Marketing strategies for start-ups and small businesses

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Starting a new business is a massive achievement. But that's the easiest part of the entire journey. The real challenge is keeping the business afloat.


Not to be the bearer of gloom and doom, but 90% of startups fail.The number one cause of this failure is no market need. Majority of the other top reasons are related to marketing. How can you avoid being a part of the 90% of startups that fail?

Marketing strategies for start-ups

Research your ideal buyer to understand who they are and what's important to them. Once you consolidate this information, you will be able to tailor a product or services that fit their needs.

Download your buyer persona template

The say that the only constant in life is change. Market research should therefore be a continuous practice in business. Why?

  • Consumers' needs are constantly changing

  • New players keep leaving and joining the game

  • Legislation and statutory changes can be introduced to your industry at any time

...among other changes


Stay updated. Know what consumers are saying to and about your products, the competition and or your industry, then let your business respond accordingly.

Find out more about digital consumer intelligence

Here are some of our top marketing tips for a start-up or growing business.


1. Build a website

A website is a very important tool of your business strategy. It does a lot of the heavy lifting for your business. You can always refer people to your site for more information. This information can be viewed at any time of the day. Your website will give your business credibility and lets you tell your entire story in a creative and compelling way.

Find out more about web design and development

Make sure your site is well built. This means that it should be visually appealing, your site visitors should be able to navigate the site and find what they are looking for with ease, and it should be discoverable on search engines.


Find out more about search engine optimisation (SEO)

2. Post on Social Media

New social media accounts are being opened by the day by new users. You therefore need to be where your customers are. Be careful not to create social media accounts on all or just any platform. Stick to the platforms where your target audience is.


Create a business page(s) on social media. Always use business pages for your business because it allows you to collect insights, data and even advertise your products, services or brand.

Find out more about social media marketing

3. Run Ads

"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does"

Stuart H Britt


People need to know about your business and what you are offering. You need to do this by putting it in their radar in the form of ads. The ad should be run where your audience is most likely to view it and take the desired action.

Find out more about media buying and planning

4. Write a blog

A blog is a great way to generate leads. However, it only works if your content gives value to the reader. Quality blog content positions your brand as an authority on a subject and can even increase your ranking on search engines.

Find out more about content marketing

When you create blog content, be sure to promote it by letting people know that you've just released new content.


5. Use email marketing

Email marketing, when done well, is a very affordable way to communicate changes and promote your business. With the right emailing frequency and a catchy subject, you will be able to keep your brand at the top of your audience's mind.


In order to be successful at email marketing, you need to segment your audience and personalise the emails. Segmenting is crucial so that your emails are not marked as spam or people don't unsubscribe to your emails.

Find out more about email marketing

6. Set goals

Last but not least, measure. Know what you want to achieve and instate the right measures to track your performance. If you can't measure, you can't improve. Measuring your performance is the only way you can find out which strategy works best for your business and which strategies to drop.

Find out more about measuring and optimisation

2020 saw marketers and business owners across the globe accelerate their digital plans. Those who already were online were glad that they started early. With the number of internet and social media numbers growing by the day, operating online is more of a necessity than an option.

There's no "digital strategy" anymore. Just a strategy in a digital world.

As much as possible, always engage experts. It can be a little pricey, but this always pays off in the long-run. When people know what they are doing, you won't have to do things twice.

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