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5 Common Rules of Digital Marketing Most Startuppers Often Ignore

Startuppers work hard to launch their business:

Ideas, business plans, pitch decks, and digital channels — all consume resources and require knowledge and skills. Another critical element of this complex process is marketing.


Nobody knows about your startup or finds your stellar website if you don’t promote it like a pro. The best decision would be to hire a seasoned marketer, which may be problematic for those with limited budgets. As an alternative, many choose to walk through a thorny marketing path alone.

The result? Tons of mistakes from the start that would be easy to prevent if you knew basic marketing rules.

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In this post, you’ll find the five rules of digital marketing most startuppers forget (or ignore). All are critical for building your brand awareness, visibility and conversion.

1. Target audience research

Let’s be honest:

While business owners understand the importance of creating a buyer persona, most ignore the details. They limit a customer portrait with demographics and other generic factors like occupation, hobbies, and income.

For marketing success, you should go deeper with target audience research. It’s critical to know a customer inside out; otherwise, all resources you spend on product development and marketing content will go to waste.

Demographics and other quantitative factors matter, but qualitative ones are fundamental to consider. Focus on your target’s psychology and behavior. It will help you understand their motivations and separate your startup from competitors.

  • Identify a target’s problems for your startup to be their solution.
  • Know their cultural backgrounds, fears, biases, and objections to influence their decision-making.

How will you get this information? Marketing instruments for qualitative research can help: focus groups, interviews, online forums, surveys, social listening, and others. Many corresponding tools are available today, so there’s no excuse to ignore them.

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2. Audience segmentation

No wonder many startuppers ignore this rule:

Target audience research and segmentation take tons of resources. When a small business, especially a local one with no massive competitors or marketing budgets, you don’t see this step as relevant. And yet, it’s critical.

Audience segmentation is a marketing strategy for identifying subgroups within your target audience. It helps understand the customer base better to deliver more relevant and valuable messaging for each segment.

Why bother?

Market segmentation allows you to:

  • Improve your product development process
  • Unlock new competitive advantages
  • Optimize your marketing campaign’s performance
  • Build stronger connections with customers
  • Revitalize your brand if necessary

You can segment the audience by demographics, behavior, level of engagement, or buyer’s journey stage. Your segmentation strategy depends on a startup’s niche, size, and the product/service you deliver.

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3. Comprehensive content strategy

“Content is king.”

This oldy-moldy quote by Bill Gates has never been more relevant than it is today. 

Thanks to Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines and regular updates, content marketers and SEO specialists have finally given up stuffing low-quality texts with nothing but keywords. Plus, they understand the human-centric content’s role in today’s era of AI writers.

There’s just one problem:

In their content strategy, they often ignore a target audience’s intent.


Let’s say you’re a repairing company with a well-optimized website and blog sharing expert advice and tips on… DIY repairs.

Who is the target audience of your website? They are people with no time or desire to repair but have money to pay for it. Why should they read a guide on replacing a faucet with their own hands?

Such content can bring traffic but no leads. Instead of focusing on how-to guides or tutorials (informational intent) only, diversify your content strategy. You’ll need texts to solve your target’s problem. Keep it in mind when crafting a content plan and choosing writing ideas for your business blog.

4. UVP (unique value proposition)

It’s a primary thing all marketers should know about, but some continue to ignore it in business promotion. Or they don’t understand its meaning. As a startupper, you may not see the difference between a unique value proposition and a mere selling proposition.

A UVP is a statement. It tells your target customers the following:

  • How they will benefit from your offer
  • What makes it different from look-alike offers from your competitors
  • How it solves their problems

Also known as a unique selling proposition, a UVP explains to customers how your business adds value to their lives. Marketers place it on a website’s homepage as a brand message. It’s a catchy and up-to-point phrase telling users why they should buy from you.

How do you find a UVP?

Think of what your customers want and what your business does well to improve their situation.


  1. Make a list of your product/service features and resume each from a client’s point of view.
  2. Make a list of benefits for each feature. Focus on those you can guarantee and remove those your competitors already offer.
  3. Determine the core benefits. Think of the most essential ones for your client and those hard for the competitors to replicate.

A strong UVP is that gives you a dominant position in the niche. It gives customers a reason to choose you and fall in love with your brand. So please don’t underestimate it:

A unique value proposition can boost your startup’s marketing endeavors by far.

5. Sales funnel and A/B testing

Maybe you don’t know how sales funnels work. As a result, you don’t distinguish a funnel’s stages or prepare specific content for each one. Or you just don’t want to bother. Or, you believe your startup doesn’t need all this stuff.


A sales funnel strategy allows you to minimize the risks of business failure. More than that, it’s a must-have instrument to push your target through a customer journey, thus increasing your sales and retention.

Here are four stages of a standard sales funnel:

  1. Awareness: A customer notices your startup and explores your offers
  2. Interest: A customer compares you with other options they have on the market
  3. Decision: A customer is ready to buy but needs a tiny incentive to take action
  4. Action: A customer purchases with your help and guidelines

To make them work for your startup’s success, prescribe proper content types for each one when crafting your content strategy.

  • For the awareness stage: blog posts, social media posts, tools, whitepapers, and videos
  • For the interest and decision stage: comparison guides, free samples, and case studies
  • For the action stage: live demos, coupons, free trials, and consultation offers

And last but not least:

Do A/B testing, aka split testing of your marketing endeavors.

Startuppers often ignore it because of a limited budget or a lack of knowledge of corresponding methods and tools. Besides, A/B testing takes time. It seems easier to run one webpage or app version rather than waiting to see if another one performs better.

A/B testing is about comparing two versions of something to learn which is more effective. Your startup needs it to ensure your marketing budget doesn’t go in vain. It helps you see what changes to make for improvements.

Use it to evaluate your website design, email campaigns, PPC ads, or multimedia marketing strategies.

Ready to take your startup marketing to the next level?

Now that you know the prevalent rules for a marketing campaign to succeed, there’s no point in ignoring them for your startup promotion.


  1. Pay precise attention to your target audience research and segmentation. 
  2. Ensure you have a unique value proposition.
  3. Create a comprehensive content strategy covering all stages of your sales funnel. 
  4. Make every content asset fit a user search intent.
  5. Test your marketing campaign to see what works best and brings maximum benefit to both a customer and you.

Do you still miss any in your startup marketing process?

Photo by RDNE Stock

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