Marketing Strategies for Start-Ups

marketing strategies for startups

If you just started your business, congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment. As you probably know, there are many strategies that business owners can use for running, managing, and marketing their start-ups. But we have to warn you: the road ahead isn’t an easy one. And unfortunately, the odds are not in your favor:

Almost 25% of all business start-ups fail within the first year.

That percentage doubles to 50% within the first five years of business.

So how can your start-up be part of the other half of businesses, the ones who succeed, who persevere, and who stay in business?

The good news? You’re at the beginning. You have the luxury of time on your side. Right now, you can choose to avoid the mistakes many small business owners make when they’re first starting out.

At Paragon Marketing Group, we want to equip you with some helpful marketing strategies designed for start-ups.

3 Marketing Strategies for Start-Ups

Here are three marketing strategies to employ for your start-up:

A happy business owner using marketing strategies for startups
Are you using any of these marketing strategies for start-ups?

Start-up Marketing Strategy #1: Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself

The entire purpose of marketing is to get people interested in your products or services. And while the idea of doing marketing on your own seems simple in theory, it’s often not.

There are two big reasons we advise small business owners – especially start-up owners – to not try to go it alone:

1. You Need Expansive Marketing Knowledge

Marketing is no longer something that requires a few print advertisements. Digital marketing has unlocked massive opportunities, and all of those opportunities come with a set of rules. Consider the following questions:

  1. Are you certified in Google Ads?
  2. Do you understand all the nuances of every social media platform?
  3. Can you apply an effective SEO strategy to your website content?
  4. Are you a content writer?
  5. Do you know how to professionally design graphics and logos for your business?

Even at Paragon Marketing Group, not one of us is an expert at every aspect of marketing. We all have our different levels of expertise that we bring to the table to best help our clients.

2. You Need Adequate Time to Dedicate to Marketing

A successful business needs a marketing plan, but that’s usually something business owners don’t have time to do:

Especially when you’re first starting out, your focus is everywhere. And no matter how many hours you’re clocking per week, time moves on. Basically, every moment you spend on sales, finance, or technology is a moment lost on marketing.

Takeaway: You’re only one person. Today, life moves so quickly that business owners try to do everything faster, more efficiently, and more productively, and it’s taking a toll. Don’t let your health, family, or life pass you by while you’re trying to do the work of many people.

Start-up Marketing Strategy #2: Don’t Shortcut Your Marketing

If you’re not trying to do all your marketing yourself, we often see small business owners trying to shortcut their marketing.

Common Examples of Marketing Shortcuts
  • Not proofreading content – customers are far less likely to trust a business that has a website or social posts riddled with spelling and grammatical errors,
  • Linking a website or blog post to an untrustworthy site – if you’re linking to outdated information, a broken website, or a site with a negative association, you’ll lose trust with potential customers who click on it.
  • Keyword stuffing ads or website – everyone wants their website and ads to be easily found online, but search engines have gotten smarter. Did you use your focus keyword 30 times on a 300-word webpage? Google and other search engines will not only take notice, but they’ll penalize your site for keyword stuffing.
  • Sending emails to people who didn’t give you permission to email them – no one likes to be bombarded with sales emails from a business where they didn’t even subscribe to emails. This is a quickfire way to encourage potential clients to unsubscribe, turning them off to future sales.
  • Expecting to see instant results when effective digital marketing takes time – just like with all good things in life, marketing takes time. And expecting instant results won’t get you any closer to your marketing goals than eating healthily for one day will help you reach your target weight.
  • Not applying any kind of SEO strategy to advertisements or websites – clients are far less likely to find your business online if you don’t use SEO (search engine optimization). Today, your website will be lost in the millions of sites online unless you employ SEO.
  • Not having consistent listings across the internet – whether your business goes by multiple names or has changed locations, it’s essential that your listings are consistent if you don’t want to confuse clients with faulty information.
  • Relying solely on AI/volunteers/technology to do things that require more attention – while improvements in AI and technology are fantastic tools to utilize in your marketing, they shouldn’t fully replace your marketing. There’s no replacement for attention to detail. Plus, an over-reliance on technology is more likely to hurt than help your marketing.

Takeaway: While taking shortcuts can often benefit your business in the short-term, the overall, long-term effects can be detrimental to your business. Therefore, we recommend doing things the right way the first time.

Start-up Marketing Strategy #3: Don’t Overspend on Marketing

At Paragon Marketing Group, we can’t stress enough how important it is to not overspend on marketing.

Here are a few ways you might be overspending on your marketing:

1. You don’t have a marketing budget/aren’t tracking your marketing spend.

Something we see with many clients is that either they don’t have any business funds dedicated to marketing, or they aren’t tracking their marketing dollars.

When you’re spending $50/month per Meta ad, it doesn’t seem all that bad. But when you don’t take into account your website costs, digital ad costs, all of the annual or monthly marketing programs and software costs, the price can start to add up . . . and you may not even realize it. 

This information is crucial to keep track of. When you aren’t defining your costs and keeping them organized, you’re not going to struggle just at tax season . . . you’re also probably spending way more money than you’re aware of.

2. You got caught in a marketing scam.

This one hurts the most, because frankly, it’s happened to all of us at some point. 

You don’t know all the ins and outs of marketing, so you bought a software program that you haven’t taken the time to learn, or you enlist the help of someone who claims to be an expert, but they’re really just taking advantage of the fact that you aren’t an SEO or social media marketing expert.

You need someone who’s going to have your back, and who is going to advise you when you aren’t sure whether or not you should take your marketing in a certain direction or use a certain marketing tactic.

3. You’re paying a salary to one person in-house to do the job of many people.

Once you realize how much work goes into marketing, you understand how crucial it is to make every dollar count.

And while one in-house marketer can be effective, no one person can be an expert in every aspect of marketing. Plus, the dollars you’re spending to pay that one person could be used to pay several people.

Imagine the value you could gain from taking that one salary and using it to outsource to an agency with a team of experts, like Paragon Marketing Group.

Takeaway: Marketing expenses can add up quickly. Make sure you have a dedicated marketing budget, keep track of your marketing dollars, and don’t overpay an individual to do the job of many.

Here’s a Quick Recap:
  1. You don’t have to do your marketing alone.
  2. You don’t have to take marketing shortcuts to be successful.
  3. You don’t have to overspend on your marketing to get great results.

When you’ve just started your business, your head is spinning. You’re just trying to make it to the next day. And as a small business, we understand how challenging it can be.

At Paragon Marketing Group, our desire is to equip you with information to help your business succeed.

If you need help employing these marketing strategies for start-ups, feel free to contact us. Visit our website at or call us at 262-443-9092. We’d love to hear from you.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our podcast, the Main Street Marketing Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your audio platform of choice.