How to create a first year marketing strategies for startups

Reading Time: ~6 minutes as suggested by @Grammarly.

Do you know? More than 90% of the startup fails and most of them in their first year of start.

It means your marketing strategies for a startup should be cost efficient and planned before hand.

I always talk about Conversion Rate Optimisation where getting new customers are an important part of running a startup. But it has its cycle to follow: “Traffic > Lead > Potential > Customer” and it is achievable by strategising it before hand on time.

Revenue and cash flow are paramount to any business, and if you don’t manage to generate sales in the first year of bootstrapping, you could be in trouble later.

You must take a note that marketing plan should not only be geared up for building a brand, but you have to invest time, energy and money on the channels which get you immediate traffic and revenue.

Every business is different, so there is no thumb rule which channel to use, but you should choose it wisely what can work for you and what you can afford.

Finding out the marketing channels that will get you handful customers will be a crucial part of your first year marketing plan for a startup.

Why Startup Fails?

There are many reasons for startup failure, as discussed earlier 90% of startups which fails and know about the rest 10% from @NeilPatel, and one of the commons is a lack of Marketing Strategy.

Do you know? 90% of startup fails in the first year due to lack of marketing strategy. Click To Tweet

Marketing strategies for startups

As we discussed earlier, you need to plan marketing strategies for startups that are cost efficient and workable to generate revenue from the first year.

I am sharing the list of 6 Marketing techniques which you can use for your startup for committed results.

#1 Search Engine Marketing

It is one of the old and very famous marketing methodology and also more or less difficult to implement. I have mentioned this on first because I want you to work on it at last.

To kick start the SEO you need to work on these things first:

Find Target Audience

Starting any marketing activity identifying and understanding your target audience is a must. Because before investing energy you should know whom you are marketing.

Once you have done your market research, you must have a pretty solid idea of your target audience. Now you can make sure what makes your customer tick and you can plan the content and keywords accordingly.

Recommended Read: How to find your target Market.

Before making search engines understand to whom your website results is shown, it’s better you understand first and make it more precise for search engines.

Performing Keyword Research

I have listened a lot that content is a King, but remember that Keyword is Queen. If you are writing content without a focused keyword, it means you are working without vision.

I use LongTailPro tool to find keywords which have high search volumes and low competition. For example, in this case, my targeted keyword is marketing strategies for startups with Search Volume: 210/month and Average Competition: 38.

LongTailPro Keyword Research

In the above screenshot, you can see two Highlighted keywords: Marketing Strategies for Startups and Digital Marketing for Startups no both the keywords have an equal competition of 38, I choose the first one because it more searches.

Check out this article: How to find long tail keyword in any niche by @HarshAgrawal

Driving Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the prominent source of quality and steady traffic and the best part it is free.

Unfortunately getting your website ranking in search engines is not much easy, but once you have it, no other traffic source can beat it. It carries the complexity of on-page fixed and off-page link building, which is an ongoing process.

Why don’t you check the well framed comprehensive beginners guide for SEO by @moz

#SEO is most valuable and challenging marketing strategy for startups. Click To Tweet

#2 Content Marketing

Before taking the marketing strategy forward you must know what Content Marketing is? From this detailed guide from Content Marketing Institute.

Generating a content could be simple for you, but marketing could be little tricky.

I have seen people who think content means only text; no content doesn’t only mean text. Content could be in a form of text, image, infographic, video, slides, ebook, etc.

For marketing your startup you first need to plan a content type suitable for your niche and then further strategies it for marketing.

Content builds brand awareness and links if you want to improve performance online you need to invest in the content strategy. In short content helps your website grow and get more backlinks.

Traffic is the base for getting new customers and content marketing can help you attract massive traffic.

Consistency is the key to success and generating content consistently gets you better results. Another hand doing the content commercialization in a right way is somewhat important for this you can refer this article: How to avoid these content marketing mistakes this year.

Nobody has enough time & resources to invest in content marketing, taking help from tools is a good call. I always prefer to automate the task where ever possible and try to use tools that save me time. Check How I save my time with these content marketing tools.

#ContentMarketing can get more conversions for your startup if planned. Click To Tweet

#3 Social Media Marketing

Social Media convert your customers into brand advocates who help you drive the quality traffic. It is the second most valuable channel that gets traffic to your website, so you can not afford to underutilize it.

Mostly every startup uses the Social Media Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn but very few out of these gets ROI out of it.

Check this Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing by @moz

You must be clear on the fact which Social platform is best for you, or you can find which platform your customer uses. Depending on this you can channelise your energy to a most fruitful social media channel, but still you must have a presence on almost all.

Social Media is not only about the presence or publishing it’s about engaging the audience and helping them around your niche. With this, you must create a healthy relation with them so that they do a powerful brand advocating for you.

Tip: Arranging them is sequence to drive traffic for my website: Facebook  > Twitter > LinkedIn > Google+

If your startup marketing budget allows, I will recommend you to invest funds on Paid Social Media. Because this can get you enough traffic to website and increase visibility.

Tip: Engage people don't just keep posting on Social Media. Click To Tweet

#4 Email Marketing

Either your are a startup or established a company, you can not avoid this old sexy technique of email marketing.

