Digital Marketing for Start-ups: Where do start-up businesses go wrong, and why do they fail? (Plus how to avoid the pitfalls of start-up marketing)

Quite contrary to popular belief, you can’t just add a ‘kart’ to your website and call it a start-up. It is not even a traditional business, or one-man-show either. A start-up is launched when it has a unique idea or product that fills the gap between demand and supply or is the solution that many people would like to have.

Creating video content for YouTube

A tech-enabled platform ( BharatSthali Sarees ) to bring handloom sarees at your doorsteps on a shoestring budget is a start-up, and so is a business trying to bring some management and technology-led innovation into the disorganised industry of handymen and technicians.

Since start-ups often are bootstrapped and have money-constraints, they often turn to digital marketing for their redemption in the marketing domain. They can’t spend on billboards or television ads (until after a round or two of investments), so, it is the only way where they have a chance at the fair game. They can reach as many customers and increase their chances of survival in their dog-eat-dog world.

Especially post COVID-19, the digital transformation isn’t a luxury but a necessity to reach out to the desired demographics and intensify the reach.

But often start-ups start lagging and eventually lose this rat race. A study suggests that the failure rate can go up to as much as seventy-five per cent in start-ups after five years. In fact there has been various corporate training for entrepreneurs for digital marketing training in Chandigarh with CIDM. So, what are the missteps, the mishaps and the mistakes that make the start-ups vulnerable over time?

1. No perspective. No positioning

This start-up sells grocery. That start-up too. But this start-up delivers essentials. Wait for a minute, that too! How is it possible they manage to sustain and survive through the competitive landscape of the Indian start-up ecosystem? Though, no idea remains original or new over time but how do you ensure that your start-up remains a favourite of your customers? It is when content comes into the picture. Your website content, blogs and e-mail marketing should make your USP clear.

2. Too much of everything

Excess of everything is terrible. Please don’t confuse your customers with text-heavy blogs, or block their bandwidth with image-heavy content, too many hash-tags or several taglines. Transitioning to a different brand positioning should be subtle and a gradual process.

3. Rank, rank and rank

Often digital marketing team of a start-up tends to focus on SEO, PPC, digital marketing. It conveniently forgets that a website is designed to enhance a user’s experience and to facilitate customers. Search engines’ principles work to ensure that your customers experience with a website. If your content and website are fulfilling the intent of a customer’s search, the rank will follow. For precise knowledge, you may compare Kicksta here.

Social media marketing campaign

4. Being not too social

If a start-up business is social media is full of complaints, negative feedback or reviews that it doesn’t address, or take care of- a company is bound to doom. Social media and SEO are an integral part of a business’ digital transformation. If you want to increase revenues and customer base, you can’t ignore your social media, not promote it or listen to what the customers are saying about you on it.

5. One-size-fits-all

Well, it doesn’t. Each business is different, and so is its requirement to shine through. Digital marketing for a start-up should be bespoke solutions that cater to its needs and requirement. While the fundamentals of digital marketing remain the same for the business, the answers don’t have to be. Be it SEO or SMO, affiliate marketing or video marketing and e-mail marketing-each aspect of your digital marketing journey should be tailor-made and specific to your business.

6. Forgetting the re-targeting

In simpler words, re-targeting is nudging your customers to visit your website and have a dekko. It is an online banner-based targeting advertisement that can bring you traction and hence, new users to your doorsteps via a pixel. You can re-target via Facebook or e-mail and get new people who are already a part of your targeted demographic to have a look at your website as well as increase your conversion rate.

7. Not studying competitors

The first and best place to start with your digital marketing strategy is not to pay attention to what your competitors are up to. As a business you not only should be sniffing on their necks to understand their products but also the keywords they are banking on, the design trends they are following or the tools they are using to listen to their customers on social media. It will give you a much-needed head start and a blueprint, to begin with.

8. One-person army

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving and overwhelming subject. There are tools, techniques and strategies that can be time-consuming and quite expensive to deploy. Most start-up companies tend to overlook the need for a digital marketing company and end up ruining the digital experience for them. Digital marketing companies work within flexible budgets and can help businesses to kick-start a wholesome experience in digital space.

Digital marketing for business growth


The start-up marketing and digital transformation fail because businesses tend to overlook the solution-the one thing they launched the companyfor. You can’t hope to achieve even marginal success if you deliver a sub-standard product or keep scaling up without fixing logistics loopholes in your supply chain.

While everybody has a website to mark their digital presence, digital marketing is the combined effort of PPC, SEO, SMO, content marketing, webinar marketing, video marketing, podcast, knowledge-sharing, affiliate marketing, referral marketing, and influencer marketing. So, unless you approach these with proper methodology, strategy and under the right guidance, you can’t excel.

Amid the global pandemic, all eyes are set on digital marketing and innovation in it. However, the easiest way to digitise your business is to take it slowly, onestep at a time and hire a digital marketing company or attend a digital marketing course to help you with a tailor-made strategy.


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