Day in and day out, we’re inundated by companies trying to get our attention. Is it even possible to make your startup stand out from the crowd? Startup marketing in today’s competitive economy is undoubtedly tricky, but there are tips for startup marketing to make sure your business gets a fighting chance at success:

1. Leverage Social Media

One of the obvious tips for startup marketing is to use social media to your advantage. However, there are right and wrong ways to do this. You want to make sure that you’re engaging with your customers and that you’re posting consistently. You don’t want your Facebook and Twitter platforms to just spout off random promotional information about your brand. Instead, focus on posting shareable, interesting information. You want the content you offer to have value to your reader, which is why it’s so crucial to know your audience.

Also, keep in mind that you should consider which platforms make the most sense for your company. If you offer a service that’s best expressed by sharing information, develop a strong presence on Facebook or Twitter. If you can best market your product visually, Pinterest or Instagram may be your best options. Make sure you take the time to thank anyone who mentions your business, and even engage your competition from time to time to bolster relationships with people in your industry and put your brand on the map.

2. Focus on Your Target Customer

When you’re first setting out to market your business, it’s incredibly easy to want to reach out to everyone at the same time. However, it’s important to stay focused on reaching your target customers first since these are the people who’re most likely to help you establish your business and grow in the coming months and years.

Instead of attempting to attract any possible customer, focus on a target segment that will allow your company to reach its short-term goals. Maybe this target audience is one you know how to reach, or maybe it’s made up of early adopters who you think will buy your product fast. Whatever the case, staying focused will help you to reach this audience more efficiently, and it’s a better use of your probably limited resources.

tips for startup marketing

3. Develop Branded Content

This is one of the most effective tips for startup marketing that you can take. While it’s more of a long-term strategy, branded content is an excellent way to align your company with themes that are imperative in your industry. Even better? If you have something intelligent to add, you immediately establish yourself as an authority on the subject.

However, it’s important to understand that branded content should not be promotional; don’t force your business offerings or services. Instead, publish an article every few minutes that reflects on issues hot in your industry and include some thoughtful analysis and commentary. Another option is to conduct surveys within your industry and publish relevant findings – the more unique the information is that you find, the more likely that it, and you, will earn attention.

4. Build Partnerships

Yet another one of the most popular tips for startup marketing is to align yourself with an established brand to give yourself credibility. Since there are so many companies out there, choose one that you’re enthusiastic about – ideally one that has similar services so that you can refer business back and forth to each other. Implementing a referral fee is also an option, so that there is a monetary incentive to help each other on top of the new partnerships that each of you will develop.

tips for startup marketing

5. Apply for Business Awards

Whether you’re touting a product unlike anything else on the market or you’ve developed a new service to ease the lives of your customers, getting the recognition from a local business award is sure to increase your brand awareness. No award is too small, because it only means press for your company as well as legitimacy for your target customers.

6. Give Incentives for Sharing

If you want people to talk about your service or product, there’s nothing quite like giving incentives to do so. Offer an immediate discount for posting about your service or product on Facebook or tweeting about your company on Twitter. Or, in exchange for “liking” your page, maybe your customers could take advantage of an additional perk.

Another great way to incentivize your customers is to conduct a contest or giveaway. Use an online service such as Rafflecopter to embed the generated code anywhere, including your own site, and then pick a winner when the contest is over. The sky’s the limit, so get creative with how you draw in your customers, but make sure that there’s actual value in it for them, not just for you.

7. Engage in Community Outreach

tips for startup marketing

Last on the list of tips for startup marketing, try to get featured in your local news outlets to gain brand awareness. Reach out to your local radio or newspaper too tell them about your business venture, and convince them why your company is worth their energy and time. You could also sponsor local competitions or events, and if you’re still looking for investors, sponsoring a startup competition would bring in investor awareness as well as targeted publicity.

Another option is to reach out to bloggers to hook them up with the service you provide or send them a product to review. Provide them with a referral link for when they post their review so that you can track your ROI. Finally, you could offer to write a guest post for their blog, which would effectively establish you and your brand as thought leaders in your industry.