Top Marketing Channels for Early-Stage Startups

Are you using the right marketing channels for your early-stage startup? Read about our views on the best channel to grow your company.

Ryan McMillan

Paid Search

Paid search, PPC or Search Engine Marketing involves advertising on search engines. 

The great thing about paid search is you will be reaching a new set of customers at the lower end of the funnel. 

These people likely won’t have come across your brand before. Or, if they have, they’re now looking for the solution that you offer, and therefore this is a good time to win that customer.

You’ll get a great deal of control over  which pages are shown to customers and your ad formats, while with search engine optimisation, you’re looking to get the algorithm to select which of your web pages on the front pages of Google (or Bing). 

With Paid Search, you can tailor which pages which people see, for which keywords.

You’re also able to understand which keywords are profitable. 

There might be a lot of people searching for a particular phrase or keyword, but are they actually purchasing once they get there? 

Are there untapped niches that you can access that are looking for very specific keywords? 

Paid Search allows you to hunt down and capitalise on the right keywords for your business.

And, this may in turn help to inform your SEO strategy.

Paid Social Media

Paid Social Media involves advertising on social media platforms.

Similarly to Paid Search, Paid Social Media allows you to show ads to users who likely have not heard of your business before, but fit your target demographic. 

With detailed targeting options, Paid Social allows you to be seen by very selective segments who are likely to click on and engage with your ads.

Not only this, but you can test which audiences engage with which types of messaging, using this information to inform your product market fit.

The saying goes, customers will need to see your advertising seven times before they purchase. 

Social media can be a great way to achieve some of these seven as people spend hours scrolling each day.

Content Marketing + SEO

Content marketing focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content to attract attention and generate leads.

Content marketing and improving the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your website should (typically) be the backbone of your SaaS growth strategy. 

Developing content on your website helps search engines show your website more often. SEO is not just about the content, but having a website filled with valuable information helps the search engines know that you are a valid source.

What I like is that you’re using your time to build ‘marketing assets’ which can be used over long periods of time. On the other hand, paid search or social ads disappear once you turn the taps off.

Content is also able to be leveraged across multiple areas, be that blogs, e-books, or syndication.

Posting snippets on social media channels can help drive traffic back to your website. 

One option from there would be to build out an email list to nurture. This can be a great way to build the pipeline for your future sales.

Lastly, in-depth content demonstrates your expertise to prospective customers. 

Before purchase customers will often look at your social media channels and your website. 

Having great, informative content on there tells a story of your business as a thought leader. It helps build trust that you know your niche and encourages customers to sign up.

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Conversion Rate Optimisation

Calculated as the number of customers you acquire, divided by the number of leads.

The above three strategies are designed to get people to your website. The next stage to consider is how to turn them from window shoppers into actual customers. That’s the goal of CRO.

Generally speaking, the higher your conversion rate is, the more customers you’ll generate, or the fewer leads you need to make the same number of sales. 

If these leads are paid for, CRO can help you to reduce your spending on advertising, saving you money. 

Or, this is could be part of scaling up acquisition. 

Before you begin, you’ll need to understand the total data volume needed to get statistically significant differences. 

This will help you see if the changes you make to your website or other channels are actually having the desired effect. 

Begin with big, broad changes to see what has the most impact and then work your way down to the small tweaks.

Email Marketing & Nurturing

There are a few reasons to begin building an email list. Your customers might not be ready to buy yet, especially if your service is linked to a certain growth or life stage. 

Your customers might be infrequent purchasers and you want to stay top of mind, or you’re not ready to launch your product yet, but you want to build up a list of warm leads for when you are.

Without a large sales team, you need to find a way to stay in touch with your customers and keep your leads warm. This one-to-many structure where you can contact multiple people with a single email allowing you to stay in touch with all of your leads at once. 

Segmenting your database so that you can contact specific groups with relevant information helps to increase open and engagement rates. This could be by location, interest level or product type.

Organic Social Media

There was a time where all small businesses flocked to social media channels. It allowed them to create a page where they could build a following and engage with customers. Many used their social pages as a de facto website. 

But then social media pages began monetizing. 

Suddenly, to reach the customers who signed up to hear from you, you had to pay. Or battle with the algorithms.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t spend time crafting social media content. Many potential customers will use these sites to help research your business before purchasing. 

So having a professional, polished channel can help with conversion. But this can’t be your only method for drawing in and converting customers.

I have found that Linkedin still gets solid organic reach.

Take some time to think about which channels you should be investing your time into. If you’re in the B2B space, spending time creating content on LinkedIn will provide you with consistent reach to specific users. 

If you’re B2C and looking for a younger audience, check out TikTok and Instagram Reels which are rapidly rising in popularity. 

As an expert in this space, Griffin Lilley, CEO of Don’t buy media believes that “these channels present the largest opportunity for organic social media reach ever and can be game changers. On TikTok, #startup has over 1.5 billion views demonstrating the appetite for start-up content. Imagine what it would be like for your message to reach a million people. The impact that could have.”


As you begin marketing your SaaS business, you need to understand the options available to you. 

This will help you make an informed decision about which strategies are right for your business. 

If you deed help deciding where to start or which next step to take? Get in touch with the Atlas Digital team to help take your start-up forward.

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