By Helen Cartwright

You’ve launched your startup and are riding the waves of your initial success, but you know you need to do more to grow the company. Expanding your circle beyond curious consumers and into a community of influencers and brand advocates requires dedication from you and from those using your products or services.

How can you reach out to a wider audience and establish the strong customer relationships every business needs to move from the startup phase to long-term success? Try these 10 marketing hacks to propel your business into a bright future.

1) Start with Interested Leads

During the pre-launch for your product or service, you collected contact information from people who wanted to be the first to know about the official release. Whether they signed up for your mailing list, liked you on Facebook or responded to a landing page CTA, they expressed an interest in what you have to offer. Contact this group first with new updates and deals. Getting buy-in from those who already want to do business with your company takes less effort than attracting fresh leads.

2) Build Your List

Continue to grow your list of contacts by offering exclusive deals or a freebie in exchange for contact information entered on your site via a popup or landing page. Send out relevant updates, offer exclusive coupons and provide first access to new products or services to keep list members interested. The bigger your list, the larger your pool of high-quality leads to contact for future campaigns.

3) Test Niche Markets

Narrow your focus to specific target audiences by observing consumer behaviors and segmenting your email list and social media followers into subsets with unique needs your products and services can fulfill. Tailor the language of your campaigns to speak to the members of each group and pique their interest based on what they’re searching for. Show how your startup can help, and offer deals with appeal for these distinct groups.

4) Expand Your Reach with Special Events

Holding a launch party or grand opening event involves a lot of work, but the increased visibility you get from hyping your brand to the community at large can pay off in a big way. Consumers are looking for experiences, and there’s nothing like a memorable celebration to prompt Instagram photos, tweets and Facebook posts showing them and their friends having a great time interacting with your startup.

5) Use the Power of Connections

Referral programs with rewards for customers who turn friends and family members on to your brand are a great way to spur growth. Companies like Dropbox increase signups by offering perks in exchange for referrals. Create a reward system with relevant compensation for your target audience, and make it easy for them to share your products and services with their social circles. A simple link they can paste into emails or include in social media updates is best, but make sure it leads directly to your signup form so that potential referrals don’t get frustrated and leave because they can’t figure out how to take advantage of the deal.

6) Upgrade Your Word-of-Mouth Marketing

The majority of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family far more than traditional advertising, so getting people to talk up your brand is one of the most effective ways to grow your startup. Tell a compelling story in your marketing, and focus on delivering high quality in every process from product development to customer service. Satisfied customers share their experiences with others, creating a highly mobile and social marketing team with little or no additional investment on your part.

7) Leverage FOMO

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a powerful tool for attracting customers to your startup. If people think they’re going to lose out on a special offer or miss a deal, they’re more likely to respond to a marketing message. Create a sense of urgency with an exclusive beta launch, product trial or limited-time discount. Market the deal with a landing page, social media posts and emails to attract attention and drive traffic to your website.

8) Woo Your Competitor’s Customers

Solomon declared there’s nothing new under the sun, and this ancient statement still rings true. It’s hard to create a completely unique product or service, but you can offer something better than what’s available from competitors. Research your closest rivals, and find out what their customers complain about most often. Generate interest among this group by reaching out with an offer to show how your startup can improve their experience.

9) Give Something Away

Free trials, free versions of premium services and branded promotional products draw attention from people who like the idea of what your company offers but aren’t quite ready to commit. Giving these consumers a chance to try your products or handing out freebies to show you appreciate their interest makes them more likely to come back when they’re ready to make a purchase or sign up for a service.

10) Don’t Forget About Content

It can be easy to neglect your content strategy when you’re wrapped up in the craziness of launching your startup and trying to grow your audience, but content is still one of the best ways to attract more customers. The overall appearance and layout of your content is an important factor to consider. The graphics of the content also plays a significant role in creating engaging content. For instance, if you’re writing an article on the fashion industry, always prefer to include quality images within the copy, to keep your readers engaged in the article.

Not all startups will see spectacular results from every one of these hacks, but it pays to try those most relevant to your business model and industry. Monitor how each campaign affects your growth metrics, and continue to refine the most successful methods until you have a reliable set of tactics with the power to transform your startup into a strong business with a distinctive brand image.

Helen Cartwright is a passionate blogger, who excels in the Digital Marketing and Technology niche. When not wired in marketing strategies she ghost-write for a variety of authors who have their work published on leading online media channels such as The Huffington Post and