The Most Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies for Startups

Photo by  Fabian Blank  on  Unsplash

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

By: Carli Evilsizer | March 24, 2018

Everyone knows startups don’t have a lot of money. Resources at early-stage startups are usually devoted to developing the product or hiring contractors, leaving very little left to actually market the startup. But small budgets are no excuse to not market your startup! There are plenty of cost-effective marketing methods perfect for startups. Keep reading to for some ideas of totally free startup marketing strategies and the paid marketing strategies with the best ROI.



Spreading brand awareness for your startup by talking to friends, family and customers is totally free. When you first launch ask friends and family to help spread the word then be sure to build very strong bonds with your early users, if they are happy and feel valued they will return the favor and recommend your company.

“Word of mouth marketing was our most valuable asset. We spent time early on to build strong relationships with our customers. This allowed our customers to also become our marketing team. You can't underestimate the value of a personal recommendation. Even 5 years and 5000 customers later, we still have our first customers recommending us.”

-Quinn Cox, Head of Biz Dev at TINT



Don’t have any money to spend on marketing yet? Start with free tools like blogging and social media. In order to create interesting, engaging social media accounts you will need some content to share. Erin Anderson, CMO at Hiver, suggests blogging to supplement your social media efforts for short-term, low-budget lead generation.

“Because most startups don't have big budgets, it's important to make the best use of the time and resources you have by building awareness and connecting with the right influencers for your target market. At Hiver we find a content strategy including blogging and social media is the most valuable short-term way to generate leads until our revenues catch-up to a point where we can invest in higher ticket initiatives.”

-Erin Anderson, CMO at Hiver



It can be really frustrating to spend a lot of time creating truly valuable content and not seeing immediate results but Nabeena, Head of Marketing at AppInstitute, says to push through and keep at it. While content marketing might not yield immediate results, it can become one of your most cost-effective, long-term marketing strategies.




“Most startups neglect the ongoing value that can be achieved by a long-term content marketing strategy. Time and time again I see fresh startups that don’t practice content marketing, and the majority of them do it for one reason - they want results NOW. We were very much the same at AppInstitute. We wanted to see people signing up to our platform straight away, and the best way to do that was through paying for advertising. But the fact is that content marketing is a super cost-effective way of fostering long-term growth for your startup.”

-Nabeena Mali, Head of Marketing at AppInstitute



Wouldn’t it be amazing to have tons of people talking about your brand online, helping build links to your site? If you are implementing content marketing, don’t stop there! Start proactively reaching out to bloggers or industry influencers and find ways to help each other by sharing each other’s content and link building.

YourParkingSpace logo square.jpg



“In my opinion, startups should focus on establishing an SEO Outreach strategy, which is the equivalent of *free PR*. SEO Outreach consists of link building, guest posting, and PR activities without having to spend a dime. This can help startups save money, establish new relationships with other websites, bloggers and influencers, and help them rank their website above the competition on search engines. It's a great way for startups that don't have deep pockets to spread the word about their product.”

-Gregory Golinski, Digital Marketing Executive at YourParkingSpace



Someone who visited your website is more likely to be interested in your company than just a random person online, right? Instead of spending money on massive Google Ad campaigns, make the most out of your paid advertising dollars by retargeting anyone who visited your website and encourage them to complete the sign-up process or purchase.

IKON Marketing Consultants logo

IKON Marketing Consultants


“Google Adwords and Facebook has many advanced tools to get the most out of paid campaign, for example, Remarketing. Startups should leverage this tool to remind the website visitor and persuade them to take action.”

-Azaz Motiwala, Founder & CMD of IKON Marketing Consultants



The most cost-effective paid ads are the ones that are reaching people who are most likely interested in your company. So how can you do this on Facebook? Andrew Maffettone, Director of Marketing and Operations at Sellers Choice Agency suggests creating a Facebook video and seeing who watches the majority of the video.

Seller's Choice Agency

Seller's Choice Agency


Social media is the least expensive way to grow with PPC campaigns. Run a Facebook ad with a video and then run a lead form ad to everyone who viewed it for at least 30% of the time, if done right, it always works.”

-Andrew Maffettone, Director of Marketing and Operations at Seller's Choice

Seller's Choice Agency