Digital Marketing for Startups

Best Practices, Strategy, Planning, Free Tools, and more.

If you’re launching a startup, should you invest in digital marketing or hire a reputable digital marketing agency to focus on it? Are there any free tools to help startups get started with digital marketing? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

In today’s world, digital marketing is essential for businesses of all sizes. While it sounds intimidating considering the abundance of technology available, the truth is, you don’t really have to be on every single platform online. You just need to pick one where your audiences are and stick to it.

For startups specifically, investing in digital marketing can be a great way to put your company on the map and help you reach a larger audience. One important thing to keep in mind is that digital marketing requires time and effort, so it’s essential for startups to prioritise which channels are most relevant to their business goals and budget. Some of the best channels for startups include social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimisation (SEO).

In this guide, we’ll explore the best practices, strategy, and planning that startups can use to get started with digital marketing. We’ll also share some useful tools to help you get started quickly and effectively.

So if you’re a startup looking to grow your business through digital marketing, read on for some great tips and strategies!

In this guide:

  • Advantages of Digital Marketing for Startups
  • How to Do Digital Marketing for Startups
    • Creating a Digital Marketing Plan
  • Best Digital Marketing Tools for Startups

Advantages of Digital Marketing for Startups

Digital marketing has many advantages for startups. It’s not as expensive as what most people think. Some platforms are generally free to use such as social media and even Google. 

Digital marketing can be used to reach a large audience with little effort. But the most remarkable thing about it is that it’s trackable. Digital marketing allows you to track your progress and results so you can see what’s working and what isn’t. 

Here are some specific advantages of digital marketing for startups:

1. Inexpensive Customer Research:  One of the most valuable benefits of digital marketing for startups is the ability to easily and inexpensively conduct customer research.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are basically free. You can use them to create surveys, post polls, and gather customer feedback without spending a lot of money.

2. Engage Clients:  Digital marketing provides an opportunity for startups to engage their clients on a personal level. By engaging with customers, startups can create loyalty and build relationships.

If you own a bakery, as an example, and want to promote it, you can use social media to share your latest products, and post photos of customers enjoying your baked goods. You can also engage with followers in a thoughtful discussion about the best toppings for cupcakes by publishing a quick poll.

3. Increased Visibility: Digital marketing helps increase the visibility of startups. By using digital marketing techniques, startups can reach a larger audience more easily than traditional marketing techniques.

Let’s say you are running a boutique clothing store. You can share updates and photos of your latest products on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. You can also use email marketing to send regular updates on new arrivals, sales, and promotions.

3. Use of Metrics to Drive Success:  Startups can use metrics to track their digital marketing progress and results. Understanding which digital marketing techniques are working means they can focus their efforts on the most successful techniques.

Top metrics and KPIs you should closely monitor include:

  • Web traffic sources:  Which marketing channels are driving the most traffic to your website?
  • Returning visitors:  How many of your website visitors are coming back for more?
  • Conversion rate:  What percentage of website visitors are converting into customers (i.e., making a purchase)? Are there differences based on the traffic sources?
  • Goal completion rate: Are people completing the goals you’ve set for your website, such as subscribing to your newsletter or downloading a white paper?
  • Click-through rate:  Are people clicking on the links you share on social media, such as blog posts and product updates?
  • Customer acquisition cost: What is the average cost of acquiring new customers?
  • Customer Lifetime value cost:  How much does it cost to keep a customer over their lifetime?
  • Cost Per Lead: How much is the cost of acquiring a new lead for your business?
  • Leads:  How many new leads are you generating?
  • Page views: What is the average number of website views per visitor?

By tracking these metrics, startups can continuously improve their digital marketing strategies and see better results over time.

4. Improved Customer Service: Digital marketing allows startups to quickly and efficiently respond to customer questions and concerns. Apart from using your hotline, there are multiple other channels your customer service team can use including chat apps and chatbots, emails, and even social media like Facebook.

A Hubspot study also confirmed that 47% of marketers use bots to cater to frequently asked questions and give guidance to customers.

5. Greater ROI: Digital marketing often has a higher ROI than traditional marketing techniques. In fact, 88% of video marketers claim that using video in their campaigns has resulted in a positive ROI.

How to Do Digital Marketing for Startups

Now that we’ve looked at some of the benefits of digital marketing for startups, let’s discuss how you can get started with a digital marketing strategy.

1. Create a buyer persona: The first step is to create a buyer persona, which is a “semi-fictional” representation of your ideal customer. By understanding your ideal customer, you can better target your marketing efforts.

To create a buyer persona, start by brainstorming the different characteristics of your ideal customer. Consider factors such as gender, age, interests, location and pain points. Once you have a good understanding of who your ideal customer is, you can begin creating content that appeals to them.

Let’s say, your ideal customer is a young professional, you might create blog content that provides career advice. Or, if your ideal customer is a busy mom, you might create social media content that offers quick and easy recipes or ideas on maintaining work-life balance.

2. Set your goals: Next, you have to define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your digital marketing efforts? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate more leads, or boost sales?

Make sure you set achievable and realistic goals. Once you’ve identified what you want to get out of your campaigns, you can start developing a plan to achieve them by using specific digital marketing techniques like social media ads or search engine optimisation (SEO).

3. Choose your tactics: Once you’ve set your goals and developed a plan to achieve them, the next step is to choose your digital marketing tactics. Some of the most common tactics include SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and PPC.

When choosing your tactics, it’s important to consider factors like your target audience, budget, and available resources. For example, if you have limited time and budget constraints, you may need to prioritise SEO over social media advertising.

