8 Digital Marketing Best Practices for Self-Funded Startups

If you run a self-funded startup, marketing your business is key to the growth of your startup. There are traditional and digital marketing strategies you can use to help you get your startup in front of as many eyes as you can. 

But for bootstrapped startups, you may not have the funds to invest heavily into traditional advertising. That’s why digital marketing is the best and most effective way to market your brand. 

A survey from CB Insights revealed that one of the main reasons startups fail is because they don’t market their business effectively. 

There is an ever-increasing number of internet users, and startups can use digital marketing to reach their target customers, even with limited budgets.


Digital marketing not only provides a platform to grow your brand, but it also offers an easy medium to promote your business and offer reliable customer service. It also provides you with ample opportunities to set yourself apart from your competitors and get your message noticed and heard in today’s sea of marketing messages. 

If you’re looking to start a business of your own, NLU’s MBA program will be incredibly helpful in providing you with the tools that you need for success.  If you’re interested, click here to learn more

In this article, we discuss 8 digital marketing best practices to help you ensure the success of your self-funded startup.

Great Marketing Is Crucial for Startup Survival

Well-executed marketing is crucial for the survival and growth of a startup. As previously mentioned, great marketing will help you grow your startup, especially if you don’t have a massive budget at the beginning. 

With the right marketing strategy, you will be able to boost your sales, spread your name, gain, and retain customers – all without bankrupting your business. 

Great marketing will also help you enhance your company’s reputation and save you tons of time so you can get on with other duties that are critical to your success.

The bottom line is, marketing is crucial for a startup business, particularly self-funded startups that need to implement the most cost-effective marketing strategies. The better the marketing strategies you employ, the stronger and healthier your business will be.

Digital marketing offers companies a way to market themselves to their target audience using a variety of marketing options to achieve maximum effectiveness in a cost-effective way.

Why Choose Digital Marketing Over Traditional?

For self-funded startups, their only hope of finding success is in finding the best and most efficient marketing strategy. 

When it comes to marketing, there are a myriad of reasons why businesses choose digital marketing over traditional. For one, digital marketing is more accessible for startups. It gives new brands a fighting chance when competing with established companies and millions of existing marketing campaigns.

Here are some more reasons why startups choose digital marketing over traditional.

  • Cost-Effective: Digital marketing is cheaper and allows you to reach and connect with a wide audience at every corner of the globe.
  • Engage Clients: You can engage with clients directly using various digital marketing channels, including social media posts, webinars, email, etc. 
  • Easy Testing: With digital marketing, startups have the opportunity to conduct inexpensive customer research.
  • Results Tracking: Digital marketing offers an efficient way to track and measure important metrics to drive startup success.

Digital marketing takes startups one step closer to their target audiences. Contrary to traditional marketing which relies on a single medium, the digital marketing scene delivers an omnichannel customer experience to help brands grow and sustain. 

The arena is constantly evolving and there are developments that are breaking new ground every day. 

Digital marketing offers technology to automate processes, personalize interactions, and coordinate actions so brands can grow faster. With a cohesive marketing strategy, startups can build their brand, sell their products, and grow their companies, even amidst fierce competition.

Digital Marketing Moves Your Startup Needs to Make

If you have just launched a new startup, you aren’t just competing with other companies in your industry, but you are also competing against the countless marketing messages consumers are being inundated with each day. 

So, to help you keep pace with ever-shifting consumer behavior, there are certain things you need to do.

1. Get Your Branding Nailed Down

Your company’s brand is its complete personality and the medium through which your startup can express to consumers its core values and business methods, as well as what its product can do and the ways in which it can change a user’s experience. 

It’s important for digital marketing to have your startup’s branding fully fleshed out for these reasons:

  • Branding helps to increase your startup’s visibility
  • It gives your company a unique identity so you can stand out
  • Branding also improves traction by helping you retain customer goodwill
  • Startup branding helps you establish a strong business image
  • Branding can also help you resolve customer issues
  • Having a strong brand will help your business stay in the market for longer

These are just a few of the reasons why it’s crucial for startups to get their branding nailed down. Eventually, a great branding strategy can scale up a startup’s worth, far exceeding the company’s actual value.

2. Invest in Key Tools

Most self-funded startups start off using free tools. But, for the most part, premium tools will do a better job than free ones, which is why it’s important to invest in key analytics tools to improve your company’s long-term growth and sales. 

