Expert Tips: How to Market Your Startup According to Its Stage

Iryna Deremuk

Creative storyteller with an unfailing exploratory spirit. Iryna will guide your brand from an idea to a compelling story.

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The first and the most difficult question of every founder is ‘How to start up a business?’. Building a strong startup marketing strategy is a critical part of this process. The task is much more complicated than regular brand promotion. In the article, we clarify how to create a cost-effective marketing strategy to improve brand recognition and scale your startup according to its funding stage. Read till the end to find out the best ways to promote your business and prevent expenses on ineffective tools.


Business Analysis of Startup Market Recent Tendencies

difference between business and startup

Startups create unique products or services, focusing on rapid growth and winning the biggest possible markets. To develop the businesses, founders diversify the company’s ownership and use funding from investors. 

Although compared with traditional business development, this approach to building a company is relatively new, the startup market has gained enormous influence on the global economy. And it keeps growing. The companies’ sizes, amount of investments and the number of new technologies created by startups are increasing every year. This is proved by the fact that unicorns are tending to be more and more common — their rate has increased by 353.1% from 2013 to 2018.

Even though in the second quarter of 2020, fintech startups observed the lowest deal count since the fourth quarter of 2016, the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t able to destroy the startup market. So right after its influence decreased, in February 2021, 63.9% of entrepreneurs were more likely to start a new business. Currently, the situation gets better and better every day.

The tendency to invest in promising projects also continues. Except for the product offered, investors and stakeholders pay special attention to startup promotion and future marketing strategy. Thus, this article aims to help you avoid common mistakes and get a new round of funding.


Are There Any Differences in Marketing Approaches for Different Stages of Startups?

stages of startup growth

As the startup goals are different at each funding stage, specialists can’t market these companies similarly. Let’s study how to promote startups of different stages in the most cost-effective and time-saving ways by choosing the right tools and techniques.


Pre-seed and seed stages. This is the time when founders only develop the product or service they are going to offer. In this case, startups don’t need to collaborate with third-party agencies to conduct active marketing, as high-quality outreach, product presentation and traffic generation will be enough to reach the next stage. Right after the seed stage, there are series A, B and C funding. They also correlate with product launch, traction, and scaling stages.

Product launch and traction stages. Once you’ve developed the product, effective marketing strategies are required. You need to generate traffic to increase brand awareness and show potential investors that your product is in demand. This way, you’ll be able to acquire scaling funding. At the traction stage, startups usually need a complex system of different approaches, including traffic generation tactics, inbound marketing and paid advertising.

Scaling stage. This is the time when companies start to generate the first profits and need to grow further. In this case, founders try to acquire investments for scaling, so marketing is vital for them to reach the set goals and get a new funding round. Usually, to implement this, startups have to analyze the target audience, identify their competitive advantages and choose the system or a mix of systems to grow themselves. Demand generation tactics, and inbound and outbound marketing solutions are among the ways of promoting a business required at this stage.


These distinctive features should always be taken into consideration when you decide how to promote your company. However, there’s one more important point: the business model the founder chooses for a startup. Let’s learn more about them in the next section.


5 Popular Types of Business Models for Startups

5 types of business models

The business model you choose for a startup plays a critical role in the way you will promote it. In this section, discover the top 5 most popular models and their influence on your marketing strategy.


1. Subscription Model

Startups that use this model provide services via subscriptions. For example, Netflix allows watching films or Spotify lets listen to music, charging clients for the subscription monthly or annually. This is a considerable benefit, as the cash flow is stable, and you have some calculations to provide to investors.


2. Marketplace Model

This model means that retailers can place their products on your platform and potential customers can buy goods from them. You don’t need to worry about selling and promoting products, which prevents you from considerable spending. Typically, businesses that use this startup strategy take care of the transactions and shipping, charging a small percentage of money from every order.


3. On-Demand Model

These startup businesses provide services, like food delivery or a ride, on demand. Uber is one of the most well-known companies using this model. An ultimate advantage is that you don’t need to produce staff and spend costs on materials and storage, which helps reduce spending. However, demand can change a lot over time, so you cannot guarantee a stable outcome. 


4. Disintermediation Model

Serving as a basis for one of the oldest types of startups, this model guarantees that consumers purchase products right from the manufacturer. This allows companies to avoid unnecessary margins and set lower prices. Although, you need to manage all production, sales, and delivery processes on your own, which may be quite complicated.


