Establishing your company name as a start-up is challenging. You are tight on budget, have less to no resources, and are overwhelmed by the ever-increasing market competition.

Plus, if you are inexperienced as far as various online business development tactics are involved, that’s just another addition to the huge list of problems you must cope with.

So no matter how excellent your services are, how awesome and cost-effective your products are, and how dedicated your company is, it won’t do any good until you spread your narrative loud and clear.

But how do you achieve it? Well, developing highly effective marketing strategies is the most straightforward answer to this question. But wait…you have already tried some of them, and they didn’t generate many results, did they?

This doesn’t mean marketing isn’t worth a hefty investment. Instead, perhaps you might be doing it wrong? Or maybe, your methods are outdated and you need to make some good changes in your overall business approach?

The reasons can be many. And that’s why we will be discussing some critical modern marketing techniques you can leverage as a startup in 2021 in this article. You don’t want to be spending money on a lead that will bounce the second they land on your site.

So let’s jump straight into it.

1.  Develop a referral program

As the marketing world is so full of contemporary and effective branding techniques, relying on “word of mouth” seems like one of those old-school ideas that won’t work in the modern marketing arena.

Turns out it isn’t! According to reports published by Forbes in 2019, 78% B2B marketers regarded their referral program as an excellent lead generator. And according to the latest statistics, customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate, with a 16% surge in profits.

This tells us one thing! Referral programs are undoubtedly effective, especially for start-ups. But why? Well, the reason is simple. People will believe their friend instead of a brand that is showering money on copywriters for the sole purpose of persuasion.

To take full advantage of this ninja technique, it’s necessary to build a loyal fan following who religiously believes in your products and services. And for that, being unique and on top of your game are absolute musts!

Along with that, engagement tactics like free giveaways and huge sales will also help your start-up business a lot. Many start-ups are leveraging this marketing technique these days, and it’s doing wonders for them.

The Girlfriend Collective Approach

A great example is Girlfriend Collective, an athleisure wear company that launched its products in the already crowded market. Although the brand narrative was strong (they made their legwear from recycled plastic), brand exposure in a dense market was quite challenging.

They needed to spread the word. So they made one of their $80 leggings free as their primary investment. Plus, they were really confident in the quality of their product. So the results were instant. All the leggings sold out in no time.

Their brand name spread like wildfire, and the next thing we know, Girlfriend Collective started getting about 10,000 orders a day. Although it crossed their server capacity, it was ultimately a good omen for a thriving startup.

2.  Exploit video marketing

If you have been following the most effective ways of marketing closely, it’s difficult to ignore the influence of video marketing on startups and established businesses. Due to its ability to trigger the most primitive human emotions, the number of leads and conversions it generates is insane.

And that’s not just speculation. According to the latest statistics released by Renderforest, 78% of businesses received more traffic to their website after implementing videos. And about 62% prefer animated explainer videos.

58% of users say that showcasing an explainer video on their landing page helped them increase sales directly…the statistics go on. The question is, what makes videos so effective that modern businesses can’t help but use them, apart from their emotional aspect?

The answer is simple; it’s exceptionally intriguing and explanatory at the same time. Plus, you have plenty of styles at your disposal for different products and services, all equally entertaining if directed to the right audience. And Google loves videos too! So they’ll get ranked easily.

The Dollar Shave Club Story

Let’s take the Dollar Shave Club for example. It’s a perfect example of how a unique idea can skyrocket your brand when mingled with good video marketing. Dollar Shave Club was founded on the concept of providing monthly shaving blades supply for 1 dollar a month.

As Michael Dubin launched the brand, the first thing he did was investing in video marketing. And the craziest part is, he shot it and produced it by himself. The results? Dollar Shave Club became one of the fastest-growing startups in American history.

The video ad generated about 120,000 orders on the first day of its release. As of now, Dollar Shave Club is one of the biggest American men’s grooming brands and was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion in 2019.

The moral of the story is, if you want to build a strong market presence and increase the chances of getting your start-up business booming, the use of video should be a primary part of your marketing arsenal.

3.  Invest in content marketing

Starting a business and haven’t yet thought about investing in content marketing? Perhaps you are missing out on a lot. Releasing relevant content to your target audience on social media and blogs is one of the most effective and proven ways to increase brand awareness and increase engagement in general.

As per reports, businesses with a blog generate 126% more leads than those without a blog. As you see, the marginal difference between them is enormous and can have a significant impact in deciding the growth speed of your newly made company.

