Key Digital Marketing Tips from the New Startup Plus Program Growdigital

Day 30. June 2021 posted Anemari Pediček

Digital marketing has become an indispensable part of modern, global market-oriented startups. The growing number of tools that are available, their complexity, and the intensified competitive situation on the global market, increase the difficulty of successful implementation.


For the first time, Slovene Enterprise Fund offered a specialized digital marketing program called GROWdigital – among other Startup plus programs intended for its portfolio companies – and provides modern knowledge and practical solutions for effective performance in digital channels.


The participants of the GROWdigital program, coordinated by the Zavod mladi podjetnik (eng. Young Entrepreneur Institute) and implemented by three eminent experts, have already had four workshops.  In the coming weeks, individual counselling is still waiting for them. Read the main tips and tricks from the four workshops.


SAFER method - the foundation of successful planning in the field of digital marketing 

Superficial planning of digital performance is a common cause of poor results, points out Marko Penko, who led the introductory workshop. Therefore, in his work, he developed his own model called SAFER, which provides a structured approach to planning and running digital campaigns. It consists of five elements:

  1. Strategy
  2. Acquisition
  3. Flow
  4. Engage
  5. Retain


1. Strategy

The first element is strategy. It defines the key features of a digital campaign and consists of several levels:

Channel strategy; platform selection strategy

Content strategy; a strategy of what we will publish on these channels

Media Strategy.


In the first strategy, it is necessary to explore which platforms are crucial to reach your target customers. You need to choose up to three key platforms on which you will advertise and reach your target customers. The choice depends on a good knowledge of customers and their habits of using digital platforms.


Once you have selected them, come up with a content strategy. Each platform needs its own content, for example, on Instagram, power is based on images and it’s good to establish a conversation with consumers, while on YouTube, video is at the forefront and communication is one-way. Each channel has a separate content strategy, linked by a common thread. How many channels you include, depends on how much content you can handle, Penko advises.


Media strategy is about paid advertising and is key to a company’s revenue growth. The bigger the budget, the more you can achieve. Setting budgets and goals for each platform is a must.


When it comes to strategy, you must not forget: 


With the help of tactics, you can accelerate sales, create leads, and more. One of them is discounts.​


  • Budgeting

    How much money you spend on media costs, creative productions (influencers), agencies and digital tools (e.g. e-mail marketing, CRM).


It is necessary to define KPIs or key metrics (non-financial and financial), which may relate to marketing, product, customer service and public relations. KPIs serve as an orientation in decision-making and performance measurement.


  • Market research

    With the help of various tools such as Google Ads, Google Keyword Planner, Consumer Barometer, Facebook Audience Insight Tool etc., you can check how your product is searched for, what potential it has in the market, whether it is interesting for consumers and more.


  • Persona preparation

    Many companies forget about this part and make sure that yours is not among them. It is necessary to prepare about three personas, where you determine who your target customer is according to age, demographics, work area, etc. It makes it easier to communicate with marketing agencies and make a plan.


  • Competition research

    With research, you can see where the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are and their positioning. You can also take advantage of their weaknesses, if your competition is strong on Google and weak on Facebook, you can focus your work on Facebook.

Market research tools


2. Acquisition

Once you have a strategy in place, you can focus on the acquisition. Acquisition refers to how to gain customers, through which channels and with what approaches. Today, Google and Facebook dominate, but there are many other ways. For a successful acquisition, you need to know potential customers and have defined the personas you are targeting. Once you have that, you can focus even more on determining the channels and make an analysis of which channel worked best. After analyzing the data, you can also see whether to use the “Push” or “Pull” approach.



If there are no current searches for your products, you will need to use a "Push" approach based primarily on advertising. In this case, the customer is not aware that they have a problem and consequently will not look for the product, so the most appropriate is the "Push" approach. Facebook and LinkedIn are best for it. The more the customer realizes he needs the product the easier it is to sell and the cheaper it is. For a customer who is aware that he needs the product, you can use the "Pull" approach.


Channels in digital marketing


3. Flow

We get to "flow" when we gain the attention of our target customers and attract them to our website. Many potential customers visit our website but do not make a purchase, so it is important to define the "flow" or a sequence of actions that will lead them to buy the product. In particular, various retargeting strategies are used, such as e-mails, ads via Facebook, Google or LinkedIn.


4. Engage 

The fourth element relates to how to convince customers to trust and buy the product. The website must be designed to attract the customer and stay on it. You can present the solution to the customer and make it as convincing as possible. We often talk too much about the company and too little about the customer.


5. Retain 

The last element deals with how to keep existing customers in the database and convince them to buy the products. You can do this with the help of VIP offers for regular customers, seasonal promotions, etc. You need to keep in touch with existing customers and communicate with them regularly, because they are the ones who will help you grow, give you feedback, recommend you, help you and keep your company alive.


Important! You also have to create a brand in your strategy so that your sales will not only depend on advertising but that the customer will return, Penko advises.


Eight trends not to overlook when making a digital strategy


1. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important in all areas of marketing. Every company needs to be aware that the role of the marketer will be even more strategic in the future and there will be less and less work in optimization as the algorithms are already so smart that they do it themselves. It is recommended to monitor artificial intelligence because of its frequent use.


