How Start-ups Should Approach Digital Marketing to Survive This Cut-Throat Competition A common mistake that start-ups do is to wait for marketing until the product is completely ready

By Ankush Mahajan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Running a start-up isn't easy. First, there's the laborious task of market research to understand what people want.

Next, building a product from the scratch that also outshines competitors' solutions. And then, the arduous task of making your target audience aware of your cool, new product.

A common mistake that start-ups do to make things more difficult, and the process more tedious, is that they wait for marketing until the product is completely ready.

We're living in the digital age, and start-ups should take advantage of that. They should start marketing their products well before its launch.

To shed more light on the matter, here is a phase-wise breakdown of the digital marketing approach for start-up.

Phase I – Pre-marketing

As hinted in the introduction, gone are the times when you have to wait till your product or website is ready. Considering today's cut-throat competition, every second count. So, once you are serious about the idea of launching a start-up, start talking about it. Here's what to do during the pre-marketing phase:

  • Create business page on social platforms relevant to your industry to connect & interact with potential customers
  • Join groups, communities, spend time on discussion forums like Quora & Reddit to know what people want and to spread word about the solution you are building
  • Start a blog to share useful insights about the problem your product will solve, without disclosing its USP (to keep competitors taking advantage of that). Use social media & discussion forums to promote your blog.
  • Create a landing page for your business's website to get emails of interested customers

Pre-marketing also helps in gathering valuable consumer insights, through which you can make your product even better.

Phase II – Technical SEO during Website Development Phase

Once live, your website needs to work flawlessly; not only when users interact with it, but also when Google's search bots interact with it. For the latter, the technical SEO part must be taken care of within the development phase. Ensure following technical SEO instances during the website development.

  • Work on URL structure Optimization from SEO point of view
  • Implement breadcrumbs & micro structure to make your website easily navigable for search engine bots
  • Work on the landing page – key elements, information provided on it, layout etc.

Unfortunately, it has become a common practice to delay these technical SEO implementations until the website is live. But don't do that mistake, as afterward the process becomes quite complicated and takes more time & money. If you can't handle these technical SEO aspects on your own, have an experienced technical SEO team onboard to build a strong foundation for your digital marketing campaign.

Phase III – Make Your Website SEO-optimized

Technical SEO implementations during the development phase make your website SEO-friendly. But you need to work further on it to make it SEO-optimized. Once the development phase is over, act upon the following technical SEO & On-page SEO practices:

  • Research the right set of keywords relevant to your business (gather them from Google autosuggest, related keywords suggested at the bottom of search results, and keywords your competitors are ranking for)
  • Put unique content on each page of your website & make sure all important pages of your website are well-optimized with targeted keywords
  • Write meta title & description for every page with right set of relevant keywords for each page
  • Upload XML sitemap & robot.txt file for pages you don't want Google to index

Phase IV – Start Building Your Brand with Content Marketing

Once your website is live, you need to focus all your efforts to increase its reach through content marketing. Today, content marketing is the most effective subset of digital marketing. As the renowned author, Seth Godin said, "Content marketing is the only marketing left.' To ensure that you reap the maximum benefit from your content marketing endeavor, act upon following:

  • Create all type of content – text, image, & video – as video is the most engaging form of content, especially for B2C businesses
  • Increase the impact of your content marketing campaign through social media, discussion forums, and other popular online mediums
  • While creating content – don't just focus on ranking, also provide value through content – as in long term, offered value is what drives success for a business
  • Additionally, make sure that you have a strong, positive online presence in search results for your brand name as a search keyword

Phase V – Amplify Your Business Reach through Paid Channels

Paid media works great in increasing your brand's reach. But it is effective, only when you have everything ready on your website & every other online asset of yours. It shouldn't be like that a lead through a paid channel finds dummy content on your website, or contact information missing on your online listing, and so on. Not only would it send the lead away, but will also hurt the brand image.

Besides ensuring that your online presence is ready & sound before paid marketing, work on following paid marketing practices to reap maximum benefit:

  • Make use of all paid channels, not just paid search. Also invest in social media ads, discussion forums ads, and advertising on other platforms relevant to your business
  • Make use of Google AdWords keyword planner for your paid search (PPC) campaign
  • Hire expert PPC professionals for the best ROI on your paid search campaign


To stand out of competition, it is important that your start-up is impeccable in all its dealing – market research, product development, and most importantly, in its digital marketing endeavors. Paying heed to promotion before and during the product development phase is of utmost importance, as it is what eventually makes your start-up stand out from the crowd. And that' where this progressive guide on best digital marketing practices will come handy.

Wavy Line
Ankush Mahajan

Digital marketer & e-commerce consultant at FATbit Technologies

Ankush works as a senior digital marketer and e-commerce consultant at FATbit Technologies, one of India’s leading custom web design/development & start-up friendly e-commerce solutions company. His expertise lies in branding and formulating marketing strategies for business of a number of industries. He has been active in online marketing services for past 5 years.

Related Topics


Tim Cook's 4 Tips To Success

Tim Cook's career has provided aspiring leaders with a number of lessons on achieving and maintaining success. Here are four of his lessons that will help you be successful just like him.

Starting a Business

5 Tips For Launching a Business While Keeping Your Day Job

Launching a business while holding down a 9-to-5 is no small feat. It's a common path for aspiring entrepreneurs, but it's not without its challenges.


6 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Manage Their Time and Achieve a Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance as an entrepreneur is not a luxury; it's a necessity.

Starting a Business

5 Tips I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business

When I started my business six years ago, I didn't know where to start. Here's what I learned that can help other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Business Ideas

Your Time is Money, Start Saving It By Outsourcing

Efficiency is critical for business growth. In today's dynamic business environment, there are numerous reasons to outsource your business functions to an expert.

Starting a Business

How Dairy Farming Made Me a Better Tech Entrepreneur

Here's how working on a dairy farm contributed to my success as a technology entrepreneur.