8 Growth Marketing Options for Startups

Post by
Brian BloomKing
8 Growth Marketing Options for Startups

9 Growth Marketing Options for Startups

If you're a startup, you know that mastering growth marketing is essential for success. But how do you go about it? You probably have some ideas, but it's good to take a step back and review all your digital marketing options (and one non-digital, traditional marketing option) to ensure you're not missing any opportunities. 

There are many options for a growth marketing manager, and deciding which ones are the best for your company can be challenging. This post will discuss seven popular growth marketing strategies to help you become a more successful growth marketer.

1. Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one growth marketing strategy that can be particularly effective for startups. PPC allows startups to reach a large audience quickly and efficiently and can be customized to target specific audiences when they are researching a purchase.

PPC is a relatively low-risk investment (it can be turned on and off quickly), making it an ideal option for cash-strapped startups. By carefully crafting their PPC campaigns, startups can use this powerful growth marketing tool to increase website visitors, drive sales pipeline growth and increase revenue.

The most effective platforms are Google Ads and LinkedIn Matched Audiences. For LinkedIn, if you have a fixed list of companies you are targeting, you can upload them to your LinkedIn Ad Manager account. Then, LinkedIn will only show your ads to targeted roles within those companies.  

Here you see how you can upload a list of companies:

2. Content Marketing & Organic (Search Engine Optimization)

This usually goes along with PPC. While waiting for your organic content to rank, if you have budget, you should put your content offers in PPC.  Organic is a highly effective growth marketing tactic to generate attention and traffic. With Google's latest major algorithm update, ‘Helpful Content’, educational, and informative content will get ranked above spammy or unoriginal content.  This means you have a new opportunity to offer fresh takes on industry issues and have a better chance to get ranked than ever before.

Once prospects have been drawn in by the content, the goal is to convert them into leads. For example, embed offers into the content (aka a lead magnet) or call to action that will incent someone to offer contact information like an email address for a top of the funnel lead.

Additionally, working with influencers can help to amplify the company's content offers to a broader audience. Partner with influencers to co-produce content. This is especially effective for producing webinars and podcasts. Often times you can get access to opt-in email lists at top industry publications to boost B2B content syndicaton. Placing content offers in paid email is the fastest way to generate leads.

3. Social Media

One of the most powerful growth marketing tools available today is social media. When used correctly, social media can be an extremely effective way to generate traffic and leads for your business.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of social media for B2B lead generation:

Use targeted content

When creating growth marketing content for social media, make sure you know your target audience and that you are adding value to the current discussions. Don't just repeat what you read. Instead, analyze it and add something new. That means creating content that resonates with your target market and addresses their specific needs and pain points.

Be active and engaged

Don't just post and forget about it - make sure you're actively engaging with your audience on social media. Answer comments and questions, start conversations on your platforms, and build relationships.

Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags are the search engine for social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. This is a great way to reach new people who might be interested in your product or service. But don't just use any old hashtag - make sure it's relevant to your business and audience. 

SparkToro is a great growth hacking tool to see what popular hashtags are in use and who the influencers are in your industry. There is a monthly subscription, but it's worth it.

Sparktoro showing hashtags and influencers for the keyword 'Growth Marketing':

Promote your content

Just because you've created great content doesn't mean people will see it organically. So you need to promote your content on social media - share it regularly, and boost key posts to reach a wider audience.

4. Email Marketing

Email is an efficient growth marketing strategy for B2B companies. It allows you to reach a large audience with a personal message at a relatively low cost. Moreover, email is an intimate medium for your growth marketing efforts, allowing you to build relationships with your customers and prospects. When used effectively, email can be a potent tool for generating leads and driving sales. 

Here are some tips for using email for growth marketing: 

Build a quality email list 

Do this through website signups, lead magnets, newsletters, or contact forms. Suppose you have a narrower target set of companies. In that case, you can also include some email addresses you acquire that you send as 'cold' emails. But keep the list to a small number (under 1,000) and ensure you are sending emails that add value and not just spamming them for a meeting.

Segment your list so that you can send targeted messages to different groups of people. For example, you can segment by industry, job role, geo-location, company size, business problem, etc.

Write engaging and informative subject lines 

The subject line is the most important aspect. A/B test subject lines frequently and read up on best practices and examples for subject lines.

Calls to Action - Today, it's 'reply'

Because of security concerns, it's harder these days to get people to click on links from all but the most trusted sources (and even then, it might be a phishing scam). So consider your call to action to be a reply simply. However, you still need compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage people to reply.