Email Marketing give the direct line of communication for converting lead into a customer, being a savviest entrepreneur you can not afford to skip it by any mean.

You have traffic on the website and now converting that traffic into leads, have you ever thought about lead nurturing. It is the process of cooking your leads to convert them into customers.

Nowadays you can prepare your lead with email automation, which is sure shot time saving and workable. I use email automation with ConvertKit where I send a sequence of auto set email to my subscribers as per their behavior.

When it comes to email marketing, i have seen startups have a constraint of not having an email list; this means building a list should be top priority for any startup first year marketing strategy.

I started building my email list by giving aways free ebook (which means through content marketing) by using the lead capture tool OptinMonster.

Bonus Read: 21 Powerful ways to grow your email list by @HubSpot

InfluentialEmail Automation could be next big thing for your #EmailMarketing plan. Click To Tweet

#5 InfluentialThe influential

This Marketing strategy may not get you massive traffic for your startup but eventually this can bring brand awareness.

It is the most useful tactic these days, and I am personally using it to setup my personal brand which I can monetise later for building a business.

To be an influential in your niche so that people can trust, you must have enough knowledge of the subject. So that you can further guide people on same and build relationships.

In my activity of influential marketing, i have decided to create one new friend every day on FaceBook to whom I can chat long hours.

Recommended Read: How to build your personal brand.

Addition to above I have participated in multiple relevant groups and shared my knowledge by answering questions. In return, people followed me on social media and started asking direct questions in relevance to my experience.

It worked perfectly for me, as I got handful subscribers on my email list to kick start selling.

#influentialMarketing can get valuable & stable business for #startups. Click To Tweet

#6 Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is again a great way of marketing your startup for the first year, as this brings a lot of valuable customers those stay with you for long.

It is about building a long-term relationship with your clients. It is a more sustainable way of building a customer base rather than focusing on securing next sale.

You will find the customers coming from Relationship Marketing will give your more lifetime value and will further refer client via word of mouth marketing. Hence, it is considered as the strongest marketing channel and works pretty well for startups for the first year.

To learn more about Relationship Marketing check this: The Ultimate Guide to Relationship Marketing by @Jamil Velji

Here are 6 Marketing strategies for the first year of #startup. Click To Tweet

Closing Note

I hope the above marketing strategies for startups will also work for you. It will be great if you can share some other marketing techniques which might have worked for you in your first year of bootstrapping in the comment section below.

By |2018-09-03T09:32:53+00:00June 15th, 2016|Marketing|8 Comments

About the Author:

Danish Wadhwa is Digital Marketing & Branding Pro, who is helping startup and business for sales conversion optimization. His drive, passion, and analytical mind enabled his successful foray into the arena of Marketing & Sales Automation.


  1. Aishwin Vikhona June 15, 2016 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Interesting article Danish! 🙂
    I was thinking to get this longtailpro tool, but got too occupied with work.

    Do keep me posted, I would like to know how easy it is to rank on that keyword “Marketing strategies for startups” with 38 competition.

    • Danish Wadhwa June 15, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Thanks, Ashwin,

      Yes, LongTailPro is another great tool for finding low competitive keywords, and I am using it from past one year.
      The keyword with less than 30 competition is easy to rank, but as I write on the very competitive niche, I catch keywords up to 50 competition. I will never recommend you to find keyword above 50 unless you have good website authority for search engines.

      Let me know if you have some more questions about keyword research, will keep you posted.


  2. Nekraj Ram June 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    After reading your full post, I want some feedback and prediction-
    1. This post is an epic post which is full of knowledge.
    2. Your marketing strategy is magnificent. I have come across your post from Ankit Singhla Timeline.
    3. Your On Page Seo is excellent. The post is written in “How to” format that’s great.
    4.You have mentioned ” Gurus” (Outrank and it’s showing your awareness and skills.

    Keep it up.
    Cheers Nekraj.
    P. S- I have made $3947 without selling anything in May 2016 check out my Income Report Just Clicking on my Name.

    • Danish Wadhwa June 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      Hello Nekraj, thanks for appreciating my skills. I put all my efforts in educating people around new marketing techniques which actually works.

      I hope you have not missed my newsletter subscription.


  3. shamsher June 15, 2016 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    Interesting articles.. and it is truth that startup fails in their first year due to bad marketing strategy or no at all

    • Danish Wadhwa June 16, 2016 at 4:28 am - Reply

      Yes Shamsher! I researched a lot about startup failures and now trying to help them with my experience in Marketing.

  4. Rohit August 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Excellent post Danish! this will help the young entrepreneurs to strategize their plans for startups.No business can get by a successful SEO ,no matter how good is website but if they failed to do the marketing there is no use of developing such a website.

    The world is going digital, and for the brands success, it is imperative to go digital too.

    Thanks for wonderful tips.

    • Danish Wadhwa August 31, 2016 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      You caught it right Rohit, without marketing your business is nothing. Here I will recommend you to use a bound marketing approach where you educate user around your product or service and don’t do a direct sales pitch.


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