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Top Startup Leaders Offer Marketing and Branding Secrets

Diving into the world of startup marketing, we’ve gathered insights from CEOs and founders to unveil one effective strategy that has propelled their businesses forward. From the impact of inbound marketing to the power of hyper-niche market positioning, explore the diverse tactics in these 18 curated responses that have made a real difference in the success of their startups.

  • Increase Lead Conversion via Inbound Marketing 
  • Leverage Reviews and Testimonials on Social Media
  • Target Audience with Strategic Social Media
  • Discover Effective Marketing Through Personal Strengths
  • Distribute Content Snippets via Email and Social Media
  • Engage Audience with AI-Powered Video Tools
  • Amplify Brand with Founder’s Personal Branding
  • Boost Visibility with High-Value Blog Posts
  • Advertise on Yelp as a Startup
  • Create Integrated Storytelling Across Customer Journey
  • Host Webinars to Generate Leads and Traffic
  • Grow Customer Base with Influencer Marketing 
  • Invest in Mobile Marketing for Future Success
  • Offer Discounts to Attract and Retain Customers
  • Showcase Client Case Studies on a User-Friendly Website
  • Foster Inclusivity for Brand Loyalty and Growth
  • Succeed with Hyper-Niche Market Positioning

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Increase Lead Conversion via Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing—it’s cheaper than cold-calling, and it works better, too. Inbound leads are people who have come to your business—to your website—and who have engaged with the content there without a salesperson even ringing them up. 

To do inbound properly, you need to have two things: content that solves your audience’s problems in an accessible format, such as a search-engine-optimized blog, and conversion opportunities on your website. These are normally forms that act as a “gate” between the visitor and a piece of premium content, such as a white paper. In exchange for contact information like an email address, the visitor gets access to this content and also enters your database as an inbound marketing lead. We quadrupled our lead conversion rate in two years using this technique.

Matthew Stibbe, CEO, Articulate Marketing

Leverage Reviews and Testimonials on Social Media

We use reviews and testimonials across all our marketing channels, especially on Instagram, to interest and captivate potential customers. Reviews hold a significant amount of weight in make-or-break consumer decisions. 

Our products can improve women’s quality of life before and during menopause, so showcasing the difference our products or brand has made in unique customers’ lives and stories is especially important and influential in building our credibility with leads. Our Reviews page is visible and accessible for this purpose, and we regularly pepper our content calendar on social media to do the same. 

We have a Facebook community of customer volunteers who want to share their experiences, talk about symptoms, and connect over various aspects of coping with menopause. These communities protect our brand by engaging pain points in dialogue instead of leaving negative reviews, allowing us to proactively address issues before they grow and deliver the best customer experience.

Michael Green, Co-Founder, Winona

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Target Audience with Strategic Social Media

Businesses can attain their target audience and acquire new clients by using social media marketing to promote their goods and services. Existing clients will also expect a social media presence from you, whether responding to inquiries or introducing yourself as a company. Furthermore, more than ever, social media is being used as a search engine. Therefore, you must stay ahead of the curve. 

Before utilizing every social media platform, you must choose which suits your needs. Conduct some research to find out where your target audience congregates. Is it on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or perhaps Instagram again? Once you know this, you can investigate the ideal types of posts to publish on each. 

Whether the content is news pertinent to your business, product-focused, customer testimonials, behind-the-scenes, company culture, or a combination thereof, be sure to routinely assess what content is compelling and what is ineffective. One excellent tool for doing this is an analytics dashboard.

Tristan Harris, Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Digital Marketing Agency

Discover Effective Marketing Through Personal Strengths

It took some time to find the right marketing strategy and platform for my business because I was focusing far too much on what was trendy at the time. It’s tricky because everything can work, but the key is figuring out which strategies are going to work for you. Especially as a small business or startup, we need to be ruthless with where our time, energy, and resources are spent, so figuring this out is critical.

For me, it took getting really honest with how I could show up most comfortably, confidently, and consistently before I was able to nail down which marketing strategies were going to be most effective for me and my business. I’m good with words, so I leaned into writing for my blog and optimizing those posts for SEO, and focusing on booking speaking engagements on podcasts, summits, and my own free and paid workshops. 

