While startups with mega-valuations and millions of dollars in venture capital may get all the attention, most startups are on much leaner budgets. In 2014, for example, 82 percent of U.S. startups were self-funded.
For the majority of these startups, then, drawing up an efficient, cost-effective budget is necessary for the company’s survival. Below are 10 digital marketing strategies ideal for new companies that need to get in the red for the lowest cost possible.
1. Facebook flex targeting
Flex targeting on Facebook -- which lets you target profiles on the social network that match two or more characteristics -- is one of the most effective ways to significantly scale up your social media campaign without significantly scaling up your budget. Through this feature, you can target users who both frequently buy online and have a pet, or users with small children and have also purchased a minivan.
2. Cross-channel remarketing
Typical remarketing involves simply replaying ads on the same platforms consumers already saw them on. So if a potential customer clicked on your Google AdWords ad but didn’t convert, you would continue to serve them Google AdWords on the same platform (ideally, with a different ad each time).
Cross-channel remarketing adds a layer of sophistication by showing ads to users on additional platforms from the one they originally viewed them on. So if a potential customer clicks on your AdWords ad and doesn’t convert, you can show ads to that same person on Facebook. The biggest advantage of this tactic is it allows you to combine the power of demand-driven platforms such as Google and Bing with the power of behavior-based platforms such as Facebook. It also makes your brand appear influential.
3. Instagram ads
You no longer need an Instagram profile or account to run ads on Instagram, which are managed via Facebook. What’s more, clicks on Instagram ads can lead directly to landing pages or website URLs without filtering through an Instagram profile. And because facebook has over 600 targeting options -- and, again, since Instagram ads run via Facebook -- you can target specific groups that perfectly fit your company’s profile.
4. Mobile focus
Mobile ads cost less than desktop or tablet ads so to get more bang for your buck, consider focusing primarily on mobile campaigns. Particularly on Google and Facebook, it’s possible to considerably stretch your budget by setting up mobile campaigns and allocating the majority of your marketing funds to ads that run on smartphones with full browsers.
5. Facebook lead ads
Facebook lead ads allow you to provide users with more information about your service without them having to leave the social network. If you are selling a product, you can also use lead ads to host newsletter sign-ups, create a VIP mailing lists or offer discounts and deals.
6. Google analytics smart goals
Too many startups don’t track conversions, which makes it extremely difficult to scale up results. Without knowing what works, deciding where to allocate your budget is a guessing game. One solution? Google Analytics’ Smart Goals solve that problem by automatically creating buying personas from anonymously collected data. Google then decides how much of your traffic was high quality traffic, i.e. traffic that consists of people who are likely to purchase your product or service. You can import your smart goals into Google Adwords. The trick is to use this data for CPA (cost per acquisition) bidding. That way, Google automatically shows your ads to people who are more likely to buy without exceeding the maximum you are willing to pay.
7. Video remarketing
Most advertisers create remarketing their lists in Google AdWords, but that may be the wrong approach. For more precise results, consider creating your remarketing lists in Google Analytics and then importing them into AdWords. Another tip: If you install the Facebook pixel, you can create custom audiences on Facebook and then retarget this audience with video ads.
8. Google adWords manual placements
Google AdWords display network campaigns are not the most popular choice for many startups -- but they should be. The trick is to only show ads on specific websites, also known as placements, that have been selected with a particular customer profile in mind. AdWords allows for the manual selection of placements, which turns display campaigns into laser-targeted ads.
9. Google adWords bid modifiers
Bids are one of the biggest factors that influence how high the cost per click rate is on Google AdWords. Instead of merely setting up default bids or letting Google choose the bids for you, make your campaign more competitive by using bid modifiers.
Bid modifiers are percentages that advertisers can set up to increase or decrease their bid depending on metrics such location, what device the ad will play on etc. For instance, you can increase bids for ads served in New York City and San Francisco, and decrease bids for ads watched on mobile devices.
10. Bing search network campaigns
As Yahoo’s reputation continues to slide, Bing search campaigns are not a popular choice for startups. That’s a mistake. First of all, if you aren’t advertising on Bing, you are missing out on 30 percent of US searchers. Bing powers web search on Apple’s Siri, Kindle Fire, Amazon Fire Phone, Xbox and Twitter, among other platforms. Additionally, the cost per click is typically lower on Bing vs. Google AdWords.