startup marketing on a budget

How to Improve Your Startup Marketing Game on a Budget

The Ultimate List of Startup Marketing Tools

As the world of online marketing continues to grow, more and more web marketing tools are being developed than ever. As a startup, it is important to build your brand presence without making major marketing investments. Here is a list of the top 10 startup marketing tools to build a strong brand presence for startup companies.

1. Hootsuite

hootsuite top 10 startup marketing tools

Social platforms are a huge part of startup growth. Hootsuite allows users to build scheduled content for your social media accounts. You can load as much content as you want and have it posted to your accounts at a date and time that matches your social media plan. The tool also lets you preview what your posts will look like on both desktop and mobile so that you can be confident that your posts look professional on every feed.

We typically test our content on our social networks before releasing it as digital advertising or sponsored content. We love Hootsuite because it makes it easy to review our content testing and keep our sponsored content calendar matched up with our social post calendar.

Costs: Hootsuite offers a free model that lets anyone manage their scheduled content across any social platform. They also offer paid plans that add more capabilities. The Enterprise plan is great for startups once you’re up and running at only $19.99/mo. This gives you access to manage multiple profiles, get real-time analytics, and new lead capture campaign tools.

2. Canva

canva top 10 startup marketing tools

Canva is the optimal tool for users who want to make stunning custom designs without having to purchase and learn complex design platforms. This tool offers a simple, yet robust user experience and gives you the power to be virtually as creative as you want. This is especially important for new businesses that need to generate custom content quickly and easily. Canva allows users to import their own images and create basic branding guides to keep text and color consistent for future content.

We utilize Canva for just about every startup we work with and lots of internal projects. Whether it’s creating web page mockups, social media images, infographics, or flyers, Canva gives us exceptional creative freedom.

Costs: Canva offers a free version for quick drag and drop photo editing with access to over 8,000 templates and 1GB of storage. They also offer their Canva for Work package for $12.95/mo. that allows you to resize any design to fit any template, gives you access to 300,000 photos and illustrations, and create branded templates for your startup marketing team.

3. Google Analytics

google analytics top 10 startup marketing tools

Your company’s website is one of the most important tools you have for generating business. Google Analytics allows you to track your website’s performance on almost every level of activity. Their vast array of filters allows you to build analytic sandboxes to create reports that are catered to your business’ particular needs and goals. Generating solid ROI information is a key for startup businesses to know if their marketing and advertising goals are being met or need to be adjusted.

We love to utilize Google Analytics’ custom URL tracking functionality. We can create custom URL’s that help us track that link’s performance on multiple social platforms. This feature is great for tracking the success of a particular campaign.

Costs: Google Analytics is free for personal and business use.

4. Biteable

biteable top 10 startup marketing tools

As social platforms like (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) continue to integrate auto-playing video into user’s feeds, it is important for new businesses to have custom videos. Biteable allows you to build custom videos using stock infographics, animations, and live footage. You can also load your custom content into your video while adding custom text to get your messaging as personalized as possible.

Biteable launched as a startup only a few years ago and is continuously adding new and useful video editing and content features. We love their user experience and are always excited to use their newest additions for our custom video ads.

Costs: Biteable offers two simple plans, free and premium. The free version gives you access to their HD videos, an ability to publish to YouTube, and unlimited use of their tools. Unfortunately, the free version’s videos come with a Biteable watermark attached.  The premium version costs $99/yr. and gives you access to over 85.000 stock clips, downloads to your personal computer, and exclusive rights to any video created.

5. Animoto

animoto top 10 startup marketing tools

Animoto is another custom video building tool that allows for more freedom in customizing clips. You can add static images to your video and bring them to life using the “Ken-Burns-Effect.” The tool also allows users to move text around on the screen to ensure that messages are as legible as possible. Animoto also has a “collage” feature that allows you to add multiple pictures to a single frame.

Animoto is awesome because it allows you to change the video layout to a square layout. This is amazing because most social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) run on a square video layout for their mobile applications. Now we can design ads that look great on mobile as well as desktop.

Costs: Animoto offers three pricing plans personal ($8/mo.), professional ($22/mo.), and business ($34/mo.). The personal mode allows you to shoot in 720p and make basic slideshow videos. The professional and business models allow you shoot in 1080p, use custom logos and video layout choices, and gives you access to thousands of soundtracks.

6. DepositPhotos

depositphotos top 10 startup marketing tools

Whether it’s building a website, creating startup marketing materials, or updating your social platforms, having images and videos that portray your company look and vision are key. DepositPhotos allows you to search their massive database of stock images and video for company use. This tool also allows you to download different sizes of the image for maximum resolution on any platform.

