Little Known (Free) Marketing Strategies for Startups

When a product is nearing its completion, start-ups begin to map out their next moves. One of which is promoting the business.

While bigger corporations tend to outsource marketing to specialized companies, most start-ups don’t have the finances to do the same.

Thankfully, in today’s highly digital era, there are a lot of marketing strategies for startups you can do for free. You only need to manage the resources you have to effectively promote your products and services.

Here are some of them.

5 marketing strategies for startups

Email marketing

Email marketing has been around for a long time, and with good reason: it’s an effective way to promote without shelling out the big bucks. Customers often check their emails during their downtimes, so it’s likely that they have time to read the sales pitch. 

Hence, the first of the five marketing strategies for startups is sending them an email that promotes who you are, what you can do, and what they can benefit from you. Make sure you focus on the benefits more than the features. 

Apple Inc. is one of the most brilliant companies that do just that. Here’s a screenshot of their promotion of the iPod:

Image from

What does this tell us?

Instead of saying “It has a storage capacity of 16GB,” Steve Jobs said, “1000 songs in your pocket.” It focused on the benefit, something that people can understand and will be very interested in.


Make sure that the email is engaging and straightforward while maintaining a professional look. Highlight the best aspects of the service and include relevant links to the product.

There are various free email marketing services such as MailChimp and Active Trail which offer a wide range of customization tools along with subscriber list management.

Consider sending newsletters that feature not only the company products but also relevant information within the industry. This will help keep the branding of the company in the minds of the customers. Allow an unsubscribe option in these newsletters to avoid disgruntled subscribers.

Build a Social Media Following

There are various ways to reach a large group in the online community. For Facebook, it’s easy to create a page for your product, fill it up with the necessary information, and post away.

Publicity material with photos catches the most attention from users. To promote the page, find a group related to the product’s nature and advertise – be careful not to spam the group, though!

Twitter accounts are best for quick updates, easily shared by readers and followers. There’s a character limit to tweets, so it’s best to keep the call to action short and simple, then just include a link.

For a more creative twist, create viral-worthy videos then post them on a YouTube channel. Feel free to share these videos – usually around a minute or two – on other social media platforms to publicize even more.

But remember:

Social media as marketing strategies for startups are not to be taken lightly. You have to audit your social media accounts regularly. Check the analytics section for the most engaging post, the time it was posted, and so on. 

Our Facebook page, for example, has the following data:

This chart tells us that infographics get the highest engagement; hence, we may consider creating more of this type of post.

Join Conferences and Seminars

If there’s an occasion that’s relevant to the product or service, volunteer to do a short speech or demonstration.

This is how to promote your small/startup business for free – be a speaker at any local conference, professional meetups, or group talks. Events like this open the door for more contacts, recognition, and publicity for the company and the product.

Keep track of upcoming happenings with these apps for conferences and corporate events. The more visible the company is, the higher the confidence rate of customers will be. Meeting people constantly also fosters friendship and familiarity, which will be valuable later on.

What if there are no events in your area?

Should there be no events related to the product’s industry, why not start one? Simply gather a group of interested people and chat over coffee or snacks once a month. It doesn’t have to be a formal gathering; the key is to know the primary players within the field.

Don’t know where to start?

Facebook is your friend!

Facebook’s event creator is easy to use and will reach your desired audience in no time. Just follow the instructions you see on screen, and you’re good to go.

Share the Product

As a general rule, consumers are attracted to free things, so one quick way to gain attention is by giving out freebies. Hold a contest locally or over social media that would spread awareness of the product.

Use catchy hashtags and the tagging system to branch out exponentially. Offer the product’s services, membership, or discounts as a prize to attract more customers.

If you’re offering services, a free trial is your best friend.

Free trials are also important in establishing a solid consumer base; however, it is recommended that the free trial period should be as short as two weeks.

Unless the product is one of those services that become more essential the more it is used, 7 to 14 days is enough for a user to evaluate whether or not to become a paying customer. It is good to have a small, crucial group of customers that fully support the product.

Another option is for you to offer free advice. Facebook groups, Quora, and LinkedIn are three popular sites where free tips and tricks are always welcome.

Maintain Vendor Relationships

The last on this list of marketing strategies for startups is maintaining vendor relationships.

Most startups will be interfacing with various vendors throughout their first few years. Always get to know the point person assigned to liaise with the team.

Give out business cards whenever necessary, and ask them to recommend the product should anyone need it. Offer a brochure or two to be left in their office lobby as well.

David Finkel shares ways in which vendors can help businesses grow, and getting the most out of the relationship. Remind the team that vendors are partners: more business for the team translates to more business for the partners.

The vendors likely know this as well, so they would be open to collaboration with the team.

Now that we’ve shared how to promote your small/startup business for free, the marketing can begin! Make sure to double-check the resources that the company has allocated for promotions, and try to maximize the vast amount of free tools on hand.

Advertising products and services can be challenging for smaller businesses, but with the right mindset and strategy, customers will be arriving in no time.

If you’re an accountant offering accounting and bookkeeping services, check out our list of where you can promote to and get clients.

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