The trick here is simple. Give your target audience what they love by perfectly resonating your brand narrative in it. It can be a great video addressing their problems (as mentioned), a helpful how-to blog post to solve their daily problems, or a social media post promoting your new products or offers.

The key is to keep your audience engaged by making your way to their daily feed from time to time. The chances are that you might be providing them with something they are looking for, and the person might buy your product or service for the convenience you offer.

In other words, it’s like throwing nets in the river with bait. A hungry fish will seldom resist it and ultimately fall into your conversion funnel, turning into a loyal customer if your product or services are worth it. Wish we could come up with a better example, though ;).

4.  Don’t ignore offline brand promotion

Undoubtedly, digital marketing is all the rage, and succeeding as a business without an online presence is an innocent fantasy. But we still cannot ignore the impact of offline marketing. And for every good reason.

Having a great interaction with your potential prospects and existing customers is an absolute no-brainer to maintain and grow your brand. There are many ways to ensure you are doing it the right way.

For example, you can make a lot of beautifully created business cards and brochures and hand them to your potential prospects at different networking opportunities. Moreover, visit and promote your brand and products at places where your target audience’s presence is maximum.

You can also make use of exciting postcards for this purpose. It’s an enjoyable and more personal way to build a connection with people that might be interested in your products or services.

Another ninja technique of offline brand marketing is sending gifts with each product ordered by your customers. Well, yeah, it’s costly and might even seem like an easy way to run your company bankrupt before it even thrives.

But the case is pretty different from what you might think. A welcoming gesture is always appreciated, and that’s why more than 120 companies in the US are using this strategy. This tells your customers that each of them matters.

The result is manifested in the satisfaction of past customers and retention of new, given that your product is excellent. By doing this, you are developing a bond with your customers way more profound than you might think.

5.  Keep your statistics in check

Throwing a stone in the dark might hit the target, but you’ll never know how it happened. Or which direction you even threw the stone in. As a result, you’ll never be able to hit the spot again. The same goes for marketing.

You must statistically analyze each part of your strategy and find out what worked and what did not. This will help you improve the currently effective strategy and tell you where you need to make changes or what to avoid.

Keep checking reports like click-throughs, leads, conversions, bounce rate, and anything that reflects your marketing tactics. This will give you a clear idea about the likes and dislikes of your audience, helping you create content that appeals to them the most.

Apart from pure number analysis, you will also get to know your audience’s age group, regional and creative preferences. It ultimately provides you with a thorough consumer behavioral report that you can leverage to your advantage.

6.  Use Email marketing

You’ll hardly find a business these days that doesn’t use email in its marketing strategy. It simply works. About 89% of marketers are using email as one of their primary tools for generating leads to their website in 2021.

And that’s not just it. The ROI of emails as per data collected in 2021 is 4200%, that’s about $42 for each $1 spent, with 21% of emails opened within the first hour of delivery. Even more, about 61% of subscribers like to receive promotional newsletters every week.

Did it ring any bells? Yes! The audience loves emails as much as marketers do. New customer or old, everyone loves to stay notified about the latest sale your company has announced or a new product you just introduced. In the majority of the cases, it might be something of their interest.

The only thing is, you must ensure that your emails are as personalized as possible. And for that, you will need to collect some data from every visitor on your site. A pop-up form containing sections such as gender, age, and region will help a lot.

You can write personalized emails and direct them towards each age group, gender, and region based on the data received. It increases user relevancy and will automatically work as an attention grabber.

Since you will be directly referring to a specific group, it will maximize the chances of getting much-needed leads. Just make sure to hire a skilled copywriter.


Maintaining and developing a business as a start-up is a difficult job. It requires a lot of dedication, time, and effort to share the spotlight with other brands already dominating the market. That too, in a time when competition is insane.

So it’s crucial to develop a marketing plan that completely corroborates your goals to make all your efforts and time worth it. And for that, knowing the current trends is necessary.

In this helpful article, we tried to shed light on some of the critical constituents of an effective marketing strategy. All of the tips that I mentioned above have been deliberately used by every big and small brand and have statistically proven results that guarantee substantial profits and business growth.

Also, we had a look at the stories of some brands who made their place in the market by using the tactics above. So If your business is just getting started, the only risk you will be taking is not to use at least one of the above-given tips.

Until next time 😉

Alex Safavinia

CEO & Creative Director at Explainer Videoly Pte. Ltd.

Alex Safavinia is the CEO and Creative Director of Kasra Design, an award-winning animation company specializing in motion graphics and explainer video production. As a motion graphics artist, he converted his passion for animation into a successful international animation company.