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3 Fail-Proof Tips for Successful Startup Marketing

90 percent of startups fail. Use these 3 tips to be in the 10 percent that don’t.

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BY Melissa Thompson - 09 Aug 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 50 percent of small businesses shut down in the first four years. While these are scary stats, the startup failure rate is even worse. Over 90 percent of startups fail due to their team's inability to follow through to reach the final goal and support growth. Failure to serve the needs of the market, lack of funding and poor allocation of resources are just some of the reasons for failure. Very often, startups and small businesses close down because digital marketing remains a mystery to them.

Sergey Grybniak is a serial entrepreneur and founder of, a service-focused marketplace that offers a platform for efficient B2B and B2C communication. As an expert marketer and CEO of digital marketing agency Clever Solution Inc., I asked Sergey to share his experience of marketing startups in the digital space. Here is what he had to say:

1. Expose your brand correctly

A successful startup is essentially a scalable business that has managed to attract early adopters and gain traction with customers. Many startup owners make the huge mistake of not investing in PR and media outreach campaigns until their startups start to drive profit.

Getting a couple of articles published in respected publications will not only expose your startup to targeted audiences--all of those potential adopters and loyal customers--but also drive leads, shorten your sales cycle, and build authority and trust.

Participating in multiple conferences and events is also a viable way to trigger word-of-mouth marketing, which is a catalyst to getting your business noticed by prospects and influencers who can potentially vouch for your product.

2. Register with directories, listings and lead generating platforms.

As founder or CEO you should make sure your marketing team registers with directories, listings and lead generating platforms like BuyerZone, Thumbtack, Kinnek, etc. In doing so, you create additional sales channels for your startup and build a solid stream of valuable backlinks to your site, which is never a bad thing. There are a number of lead gen platforms in specific industries as well (like in automotive or in travel).

Be careful about using lead gen companies who don't have a specialty. A one-size-fits-all approach to lead gen isn't a viable option today because of all the nuances in demographics, marketing methods, and consumer's online behavior. For example, a direct mail piece to veterans for a low cost VA mortgage refinance may still work well. But you couldn't say the same thing about using direct mail to target Millennials looking for their first home.

3. Use new technologies

Though startups are, by definition, at the pinnacle of innovation, many founders forget that opportunities lie where innovations exist. You should research new technologies and ways to apply them to your business and marketing. Let's take cryptocurrencies, for example.

Cryptocurrencies are in high demand right now. Nearly every technology-focused website features an article or two about cryptocurrencies. It is an amazing opportunity to contribute content (if you have anything useful to share, of course).

Cryptocurrencies are backed up by a powerful community. If you truly do some amazing cryptocurrency stuff, not only will the community support you, but it will also do a substantial amount of word-of-mouth marketing for you.

No matter which business you are in, you most likely provide a service that a cryptocurrency community needs. For instance, if you somehow manage to implant cryptocurrencies in your car leasing business and then let the community know about it, chances are they will lease cars at your site -- just because you enable users to pay using cryptocurrencies.

Similar things could be said about other new technologies like artificial intelligence, chatbots, virtual reality, augmented reality and so on. You just need to take your chances, and take advantage of the opportunities.

Startups do not bring overnight success and riches. You will have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Aside from ideation, market research, design, development, launch, etc., you have to make sure that your marketing game is exceptional. Marketing goes beyond just striking the right balance between SEO, PPC and SMM. You must position your startup to outshine the competition, learning what to say, when to say it, and to whom. The build-it-and-they-will-come approach does not and will not work. If you fail to generate enough media attention and customer awareness through content, additional sales channels and hype technologies, they will never come, and they will never convert. Period.

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