As a growing startup, the team of people you surround yourself with can make or break your business.
The right professionals can catalyze your growth, propelling your business to places you never thought possible. Particularly when it comes to marketing, a qualified marketing team can help implement systems to bring in new buyers for years to come. On the other hand, working with the wrong agency can set back your growth and waste time and resources.
So how exactly do you go about finding the right marketing agency for startups? That’s where we can help. In this article, we’ll answer this question and help you get started on your search with 17 agencies for you to consider.
Benefits of Working With a Marketing Agency
Startups face a number of unique challenges.
First, your time and resources are more limited than an established business. Additionally, many startups operate with tight budgets, lean teams, and fewer resources to handle highly specialized marketing tasks.
Today’s digital space is crowded. It’s easy for startups to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of creating a name for themselves and getting seen. A digital marketing agency specializing in startups can be the perfect partner for those early stages by identifying the most effective channels for driving results.
Here are some ways that a startup marketing agency can support your growth:
- Help you identify the right channels to reach your customers
- Free up your team’s time to focus on growth in other areas
- Work on your market introduction strategy
- Build brand awareness
- Bring in new business leads
- Help you scale revenue faster with marketing funnels optimized for conversions
- Increase customer retention and lifetime value
The right marketing agency for startups should support your vision throughout various stages of growth. They act as an extension of your team by working closely with your in-house employees to advise, strategize, and optimize your marketing campaigns.
What Services Do Marketing Agencies Offer?
When it comes to marketing agencies, there’s no one-size-fits-all. The agency you choose will depend on your team’s expertise and existing gaps in knowledge and resources.
Agencies can be more generalized, offering end-to-end marketing solutions, or they can be specialized in a particular area.
Generally, these are some of the marketing services you might seek out as a startup:
- Marketing strategy
- Brand development or brand strategy
- Lead generation
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Public relations
- Website design and web development
- Content strategy
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Paid media and PPC (pay-per-click)
- Email marketing campaigns
- App development
The list goes on!
What to Look For in a Marketing Agency for Startups
A quick Google search will reveal that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing agencies for startups to choose from. To help narrow down your search, consider the following criteria:
- Experience with startups: Startup founders know their best shot at success is to keep moving forward, optimizing as they go. An agency with a history of working with startups or small businesses will understand that you need to move fast. They should be pros at identifying areas for improvement and be able to make changes quickly without getting bogged down by approvals.
- Service offering: If you’re new to the startup world, the sheer volume of marketing channels at your disposal can create decision fatigue. Great agencies should be able to identify your biggest challenge and pitch results-backed solutions. Due to lean teams and limited budgets, many startups opt for a full-service agency that can cover many areas. If you already have a clear understanding of your needs, a specialized solution can save costs and potentially yield better results.
- Cost: The costs of digital marketing services for startups vary dramatically. Startups should find a solution that fits their budget and current growth stage. Some startup marketing agencies offer monthly pages or subscription tiers to suit different business needs. You can choose billing models based on your cash flow:
• Hourly-based pricing
• Monthly-based (sometimes referred to as retainer) pricing
• Project-based pricing
- Location: If your business is tied to a single location, you might seek out a local agency partner who can collaborate with your team in person. If you have an eye on global expansion, a marketing team that operates globally and has diverse experience might be a better fit.
- Data-backed solutions: A strong understanding of the numbers separates a good marketing agency from a great one. Your agency’s digital strategy should have clear targets that align with your business goals and demonstrate a clear ROI. To learn more about how to track ROI for your business, check out our post on conversion tracking.
- Experience in your industry or vertical: Many startup marketing agencies choose to specialize by industry. This is advantageous because it gives them a strong understanding of your target market’s buying behavior, as well as industry-specific knowledge. For example, if your company is building a mobile app, you’ll likely look for a team with a user experience/UX design background. If you’re in the e-commerce space, you might seek out an agency that understands how to list products with retail giants like Amazon.
- Cultural fit: Just because an agency wins awards and works with major global brands doesn’t mean they’re the right culture fit for your startup. Remember that your agency should be a partner in your business. Their values and communication style should closely mirror yours and complement your organization as a whole.
What to Avoid When Searching for a Startup Marketing Agency
Some marketing agencies look great on the surface. But with a little digging, you might be able to uncover some not-so-great qualities.
