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5 steps to create a marketing strategy for startups with small budgets

Marketing is becoming essential day by day for any business. In the cluttered marketplace our brands live in, it becomes a necessity to stand out and have a distinctive position so that people remember you. It becomes quite challenging for startups to do that, especially small businesses who are always short on resources.

But great marketing strategies for startups don’t always have to cost money. Burger King recently proved this beautifully. Being a global brand, budget was never an issue with Burger King but they did a genius campaign to launch a dish they used to sell back in 2009. With absolutely zero money spent they created curiosity amongst people and then finally announced the dish.

So even without a big budget or no budget, marketing can be done and business can be grown. We’ve devised a five-step plan for you to create a brilliant digital marketing strategy for your startup.

Step 1 — Determine a focus area

When you are sitting down with your core team to strategise and put down a marketing plan, you need to know what your focus area should be. Whether you want to drive some brand awareness with a campaign or you want to generate more leads. But the focus area (or the area of concern) is different, for different startups. So the question is

How to choose a focus area for marketing? Or Where to invest money when marketing?

As Sean Ellis, creator of the growth hacking process says, there are four levers of growth for a brand

1. Customer Acquisition :  How can you acquire more customers

2. Customer Activation:  How can you make the acquired customer interact with the brand more

3. Customer Retention: How can you convince people to come back who once were your customers

4. Customer Monetisation:  How can you persuade people to transact with your brand in terms of buying a product or a service

Dig a little bit into your data to figure out what is the area of concern in your business which will help you to attain your marketing goals. You can have a look at -

Website Analytics — Tools like Google Analytics provide concise information on consumer insights.

Funnel report of your website/app to see where the customers are dropping off the most in the process of interacting with your product or service (see the image below).

Social media Insights — Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have inbuilt insights pages where you can get pretty good information about user base.

Market research– Phone calls or interviews with your target audience give you insights that might not be available on the web.

Ask your Customer care or sales team because those people are the closest to the target audience and they are aware of the challenges your customers have.

Give us a call and we can help you figure out your focus area.

Source: Google images

Going through this checklist will help you determine what area needs the most focus from your end.

For Ex. A brand with good social media following should potentially try to monetise the bank of people that already follow and like the brand on their social media platforms. They are much more qualified in marketing terms as compared to someone who will be introduced to the brand today.

P.S. — you can even focus on two growth levers at a time and run different campaigns to drive growth in those areas.

Step 2 — Finalise a customer segment

Once you’ve decided on a growth lever you want to focus on, the next step is finalising a customer segment you want to target the new campaign towards.

For Eg. For a startup based in India, from your website analytics you come to know that a major chunk of the traffic comes from Mumbai, but the highest sales are from Bangalore. This analysis tells you that you are not able to monetise the traffic from Mumbai.

So your marketing efforts should be targeted only towards this segment. (of course only if you chose customer monetisation as your focus area in step one).

P.S. — Here is a document which addresses the problems startups face in establishing a niche audience. Marketing for startups gets much easier if you have figured that out.

Step 3 — Know the types of marketing

Once you know your focus area and the customer segment you want to target, the next step is to be aware of all the types of marketing and the channels you can use to connect with your customers.

Some growth hackers have categorised the channels into three basic categories -

Viral/Word-of-mouth marketingOrganic marketingPaid marketing

Source: Google images

For all you business owners with early-age startups who have low budgets, you can keep an eye on the column in the middle.

Of course, the organic channels takes time since it is highly competitive in nature, but there are some tools and hacks that you can use to overtake your competition and accelerate the organic way.

Let us know in the comments in you want us to write a blog about that.

Step 4 — Decide on a marketing channel

Now once you and your team is aware of the different channels you can use. The question is how do you decide which one? Since there are loads of options and these are multiplying every single day. Well, it is largely related to the behaviour of your customer segment. Consider the demographics, psychographics and dig for some behavioural insights (refer step 1) about your target segment before finalising your marketing channel.

For ex. If your target market is based in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, offline channels might be a better option than digital media or social networks.

Step 5 — Determine the type of content

Now that you have finalised a type of channel, you should know what kind of content will generate the best results. Fortunately, this step is largely related to Step 1 and step 4 as your type of content will be related to the focus area for which you are marketing in the first place and the user research that you did in step 4 will become useful here as you will know what kind of content the target segment would be receptive to.

P.S. — Content marketing is booming day by day and if you are planning to do that, here is a cheat sheet from

Source: Google images

Some quick tips on creating content for a marketing campaign

Use intelligently written copy and headlines.

All of us have very little attention span when we are surfing the web, so in the least amount of time your content should be able to provoke your customers to take the desired action.

Source: Google images

Include beautiful visuals

Enticing visuals hook the audience onto your great content when they are scrolling down their feed.

Provide Value

For the short amount of time that you have your customer’s attention, make sure to communicate the value in simple and clear language. Tell them what they will be getting out of your product or service and how it will make their life easier.



We hope with this 5-step marketing plan of action you will be able to rank higher on search engines and connect with your target audience. Send us the great pieces of content you create as an effort to eradicate the concern you have in your business.



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