Typically, startups are lean with a limited supply of money, talent, and time, meaning
they don’t have resources to throw around willy-nilly. While this can induce panicky feelings
for a lot of business owners, the upside is that it automatically forces burgeoning startups to
wield the resources they do have sharply and intelligently.

This balancing act can get a bit tricky when it comes to marketing, because the internet
has enabled an absolutely ludicrous array of options, opinions, and ideas to spring up. Get a
website up! Contact investors! Use Pinterest! Start a YouTube channel! It’s easy to become
overwhelmed by the sheer scope of modern marketing and completely lose your head.

But focus! There are simple rules to keep in mind to craft the best marketing plan
possible that fits your business. Any company’s product or service is built around a specific
target audience, right? No matter how long your company’s been around or how much money
it brings in, make sure your marketing is specifically targeted to your demographic as well, or
it will flounder. While keeping in mind that your approach should be tailored to suit your
audience, use these tips to make your marketing the best it can be!

Follow Mint’s Shining Example

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Mint, a personal financial management service started in 2006, was built around the
young professional demographic their chief marketer, Noah Kegan, thought was being
neglected, and they aimed their content marketing accordingly with huge success. Behold,
their secrets…Quality Content

Take a look at their MintLife blog yourself, and tell me if
you don’t get sucked in by their entertaining, oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes infographics, and their
friendly, direct, and helpful writing. Mint made sure to only engage quality writers and
illustrators, both in-house and freelance. A lot of companies trip themselves up by going for
quantity over quality and turning off many potential customers with low-grade content.
Remember that while quality content marketing may be a long game, it yields undeniable
results.

Variety of Content

Knowing well how to appeal to their customer base of young internet-savvy
professionals, Mint uses a variety of media to engage and hold their interest. Their blog
doesn’t have just articles, but also videos, infographics, and slideshows, which keeps their site
fresh and a pleasure to share with others.

Social Channels

To build up trust, Mint spread their content out to well-known social channels like Digg
and Reddit and even more commendably, did it well. For the uninitiated, these social sharing
sites can be tricky to navigate and come out the other end with positive feedback, especially
Reddit. Mint managed to pull it off by genuinely engaging with readers of both sites. (Hint:
don’t be spammy.)

Metrics

Mint also relentlessly used carefully selected metrics to track the reactions to their
content, and then used that knowledge to pursue what was working and drop what wasn’t.
This means they were constantly improving on what they’d done before.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking the benefits of quality content marketing is a
one-way street. Content marketing benefits your company hugely as well, by allowing you to
engage intelligently and consistently with your community, and make sure you are always
thinking about next steps to self-improve and evolve.

Quality content marketing is infectious. Heck, sometimes I’ll sign up for a service I might not
even use, just because of how appreciative I am for that company’s content. Simply signing up
for their service makes me more likely to be a paying customer in the future or pass along
word of it to others who may convert to profitable users themselves. The same principle
applies to the pricing of e-books which (at an average of $3-4) sell for drastically cheaper than
paper books. Why is that? Even if customers don’t actually read the book, the low price means
they don’t have much to lose in purchasing it, and just the simple act of acquisition means you
are more likely to spread the word to other potential customers.

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Be Creative

Don’t limit yourself in the terms of how you interact with your user base. In a sea of
businesses and other startups jockeying for recognition, why should they choose you? Stand
out (in a good way) and your audience will be delighted with and appreciate your extra effort.

Be Purposeful

As stated before, with limited resources none of your efforts should go to waste. Even if
you HAVE oodles of resources, don’t be careless with them.

Be Thoughtful

Consider your future courses of action carefully. Letting your ideas incubate and then
acting accordingly will benefit you much more than trying out new fads at random. Having a
smart team with similar values and a solid grasp on what’s important to your company’s
growth really helps with this.

Be Aggressive

Don’t be afraid to really put yourself out there. You have a lot of competition, after all,
and you won’t reach your goals by being passive in your efforts.

Always Fine-tune

Pursue strategies that have proven results and prune out what isn’t working. This will
keep your company a solid marketing foundation to build off of and keep operations efficient.

In the end, it simply comes down to being a valued resource, which means being trusted,
reliable, smart, entertaining, and helpful.