Startups, with limited funds and a desire to rapidly draw attention to their product are always looking for different and cost effective marketing strategies. Below is a list of marketing tactics that startups can leverage, typically use a couple of these tactics:
- Gathering email addresses of interested people pre-launch using a splash page, sending an email announcement to them upon launch.
- Pitching startup news outlets like TechCrunch, Read/Write Web, Mashable, etc.
- Offering A-lister tech commentators like Robert Scoble early access / in-person demos. Do@ for example did this and gave a demo to Robert Scoble who then posted about it on Quora.
- Pitching local news outlets ("Area Entrepreneurs Tackle Big Problem Shared by Many Locals")
- Writing personalized emails to bloggers within their industry, explaining why they think they'd like it and asking them to try it. Usually offering some kind of incentive (Two months free access, etc.).
- Getting listed in as many startup directories as possible (Beta Li.St, Go2Web20, Crunchbase, Killer Startups, etc.)
- Creating & promoting content about their industry rather than just their specific product, drawing search traffic and links to how-tos, data roundups, infographics, interviews with industry notables, etc.
- Being active members within community sites that serve their target market.
- Attending / organizing events within their local area that serve their target market.Convonations did this quite well with a local event advertising on the streets of Toronto.
- Google PPC advertising.
- Reddit advertising. Gabriel Weinberg has a great write-up on this:http://www.gabrielweinber
- Facebook interest-targeted PPC advertising.
- Create & promote activities related to current events. A music startup might try and spread a "Kill Auld Lang Syne Playlist Contest" for New Years, a teen social network could spread an anonymous "Leak Your Parents' Biggest Secrets" minisite during all the wikileaks attention.
- Create controversy related to an industry topic.
- Get double-sided business cards. One side with your contact info, the other side with 3 bullets (max), or a simple tagline that pitches your product succinctly. Cheaper & more useful than fliers, and more socially acceptable to hand out at networking events.
- Get listed on services that roundup similar services, like SitesLike.com(warning: NSFW in many places). Create content and make sure you're ranking for phrases like "Alternative to [competitor]".
- Setup Google alerts, twitter saved searches, and other monitoring tools for people asking questions about the type of service you provide.
- Monitor competitors for controversy / unpopular changes. Become the leading source of news about that topic. Offer incentives for people to switch. (SmugMug did a great job of this at some points in Flickr's history.)
- StumbleUpon advertising. (Much of this traffic may not stick, but it's cheap and it raises awareness. Also, getting in people's bookmarks has value.)
- Have a media kit on your site. Interesting stats, bullet points on why people should care, good graphics (preferably with URLs available for hotlinking), embeddable screencast demos, etc. Make it easy for anyone who wants to cover you to do so as interestingly as possible.
- If you have multiple competitors, search for comparisons of them ("Sprocket Co. vs Widget Inc."). Leave a value-adding comment on the article mentioning your own service, and/or email the creator asking if they'd be interested in comparing your own service to these competitors.
- Get on twitter as a person. Network with people in your industry & market. Always add value, and be likeable. Josh Bob does a great job of this:http://twitter.com/#!/Jos
- Get your company on twitter as a knowledge resource to people in your market. KISS Metrics is incredible at this: http://twitter.com/#!/KIS
- Leverage your first customers / users as much as possible. Ask for referrals, incentivize them to invite others, show them off for social proof, etc.
- Survey: survey can prove that problem exists and add data and graphs to proposals and your pitches to journalists and VCs.
- Analysts: Breifing tech analysts like gartner and forrester about your startups since they are very active in talking to press, industry leaders etc and always looking to be educated about the latest technology.
- Pick a fight with a large incumbent or market dominant player with a positive message.
This blog was listed on http://marketing.alltop.com as most popular. This list was complied from various sources over a period of time including interviews with startups entrepreneurs, Quora etc. Along with a well published blogger (regularly featured on Alltop, Entrepreneur Community Online etc) Pooja specializes in developing marketing strategies for startups. You can follow me on Twitter and you can email questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the Linkedin group "Marketing for Startups" at http://linkd.in/ihNJmR.