Since narrowing my focus to those mediums and finding more enjoyment in the process, I’ve been able to quickly grow my email list, successfully launch several new products and, most importantly, enjoy and remain consistent with my marketing efforts so they’ll continue to pay off for years to come!

Michelle Pontvert, Online Business Strategist and Educator, Michelle Pontvert

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Distribute Content Snippets via Email and Social Media

Sending 50- to 100-word snippets of content via email and social media. Whenever I post new articles on my website, I write a 50- to 100-word summary of the main arguments and lessons discussed in the article. From there, I send it to my email subscribers and social media followers. This has allowed me to reach thousands of people with very little effort. 

This strategy works so well because the snippets only take a few seconds to read; the reader doesn’t have to read a 2,000-word article. Over the last 12 months, I’ve received five new customers from email and eight new customers from Facebook using this strategy.

Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money

Engage Audience with AI-Powered Video Tools

One of the standout approaches that has really shaped our startup’s path is making use of text-to-video editing tools with AI avatars. 

This isn’t just about marketing; it’s about connecting with people. It has created an engaging visual identity for us that seems to resonate, and surprisingly, it has even nudged up our sales. It’s not some grand plan, more like finding a tool that just clicked with our way of doing things and made everything a bit smoother. In this fast-paced business world, being able to keep up with trends without losing our sanity is a pretty big win.

Daria Globchak, Account Manager, Elai.io


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Amplify Brand with Founder’s Personal Branding

An impactful tactic in amplifying a startup’s brand recognition involves harnessing the essence of the founder’s personal brand. When the founder steps into the spotlight as a genuine and prominent representative of the company, imparting their knowledge, perspectives, and fervor within their field, it goes beyond simply humanizing the brand. It cultivates an environment of trust and authenticity.

Participation in thought leadership, addressing audiences at industry gatherings, and consistently sharing enriching content across social media platforms contribute significantly to establishing the founder as a revered authority. This, in turn, raises the startup’s prominence and credibility among its intended audience.

Chirayu Akotiya, Global Head of Marketing, Leena AI

Boost Visibility with High-Value Blog Posts

Publishing high-value blog posts on my website has been a solid method to practice what I preach. I not only advise clients on how to improve their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, but I also implement this on my own blog.

Publishing at a good frequency and adding value to readers in the blogging and SEO space has helped me reach a much wider audience, earn more traffic, and drive conversions.

We have achieved this through team efforts and the use of powerful AI and SEO tools. Today, I am both humbled and proud to share that our team has expanded from one person to just under 10 in the space of one year. This is an accomplishment that I attribute to our mutual blogging efforts.

Nikola Baldikov, Founder, InBound Blogging

Advertise on Yelp for Startups

When we started back in 2015, we initially gained clients through word-of-mouth. However, when we invested in paid advertisements, we saw some return on investment, but it wasn’t sufficient for sustained growth. Frustrated, I began searching for ways to propel the company forward, and consistently, Yelp kept appearing in my search results. 

Consequently, I decided to invest in Yelp ads—a bold move that turned out to be one of the best decisions for the success of LightHouse Graphics. Yelp continues to contribute significantly, helping me navigate through the challenging early days of starting the business.

Ahmed Ali, Digital Marketing Executive, LightHouse Graphics

Create Integrated Storytelling Across Customer Journey

I focus on 360-degree integrated storytelling across the entire customer journey. I find too many startup businesses focus on traditional marketing channels and operate these in silos, rather than in an integrated manner. 

To avoid this, we create 360-degree campaigns that reach the targeted audience across different channels all at once. We strategically incorporate storytelling across these integrated campaigns and into our user journeys. We realized that connecting with our audience emotionally and authentically has a profound impact on brand perception and loyalty.

Lubna Forzley, Founder and CEO, Stories

Host Webinars to Generate Leads and Traffic

Hosting a webinar has been our startup’s effective marketing and branding strategy. It has contributed plenty of success to our startup. It was a low-cost marketing strategy, which gave us a higher ROI. 

To make it successful, we comprehensively researched our audience and market. We took the help of AI tools to find trending topics and the most shared content. Based on our research, we created presentations containing tailor-made and valuable content for our target customers. We also promoted our webinars on various social media platforms. 

