Sebastian Decker in an interview about startups and their risks and opportunities to market themselves online

29. July 2020 – Mandy Weinand

Startups are becoming more and more important in today’s society. A start-up is a young company with an innovative business idea and great growth potential.

Sebastian Decker: Marketing an innovative business idea brings with it several challenges.

  • How can the innovative product be made comprehensible to new interested parties
  • And who are the ideal customers for the new product?

Finding answers to these questions is essential if a start-up wants to market itself effectively and profitably as quickly as possible. In the enormous challenge of positioning and marketing themselves on the market, many startups get professional help on board.

One partner who can support them in this area with a wealth of experience is Dr. Sebastian Decker. He is the owner of marketing for winners and trainer of the Google Future Workshop. As an expert in the e-commerce sector, he has been helping young online shop operators for several years to exploit the full potential of their shops with the help of online marketing measures, to increase click and order rates, and to achieve an improved positioning of the shops in search engines and thus in the entire market.

We talk with Sebastian Decker about the online marketing opportunities and risks of start-ups and what they need to be aware of in order to successfully get beyond the critical start-up phase.

Premium Speakers: Sebastian Decker, in your opinion, what are the advantages of start-up companies compared to large, established companies?

Sebastian Decker: Especially in start-ups there are still few rigid structures. This makes these young companies flexible and they can react very quickly to the rapid changes in the Internet and the market. The flat hierarchies and the “hands-on” mentality also help to fully exploit the existing potential, which is usually no longer possible in large companies. Here, deadlocked internal processes and long hierarchical paths simply get in the way of quick and uncomplicated adjustments. Startups are usually young, fresh and motivated. All they need to do is to make the right use of this potential.

Premium Speakers: What are the difficulties that startups face?

Sebastian Decker: No matter how brilliant the idea or how special and good the product is, startups first have to establish themselves and their product on the market and introduce it to potential customers. They are faced with the task of exploring a completely new market, defining their target group and marketing their product, without references, without data, without a customer base. This is an enormous task at the beginning, which many start-ups fail. Unfortunately, even a sensationally good product alone is no guarantee for success.

Premium Speakers: How can startups in particular generate leads online?

Sebastian Decker: In order to secure their place in the market, it is essential that start-ups position themselves clearly from the outset and communicate their added value in an understandable way.

These 6 points should be strictly observed:

1. Less is more.

Especially online users have a short attention span and therefore have to understand immediately what a company stands for and which solution it offers. In addition, a company that focuses on one thing is perceived directly as an expert, even without major references.

2. Offer a small barrier to entry in online sales.

Especially if the startup offers a product or service of several 500 € or more, it will be difficult to sell directly online without great references. Lead generation instead of direct purchase should therefore be the online sales target. This means that you should sell online instead of a sale, for example a free meeting or consultation appointment. In the conversation, startups can then not only effectively gain and sell trust, but also get to know the market, the needs and the language of their real target group.

3. Social media marketing for startups – promoting “personal” contacts.

Often people post what they can, but don’t get real customers out of it. You only look at the number of likes and comments, but you don’t make the most of them.

Social media means “social” media for one reason. It’s about social interactions.

Someone who comments on something under a social media post can already be considered a lead. An interested party who comments should at least receive a personal reply in the comments and in the best case be contacted personally via a private message, the more so to reach the personal phone call.

4. Obtain customer feedback in video or text form particularly early.

Just ask and collect. The more testimonials the better. This provides social proof and strengthens brand building and should be addressed right from the start.

5. Quick testing, evaluation & improvement

Start-ups have short, unbureaucratic decision-making paths – a huge strength in online marketing. So a lot can be tested and found out which advertising messages work best for the target groups.

6. Use and optimise web analysis

From the very beginning, startups should collect as much analysis data as possible in order

  1. To optimize your websites for your users and
  2. To feed the data back to the advertising platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.) so that their algorithms can optimise the control of the advertising campaigns.

Premium Speakers: How can you concretely support Internet start-ups?

Sebastian Decker: Successful online marketing has nothing to do with luck!

  1. We show our customers how they can fully exploit their potential on the Internet and give them clarity about what they should do and often, more importantly: what not to do!
  2. We show how the existing data on the Internet can be used optimally to grow profitably with this knowledge.
  3. We help data driven, completely rational step by step to optimize the website or the shop and to grow through advertisements

In doing so, I am available as a consultant and trainer for the start-up team or I can provide support with my team as an implementing partner.



  • Many startups stay below their possibilities, burn advertising budget or communicate their product benefits in a way that is not understandable for their target group.
  • A good product alone unfortunately does not guarantee success. But if you manage to position yourself clearly, define your target group exactly and address it in the right way, you will be successful in the long run and be able to grow beyond the start-up phase.
  • Online marketing is a tool with many possibilities here and should be used by start-ups to market themselves in a scalable and measurable profitable way.

Sebastian Decker

Expert in Online-Marketing & Digital Sales-Strategies - Google Future Lab