What Startup Entrepreneurs need for Marketing Online and Mobile

Ok, so here is the deal; the world has gone Digital and there is no turning back. Rather, we will experience more sophisticated technology. With the internet and mobile devices abounding, most consumers will not want to leave their niches to purchase goods and services.

So, smart entrepreneurs are going digital in order to capture this growing market.

Startups are often strapped for cash, crunched for time, and slammed with responsibilities  in the hands of few talented professionals. This kind of lean and agile operations need a particular kind of marketing power for more visibility in their particular space.

Startups can’t do every marketing activity in the book. They certainly can’t spend enough on advertising to make an impact, but they still need to do marketing.

Here are some tips Startup companies can use;

1. Create killer web design:

Entrepreneur coach Martin Z willingly explained that, one of the shortcomings of entrepreneurs is “they skimp on the design of their website. In the eyes of your users, design is everything. Your website is the company. Your website is the product or service. Your website is your reputation. Is design marketing? Absolutely.

2. Be social everywhere:

Today’s startup culture has a dimension that is vastly different from the startup environment of years ago. Today, we have to grapple with the importance of social networks.

Keep in mind that not all startup social activity needs to happen on the big four (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+). Obviously, your startup needs to have a presence on those networks, but there are other places.

AngelList – a social platform for angel investors, top talent, and startups.

Spiceworks – a social IT portal for startups.

YouNoodle –  a place for startup competitions.

When people start companies, they are creating people networks. The way these networks exist on the social media. Put your online startup social pages to work in your favor by giving it time to grow with content posted at least once a day, you need to make a splash.

People need to talk about your product or service. Engage on social as aggressively as you possibly can, so you can grow your business online and mobile today.

3. Create tons of content:

Content rules the web as search engines use it for recommendation purposes. If you would have asked me a few years ago,  “Hey, James, how can my online startup be successful” I would have told you something about SEO. If you asked me that question today, I would talk about content marketing.

A company must be a producer of content, regardless of whatever other product or service they are involved in.

4. Respond quickly to email and social inquiries:

Responding quickly is a courtesy. For startups, it reflects their passionate nature and go-get-’em attitude. They’re on top of their game. More importantly, though, they know about “creating value for customers.” The startup should be all about the customers.

If a startup neglects their users, they’ll let Twitter notifications languish and let emails pile up. Basically, they’ll start compromising their reputation.

Lithium conducted a study to see how fast a brand responded to Tweets and Facebook posts, - and how that response time affected the customer’s attitude toward the brand.

Their conclusion?

“Consumers Will Punish Brands that Fail to Respond on Twitter or Facebook in a timely manner.” 

5. Work on personal branding:

If you know about Buffer, you probably know about a few of the people behind Buffer. Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich have become well known entrepreneurs due, in part, to their personal branding. Joel writes about his experiences with the startup, and has built a tribe of loyal followers.

Leo is also an occasional blogger, writing about meditating, sleeping, and starting a company. Both these guys started a company and grew their personal brand. Both the personal and business brand depended on one another to be successful.

We’re now at a point in the evolution of startups where personal branding is just as powerful and essential as the branding for the business. It’s hard to separate the two. A startup has a starter, and that starter is an individual with a brand, a reputation, and a personality.

6. SEO is not Dead and it is not a Project:

There are a few major digital marketing myths specifically around the term search engine optimization, (SEO).  Sadly, there is more than just a few, the two that business owners seem to think is that “SEO is a project” and “SEO is dead.” 

Google made over 665 updates, changes and launches to their algorithm last year.  

Last year at the search conference SMX Advanced, Marshall Simmonds, who was the lead SEO consultant for many major publishers, including The New York Times, states in his presentation, that SEO is not a project and it should never be considered as one.  

You think that SEO is done, it is never done. Businesses will fail if they think there is a start and end date. Consumers use the internet to find information on virtually everything today.

