Hot new tech startups don’t sell themselves. Sure, we like to think that Facebook and Google were set up in college dorm rooms and somehow magically spread through word of mouth, but the truth is, word of mouth only got these companies so far.

A great product is half the work; advertising is the other half. If you want to grab people’s attention and make a reputation for yourself, you’ll need a solid marketing strategy to get the word out. The chances are good that you’re up against competition either from established competitors in your industry, or from other startups. That means cutting through the noise will be a challenge.

The good news is that marketing done right can help to cater to your target audience whether you’re B2B or B2C and whether you offer a product or a service. With a little effort and the right toolkit, you can catch people’s attention, introduce them to your brand and convert a social media follower into a customer. Here are nine ways to do just that.

1. Display advertising

Display advertising might seem like an old technology, but it’s still going strong and arguably experiencing a renaissance thanks to the rise of programmatic advertising. It’s now easier than ever to reach the right people with a message that resonates, and if you’re not using display advertisements to serve up re-marketing messages, you’re missing out on potential revenue.

When getting started with display advertising, it’s a good idea to test your ads across multiple platforms including Google, Facebook, Bing and LinkedIn. Tailor your messaging and imagery to each platform and run variants of the same ads to figure out what works best. You’re likely to find more success on one ad network than another, and it also depends on what your goals are. Just make sure your advertisements will produce tangible result so that you can measure their performance and overall return on investment (ROI).

2. Paid search

Paid search is different from banner advertising because it allows you to anticipate the intent behind a search and cater to it accordingly. Informational queries tend to be cheaper to bid on and are a good choice if you’re looking to generate leads by offering whitepapers and webinars. Transactional queries tend to be more expensive, but they’re also more likely to lead to a direct conversion.

For best results, test messaging that caters to both of these intent types and run your ads on both Google and Bing. Remember that while display ads are better suited to raising brand awareness, paid search tends to be more expensive. As such, you’ll want to make sure that it’s leading to some sort of tangible value somewhere down the line.

3. Organic social

With recent discussion about paid social and the fact that Facebook followers sometimes don’t even see updates unless you pay to boost them, we tend to forget that there’s a lot to be said for organic social media and the simple act of taking part in a community.

Organic social media takes many forms, from joining the discussion on a trending hashtag to publishing articles on LinkedIn and empowering employees to act on your company’s behalf. Participate in Facebook groups and answer questions on Quora. At the same time, seek out discussions that are relevant to the solution you offer and find a way to help out.

Rather than jumping in and immediately trying to sell your product, provide legitimate value to those seeking help. A good faith effort is often reciprocal; by giving to others, they will be interested in what you have on offer.

4. On site activity

Your website is an owned asset that you can exercise control over, which means you can affect everything from the order in which…


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