There are a lot of great tools you can use to help you with every aspect of your marketing, from SEO and lead generation to project management, analytics, and more. You can sign up for free trials before committing so you can see which tools fit your needs. 

Some of the best marketing tools to consider include:

  • Moz Pro
  • WebEngage
  • Crazy Egg
  • Wishpond
  • Kissmetrics
  • Mixpanel

…among many others.

3. Know Where You Need Help

As a startup owner, you will likely be wearing many hats in your business. However, you can’t do everything alone if you want your business to grow bigger than just you. You need to figure out where you need help and who you need to hire to make your marketing successful. 

This could mean hiring an overall expert, a specialist in certain things, or even an entire team. You must know where you need someone else’s knowledge, skills, and experience, and take the steps to build a strong team of talented people around you. 

Keep in mind, your team doesn’t necessarily have to be local for success.  If you have a tool like Time Doctor, you can track remote employees just as well as you would local ones to make sure everyone stays productive.  

Some people you may need to hire for your startup include: 

  • Brand consultant
  • Marketing manager
  • Content strategists
  • Editorial planners
  • Copywriters
  • …and so on. 

You also need to make the decision about whether you will have freelancers or full-time employees. And remember, there are a lot of inexpensive tools your team can use, such as a CRM, to execute your core competencies and build a successful business. 

4. Create Content That Stands Out

Content marketing is saturated and to stand out from the competitors you will have to produce creative and effective content that is unique to your brand and message. 

Content marketing offers a reliable way to get your message across to your audience, but if you are creating unremarkable content, it will be hard to break through the noise and capture the attention of your audience. 

You need a good content team to create outstanding, engaging content that people will like and share. If you create compelling, intent-based content, you can also use it as part of your overall strategy to increase your conversions and generate more sales. 

5. Perfect Your Landing Pages

Before you begin running paid marketing campaigns, you must perfect your landing pages. It’s important to create and test your landing pages to find the highest converting ones. So, instead of using a template and running it on autopilot, rather create an ongoing process for running A/B tests on the different aspects of your landing page that impact conversion. These include:

  • Headlines
  • Text
  • Call to action
  • Button color scheme
  • … and so on.


6. Work on Your Employer Appeal

As a startup, you are likely to end up needing more help in the future as your business grows. Finding talented people to add to your team can be hard, but you can make it a lot easier for yourself to hire the best people by working on your employer branding. 

There are various tactics you can use to boost your image online to potential employees. For instance, you can create a company blog that can be a great revenue driver for the company and a great-looking team page on your website. 

Also, you can tap into your current team’s contacts on social media by asking your team members to share any current job openings in your startup within the network.

When their connections see your team having a great time where they work, they too will aspire to work at a workplace like yours.

7. Find Your Social Platforms and Be Highly Active

Social media is a massive asset to startups. It offers a platform to grow your online presence and brand identity, as well as an easy medium for engaging your audience and communicating your message in a powerful way. 

You can use social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat as a way to leverage brand awareness and value, but rather than spreading yourself thin trying to be on all platforms at once, rather find the platforms that work best for your startup and be highly present on those.  Keep in mind, your social platform where you have a presence should really depend on what your business does.  

For instance, if you had a startup clothing company, it would make sense to have a presence on the Poshmark app.  The reason?  Though niche, this might be the best social media platform to sell your clothing and grow a small loyal following. 

8. Prioritize SEO 

Search engine optimization is important to help startups be visible to customers and compete with known brands. 

Your startup needs a credible SEO solution. You can achieve this by conducting an SEO audit to find out how users interact with your site and social media platforms. To build better visibility in the SERPs (search engine results pages), look into SEO aspects, such as:

  • Website optimization
  • Page optimization
  • Device optimization
  • Credible link building
  • … and so on.

You need to understand the way SEO works, and, if necessary, hire an SEO specialist to help your startup grow quicker.  To go a step further, if necessary, you can use some udemy course discounts to get an expert to teach you many of these important concepts on a budget.


Digital marketing offers vast benefits for self-funded startups. By implementing these 8 digital marketing best practices, you’ll ensure that your startup operates from a firm foundation and you will be able to optimize growth and maximize profits even if you are operating on a shoestring budget. 

Which of the 8 digital marketing best practices appeals to you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Prof. Ron Stefanski is an online entrepreneur and college professor at NLU who helps people create and market their own online businesses.  Learn more about Ron by visiting OneHourProfessor.com 

You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin, or on his Facebook Community.

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