Logo - Full (Color)
Skip to content
New call-to-action

The Startup Growth Playbook

Building and scaling a startup as an entrepreneur requires hustle, finesse, and a whole lot of work. The HubSpot for Startups team is here with the playbook we used to grow HubSpot from a startup to a public company.



At HubSpot for Startups we help young companies grow using inbound marketing sales, and service, but it became clear that to do this there was something missing - a guide to how inbound can be specifically leveraged for startups.

Your company’s path to scale is unique. With this playbook, you can create a marketing plan custom to your company and ensure your business is on the road to success. Full of tools, templates, guides, and much more, the Startup Growth Playbook is an interactive guide that will allow you to approach your marketing at full speed.


You can't out-spend the giants, but you can out-think, out-teach, and out-help them.

Brian Halligan

Co-Founder and CEO




At the core of planning an effective marketing, sales, and service approach is embracing a set of guideposts to lead your strategy. We recommend the inbound methodology for startups. Broken into three main segments - attract, engage, and delight - inbound marketing has proven to be effective for startups who need fast growth on a limited budget.

inbound-methodology (1)-3

Embracing Inbound

What Makes Inbound Different?


Go to Market Strategy Blueprint

Beginning Your Journey Towards Marketing Success

Planning your go to market strategy is a critical step in ensuring your future marketing successes. Going to market might feel a little bit like you against the world; there are dozens of different channels you can target: from social media, to organic, to referral, but how do you know which one is best for your company?


Marketing Plan Generator

This template will help you outline your annual marketing strategy, identify your most important initiatives, and track the right metrics all year long


Get your budget on track!

Marketing productively requires a significant investment in time, energy, and money. As such, a solid marketing budget should be a critical component of your go to market strategy.


PR and Branding Kit

Build your brand and get your startup and product noticed with this kit of PR and Branding guides and templates.



As a young company, nothing is more important than driving traffic to your website. The easiest way to attract traffic to your website begins with understanding your target audience then producing content they love.



Persona Development

Defining Your Audience

You can't market a product or service without knowing who you are selling to. Thus, the first step in attracting visitors is creating a buyer persona for your ideal customer:

"Buyers personas are semi-fictional, holistic ideals of what your customers are really like, inside and out. They are based on market research and real data about your existing customers" 

 Create yours today using the "Make My Persona Generator" below.

Make My Persona Generator

Create your personas today!

Defining your buyer persona allows you to keep your marketing efforts hyper-focused, concentrate exclusively on the most rewarding prospects, and make the most of your limited resources.

Customer Journey

Establish the Path

At the core of any marketing campaign should be a thorough analysis of your customer’s journey. While you can’t understand every possible route a prospect might take towards becoming a customer, it is critical that you do have an idea of the major ones.


If you want to truly understand what drives your customers, check out HubSpot Academy's tutorial on the buyer’s journey to help get you started on thinking about your own customers


Understanding how your customers ultimately reach a purchase is complex. Check out this webinar on how to truly get in the mind of your audience to attract the right prospects and customers

Website Evaluation

Is Your Site up to Snuff?

You’ve spent many long days getting your website live online and your efforts have paid off: it looks great, it’s easy to use, but you’re not quite done. You need a website that not only functions well but one that drives traffic. Use to the tools below to ensure that your website performs well across all devices and search engines.


Website Grader

Grade your website against the rest of web based on overall performance, mobile functionality, SEO optimization, and security operations


The Future of Content Strategy: How to Win at SEO

HubSpot SEO and blogging expert Aja Frost does a deep-dive into the topic-cluster editorial model and how startups can apply it to win the right keywords for the right pages.


Growth Driven Design

Full website redesigns are tricky and often lead to lackluster results. Learn how to execute Growth-Driven design and redesign your websites faster for less money and with less stress.

SEO and Keyword Planning

Fine-Tune Your Website

A great SEO strategy begins with your buyer personas. 

They have a problem, you have the solution, but what steps will lead them to becoming a customer? The journey all begins with the first query they type into their search engine.

Figuring out what exactly that first search looks like is the key to developing an SEO strategy - these searches will end up forming the basis for your keyword strategy. How do you come up with these keywords and how do you ensure they are the right ones? Check out the tools below:


Not the creative type? Ubersuggest can supply potential keywords to help get you going


Research potential keywords to see their historical stats and how they might perform


Use this on-page SEO template guide to ensure you are optimizing your keywords to their full potential

SEO Kit for Startups and Entrepreneurs

Get Found on Online Search!

Use this set of guides and templates curated specifically for startups and entrepreneurs to start crushing your SEO strategy in no time!


Reeling in Visitors

You’ve perfected your persona and kicked butt with your keywords, now it’s time to start generating some killer content. At first, blogging might seem like a distraction from your company's true goals, however, there are three important reasons why you shouldn't dismiss content marketing just yet:

Clearly, blogging plays a key role in the inbound methodology but maintaining a quality blog isn't a walk in the park. Doing so requires producing valuable and excellent content at regular intervals.

 Use the tools below to get started creating your own creative, helpful, and beautiful blog:


Blog Ideas Generator

Struggling to come up with good ideas for your blog posts? This blog ideas generator will help get you going.


Editorial Calendar Templates

An organized blog makes it easier for followers to know when to expect content. Use this blog editorial calendar to keep your blogging timely.


