6 Low-Cost Startup Marketing Ideas to Ignite Growth

 • 8 min read

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startup marketing ideas

90% of new startups fail.

Those aren’t great odds, but that’s not you

Not if you have the right marketing plan. That’s why we put together this article with six low-cost startup marketing ideas so you can overcome the odds and find startup success even without millions in seed funding!

1. Optimize your new website for search engines

If you’re just beginning a startup marketing plan, one of your first priorities should be search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO works to increase your startup’s website’s visibility in search engines. And since nearly 93% of all web traffic comes through search engines, investors and customers can’t find you on Google, Bing, or Yahoo without it.

There are four main components of an SEO strategy: content marketing, digital PR, technical SEO, and local SEO. Each of these components of SEO works in unison for peak results.

Before that though, it pays to do some industry and keyword research, competitor analysis, and to create an SEO strategy. That way, you’ll have goals in mind, and a plan of how to accomplish them.

For SEO beginners, all of this can be confusing, so it might be best to start out with a few Small Business SEO services best practices and mistakes to avoid.

SEO best practices:

  • Create quality content for a human audience, then optimize for search engines
  • Format for user-experience
  • Optimize title tags, meta descriptions, and photos
  • Don’t attempt to deceive search engines
  • Make your website unique, informative, and engaging
  • Don’t forget page speed
  • Optimize for mobile content

Mistakes to avoid:

So where should a brand new business start on SEO? One of the first things you should do is install Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and other SEO tools to help monitor progress.

Then, you’ll want to create quality content and fix website SEO errors to improve web traffic. All of this is easier said than done. Sometimes it takes a technical SEO expert to help you figure things out.

From adding canonical links and fixing duplicate content issues to optimizing title and header tags, there’s a lot to do when it comes to technical SEO. Still, if you want your startup to successful, SEO is well worth the effort.

Check out our DIY SEO checklist for more information on how to get started with SEO.

2. Use influencers and hashtag research to build a social media presence

If you’re looking for information on social media, check out some of our top social media tips.
As a startup, the first thing to do to build a social media presence is to create profiles for your new business on every major social media platform that your target customer and investor uses. While LinkedIn is better suited for attracting funding, professionals and B2B, Instagram is a better option for B2C connections.

Let’s take a look at these marketing ideas for startups to best use Instagram.

Using micro-influencers

Micro-influencers on Instagram are a low-cost way to promote your startup’s service or product to hyper-targeted audiences.

And they’ve been proven to deliver 7x more engagement than the average generated by mid, macro, and mega influencers combined.

For example, the startup Bloomscape, which sells and delivers house plants, recently partnered with an influencer to create posts for their Instagram account that have received thousands of views.

restorative yoga session

In the above post, Bloomscape partnered with the restorative yoga influencer @adriamoses to create a video discussing the value of having plants in your home for relaxation and rejuvenation. The video got thousands of views and tons of likes. And, it helps Bloomscape target a specific audience that is highly likely to convert in customers as well.

Additionally, because micro-influencers like @adriamoses don’t have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, their rates won’t break the bank but still can help your business—especially as a startup.

adriamoses instagram

Hashtag research

As a startup, hashtag research can be incredibly valuable to increase the visibility of your posts. The reality is unless people are directly searching for your brand or you’re running paid ads, it’s unlikely they’ll come across your posts on their feed on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Try using hashtag research to connect with people who are looking for the type of content you provide.

For example, Bloomscape uses hashtags like #patioplants, #planted101, #plantmomtips, and #birdofparadise on their posts to attract users.

bloomscape instagram

Their hashtag research is clearly working too, because their posts get thousands of likes as you can see above.

If you want to learn more about identifying premium hashtags, read our post on how to do hashtag research for Instagram.

3. Get published in local newspapers and industry publications

The benefits of sharing some of your insights in a local newspaper or industry publication are two-fold.

First, getting published in a reputable publication helps establish your up-and-coming business as an industry authority.

Second, you can get backlinks, brand mentions, or quote placements from your article. These help build your startup website’s authority and a solid foundation for future growth. Remember, more authority equals more visibility on search engines for target keywords. It’s why Bloomscape appears on Google’s first page for house plants online.

The process of getting these articles published and building your online reputations is the domain of digital PR. Digital PR is a startup marketing idea that can help your business shed years of reputation development time to improve your inbound lead generation fast.