With the right digital marketing strategy and tactics, startups can harness the power of digital marketing to achieve their business goals and grow their customer base.

Creating a Digital Marketing Plan

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of digital marketing, let’s take a more in-depth look at how to create a digital marketing plan.

The major components of digital marketing are as follows:

Website Design

Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing efforts. In order to attract and engage customers, you need a user-friendly and well-designed website that is optimised for both desktop and mobile devices.

To create a great website design, start by choosing a simple layout with clear navigation and CTA buttons. Keep your content brief but compelling, and make sure it is keyword-rich without being spammy.

In addition to your website design, you should also consider your website copy, user experience (UX), and search engine optimisation (SEO). With the right tools and digital marketing strategies, you can create a comprehensive website that attracts new customers and a website that keeps them engaged.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is another important component of digital marketing. With SEO techniques like keyword research and link building, you can increase your search visibility and drive more website traffic, which eventually leads to sales.

Several factors influence your search engine rankings. This includes the quality and relevance of your content, your website’s load speed, and backlinks from other websites. By regularly measuring and tracking your SEO performance, you can fine-tune your strategy to achieve better results over time.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing gets you connected with your customers as well as increases your brand awareness. By posting relevant and engaging content on your company’s social media pages, you can reach a wider audience and build relationships with potential customers.

There are many different social media platforms available, each of which has its own unique features and user base. For this reason, it’s important to choose the right social media networks for your business.

For example, Facebook works better for retail businesses due to its large user base of shoppers, while Instagram may be more effective for B2B companies due to the visual nature of its content. LinkedIn, on the other hand, also works great for B2B companies who are looking to expand their network.

By tailoring your social media marketing tactics to suit your business needs, you can connect with more customers and achieve greater success online.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is another powerful tool that startups can use to promote their business and connect with customers. With the help of tools like email automation, you can reach a wider audience and send targeted emails that are relevant to your target audience.

In order to create effective email campaigns, it’s important to segment your list based on demographics and buyer personas. For example, if you’re targeting senior citizens, you would want to send emails that are relevant to their interests.

Timing is crucial especially for launching email campaigns, as well as the frequency. Sending too many emails can be overwhelming for customers, so it’s important to strike a balance. By carefully planning and executing your email marketing strategy, you can achieve great results for your business.

Content Development

Content development is another key component of digital marketing. With the help of effective content creation techniques like keyword research, SEO optimisation, and content planning, you can create high-quality content that attracts new customers and encourages them to take action.

One important aspect of content development is keyword research. By identifying the right keywords for your target audience and incorporating them into your content, you can improve your search engine rankings and reach more customers online.

You should also focus on quality over quantity when it comes to your content. Not only do longer blog posts tend to rank higher in Google’s search results, but they also offer more value to your audience. For best results, create informative and engaging content that will resonate with your target audience.

Paid Ads

Paid ads, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is another powerful tool that startups can use to promote their business online.

One key advantage of paid ads is that they allow you to target a specific audience with laser precision. For example, if you’re targeting senior citizens, you can use Google Ads to show your ad only to people in that demographic.

Paid ads are also known to provide instant results. Unlike SEO and content marketing, which can take weeks or months to yield results, paid ads can produce results almost immediately.

Paid ads can be an effective tool for promoting your business, but it’s important to use them wisely. Overusing paid ads can be detrimental to your brand and reputation, so make sure to use them in moderation.

Best Digital Marketing Tools for Startups

Digital marketing is a complex field, which can make it overwhelming for startups who are just getting started. However, there are a number of digital marketing tools that can help you to simplify the process and achieve success for your business.

Google Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner by Google is the best tool to use to conduct keyword research for your website. The greatest thing about Keyword Planner is that it’s free. It helps marketers understand what people are searching for online and how often those searches are being made. 

Google Analytics and Search Console

Google Analytics is another free to use tool that provides insights into your website traffic and performance. By measuring metrics like website visits, traffic sources, and conversion rates, you can gain valuable insights into how to improve your digital marketing efforts.

Google Search Console, on the other hand, provides information about your website’s organic search engine performance. It allows you to monitor your site’s rankings and top-performing keywords, which can help you to create more effective marketing campaigns.


Mailchimp is one of the widely used platforms for email marketing campaigns in the world. This tool makes it easy to create, send, and track your email campaigns. It offers powerful features like email segmentation, A/B testing, and integrations with other key tools like Google Analytics.


Social media management platform, Buffer, makes it easy to post content and track your performance on social media. It offers features like scheduling, analytics, and team collaboration, which can help you to effectively manage your social media accounts.


Canva is a free graphic design tool known for its easy to use interface that helps startup businesses create professional-looking visuals, such as infographics and social media images. It offers thousands of templates, fonts, and graphics, which can help you to create content quickly and easily without having to work with a designer.

Synthesia is an online video platform that allows you to create and share engaging video content. It offers features like video editing, branding, and analytics, which can help you to improve your video marketing campaigns.

You can find more of our recommended digital marketing tools in our blog: 100% Free Digital Marketing Tools

Distribute Digital – Digital Marketing Agency in Birmingham

In a nutshell, digital marketing gives businesses of all sizes and industries the power to expand their reach. And with the pandemic, the digital industry has skyrocketed as businesses now have to depend on an online presence to remain afloat.

Digital marketing agencies like Distribute Digital, based in Birmingham, can help you to create and implement an effective digital marketing strategy. 

If you’re looking to take your new business to the next level, contact us today to enquire about our internet marketing services.

Andy - Founder

Andy has extensive commercial experience at companies including Autotrader, Zoopla, and MNA Media. As a digital specialist he has over 25 years of experience in digital transformation and marketing.

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