5 Digital Marketing tips for Startups

Phonethics is now the Digital Agency for 4 startups. We are convinced that Digital Marketing for startups can be the super fuel that powers success.

Here are 5tips on Digital Marketing for startups that Founders & Entrepreneurs should think about when they consider Digital Marketing and draw up marketing plans for their new business –

  1. Who will do what?

Almost all members of a startup team have some idea of popular digital marketing tools such as Facebook, Twitter or Google Adwords. You need to think about whether the team has the experience and bandwidth to handle digital marketing or does the business need a digital agency to help build the brand.  Decide if you want to handle your online marketing efforts in-house or partner up with an agency that will have the bandwidth to produce content, run search campaigns as well as make sexy creative that helps bring in those conversions. In our experience a blended approach works well. A good digital agency will be able to offer great Design, Content & Social Media marketing while your team could work on acquisition based campaigns (Pay per click, Search Engine Marketing) and Analytics. If you are new to these tools, the agency can help with setting up the campaigns and provide an introduction to the software. Google has excellent videos on Youtube that can help you understand how to use Search Marketing or understand the traffic on your website.

  1. Speaking of Agency…

Define Key Objectives for your Digital agency (or your digital marketing team). Think about the top 2 or 3 things that the business needs. Align your objectives and your brief to the agency with immediate goals. Ideally, these goals should be 2 or 3 single line sentences that describe what you expect from the agency. I find that it usually takes a couple of meetings before founders get around to thinking about this dispassionately and come up with specific objectives. Its perfectly okay to have a long list which can be whittled down after some discussion. A digital agency typically deals with ten or more customer interaction points. It’s a good idea to work with them to identify the ones that you want to focus on. For instance, if you are selling to homemakers in tier 2 cities in India, your agency might recommend using Facebook as a key communication platform. At Phonethics, we propose experiments using content and [sometimes] a small ad budget to help identify the Top 2 or 3 digital touchpoints. Please remember, your product or service is new and [most likely] disruptive. Digital marketing and all communication for your startup should be mapped out keeping this in mind.

  1. Calendar

Days of the month appear very differently to stressed out entrepreneurs and Digital Agencies. At Phonethics, we draw up a 90-day calendar and think about the days, weeks, festivals, cricket matches, gazillions-of-silly-days that may be relevant for the start-up’s audience. Is your customer more likely to receive your message on a Friday? Is there a regional festival you should factor in? Will your product be of use when people travel during holidays? While working on Railtiffin we noticed that people travel or at least book travel before regional holidays so we mapped out important regional holidays and promoted our Facebook posts to audiences in those specific regions, celebrating that festival.

  1. Content

As the person giving birth to a new business idea, the entrepreneurs are the ones who tend to know their sector the best and thus remain the fount of information & insights on everything related to their idea. You know the pain point that your startup addresses. Contribute towards all content guidance, at least the high level plan. Try this – ask a friend to pose as a journalist and ask you why you’ve chosen to work on this particular venture, what excites you about it, what are the un-addressed problems, what’s the size of the opportunity? These answers could be the bedrock of content production for your startup. At Phonethics we think of content [broadly] at two levels – one, the cool bubblegum type stuff that looks good on social networks, is immensely shareable and therefore starts building a certain amount of brand affinity, two – content that explains the product proposition, how your product or service works, the commercial offer and so on. Think about the balance you want. Work with the agency on creating a content plan.

  1. Tools for Digital Marketing

This is slightly expansive so the heading doesn’t fully capture the intent. Think about the tools you need to sell your product or service. For example, Google offers Adwords videos and even though you may hire a professional or partner a competent agency, ideally you should be able to understand the basic contours of this nifty tool. We have helped startups run A/B tests with as little as One thousand rupees using Google Adwords. I’d strongly recommend giving Google analytics a spin as well. Figure out a good collaboration software. We use Basecamp and find that it’s the best way to keep all teams and documents in one place, on the same page. You’ll need something to help with bookmarking information too. Set up google alerts for your sector and competition so you know what’s going on.


This list is by no means comprehensive and I plan to do another one with a focus on specific digital marketing tools and perhaps one on hiring the best digital agency for your startup.


Feel free to drop me a line at Saurabh@phonethics.in if you’d like more information or if you just wanna chat about your startup.


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