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The Startup Marketing Toolkit

Posted by Jon Yongfook — 21 Mar 2013

How do you drive traffic to your startup? Ah, the eternal question. Startup marketing is an epic battle - first you must drive traffic, perhaps via the media or via advertising. Then you must create trust out of thin air. Then your site must be designed well enough to convert an interested prospect. And that's just the start! Then you must keep that customer happy by providing great support... and it doesn't stop there.

How do you manage all that? Luckily there are tools at our disposal for startup marketing. This is a list of the best - either tools that we have personally used or tools that come highly recommended. It's a living list, feel free to suggest more in the comments below!

Advertising

The simplest way to get traffic! If you have a marketing budget...

  • Google Adwords - probably needs zero introduction but don't kid yourself into thinking that adwords is an automatic traffic generator. You'll need to do proper research or get some advice from an adwords veteran if you want to get something out of an adwords campaign.

  • Facebook Ads - not the most likely place to find people hunting for software but can be effective as part of a retargeting campaign, which brings us to...

  • Adroll - you know when you keep seeing a certain ad? Surprise! You're being retargeted.

Public Relations

Don't forget to tell the press what you're doing! When you launch, when you expand, when you hit user milestones, when you pivot completely - these are newsworthy events that the press should know about. Keep them informed.

  • PR Newswire - they have been at it for a long time, since 1954!

  • Pitchpigeon - ok that's us! We are a PR service made especially for tech startups and we send your press releases to the world's best tech blogs and tech journalists.

Blogging

You should be blogging every day! You should be doing it right now! (I am)

  • Wordpress - we have tried probably every blog platform out there but nothing beats Wordpress. Sure it's clunky. Sure it has performance issues. And sure, the soure code resembles angelhair pasta. But you simply cannot beat the ecosystem that surrounds Wordpress. If there's something you want your blog to be able to do, it's very likely that someone will have already written a plugin for it.

  • Jekyll - on the other end of the scale. If you are technically-inclined, we recommend Jekyll. It's a super barebones blogging engine that creates a static site from your templates. Want a fast blog that will never break? Jekyll is for you.

  • Topsy - ever stuck for a topic to write about? Head to Topsy and see what's trending. Capitalizing on current events or talked-about topics is a proven way to drive blog traffic.

Social Media

Social is a channel with multiple purposes - your customers will use it for pre-sales inquiries, support, as well as using it to help you spread the word. Get on top of your Twitter now!

  • Buffer - use it, it's pretty awesome.

  • Hootsuite - social media management dashboard.

Analytics

How many clueless people still using IE6 are coming to your site? With analytics, you can know.

  • Google Analytics - not much needs to be said, you should be using this. It has everything you think it should have, plus real-time reports and "content experiments" enabling you to perform A/B tests.

  • Hubspot - also offers multiple tools such as SEO optimization and A/B testing, not just analytics.

  • Ginzametrics - enterprise SEO optimization. Pricing might be out of your league but you can learn a lot by understanding what they do!

  • Kissmetrics - customer analytics. Lets you dive down deeper into specific customer journeys across your site.

  • Chartbeat - real-time analytics.

Testing

Only by testing can we hope to improve things. This covers things like testing if version A of your landing page converts better than version B.

  • Google Analytics - comes with "content experiments" for conducting A/B tests. It's clunky but it works.

  • Visual Website Optimizer - a powerful standalone tool for A/B testing.

  • Mouseflow - mouse tracking reports to see if users are confused by your new design.

  • Unbounce - landing page optimization tool.

Mailing List

Keep existing customers informed or try to upsell leads - mailing lists are a powerful tool for marketers.

  • Mailchimp - the big daddy. Comes with most things you'll need.

  • SendGrid - for transactional mail. If you are technically inclined you can set up a drip campaign after a user signs up on your site - I see more and more startups doing this.

CRM

Being responsive to pre-sales inquiries and providing great after-sales support are part of your customer's expectations.

  • olark - live chat with your customers.

  • zendesk - customer support software by Buddha.

  • Google Groups - for a free solution, Google Groups can be used as a collaborative inbox for customer support.

  • Pipedrive - nicely designed sales pipeline management software.

  • Ecquire - remove tedious data entry from your workload, collect leads / contacts automatically.

As a startup, you don't need to use all these tools. Figure out which ones are going to create the most value for you - which will depend on the type of startup you're running. If you have any more suggestions, add them in the comments!