Marketing suggestions for a small startup?


I am interested in starting a small (to start with at least) software company. The Software I would be selling would be add-ons to Microsoft SharePoint. While I am skilled technically, I know nothing about marketing.

So far the only plan I have come up with is to use Google Adwords. I don't have a lot of money to spend on this since it is a side thing. I would like to keep it at around $100 a month to start with.

Do I have any other options besides Google Adwords with my budget being so low?

Marketing Advertising

asked Aug 9 '11 at 15:45
Abe Miessler
264 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

6 Answers


Consider an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on providing valuable content that will attract your target audience. This approach has five steps:

  1. Create remarkable content : This means creating content (using a WordPress blog) that your target audience will find compelling enough that they will want to share it with their peers. This could be because it's informative, inspirational, entertaining, etc... But don't limit your scope to talking about your software - you should be talking about general Sharepoint issues and challenges that will attract people who use Sharepoint
  2. Optimize for search : Make sure that the content you create is optimized for search engines. The most important aspect of organic search raking is inbound links. By creating remarkable content, you're encouraging people to create links to your site. But you also need to engage in active link building tactics like guest blogging, link exchanges, etc...
  3. Promote via social media : Create syndicate your content on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (product demonstrations), LinkedIn, etc... This will generate inbound links, increase SEO and build a wider audience for your message.
  4. Convert visitors to leads : Make sure you have strong calls to action on your website that direct users to landing pages. Calls to action include things like "purchase now," "download the demo," or "sign up for newsletter."
  5. Measure : Make sure you have analytics installed on your website so that you can measure where your traffic is coming from and (most importantly) what your conversion rates are on those landing pages.

This strategy consistently produces results that are 60% cheaper than outbound (i.e. direct) marketing techniques. However, it does take time to build and audience and generate results. Therefore, Adwords can be a good bridge to ramp up more quickly. Just make sure that your website has well-designed landing pages before turning on the Adwords or you might well be setting your money on fire.

answered Aug 11 '11 at 23:50
Jon Di Pietro
1,697 points


Read Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan. Take notes on blog article ideas as you read, and then write a blog with interesting content and a specific audience in mind.

If you can create some sort of inbound tool (e.g. HubSpot's Website Grader tool) then you can drive leads through that funnel as well.

Also read the Hubspot Blog for additional content and ideas. I run my own start up, and HubSpot's mentality and information they put out on marketing has been super helpful.

answered Aug 12 '11 at 03:06
Andy Cook
2,309 points


if you are not good in marketing, try not to use google adwords. don't spend your money without really understand it. you might spend those money without having a potential buyers.

I do suggest you to build a website and try to optimize it and also do a good landing page for the add-on. since it is a specific software that targeted on microsoft sharepoint, I do believe it will be easier for you to optimize the website and creating a new landing page too.

if you already have the website, kindly paste it here and I can help to have a look at it too.
try forum and related community (sharepoint community, microsoft software community etc) and tell them about your software.

anyway good luck and keep us update with the marketing section of your company

answered Aug 9 '11 at 15:59
186 points


A good addition would be a Wordpress based blog with dedicated posts for each keyword you are targetting (e.g "sharepoint mind mapping tool"'). Write a post for each containing:

  • business issues that may arise from not having the plugin (e.g. difficult to store ideas, difficult to communicate complex topics etc)
  • provide some examples of how it would be used (e.g. project planning, brainstorming etc)
  • provide some sectors it would be suitable for (e.g government, small business)
  • details of how your plugin solves/makes these issues better
answered Aug 9 '11 at 19:16
Lloyd S
1,292 points
  • +1 for wordpress +1 for blog – Ed Guiness 13 years ago


You actually have millions of different options.
I like the social media strategies that others have suggested here. However, that depends on whether you have the time to actually carry them out. A successful social media strategy depends on three things: CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT. And it can be very tricky and very time consuming. You wanna position yourself as someone who provides valuable content to your viewers, not just someone who is desperately trying to sell something. But before you do that, you will need to profile your "buyer personas", i.e., who is your target clients and what are the problem that you solve.

Said that, and if you are serious about a solid social media marketing campaign, I'll recommend the following:

  • If you have the time to do it yourself, find the bloggers and other influencers such as journalists who cover and analyze your industry. Leave comments in their blogs first, see what they write, and then launch your own blog. You may even wanna upload some videos of yourself.
  • If you don't have the time, then hire a social media marketing expert or company to do it for you. I don't know how much it will cost, but I am sure it will be your best investment.

For more information about social media and its marketing potential, you can check out the bestseller "The New Rules of Marketing and PR".

Finally, and quoting Donald Draper from Mad Men, remember that success is related to standing out from the crowd, not fitting in. You wanna be the needle in the haystack, not the haystack. In other words, Why don't you give away your product for free? You will not make any money, but if your product is good, you will earn a REPUTATION. You will automatically become an expert in the arena of "add ons for sharepoint". Think about it.

Good luck.

answered Aug 13 '11 at 00:50
A. Garcia
1,601 points


Focus on your customers and surprise them, so they will talk about you. I recommend book Delivering happinness, which is talking about customer "support".

answered Aug 13 '11 at 07:46
31 points

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