nico rubino growth strategies

5 Effective Growth Marketing Strategies for Startups

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Are you a Co-Founder or a Growth Marketing Manager?

If so, this article may be of interest to you!

As you might know, running a startup is not an easy job. It requires a number of different skills and experience on the field. One of the keys to making your startup stand apart from the hundreds of other ventures out there is to show sustainable business growth. On this regard, the marketing team plays a key role helping the company to growth preventing your startup from failing or succeed.

We all know that marketing a product for a startup is much different than advertising any other businesses. To be successful, Growth Marketers (or Growth Hackers) need to be not just higly skilled and engaged. Actually, there is one more aspect to consider. Marketers aiming to fuel startups need to embrace a culture of experimentation accepting failure as a mean to develop the team and the startup itself.




What does mean in practice building a culture of experimentation? Let’s imagine if you as Marketer need to decide whether or not advertise the brand with a new channel. A good way is validating the assumption of profitability advertising the product step by step allocating the budget gruadually.

This framework finds its foundation to the Lean Startup Method stating that “the foundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere”.

Read more: HBR article.“Building a culture of experimentation”, How Booking, Expedia and Amazon runned successful experiments.

Okay! Now let’s dig into my favourite #5 growth strategies for startups:


1. Affiliate Marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing? Here a good definition:

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. The third-party publishers are affiliates, and the commission fee incentivizes them to find ways to promote the company. Source:

As you can learn in the definition above, companies reward affiliates only when transactions happen. This helps startups with limited budget but committed to growth in the long-term.

So, how to get started with Affiliate Marketing? Let’s analyse the following elements before starting with it:

  1. Channels: there are a lot of opportunies out there! From YouTube, Amazon, Blogs, Twitch. You should choose the channel according to your Niche Market. For instance a B2B SaaS Startup might find more profitable an Affiliate Network than others.
  2. Affiliate Marketing Network: before signing up to an Affiliate Network, my suggestion is validating your assumptions testing single channels. For example, a good idea might be reaching out indivual Youtubers or Bloggers testing the profitability of the channel vs. other affiliate ideas.
  3. Fees: according to the average affiliate commission rate is between 5% to 30%. Anyhow, it is a negotiation between affiliates and companies so get ready!


2. Social Media Marketing.

Making a virtue of necessity, Social Media remains a great place for startups to generate traffic and brand awareness. Sometimes a product or a niche is so special you just have to post content organically encouraging your community to engange publishing User-generated contents. For further info on best practices, click here. 


3. Referral Programs.

Most people knows already how Airbnb and Dropbox achieved growth with referral marketing. Referral programms indeed are an effective way to get new users with a low Cost-per-Aquisition.

Below you find successful referral programs you might consider. Remember to make your referral program shareable, easy to comprehend and valuable for users.

  1. Point-based referral program: encouraging repeat clients through a point- based referral program. Users get points based on successful referrals.
  2. Credits: rewarding both referring customer and referrer (eg. €10) in credits when the new customer makes a purchase using the referral link.
  3. Send Money: offering money to other clients for every referral made.
  4. Donation: whenever a client refers successfully a friend, the company donates to charity associations.


4. SEO.

Search Engine Optimisation is a critical component of each Growth Marketing Strategy. Plan your Keyword Funnel, be consistent when publishing new blog posts, optimise your contents with clear CTA to get new leads and users with high purchase intent. When your goal is to build awareness, it’s important that the topics you target have high volume. Some tools you can use to measue keywords volume are: Google Ads Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Keyword Surfer and Chrome plugins like Keywords Everywhere.  

If you are looking for some extra tips to otpmise your website for SEO, here you find 3 favorite ones:

  • Target one topic for blog post according to a sales funnel 
  • Check linking structure
  • Make sure website load fast


5. Performance Campaigns.

Last but not least, paid media campaigns. When your financial are constrained, the need to know what’s working and not working for your performance campaigns becomes more crucial than ever. There’s no point allocating a huge budget trying to achieve leads, awareness or sales for an unknown CPA.

For example, say you sell online Custom Keyboards for Notebook. You’d like to make a Paid Social or PPC campaign to increase direct sales. The way I suggest to proceed is scaling campaigns allocating a small budget into small audience groups lowering CPA. Testing ad groups patiently, increasing or decreasing the daily budget according to the results achieved.


Wrapping up

Marketing for startups might be a very challenging job. The growth is key to preventing your startup from failing or succeed. Growth Hackers aren’t afraid of failure, experimenting, are customer-centric and will provide creative and obsessive focus on scaling.

If you want to scale your business in the right way I have the right experience. Schedule a Free 30 mins Call with me ? to discuss about your project!  Get answers to your questions!



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Nico Rubino

Growth Marketing Strategist, Passionate about Innovation, 10+ years of working experience for Startups, Digital Agencies and Corporations in eCommerce, Gaming and Tech.

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