5 Free Blog Post Templates

Make your blog look professional right from the very first post using these 5 free blog post templates

We don’t want just any traffic to our site, we want the right traffic. We want the people who are most likely to become leads, and, ultimately, happy customers

Kim Walsh

Global VP, HubSpot for Startups



Now that you’ve attracted website visitors, you need to engage them with your content and turn them into repeat visitors. As you provide more value to your prospects you will begin to build trust.


Content Offer Creation

Educate Prospects and Earn Trust 

Now that you've attracted prospects through your blog and social media posts, it's time to use more advanced content to convert them into leads. Every blog post should be followed by a call-to-action - a noticeable, clickable button - linking to a content offer that prospects receive in exchange for their contact information.

What type of content you offer depends on the stage of the buyer's journey. The resources below will help guide you through this decision process. 


Which Content for Which Stage?

Deciding which content offers are right for which stages of the buyer’s journey isn’t easy. This “Guide to Building a Killer Content Strategy” will help you decode the buyer’s journey and create a solid plan for accomplishing your content goals.


Ebook Templates

Ebooks make a great content offer for converting leads. However, they can often be difficult to produce for those lacking a design background. These ebook templates will simplify the process by taking care of all the design for you.


Content Creation Hacks

Often, the biggest difficulty in creating quality content is a lack of time, resources and writing or design skills getting in the way. Check out these 34 hacks created by other marketers to help you tackle these challenges.

Making the Most of Your Content Offers

If you are taking all the time to produce great content you want to make sure you are getting the most use of it. Check out this post on 5 Ways to Squeeze the Most Use out of Your Content Offers

Email Marketing Kit for Startups and Entrepreneurs

Start emailing like a pro today!

A free kit of templates, guides, and inspiration curated for startups and entrepreneurs looking to kickstart their email marketing strategy.

Engagement and Analytics

Optimizing Your Funnel 

No startup can afford to lose any time or money - quickly figuring out which marketing channels are working and which aren't is critical. Once you've identified these channels, it's time to double down on the successes and re-evaluate or cut the failures loose. 

Check out the resources below to get your reporting and analytics skills up to par: 

HubSpot Analytics: Measure everything in one place

Measure the performance of your entire marketing funnel in one place with built-in analytics, reports, and dashboards. It’s everything you need to be a smarter, data-driven marketer.

Marketing Report Template: Get your reporting up to par

Reporting is a critical step in making sure that you’re making the most of your time and money. Use this simple monthly marketing report template to make creating your next report a breeze.

Ad Spend Calculator: Put your advertising dollars to their best use

Knowing how much to pay for ads is difficult. While it might feel like luck-of-the-draw, it doesn't have to. Using a few key metrics, the Ad Spend Calculator can evaluate your ad spending.


Inbound Marketing Requires Inbound Sales

At the end of every interaction with a well-crafted inbound marketing team needs to be a sales team ready to receive leads and close deals. To truly make the most of your leads, it’s critical for your sales team to embrace the inbound sales methodology.

New to the concept of Inbound Sales? No problem! Use the free Inbound Sales Certification course and HubSpot's free CRM to get up to speed in no time.


Free Inbound Sales Certification

The Inbound Sales Certification course will train you on exactly what inbound sales is all about so you can better identify, connect, and advise today’s buyer.


HubSpot's Free CRM

Crucial to making the most of your sales team is use of an effective CRM. HubSpot's free CRM allows your salespeople to easily manage their pipeline and monitor deals in real-time.

Sales Guides and Templates Kit

Sales Guides and Templates Kit

Use the Sales Guides and Templates Kit for Startups and Entrepreneurs to hit the ground running with your sales strategy.



The cost of acquiring a new customer is dramatically higher than the cost of retaining an existing customer. Creating the final step of the inbound methodology, delighting customers should be treated with the same care and attention as all the other steps of the methodology.


Captivating Customers

Aim to Please

 It's easy to move straight on to the next prospect after closing a customer, but happy and loyal customers can be a game-changer for a new business: they can become repeat purchasers, promoters of your brand, or even play a role in creating your next product.

Check out the posts below to get your startup's delight game in to full gear:


Go Beyond Good Enough: How to Delight Your Customers


You Don’t Know Jack: Learning to Understand and Delight Your Most Important Marketing Asset


How to Design an Inbound Campaign That Delights Customers

Continuing Education

Grow Your Knowledge

Marketing is becoming harder and harder everyday: it requires more analytics, more thought, more creativity. However, if done well it can also be less expensive, more efficient, and more beneficial to the customer.

The world is going inbound and so are the most successful companies. If you want to truly master the ins and outs of inbound marketing, there is no better way than to get Inbound Certified through HubSpot Academy.

Inbound Certification

Get Inbound Certified Now!

Want to become and Inbound Expert? Take HubSpot Academy's Inbound Certification and become an expert ASAP!



 HubSpot for Startups Lightbulb

HubSpot for Startups is designed to help startups grow. If eligible, your startup will receive up to a 75% discount for HubSpot's complete software in the first year.

We understand that startups have limited budgets for sales and marketing software. That's why we created HubSpot for Startups. If eligible, you're granted anywhere from 30-75% off HubSpot's customer platform in the first year. 

HubSpot helps you easily build beautifully responsive landing pages, emails, blog content, and more. It also plugs into apps for startups, so you can integrate all your tools. The Startup Onboarding gives you technical assistance in setting up your portal, up to one training session per quarter with a marketing and sales coach, 24/7 access to HubSpot's best-in-class support team, and HubSpot's training academy to teach you best practices for Inbound Marketing and Sales.