27 Startup Marketing Tips from Top Entrepreneurs

27 Startup Marketing Tips from Top Entrepreneurs

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Marketing advice is a dime a dozen these days, but not everyone has conquered the mountain. Below we quote and mention some of the most brilliant and actionable marketing advice we have come by.

1. People Always Buy the Benefit - Not The Feature

Dharmesh Shah explains that Marketers alike cannot lose sight of the fundamentally human component of a value proposition. It is not enough to be a bit better, different, or more expensive -- it’s about how you frame those differences in terms of their associated risks, benefits, and value that resonates with your customers.

2. Implement a Unique Marketing Strategy

It pays off to be innovative. Ten years ago before the advent of social media marketing Darren Bennet’s company was one of the first to offer mobile massages, offering them in bars and clubs. This kitschy strategy established their brand. Now instead of chasing leads, they focus on maintaining their brand. Thankfully, they now have Facebook and Twitter for that.

3. Remember to Listen

Sometimes the best strategies are the simplest. Jason Falls recommends proactive listening as an online marketing strategy. Instead of following the demand, step in front of it. Use online marketing to feel out marketing and sales opportunities. Look for people who need what you supply.

4. Creativity is Key

Nowadays consumers are bombarded with messages all hours of the day, so Scott Gerber advocates packaging your promotions and tactics in an innovative way with a quality message that suits your target audience. While Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, recommends working with your users as much as possible.

5. Don’t Stay in Startup Stealth Mode Too Long

Amanda MacNaughton says that waiting too long to market your product hurts more than it helps. Because building an active customer base takes time, you should get started on the marketing sooner rather than later.

6. Listen, Create Experiences & Content Marketing

Brian Clarke recommends making your marketing stragey all about the customer and their needs and experiences. Show your audience how much you are listening to them through content marketing. This creates a working relationship where they learn from you and vice versa.

7.   Marketing First; Product Second

Rand Fishkin says that marketing after creating your product wastes energy, time, and money. Marketing first ensures a loyal and active audience so that when you do debut your product you will be able to get feedback right away.

8. The Customer is Number 1

Joel Spolsky says that when it comes to marketing your business there is no one-size-fits all marketing strategy. But the one steadfast rule is making the customer your focal point. This will prevent you from being one of those entrepreneurs that spams people for Facebook “likes” and Twitter follows.

9. Develop an Editorial Voice

When it comes to branding, Shane Snow advocates developing a strong editorial voice. You should hone your editorial voice to the point that consumers can identify your business even when you strip away all the branding.

10. Test Your Marketing Ideas in Small Batches

Ross Kimbarovsky advises running two-week experiments with online marketing as opposed to six month marketing campaigns. By diligently measuring the successes and failures of these two-week experiments you will have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.

11. Don’t Make Generating Sales Your Main Focus

Martin Zwilling says that entrepreneurs need to be more concerned with who they are marketing to and why. When you figure that out, then you will know how to get your audience to buy from you.

12.Get Customer Input

Mark Suster suggests the interview process to get feedback before you even build your product. In the interviews customers will articulate their problems and then you can present them with numerous solutions and see which ones they gravitate toward. And that’s when you ask them which solution they would pay for.

13. Listen to the Customer

Anupy Singla urges fellow entrepreneurs to keep an ear to the customer’s needs.She bought certain spices and sold them when her Facebook followers made a fuss about how hard it was to find those spices. Singla has used this strategy often, each time giving her another revenue source.

14.  Give Out Freebies

Jo Fairley has a simple motto–- “When you have a great-tasting product, get it into people’s mouths”. Using this motto to drive their marketing strategy helped especially when they didn’t have the brand recognition to use a more traditional marketing strategy.

15.  Aim for Repeat Business

Michelle McCullough suggests using peak seasons (like the holidays) to focus on getting repeat business and fostering customer loyalty. Going the extra mile with your customers during this time will reap benefits during your off-months.

16.  Approach Your Customers from Four Angles

According to Neil Patel the marketing basics are knowing who your customers are, where they hang out, how to engage with them, and how to convert them into leads.

17. Focus on Existing Customers

When he first started his company Tony Hsieh realized that the more he and his team focused on the customer experience and service, the deeper their loyalty. This allowed his company to grow through word of mouth.

18. Market for the Right Reasons

Lindsay Durfee discourages marketing for the sake of marketing. Instead, define your business goals and then connect them with your marketing goals.

19.  Create Exceptional Content

Daniel Abrahams says that a marriage between superb content and inbound marketing is a great way to increase your traffic and build clout.

20.  Now is the time for PR

Albe Zakes says that using PR early can help you save money. Using PR will help establish your brand. Then, when you secure more funding and/or are generating more revenue, you can use traditional marketing.

21. Turn Disaster Into Opportunity

Back in 2006 Will King’s company sponsored a powerboat for a race during the British Grand Prix. The boat overturned in the water (no one was hurt) and the whole event was caught on video. Immediately after he produced a quirky response video which soon became viral. He attributes this marketing win to his team’s ability to move quickly. This way they were able to change the narrative on an unfortunate situation.

22.  Stay Current on Startup Marketing Trends

Andrea Bailiff-Gush recommends keeping an eye on other startups so that you can learn from their marketing mistakes. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

23.  Establish a Content Funnel

Ref Ciotti says that having a content funnel that supplies visitors without the use of advertising is important. He uses the startup buffer as a startup that has succeed by using free content that brings in sales.

24. Really Talk to Your Customers

Laura Tenison advocates a more hands-on approach to marketing. Before she opens a new store, she takes on the role of a shopper by visiting to the store’s location from parking lots or through public transport. Then she stops her store’s customers on the street and ask them their view on the brand, store, and location. Tenison says that this approach helps her customers feel empowered, like they have a substantial voice in the company’s doings.

25. Build a Product According to What People Want

Bob Walsh suggests finding people who are willing to beg for your product and then building the product around what that particular group of people wants.

26. Market to Your Target Audience

Mark Suster says being clear on who your target market is will save you a lot of time. When you are clear on your target market, your marketing strategy will be more focused and efficient.

27.  Develop a Sounding Board of Users

Konstantin Guericke suggests curating your own intimate sounding board. Guericke would use lunch to get to know these people and gain their feedback for the first two to three years of his company. These people don’t exist to give you the answers. They are there to help you comprehend the problem so you can figure out the answers.

Do you have a great marketing tip to share? Let us know below or tweet at us @Onboardly!

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What do you think?


Those tips really gave a good sound to what every marketing strategists should do. Those given ideas are like road maps that could really lead your business to soar in heights.
I may not be as expert as these people, But I do follow to core principles when it comes to marketing business online. These are:
1. It really pays to build and establish friendship rather than business. Even people may forget the brand, but they will never forget the person who is always working behind it.
2. Business are done first by building the right audience. Having the right people could mean giving them the power to let your business grow.

Very interesting tips that resonates for the customer. Looking at the background of most of these experts, I see that they have TRULY conquered the Internet in their various fields. Who best can offer valuable advice for start-ups than those who have seen it all?

My best takeaway advice, if you ask me, is from Lindsay Durfee where the title “market for the right reasons” was discussed.

In kingged.com – the social bookmarking and content aggregation website for Internet marketers, this post was shared and I have also left the above comment.

Sunday – kingged.com contributor


I totally agree with ” Don’t Make Generating Sales Your Main Focus”. Also about PR in point no. 20 there are a lot of free PR sites where we can post our links. Not sure how much of it works but will try on some.