Getting a startup business off the ground can be a daunting task due to the limited amount of resources granted to you. Unlike Fortune 500 corporations, startups have to carefully manage their budget to ensure that their money is effectively being put to use. That especially applies to marketing and promotion. Most startups lack the huge marketing and advertising budgets of their more established competition. Fortunately, with the rise of digital marketing, startups are now provided with a cost-effective platform to promote their products and services using the internet.

Whether it’s utilizing SEO, PPC campaigns, social media, or simply creating a well-designed website, smaller businesses now have a fighting chance against companies that spend millions of dollars a year on advertising. But, what exactly does digital marketing do for startups and how does it allow them to compete with the big boys? Well, in today’s post, I’m going to take you through various digital marketing tactics and how they even the playing field for startup businesses.

A Little Thing Called SEO

If you’ve been doing your digital marketing research then you’ve probably heard of a little thing called SEO (or Search Engine Optimization). It’s one of the most effective digital marketing tactics but also the most difficult to grasp. With getting too technical, it enables users to increase their website’s ranking on search engines like Google by altering and enhancing various factors from within their web design.

A higher ranking on search engines means more exposure to those looking for businesses like yours. This means that with the right help, you can rank on Google right below or even higher than your larger competition. Another great aspect of SEO is that top search rankings can’t be bought, making it the perfect tactic for businesses with smaller budgets.

Social Media Connects us All

Social media is a platform that every business should be using, whether big or small. While established companies may see a larger number of followers based on the strength of their name alone, startups have to opportunity to build their audience from the ground up. That means that every friend, fan, and follower will have a personal connection with the brand, opening the door for more effective communication.

Unlike other digital marketing tactics, getting involved with social media is completely free and investing in paid advertising and promoted posts are relatively cheap. With most large businesses reaping the benefits of engaging their audience, there’s no reason your startup shouldn’t be doing the same.

Turn Google into your Personal Billboard with PPC

Google is truly a spectacular platform. Always developing, they have recently entered the realm of advertising with their AdWords platforms, which allows for PPC campaigns. PPC stands for pay-per-click and allows users to promote their business on Google’s search engine. Only having to pay when someone’s clicks on their ad enables users to create and manage budgets.

Also, thanks to the use of keywords, your ad will only be displayed on relevant search results pages, increasing the likelihood of someone finding your ad interesting. With its low cost, budget management system, and analytic tools that track performance, it almost feels as if PPC was developed with startup businesses in mind. Yes, large corporations can utilize PPC but their time and marketing efforts are often spent elsewhere. This gives you the opportunity to reach a more substantial audience with less opposition.

Link Building Turns “Their” Audience into “Your” Audience

There are fully established businesses that spend all day and night churning out interesting and relevant content for their audiences. If you’re just getting started, you’re probably thinking that there’s no way you can compete with them, right? Well, not necessarily. Link building follows the old methodology of “if you can’t beat them, join them”.

By creating content that interests more established businesses, you increase the chances of them linking to you. This, in turn, enhances your search ranking and exposes your content to a larger audience. Anything but an easy task, link building may also require some external networking as well as extraordinary content in order to persuade others to link to you. However, once you’ve got a sound link building strategy going on, you’ll begin to see the results in no time.

Email Marketing Defines “Old Dog, New Tricks”

For those that believe email marketing is an outdated tactic – take a second look. Email marketing is just as effective today as it was 10 years ago. With right message and strategy, an email marketing campaign can potentially reach tens of thousands of individuals. Its cost-effective nature has always made email marketing a favorite among startup businesses and that hasn’t changed.

There are countless user-friendly email marketing platforms that startups can utilize to get the ball rolling on their messaging strategy. If companies like Amazon and Apple are still sending weekly newsletters to their consumers then so can you.

Reputation Management Alters the Search Results in Your Favor

The internet can be a harmful place. Poor reviews on listing sites like Yelp and the Yellow Pages can plague your public image when visitors search for your business. With your smaller budget, chances are that you don’t have the time or money to hire a PR firm to fix what’s broken. That’s where reputation management comes in.

This digital marketing tactic involves creating and optimizing positive content that will outrank negative postings regarding your business. The goal is to eventually push your negative content so far down the results page that anyone looking into your business will no longer see it. Reputation management works wonders for startups that cannot afford damage control. Besides, no business should be tarnished by a few less than decent reviews.

Let’s Not Forget Web Design

Last but not least is web design. I purposely placed this last because it’s the one that everyone thinks of when they hear digital marketing. The most important thing to remember about designing a website is that it’s completely pointless without implementing everything listed above. Everything from SEO to social media to link building should be taken into consideration when designing your website’s layout.

Thousands of startups make the mistake of solely putting their efforts into crafting a beautiful website. That’s all good and dandy but what’s the point if no one visits it? By thinking of the various aspects of digital marketing when designing your website, you will see an increase in website traffic, as well as an enhanced search ranking and individuals that will want to link to your content.


Digital Marketing has presented startup businesses with the opportunity to go toe to toe with their larger and more established counterparts. With the right digital marketing team by your side, your startup can reach the great heights of the Fortune 500 companies that came before you. That being said, best of luck on all your digital marketing efforts.
Thanks for reading!

Author's Bio: 

Maqsood Rahman is the brain trust behind multiple SEO Agency startups, and has become a thought-leader in the entrepreneurial space by providing wisdom and advice based on his decade of startup success. The digital age has opened the opportunity to everyone, and Maqsood Rahman is passionate about providing an opportunity for anyone willing to work both hard and smart. He also writes about his personal experience on StartupNation.