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8 startup marketing ideas for your tech or science brand

19.06.2024

Startup marketing is fundamental to creating an engaged audience, attracting investment, and generally stirring up awareness of your new brand. It’s a foundation for growth. 

Starting up (or spinning out) your business is a long process, but marketing can help make this journey a little faster and smoother. Whether it’s growing your social media followers or defining language that resonates with consumers, the effects of marketing will help you to achieve your commercial goals.  

However, most startups and spinouts don’t have a huge budget (or team) to dedicate to marketing. That’s why we’ve pulled these 8 tips together. 

In this blog you’ll find some accessible steps to help you create a startup marketing strategy – and kickstart your brand.  

8 steps to create your first startup marketing strategy 

1. Identify your audiences

Your solution is designed to meet your target audiences’ needs. Your marketing strategy should do the same. You need to identify the different audiences you want to talk to and then create your marketing strategy around them, using messaging and activity that addresses their concerns, questions, and desires.  

Here are the most common startup audiences and the questions you should ask to define them further: 

Investors: which investors work in your markets and what do their portfolios look like? 

Consumers: what are their industries, job roles, demographics, age and behaviours? 

Industry network: who are your potential partners, collaborators and communities? 

Talent: what people do you want to attract to work with you; what qualities should they possess? 

 

2. Research your market

If you’re pitching to investors, you’ve already researched your competitor matrix, industry projections, consumer behaviours and more. Now you need to look at these domains from a marketing perspective.  

Understand how competitors are marketing themselves and identify gaps that you could fill. Are there any industry conversations that you should position yourself around? Where can you add a unique insight? 

Next, delve into social listening research. You can use tools like Semrush or AnswerThePublic to monitor popular search terms and questions. This will give you insight into what your audience cares about and what their pain points are.  

If you have access to potential consumers, you can conduct interviews and focus groups to understand their needs and wants in more detail. This will help you create detailed buyer profiles which can inform the types of content you deliver and when. 

See how we helped startup EarSwitch gain investment and grow their network 

 

3. Define your value proposition

A proposition distils your competitive differentiation into a single message. It should clearly demonstrate what problem you’re solving, how and why. 

Start by defining your USPs, what you do, how it’s different, and how it helps your audiences’ lives. Try and avoid using jargonistic or overly tech-focused language here. A common mistake we see startups making is that they focus on the innovation process; the technical elements that excite them about their solution. But this isn’t necessarily what your audience cares about.  

Instead, tap into the emotional and practical value you’re providing to others. 

This should lead you to a proposition that epitomises your brand value. 

Once you’ve established this core message, break it down into versions that work for each of your different target audiences. They will each have different motivations, so it’s important to identify which selling points will resonate best with each audience. 

Here are 6 tips to help you turn scientific content into consumer-friendly messaging 

 

4. Create a brand

A brand is more than a logo 

Many startups can whip up an acceptable logo, but don’t know how to turn this into a fully fleshed brand. A great brand will be consistent, distinctive and representative of who you are.  

Here are the best ways to go about doing this: 

  • Define your brand personality – who are you? What are your values? 
  • Create a voice – how do you speak? What kind of words do you use? 
  • Choose an emotion – how do you want people to feel when they see your brand? 
  • Define visual elements – choose a colour palette, imagery style and typography. 

The most important part is to be consistent, then evolve. Consistency will ensure that no matter what marketing activity people see, where or when, they will instantly know it’s your brand. Then, continuously refine and improve your image alongside your business strategy. 

Learn more about creating a brand that scales here

 

5. Build a website

A website will add credibility to your business and build awareness with your audiences. 

It’s somewhere for interested people to visit to learn more about your brand. It’s also somewhere to host opportunities for people to enter their details – for example, newsletter sign-up forms or contact forms. 

To get started, a simple homepage and contact us page is enough. It’s better to dedicate the budget and time you have to making fewer pages great, than to making lots of poor-quality pages. It also forces you to keep your message clear. Here are things you should include on a starter website: 

  • Value proposition  
  • Company mission and vision 
  • Benefits for the audience 
  • Solution USPs 
  • How your product or service works 
  • Industries you work with 
  • Customer testimonials or logos 
  • Contact details  
  • A call-to-action  

You can plan the creation of other pages, such as an ‘about us’ or a dedicated ‘solutions’ page later in your marketing strategy.  

 

6. Find the right channels

Beyond your website, what other digital platforms should you use? 

Social media is an accessible and affordable way to get started with marketing. Nevertheless, it does take a lot of time commitment to see results. Figure out which platform is best for your market and focus on that. Are your audiences likely to be on LinkedIn or Instagram? X or Reddit? 

Use the platform of your choice to start engaging with your potential audiences and building a community. Here are some easy ways to get started: 

  • Share company updates 
  • Provide commentary on industry news 
  • Post your expert insights  
  • Promote your product 
  • Invite people to visit your website 
  • Participate in community groups 
  • Share blogs (see point 8) 

Get the guide to successful LinkedIn marketing 

 

7. Prioritise activity and manage your expectations

Before you create your plan, figure out your budget. How much time and money per month do you have to spend? Once you’ve done this you can divvy out resources to different types of marketing. If you have limited budget, you might want to focus on one audience first. For example, targeting investors on LinkedIn, or using thought leadership blogs to educate potential consumers. 

But there’s also a ‘proper’ order to building your marketing funnel. Most people want to start generating leads right away, but this won’t be effective if you haven’t done the groundwork first.  

Lead generation relies on people finding value in what you’re offering. For people to want to give up their details, you first need to build trust. You’re much more likely to get sign-ups if people recognise your brand and know what you do (it also makes it more likely that these sign-ups will be from a relevant audience).  

Lead generation can also be expensive. For startups on a smaller budget, you’ll want to optimise the results of any investment you’re making. This means starting with brand building activity that establishes an engaged, trusting and relevant audience.  

Then you can start asking them to take action. 

To get marketing tips to help you as you grow, read our blog discussing the stages of scale-up marketing. 

 

8. Tell your story (and measure the results)

The last step is to start putting your marketing out into the world. Releasing blogs and social media posts, or engaging with your industry through awards and events, will start building brand awareness. 

Startups should use these activities to show people who the brand is, why it exists, and what it’s trying to achieve. In early stages, it’s best to be emotive – tell a story. A narrative that paints the picture of the problems you’re solving, and how, will be more memorable than straightforward product information.  

Over time, you will build a community who follows and supports you. And then many more people will recognise your brand and what you do. This is what filling the marketing funnel looks like. 

Throughout this process you should be measuring your results. Make sure you’ve set goals, are tracking the relevant KPIs, and are adapting activity accordingly. Startup marketing is all about building audiences, so you should track: 

  • Follower growth 
  • Social post engagement  
  • Website visits (versus number of users) 
  • New versus returning visits  
  • Website bounce rates  
  • Leads generated 

Startup marketing can feel like an uphill battle, especially when you have a smaller budget. That’s why we created our Startup Marketing Package, to help early-stage businesses enter the market with the impact they deserve.  

Discover more about what’s included and how it helps you here.