Here are a few red flags to watch out for:
- Pricing that’s too good to be true: While it’s important to find a team that fits your budget, there’s something to be said about a premium offering versus an overly cheap one. Often, agencies that intentionally price low to undercut competitors lack the experience or know-how possessed by top digital marketing agencies.
- Lack of communication: Startups are fast-moving, and you need an agency that can keep up. There’s nothing worse than waiting weeks for a response when you have a major launch coming up.
- They promise quick results: While a rapid growth strategy can seem appealing, it’s essential not to sacrifice quality for growth. Many agencies get hung up on metrics like followers or views without determining whether those followers are converting to customers. According to State of Digital, some digital marketing services like SEO can take 6-12 months to see rankings. Your agency should manage expectations and communicate with you to ensure you’re on track rather than promising overnight success.
- They guarantee exact results/numbers: Sales pitches that promise thousands of followers or clicks should be avoided at all costs. Unless they have a crystal ball, there’s no way to predict exact numbers. Instead, startup marketing agencies should focus on building high-converting funnels that bring in new leads and increase customer retention over time.
- Their marketing is poor quality: Looking for a marketing agency for startups? Start your research with their website and social media pages. A creative agency with messy website design or poor-performing social content signals a lack of care and effort. After all, if their own content creation is lacking, how can you expect them to deliver results for your business?
- They don’t have proven success: Early-stage startups are largely results-driven. The best marketing agencies for startups understand this and should be able to demonstrate success through case studies, positive reviews, and previous client testimonials.
17 Marketing Agencies for Startups To Consider
After scouring the internet in search of agencies with proven success in helping young businesses scale, here are our top 17 digital agencies to consider:
1. Delverise - Their growth strategists help lean teams and startups scale through a combination of growth marketing, web technology, and data.
2. GrowthExpertz - With a founder who has exited three startups as Head of Marketing, their fully remote team focuses on recently-funded startups and was named a Clutch Top Advertising and Marketing Agency in San Francisco.
3. Directive - Performance marketing and paid campaigns primarily geared towards SaaS companies.
4. Enventys Partners - Provides support with product development, crowdfunding, and e-commerce marketing to help startups find their footing in the online marketing space.
5. BAMF - Done-for-you solutions for LinkedIn content creation and lead generation.
6. Transcend Digital - A Los Angeles-based full-service agency with experience in product launches and resources for growing startups.
7. Argonaut - Full-service advertising agency specializing in brand building, brand scaling and brand comebacks.
8. Delta Growth - A Toronto-based digital marketing agency focusing on increasing startup profitability through data-backed solutions.
9. Frootful Marketing - A highly collaborative agency specializing in marketing strategy and campaign execution for lean teams.
10. SaaSLaunchr - Focused on strategy, positioning, and SEO for SaaS startups and businesses. Their offering includes guest blogging to help new startups build authority in their industries.
11. Pixelhop - A digital studio that supports startup launches through apps, websites, prototypes, and MVPs. Their team of designers has an extensive history in branding, development, UX, and UI design.
12. Crowdform - A digital agency focused on the evolution of the web. They build new digital products and launch ventures in the cryptocurrency, blockchain, and Web3 spaces.
13. Evestar - A fast-growing D2C agency based in Fort Lauderdale. They help e-commerce businesses scale by focusing on metrics like conversion rate, average order value, and lifetime value.
14. Higher Visibility - Voted 4X SEO Company of the Year, they support startups with their digital marketing through SEO, PPC, and web design.
15. SEM Nexus - An award-winning agency that builds and markets mobile apps for startups.
16. LMNts Marketing - A sales funnel digital marketing agency that provides a cheap and effective lead generation option for startups.
17. HypeLife Brands - A startup marketing agency and venture builder that helps B2C/D2C lifestyle brands engage with millennial audiences more effectively.
Ready To Take the Next Step?
The best marketing agency for your startup is one that can serve as a dedicated partner to your team and help your business scale your marketing efforts faster. They should work with you closely to understand your business, your target market, and create high-performing marketing funnels that will carry your startup into the next phase of growth and beyond.
With a diverse team that has experience supporting founders and brands from all around the world, Delverise helps startups in growth mode scale their revenue faster and increase customer lifetime value with holistic growth solutions.