2. Pragmatic advertising

Pragmatic advertising is the concept of using artificial intelligence made possible by tools like Facebook and Google to help us target our target audience. Automation with artificial intelligence is much more efficient and faster, which means bigger conversions and lower customer acquisition costs.


It can be used on various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google Display, LinkedIn. One form of pragmatic advertising is also “Real time bidding”. Manual monitoring and bidding for the sites we wished to advertise on would be almost impossible. With real-time bidding, the marketer sets limits on advertising and budget, and the system agrees on each placement of the ad in the real-time auction, which happens in tenths of a second. 


3. Online chats and chatbots

In practice, there are fewer calls and emails, as more communication takes place via chats e.g. Messenger. More and more people are asking questions about the product through chats, so we need to start realizing their importance.

When using chats, keep in mind that you need to respond as soon as possible, but when you are not available, turn on the chatbot.

Remember: for a good chatbot, you really need to take your time.


4. Video marketing

Video presentation is one of the key forms of sales in digital marketing. With video content, you can show and describe the product in a more interesting way and impress the customer, but you have to keep in mind that it has to be concise and approach the customers more personally. It is recommended to prepare several videos and test them on one of the platforms.  

Tip: one of the best platforms for testing video ads is Facebook.


5. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is on the rise and more companies use them to produce video content and promote their products. Nowadays, influencer marketing is no longer just focused on Instagram, but also appears in other places. It is important that you have a strategy in place that defines which influencers to work with and how long the collaboration will last. It is also necessary to explore who would be suitable for your industry. It is better if the collab is long-term rather than a campaign because you increase the interest in the product.


You can start working with micro-influencers (they have about 10,000 followers), as they also create quality content.


Influencer marketing

6. Sustainable development

During the pandemic, we reset ourselves, set new values, ​​as well as began caring for the environment and individual’s well-being. Today, everything is more focused on health and care for their own mental and physical health, so it is recommended that companies implement these values ​​in their marketing.

Did you know? Customers also buy values ​​and not just the product.


7. Omnichannel commerce

Many companies sell their products on their own website, which is effective only until the brand is not recognizable enough and does not have a developed branding. A company needs to work on building a brand online if it really wants to make the most of the power of digital media and start appearing on platforms like Amazon, Etsy, Mimovrste.


8. Consumer privacy 

Apple recently began introducing changes to protect data privacy. IOS users who will have an updated version of 14.5 will have better control over their privacy. Android is also moving in that direction, which means that online advertising will become a much bigger challenge. It will be much harder to measure results and segment customers, so digital marketing will need to be even smarter and work on brand building.


What are some untapped opportunities in Slovenia??



In the video above, Marko Sekulič, a digital strategist who also participates in the GROWdigital program, pointed out the untapped opportunities he sees in digital marketing.



GROWdigital is part of the broad content support for start-up companies, which is provided to its portfolio companies by the Slovene Enterprise Fund under the common name Startup Plus Programs.


Other programs and how to take advantage of them



Participating companies are excited about new knowledge and the practical approach

Numerous startup companies were included in the program, and among them was the team of the startup company Kitarske kreacije, which will present itself on Kickstarter. Marko, the director of the company, said that they decided to attend the lectures because they wanted to upgrade their knowledge in marketing. Their team is mostly made up of engineers and they are aware that marketing is a key issue to get things done well in the future. They learned how important data analysis is, how they can make the most of things, and what they need to pay attention to.


Take a look at what Marko Klobučar from the startup Kitarske kreacije has to say about the program.



Marko advises all future participants:

“Don’t be hesitant to attend the lectures because you think you already know everything. Maybe there's something else you don't know that is the key to helping your business. ”

Entrepreneur Jernej Mirt from startup VIAR said the following:

I really liked that the lecturer always started with the “big picture”, so he said something in general about a certain topic, how it is used and only then went into the details. It was only during lectures that we realized how little we know about analytics and how important details are. We have already applied certain knowledge we have acquired and the results are already starting to show. The lectures were really great and I advise all startups to attend them, as you get a great insight into Google Adwords, Facebook and Instagram. ”

Get to know the other portfolio companies of the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the opportunities to join them and take advantage of the rich financial and content support of Startup Plus Programs



Another top and quality program

The GROWdigital program was available free of charge to all young companies that are recipients of start-up incentives P2, SK75 or SI-SK of the Slovene Enterprise Fund and was created in order for participants to acquire and deepen their knowledge in the field of digital marketing. It consisted of two parts, namely four free group workshops and free individual sessions, where companies were assigned one of three mentors who helped the participants with their knowledge and experience and the development of a concrete strategy.


You can find more about GROWdigital here.


Slovene Enterprise Fund also organizes many other top entrepreneurial programs for portfolio companies, such as the Push2start Acceleration Program, Startup Clinic, SK GROWTH CAMP, NextRound, KorpoStart, INTL, HardwareSTART and ScaleUPgrade. The content programs effectively complement the financial products P2, SK75 and SI-SK, which provide Slovenian start-up companies with EUR 54,000 to EUR 600,000 in start-up funds.


Find out more about the Startup Plus Program




Content support for recipients of P2, SK75 or SI-SK financial products under the "de minimis" scheme is co-financed from the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund. This is implemented on the basis of the Content Support for Funds Recipients (SMEs) Programme in the 2018-2023 period, under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.



Startup Plus Program SPS Slovene Enterprise Fund GROWdigital
Izvedba: Mojdenar IT d.o.o.