We love DepositPhotos because they have a wide variety of professional stock images to choose from to fit the particular look or design of our campaign content and brand. Their download process is simple, and we can archive our downloads in specific campaign folders.

Costs: DepositPhotos offers a variety of payment options. You can pay for a monthly subscription like 75 high resolution images for $69/mo, go with a Flexible Plan for $29/mo that allows you to download 30 images a month (additional $1 each) and any images you don’t download during that month carry over to the next, or buy On Demand image packs with pricing like $99 for 25 images.

7. Freepik

freepik top 10 startup marketing tools

You want to build meaningful infographic pieces for your startup business, but you need to find the right vectors to tell your story. Look no further! Freepik holds a database of hundreds of thousands of vectors and images for download. The tool gives you the licensing and rights to each image download. This makes avoiding legal trouble with licensing issues simple. (Freepik does require a third party program to edit their EPS or Adobe Illustrator to remove watermarks, change backgrounds, colors, etc.)

Freepik always comes in handy when we are in production mode. That means content, content, content! They nearly always have the graphic or image that fits the scale of the project and creative direction.

Costs: Freepik offers a free version with access to over 320,000 resources and 115,500 stock photos that require attribution. They also offer a premium version for $9.99/mo. that gives you access to premium content, commercial licensing, and access to new content daily.

8. Microsoft PowerPoint

powerpoint top 10 startup marketing tools

Though it is mostly looked over as an archaic presentation platform, marketers can take full advantage of Microsoft PowerPoint for many of their design needs. PowerPoint’s drag and drop capabilities make it an ideal tool to build mock-ups of web pages. It can also be used to build a wide array of marketing materials like e-books, flyers, or information pamphlets. You can even use the built-in SmartArt to create basic graphics and infographics.

What can we say? PowerPoint is such a handy tool when it comes to generating startup marketing content for campaigns. We can make pages and pages of content, and have the ability to move them around to make the most effective marketing pieces.

Costs: Purchasing the professional version of Microsoft Office gives you access to PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. The suite can be bought as a subscription or through a one-time purchase.

9. YouTube

youtube top 10 startup marketing tools

Yes… YouTube is more than just a place to watch funny cat videos. Startups should take full advantage of this video sharing social platform. YouTube’s video manager allows you to upload and archive all of your company’s video content, and edit their information at any time. Their tagging feature allows you to choose keywords that will help your content be seen more often through organic searches.

As internet marketers, having the ability to make videos unlisted is a great feature. We can run links to our videos on YouTube without having them made fully public. This ensures that our content is easily viewed by our desired targeted audience.

Costs: YouTube is free to use for any person or business. You can also use YouTube to run ads through sponsored content. Advertisements are pay per view and range from $.10-$.30 depending on the style of advertising used.

10. LinkedIn Campaign Manager for Sponsored Content

linkedin top 10 startup marketing tools

We all know LinkedIn is key to business networking and growing your business connections, but it also has an advertising platform that can reach your ideal audience. This tool allows you to manage, track, and budget custom sponsored content. You can create custom demographic templates to ensure that each campaign is reaching the right people at the right time. LinkedIn users are typically more invested in digesting content than other social media platforms, so you can be sure your advertising investments will produce some positive impressions.

LinkedIn Campaign Manager is great because we can see a preview of our content on both desktop and mobile which enables us to adjust our copy or images so that our ads will look exactly how we envisioned them.

Costs: The LinkedIn Campaign Manager is the interface for paid advertising on LinkedIn.  When sponsoring content, the tool walks you through the setup process and allows you to choose either pay for click-throughs or impressions. Budgets are set up on a daily and total basis, and users set their own bid rates for their content.

Bonus Tools!

With small budgets, creating and managing marketing and advertising efforts for your startup business may seem overwhelming. What is most important is that generating meaningful content that benefits your business doesn’t have to bust your budget.

These tools have certainly helped us in our work managing advertising campaigns. They are fun and easy to use, but most importantly they will make a positive impact on any future startup marketing goals

Check out all these amazing startup marketing tools for yourself, and share this article with your colleagues and network!

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Tommy Walther

Content Marketing Intern at QAT Global
Tommy Walther is responsible for developing content for clients on solutions and technology issues, providing sales support, and assisting with the company's overall marketing activities. He is currently a senior Marketing and Economics major at Creighton University and aspires to have a career in advertising after graduation.