For example, if you run an HR startup, digital PR could help you get featured in an article like this one on “9 Professional Development Tips For Human Resource Professionals”.

shrm blog development tips

The more articles like this you have around the net, the more buzz it creates surrounding your startup. That’s great for attracting not only more clients or customers, but also more investors.

For example, the more you publish and establish your brand name with your insights, the more likely you are to attract the attention of writers and editors to gain even more coverage in featured lists and news stories.

When potential investors see your insights and advice in local publications and industry association journals, then turn around and see your company on a “Best Startups” list, it can be very helpful in securing an investment.

4. Create quality content for your website to draw in web traffic

Startups get a majority of their web traffic from organic sources, unless angel investors have gifted them an advertising budget right from the start.

That means, if you want to attract more web traffic, you’ll need to rank as highly as possible in search engines for important keywords that clients or customers use to find your startup.

In order to do that, do keyword research to find common keywords, topics, and phrases related to your startup.

Then you’ll create quality content that targets those keywords to attract more organic traffic and improve your site’s position in search engines.

It’s called content marketing and it’s a pillar of SEO, which we discussed and defined earlier.

Content marketing, and in particular, blogging, is one of the most effective, cost-efficient startup marketing ideas. Without it, search engine optimization wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

That’s because one of the keys to startup success is web traffic and companies that blog have 55% more web visitors than those that don’t.

And, without large budgets for outbound sales teams, inbound marketing tactics like blogging are an incredibly low-cost alternative to draw in sales.

Many of the top startups in the world blog. For example, Samsara, an industrial Internet of Things (IoT) that has worked with the likes of Ford, has a blog they update three times a week on average.

One of their favorite blogging topics is ways their product can help client businesses like this one on ‘7 Ways the Right Telematics Solution Can Improve Your Fleet’s Margins.’


These articles are great for generating web traffic and lead conversion as well.

5. Use Google My Business to improve local lead generation

Does your startup have a storefront that serves the local community?

If so, claiming and then optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile is one of the easiest marketing ideas for startups to improve local lead generation for your new business without expensive paid ads.

GMB profiles are completely free, and they feature your startup in local search results. You’ll get a prominent spot above page one organic results, but below paid ads.

scottsdale internet marketingPlus, your business will appear in Google Maps.

scottsdale internet marketing maps

GMB profiles get your business name, address, phone number, and hours out to the public,. You can also add photos, reply to reviews, create posts, announce events, or link to social media accounts.

If you want more local clients or customers, GMB profiles are a pillar of any local SEO strategy that can help make that happen.

Local SEO will help to increase your business’ visibility in local search results, and considering 46% of online searches are local, it’s a free marketing channel your new business can’t afford to ignore.

6. Build prominence with citations in industry directories

Prominence is one of the factors that Google uses to determine local search rankings. The more prominence your startup has, the better in the eyes of Google.

Local SEO works to improve prominence through a variety of methods. For a startup, the best low-cost method to build prominence is securing citations (an online reference to your business) in industry directories.

Listings in directories are one of the factors that determine a website’s prominence according to Google. There are general directories like review websites and search engine profiles (think Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, or Yahoo Local) that can provide you with a local SEO boost that will get your new business on the map.

Then, there are industry-specific directories that can be even more potent for local SEO purposes because of their relevance to your business.

For example, you can get a citation on BetaList, a site that recognizes top startups. Codestash, a platform for coders to share premium coding resources, did this recently and their listing is featured prominently on BetaLists site that gets a lot of traffic from potential investors.


Citations will help improve your startup’s rankings in local results as a part of a local SEO strategy. Plus, it will help improve brand awareness and your business’ legitimacy in the eyes of all search engines, not just Google. And for new companies starting from scratch, this foundation is crucial.

Need help with your startup marketing strategy?

Do you need a startup marketing ally?

Sometimes startup founders and their small teams don’t have the time to implement all the startup marketing ideas their businesses need.

A new business can’t afford to forgo marketing. Partner with an SEO marketing agency to create a detailed startup marketing plan today!

Markitors is a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO. We help small businesses rank higher on Google to get more traffic to their websites and increase revenue. Explore what’s in our SEO toolbox: audits and keyword research, digital PR, technical SEO, and local SEO.

6 Low-Cost Startup Marketing Ideas to Ignite Growth

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