Growth Marketing for Startups: Why It's Important and How to Do It Well

Date published: March 25, 2024
Last updated: March 25, 2024


The goal of a startup team is to grow a company from nothing into a dominant force in its industry. While entrepreneurs are clearly invested in growth, that doesn’t mean they understand how to incorporate the concept into their digital marketing.

Too often, a startup owner is only willing to invest in haphazard marketing activities. They neglect to create a solid startup marketing strategy early in their business’s life.

The thing is, the startup phase is the ideal time to invest in long-term marketing. That’s right. It’s actually the best time to initiate a solid growth marketing strategy. Here’s why.

What Is Growth Marketing for Startups?

Growth marketing sounds simple — and at its core, it is. Growth marketers help brands grow. The nuance comes from the way that they do so.

For example, a growth marketer is not the same as a growth hacker. The latter utilizes a low-cost marketing tactic to acquire a new customer quickly. This leads to dramatic but unsustainable growth.

In contrast, a growth marketer uses similar low-cost marketing tactics. However, they weave them together to create synergistic, sustainable growth over the long term. These growth strategy tactics tend to revolve around three key pillars:

  • Developing authority through content marketing.
  • Encouraging credibility through digital PR.
  • Increasing visibility via SEO. 

So, how does all of this apply to startups? Consider this.

Growth marketing doesn’t require a massive budget or a 10-year marketing plan. It is an approach to marketing that can shrink or expand based on a company’s resources. This makes it an accessible and effective way to promote a new business — when done well, of course.

Why Is Growth Marketing for Startups Important?

Growth marketing isn’t just accessible. It is an ideal way for small businesses to begin building marketing momentum. Here are some of the specific elements that make growth marketing so ideal for startup marketing.

Growth Marketing Is Flexible

Unlike traditional marketing, growth marketing is also flexible. For instance, if you already have a solid resource library on your website, you may not need to invest in more content creation. Instead, you can round things out by focusing on digital PR or working with an SEO expert to clean up and optimize your existing content for a search engine.

Growth Marketing Is a Long-Term Investment With “Snowball” Potential

Growth marketing in the startup phase gives you the longest possible runway to generate, adapt to, and optimize results. This is a big deal. 

Remember, growth marketing isn’t growth hacking. Growth marketers seek sustainable, long-term growth through consistent, targeted marketing activities. Given enough time, this can create a snowball effect. This is helpful for any established company. For a startup, though, it can provide the early impetus to send their growth into the stratosphere.

What Are Tips for Doing Growth Marketing for Startups Well?

Growth marketing has exciting potential. But you need to engage in growth marketing in the right way if you want your marketing efforts to pay off. That said, here are a few tips to help you kickstart your startup’s growth marketing the right way.

1. Define Your Growth Goals

Always start with goals. As a startup, it can be difficult to reduce your promotional focus to a single set of objectives. Review your business plan and consider the initial goals you should aim for, especially where your marketing budget and revenue are concerned.

These can be both short and long-term objectives. The key is to have a specific focus from the get-go. Growth marketing takes time, and you don’t want to invest in the wrong areas.

2. Know Your Audience

Your target audience should be at the heart of every growth marketing decision that you make. From messaging to tactics to channels, filter everything through your ideal consumer’s eyes.

The advantage of engaging in growth marketing in the startup stage is that you likely have a decent amount of market research available from initially setting up your business. Use this data to build buyer personas, tailor your content marketing to your ideal customer, and ensure that everything is focused on your target market.

3. Choose Your Growth Marketing Themes

It should be pretty clear by now that growth marketing techniques work best when they're focused. This includes your messaging. You don’t want to market every benefit and perk your company offers, or you’ll spread your resources too thin. Narrow your promotional messaging down to two or three primary themes that set your brand apart.

These are the things you want to build your reputation around more than anything else. They answer customer needs and set you apart from the competition. As you start building a growth marketing strategy with limited resources, focus on one of these themes. You can diversify your resources to bring the other themes into the picture as you grow.

4. Use the Right Growth Marketing Tactics and Tools

There are many different ways to engage in growth marketing. Guest posting, social media, referral marketing, and influencers are great for digital PR. Keyword research and linking while creating blog content are excellent for SEO. White papers, how-to videos, and email marketing are powerful forms of content strategy.

Your job is to consider which of these tools is accessible to you right now and can provide the most effect within your industry and for your startup, in particular. Whether you’re using email for nurturing authority, working with an influencer for credibility, or boosting visibility and brand awareness with better technical SEO, make sure to consider each tool you have available. This is where working with a growth marketing agency can help you develop the strategy for your startup that brings all of your options and resources together in the most effective way.

5. Focus on Quick Wins and Future Goals

Growth hacking obsesses over short-term gains, but that doesn’t mean quick wins are a bad thing. It’s overemphasizing them through various growth hacking tactics that derails marketing momentum over time.

If you want to benefit from growth marketing, you still want to look for quick wins (such as working with an influencer for fast exposure). The trick comes with balancing that with long-term investment, such as search engine optimization, which can take months to generate results. Keep both in mind as you go along.

Using Growth Marketing to Get Startup Momentum

Growth marketing for startups is a steady, synergistic approach to marketing. It utilizes all of the marketing tools and tactics available, adapting them to your company’s needs and resources.

This makes it an ideal option for a startup. Use it to build a thoughtful growth marketing strategy for your burgeoning brand. This can provide some early momentum that can only continue to grow as your young company finds its sea legs.

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