5. Freemium Model

This means providing both free and paid services to consumers. For example, LinkedIn allows customers to use it as a regular social media platform and place a paid promotion. This model lets companies attract more visitors by offering a free plan and then turning them into clients who pay for premium features. 

Consider all these peculiarities to build a cost-effective growth strategy. Continue reading to discover how to create marketing plans for startups that will help your company generate profits.


How to Develop a Startup Growth Strategy

startup growth strategy template

Crafting a startup marketing strategy may sound complicated, but if you pay special attention to the stage your business is on, scaling without overspending is possible. For example, applying outreach tactics is one of the best marketing ideas for startups at the pre-seed stage, while demand generation is necessary for scaling companies. However, there are compulsory steps required for any startup. Below, we provide a detailed plan on how to conduct a complex marketing audit that will become a strong basis for a fruitful promotion.


1. Identify main objectives

Foremost, create your vision of the company’s growth and set up goals. Scaling the startup business and completing fundraising rounds are objectives of all startup founders. Additionally, you may want to improve brand awareness, get viral on the market and build a certain reputation. It’s better to prioritize these intentions before building a marketing strategy for a startup.


2. Study your buyer personas

Understanding the target audience is required to convert potential clients into new customers. You should analyze consumers’ demographics, pain points, needs and preferences. Then think about how your products can help them solve their problems. We recommend segmenting buyer personas according to their buying behavior. Finally, use the data you’ve collected to create a feasible startup promotion strategy.

startup growth strategy example

3. Analyze your competitors

Competitors knowing is required to develop a strong competitive advantage and outperform other companies on the market. Unique features, a cost-saving pricing policy and business values are among the most widespread things you can use in your marketing messages. Then, find the strengths and weaknesses in startup business marketing of your competitors and use this data to improve your strategy.


4. Find your place in the market

Once you know the general market situation, it is time to develop your positioning. Check the demand for various features and identify a comparatively free niche in your industry. This will let you narrow down your target audience and market your product more effectively. Additionally, you will be able to present your company’s story on any startup promotion platform as clearly as possible and, in this way, attract more investors.


5. Determine your budget and set KPIs

Finally, decide on the amount of money you are going to spend on startup promotion. Consider operational costs, possible investments and revenue forecasts to scale faster. We highly recommend setting KPIs to track your performance and adjust the ways to promote business if it’s necessary.


Best Ways to Promote Your Business in 2022: Insights and Tips

good ways to promote your business

Marketing is changing so quickly that it may be difficult for startup founders to keep up with all the insights. But we are here to help you. Discover the best ways to promote your business below.


Become the main promoter of your startup

A little percentage of startups have a loyal audience right after the launching. So, you and your employees need to become the company’s main promoters. You can actively announce your product on social media, as 77% of marketers state that this approach is extremely effective. Additionally, we advise using your solution yourself to detect its weak points, inconvenient parts and so on. For example, the founder of Quora, Adam D’Angelo, started answering users’ questions on his own. This led to a higher engagement and had the so-called ‘butterfly effect’. Now, Quora is one of the most popular platforms in its niche.


Introduce an exclusive beta

This is a great way to build a community and attract customers before the official launch. By offering a limited beta, you can create a sense of exclusivity and provide leads with a positive experience at once. When Slack prepared for the launch, they stated that users need to have the invitation to join their platform. This caused interest in society and allowed founders to attract a huge audience through word-of-mouth marketing. The effectiveness of this strategy is proved by the fact that 90% of consumers are much more likely to trust a recommended company. 


Create a viral campaign

97% of our marketers claim that content is important for business promotion. Viral ads can significantly boost your startup in a short time. As a rule, users prefer videos that evoke strong emotions, like fear, disgust, or enjoyment. Humorous ads also perform well. If you intend to boost a video, choose social media platforms you will place it on. Then create a simple but engaging plot. For example, Poo-Pourri crafted a promotion depicting strange and disgusting things that became viral as consumers shared it due to its unusual plot.

Besides the specific tips, there are solutions that most startups should definitely take advantage of: content marketing, SMM, search engine optimization, email campaigns and referral marketing. Although the tactics to promote your business may vary, their necessity remains the same. If you find implementing these solutions difficult, we recommend collaborating with a digital marketing agency. The Digitalce team has a huge experience in working with startups and can help you scale your own business and get new rounds of investment.



Although startup promotion may seem rather complicated, the right approach and understanding of all the peculiarities can help you reach the marketing goals. Use the information from our article to market your startup smartly, scale it, attract more leads and get new rounds of investments


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