Every year, way too many things change for startups and major businesses to not invest in SEO on a full-time basis.

7. Digital is more than just Pay Per Click Ads:

A couple of years ago, paid ads was considered the end-all digital marketing solution. Today, however, PPC has less of an impact–in the sense that it takes more than an ad to convince a prospective buyer to buy.  

Creating organic useful content can help to answer people's questions.  In general ads are more promotional than informational. I watch businesses pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the PPC hole, not knowing how to adequately set up or target ads; even track performance.

These days it takes a multitude of announcements, relationship and brand building tactics that will get your brand and product noticed.

Large companies themselves know they need to embrace social networks and messaging on several platforms to have consumers interact with your brand. However, don’t drop your Adwords account just yet.  

Adwords is helpful, but it’s only a small part of selling online. There are more ways than one of engaging consumers via the digital landscape, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Just as you would pay Google to post your ads on their network, so would you also need to realize that digital marketing isn’t just adding key phrases to your website and it definitely doesn’t just consist of one magic thing.  

Think of companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola who always have several marketing campaigns per year that each promote a specific product in several ways. You may have a lot of twitter followers, but how do you convert them to buy? You may get them to your website, but will you keep them there? Are you developing a way to move visitors through the sales funnel on your website?

The thing about this all is that you don’t have to know it all. There are people who specialize in this space that are able to provide you with way more strategies and campaigns than you ever dreamed. Digital marketing can not only boost your sales ROI, but also your brand’s ROI.

8. Conversion Rate Optimization: 

Can give your website a big amount of impact in a short period of time. Every start up company’s web site should have something for a user to do, whether it is subscribing, filling out a contact form or purchasing something.  

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the art and science of helping more of your passive website visitors become actively engaged and ultimately complete more goals.  Conversion optimization is not free, it requires hiring a professional CRO company to help analyze and determine how to best optimize a website, implement A/B split testing and then make the necessary adjustments to CTA buttons, web copy and sign up forms etc.

This becomes even more crucial when you have an eCommerce business, with cart abandonment rates at an average of 68%, you should be optimizing your shop and cart pages for conversions.

If you are looking to learn more about the basics of how conversion optimization works, check out the serial entrepreneur Sean Ellis’s beginners guide to conversion rate optimization. If your company wants to maximize its web traffic and digital presence, then I suggest giving CRO a try.

Also get more information on CRO from jackkinsella.ie

9. Websites optimization and restructuring

Already, most companies are optimizing their websites for mobile, recognizing that the space on a mobile phone is much smaller than that of a desktop computer screen.

Website optimization should not stop at cleaner fonts or smaller graphics; startups must spend the extra time to make sure their mobile sites can efficiently process transactions. That goal requires making sure that the billing process functions properly and that users can easily log on to the site from a Smartphone, for instance.

It may be tempting to focus on the overall corporate website and provide a scaled-down version for mobile. But to make a mobile site truly function for e-commerce, startups must go the extra mile to resolve issues.

10. Use email marketing and other tools: 

For a true multiple-channel outreach strategy. We have been talking about cross-device behavior for some time now, as we know that the majority of consumers going through their buying journey interact with the same site through multiple devices.

That’s why it is vital to consider other ways to reach consumers in the course of a sale, whether those communications occur as email reminders or special deals on the mobile website.


Technology and digital marketing strategies are always changing.  As early stage startups and entrepreneurs are looking to get the pre-product market fit right, they should not consider product development to be more important than branding and digital marketing.  Everything that a customer experiences is the product.

This is something that both startups and media companies don’t always fully understand. Things like creating content, blogging, and building brand awareness around a product are often considered a secondary experience and a secondary part of the company, which is a completely wrong way of thinking.  

In many instances, what a customer first experiences about your product is on the internet or in the media long before they even get a chance to touch or use it first hand. If your company does not have both of these aspects working together in alignment, then you could be causing yourself problems with building awareness for your company and product.

Credit: James Tumenta

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