful place to start when brainstorming ideas, creating a strategy, or optimizing content for keywords (more to come below). In other words, AI tools should complement traditional marketing rather than replace it.

We preferred JasperAI for writing, but more recently, we've found the new ChatGPT to be great. If you have the resources to invest, paying for the upgraded version is worthwhile. Speaking of ChatGPT, did you know there are countless ways to leverage it as a mom? If you need something else, there are other AI tools at your disposal, too.

4. Repurpose, Repost, and Repeat

Rather than reinventing the wheel each time you create content, leverage existing content in different formats.

Repurposing Content

People consume information in different ways. Recycling or re-publishing existing content across formats helps you meet more people where they are and saves you time—a double win. Repurpose an existing blog post into a video script to create something more dynamic or display the information visually with an infographic. Or, adapt a podcast discussion into a series of Tweets. The list of ideas goes on.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Your customers create content all the time, including sharing their experiences, reviews, and photos about your brand on social media. Supplement your marketing efforts by reposting, liking, and commenting on their content. With their permission, you can authentically engage with your audience, enhance your brand’s credibility, and save money by reducing ad spend.

Not seeing much organic UGC for your brand? Invite your customers in through hashtags or giveaway campaigns to encourage them to create it.

5. Master the Basics of SEO

It's important to go the extra mile to ensure your messaging effectively reaches your target audience. This means optimizing your content to attract organic traffic to your site or platform. Tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush can offer insights into your website's performance and help refine your SEO strategy.

Rather than trying to become an expert, you can start with the basics through our comprehensive, easy-to-follow, 4-part SEO series:

  • SEO 101: Part 1 (Content): Focuses on creating high-quality, keyword-rich content that attracts and engages your audience
  • SEO 101: Part 2 (UX):  Covers user experience, emphasizing the importance of site speed, mobile optimization, and intuitive navigation
  • SEO 101: Part 3 (Authority): Discusses building your site's authority through backlinks, social proof, and content sharing
  • SEO 101: Part 4 (Technical): Delves into the technical aspects of SEO, including site architecture, URL structure, and schema markup


6. Seek Feedback through Analytics

Data is critical to knowing how the time and resources you're investing in marketing are performing. Check out Google Analytics and social media analytics for insights. 

Determine which digital marketing metrics will provide valuable insights into what’s working and what needs adjustments, and stick to them over time. How long do customers spend on your webpage? How often do your customers open your emails? How many visitors reached your site through unpaid search results? 

As you get results and analyze performance from these metrics, refine your strategies to improve over time.

View of LinkedIn Analytics
View of LinkeIn Analytics

Take it Slow and Iterate as You Go

Whether you're new to or experienced in digital marketing, you're not expected to know everything. Approach digital marketing with an open mind and give yourself space and grace as you learn and grow. Focus on mastering one or two strategies at a time to build a strong marketing foundation. Then, as you gain more experience, adapt your approach and watch your business flourish.

References

Lisa Anthony, 14 Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses, Nerdwallet, May 26, 2023

Ellie Diamond, Digital Marketing for Small Business: How to Get Started, Constant Contact, April 5, 2024

William Harris, 3 Content Hacks Every E-Commerce Marketer Should Know, Entrepreneur, Dec 12, 2019

Margarita Loktionova, https://www.semrush.com/blog/content-marketing-statistics/, SEMRush, Apr 10, 2024

Mailchimp, Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Audience.

Neil Patel, Does Repurposing Content Work? Here’s a Data Driven Answer

NYTLicensing, 25 Impressive Content Marketing Statistics to Be Aware Of in 2024

Semrush, A Beginner’s Guide to User-Generated Content (Definition, Examples, and Tips), Dec 08, 2023

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