Our first webinar attracted numerous audience members and generated high data traffic to our website. Within a few weeks, we got new sign-ups who became our leads.

Jarik Oosting, Managing Director and Founder, SmartRanking


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Grow Customer Base with Influencer Marketing

We made use of influencer marketing by establishing a long-term relationship with professional bloggers and content creators. The best approach to using influencers to sell your product is to pick someone who is related to your industry and has a sizable audience. 

I have experience working with influencers, and approaching them to promote my brand has been really fruitful for me. Along with the growth in my customer base, I saw a nice return on my investment. Small businesses with limited funds can accomplish this by providing free samples and invitations to various personalities so that they can try your services and promote your brand to their audiences. 

Influencers, whether they be celebrities, bloggers, or social media professionals, can help your audience gain confidence in you by kindly promoting those products to others whose interests they share. It can serve as the key to capturing the attention of your audience and giving the product more authority.

Luke Van Der Veer, Founder, Luke Van Der Veer

Invest in Mobile Marketing for Future Success

Utilizing a mobile marketing approach has proven to be a really good investment for our startup business. Smartphones are no longer a luxury; instead, they are a fundamental utility today. 

With many corporations trying their best to market their products and services using social media advertisements, the tech industry has predicted the arrival of Social 2.0, a powerful supercluster of immersive social media. Marketing professionals will jump at this opportunity.

 

I expect a sharp surge in the hiring of UI/UX designers and experts in mobile design for marketing campaigns. Any individual planning on starting their own business should consider mobile marketing in 2024 as the right choice for you.

William Manning, Owner, Pole Barn Kits

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Offer Discounts to Attract and Retain Customers

Giving discounts when buying a package, or offering perks when an old customer returns, has proved to be a good marketing strategy. Nowadays, when everything can be bought at a discounted price, very few people like to spend the full amount, unless the brand is exceptionally large. 

Giving discounts has been adopted by almost all e-commerce sites, and there is a reason. With discount marketing, you create buzz, which attracts more customers and increases sales. You’ll always find some kind of discount on our website, such as a limited-time offer or a holiday discount. This generates a sense of urgency in customers, and the positive reviews give a push to new customers.

Julia Lozanov, Chief Editor, Verpex

Showcase Client Case Studies on a User-Friendly Website

A pivotal strategy for my company’s branding and marketing success has been showcasing compelling case studies of clients we’ve served, integrated into a well-designed UI/UX on our website. By presenting detailed, real-world examples of how our services have benefited clients, the site demonstrates our expertise and track record and builds trust with potential customers. 

This approach, combined with a user-friendly and aesthetically beautiful website design, has significantly enhanced brand perception and credibility, leading to increased engagement and conversions through our web forms. Such a strategy underscores the impact of storytelling through client successes in strengthening brand identity.

Ari Lew, CEO, Asymm

Foster Inclusivity for Brand Loyalty and Growth

I believe our success is deeply rooted in our brand’s commitment to inclusivity. We’ve made it a point to ensure our platform is accessible and welcoming to all, regardless of their background or travel needs. This approach has not only broadened our customer base but has also fostered a sense of community among our users. 

I’ve seen firsthand how this strategy has led to increased brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth referrals, and it’s been truly rewarding to see how our commitment to inclusivity has resonated with so many people. I believe it’s a major factor in our growth and success. It’s not just about business for us; it’s about creating a platform where everyone feels they belong.

Ritesh Raj, COO and Cpo, CuddlyNest

Succeed with Hyper-Niche Market Positioning

Hyper-niche positioning majorly contributed to the success of Editorial.Link. The SEO and content marketing market is overcrowded, and we needed to get creative. So, we decided to focus on link building, a highly specialized area. 

Rather than meeting the diverse needs of a large audience, Editorial.Link is focused on meeting the needs of a smaller group with specific requirements. Positioning ourselves as experts in this narrow field helped us stand out. It also helped us establish ourselves as experts, enhancing our brand reputation and credibility. 

Now, we have a strong reputation, and our brand is synonymous with high-quality link-building services. Hyper-niche positioning gave our brand a competitive edge and increased our brand awareness. It helped us foster customer loyalty and gain referrals, driving business growth.

Dmytro Sokhach, Digital Marketer, SEO Entrepreneur, CEO, Editorial.Link


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