Getting your marketing strategy right is an important step for your early stage startup’s success. Figuring out how to budget for that strategy is crucial. Digital guru Neil Patel warns that “57% of startup marketing managers are not basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis.” Before you delve into your marketing plan, make sure you collect some hard data about where your early stage startup is already experiencing marketing success.
Wherever you choose to focus your budget - whether it’s on your social media presence, your website, your blog or a customized blend - this article will provide you with affordable tools designed to enhance your early stage startup’s marketing efforts.
In this article, you’ll learn how to:
- Design your best website
- Integrate messaging across platforms
- Automate your social media posts
- Craft stunning visual content
- Find the best high-quality free stock photos for businesses
- Create stylish social media flyers
- Manage your SE ranking
- Optimize your lead conversion
- Create branded links
- Manage your team’s marketing strategies
From familiar names to the off-the-beaten track finds, this list of marketing tools won’t break your startup’s budget.
- Squarespace – Depending on how early the stage is, your startup may not even have a website yet. Squarespace is the darling of the build-your-own-website niche for its style and simplicity. With their award-winning, customizable and mobile-optimized templates, you’ll make a good impression on your site’s visitors and on potential investors. Depending on the size of your startup, their Business plan ($18/mo.) or their Basic Commerce plan ($26/mo.) should be sufficient to get you up and running.
- Mailchimp – Mailchimp has been around for a while and continues to get better and better at what it does: marketing and analytics. They were rated TrustRadius’ top rated all-in-one marking platform in 2019. Today’s Mailchimp isn’t just about email, you can integrate and automate your messaging across platforms with email, social media, landing pages, digital ads, postcards and more. Their analytics and A/B testing will help you target your messaging. Mailchimp integrates with dozens of tools and apps. And that includes for startups on a budget. You can use their free version for up to 2,000 contacts. Their Standard version is well-priced at $14.99/mo.
Social Media Marketing
- SocialPilot – SocialPilot allows you to manage your social media accounts in one dashboard. Their small business plan allows you to schedule up to 500 posts in advance. You can select which team members to share access with and engage your team in replying to messages, posts and comments in real time. Their Professional plan is an economical $25/mo. while their Small Team plan is $41.66/mo.
- Visme – Visme will allow your early stage startup to create incredible branded visual content on a budget. To prepare for your next meeting with an angel investor, you can produce videos, flyers, infographics, GIFs, charts, website graphics and more. Choose from a variety of templates to save on time and money. Their Single user plan is $25/mo., while their Team plan allows for up to three users for $75/mo.
Free Stock Photos
- Burst (by Shopify) – There are lots of free stock image sites out there but what sets Burst apart is that they provide great free high-resolution photos for trending business concepts. You can download an entire themed photo kit from them for free and they have a link to help you create your online store on Shopify. Make sure your website or blog draws visitors with quality photos that capture your startup’s unique message.
Social Media Flyers
- Canva – No early stage startup marketing toolkit would be complete without Canva. Their easy-to-create social media flyers have beautiful templates and graphics, winning the hearts of many a marketer. Their optimized sizes allow you to design the perfect post for any social media platform so that it opens perfectly on any device or platform. Canva’s free version actually has a lot of great options, but if you’re looking for better templates and graphics, most startups will find their Pro plan suitable at $12.95/mo.
- SE Ranking – As your startup grows, managing your online ranking will become more and more relevant so clients can find you easily when they type in a search for the product or service you offer. SE Ranking identifies your optimum keywords and unifies SEO efforts across your entire team, from emails to copywriters to analysts. It will improve your search visibility, audit your website and monitor your keyword rankings. Either the Optimum ($39/mo.) or the Plus ($89/mo.) are appropriate for early stage startups.
Lead Conversion Optimization
- Hello Bar – Ok, you’ve created a beautiful website, you’ve mastered SEO, people are visiting your site, but, they don’t convert. That’s where Hello Bar comes in. According to their own website: 98% of Visitors Will Leave Your Website Without Taking Action. Hellobar uses plug-ins to optimize your websites conversions by providing “nudges” that direct visitors either to a specific URL, your social media pages or prompt them to share their email. Try their free version or the Growth version at $29/mo. to increase conversions on your startup’s website.
- Rebrandly – Customized and branded links are a way to boost brand awareness and visibility for your startup. Rebrandly allows you to create a three-part link that includes your business name, niche and a specific locator that will tell visitors exactly what to expect when they click on it, reducing bounce rates. For example, you could create a link for your brand’s name.blog/blog title, making the link branded and specific. Their free version or their Starter version for $29/mo. should do the trick to give your early stage startup a marketing edge with branded links.
- Hubspot – Hubspot’s reputation for quality software is irrefutable and their complete marketing management helps your startup grow traffic and convert visitors with ad management and retargeting, live chat, conversation bots, forms, list segmentation, customer tracking, email marketing and more. They have a free version, but their Starter version is a bargain at $25/mo.
- Just Good Copy – This site provides you a curated collection of good copy from successful companies so that you can learn from the experts how to write the best Welcome, Thank You, Account Update, Email Confirmation or other messages. Take a cue from industry copy wizards to craft and send the most effective messages to your subscribers. Best part? It’s free.
Marketing is a key part of nurturing your early stage startup’s growth and visibility. The right tools can vastly improve your brand’s messaging, integration, SE ranking, content and more. What marketing tools have been helpful to your startup’s success?
16th March 2020