Open rates are not a reliable indicator of success for email marketing campaigns. This is because many email readers like Apple and corporate email security appliances automatically open emails to scan for malicious code before delivering it to your inbox. And since it's difficult to get people to click on unfamiliar links, the only reliable indicator of success these days is the reply rate.

Manage the success of your email campaigns to the reply rate.

5. Offline Marketing

In today's digital world, it can be easy to forget the power of direct mail marketing. However, regarding B2B lead generation, direct mail can be an incredibly effective tool. Here are a few tips for making the most of direct mail marketing.

1) Keep it targeted: Use Account-Based Marketing (ABM) techniques for direct mail. That means creating a list of companies that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP) and are more likely to do business with you. The most successful direct mail campaigns target a specific audience with laser precision. So before you even start designing your campaign, take the time to segment your list and identify your ideal target market. 

2) Make it personal: One of the best things about direct mail is that it allows you to get personal with your audience in a way that other channels (like email) cannot. Take advantage of this by including personalized messages and/or gifts in your mailers. You can even include a handwritten note for each one or have a service that can produce hand-written-looking notes.

3) Get creative: With direct mail, you have the opportunity to really stand out from the crowd and grab attention. So get creative with your designs, and don't be afraid to think outside the box (literally!). 

Example of an Intercom direct mail piece with a handwritten note and branded cup holders:

6. Event Marketing

When done correctly, in-person event marketing can be a potent tool for driving growth.  The ideal way to promote any offering is face-to-face.

1. Set clear goals: What do you hope to achieve with your event? For example, do you want to generate new leads, build brand awareness, build community, or drive sales? Make sure you know what you want to accomplish before planning your event.

2. Choose the proper format: You can host many different types of events, from tradeshow booths or speaking at conferences to meetups and workshops. Pick the format that makes the most sense for your business and your goals.

3. Promote, promote, promote: Once you've chosen your event's format and set clear goals, it's time to start promoting your event using all the techniques in this post. Use PPC, email, social media, direct mail, and other marketing channels to reach as many people as possible.

You can also consider using a virtual option when you're promoting for those who can't attend in person.

7. Product-led/user experience

Product-led growth is a startup strategy in which product development and product adoption are the primary drivers of business growth. The product-led growth strategy is built on the premise that if you build a great product and create an excellent customer experience, new users will come and then tell other prospects about their experience.

This approach contrasts with traditional top-down marketing and sales strategies, which focus on acquiring customers and selling them a product. 

While product-led growth can be successful for startups, it requires different skills and priorities than traditional business models.

Startups that are successful with product-led growth usually have a team of experienced product managers constantly analyzing and iterating on the product to ensure that it meets customers' needs. 

It helps to have product-market fit and identify the key features driving adoption. Start by identifying your target market and understanding their needs.

  1. Use a data-driven approach. Deploy software or detailed data analysis to understand the features driving adoption and the ones driving churn.
  2. Come up with a plan emphasizing the features driving adoption and retention with 'free tier', or trial periods.
  3. Promote rewards for referrals in the form of additional product usage or straight-up money (see web3 below for alternate reward systems).
  4. Make it easy for users to sign up for and use your product.
  5. Constantly iterate on your product based on feedback from users.
  6. Use a data-driven marketing approach to measure customer engagement and conversion metrics carefully to track progress. 

This tactic is tricky. Suppose you're thinking about pursuing a product-led growth strategy for your startup. In that case, ensuring you have the right team and analysis tools to make it happen is critical.

8. Web 3

Startups have long used rewards and incentives to encourage growth. With the rise of web 3.0 technologies, growth marketing teams can reward their brand community with digital tokens.

Utility tokens, which can be held or exchanged for fiat (dollars), are particularly well-suited for this purpose. By offering utility tokens to their most active and engaged users, startups can use token incentives to engineer positive growth behaviors such as product usage, community participation, and new customer referrals. 

Taking it up a notch, utility tokens can also be used to power decentralized applications (dApps), giving engaged customers a direct stake in the startup's success. While there are various ways to reward brand communities, utility tokens offer a unique blend of flexibility and functionality, making them an ideal tool for startups seeking to incentivize growth.

Building a token community takes some engineering and promotion but is not overly complicated. It's best to outsource the development and promotion of a token community to agency experts who can do everything for you.

Conclusion For Growth Marketers

There are many tactics successful growth marketers can use. This list is certainly not all-inclusive. The key is to choose more than one and iterate and experiment. Just like products, work to find the minimally viable set of marketing programs that you can use to power growth and scale those up. In particular, start paying more attention to web 3.0 technologies. There is much less competition today for marketing programs that reward the brand community with tokens that can convert to cash.