Marketing a small business can be difficult, more so when you have a restricted budget. Keeping the problems of a small business owner in mind, here I have narrated 100 small business marketing tips and tricks to get more clients quickly. I have covered all the key topics, i.e. direct marketing, online promotion, inexpensive marketing ideas for small business and more.
But before I narrate the tips, let me point out some really interesting small business marketing statistics 2019, as revealed by Devrix (the link is provided at the end.)
Though most small business owners realize the importance of marketing a business, only 64% invest in own websites.
Around 40% business owners spend a meager $10,000 or less on internet marketing.
Almost 47% small business owners prefer to do the promotion on their own.
71% of marketers take mobile marketing quite seriously.
In coming years, more money will be spend to advertise on digital and mobile media.
So, let’s start with my list of small business marketing tips, from which you can pick up the ones matching your company model and requirements.
Start With Some Detailed Planning- One of the Basic Small Business Marketing Strategy
You might be in a hurry to start the marketing, but, wait! Your hard work and efforts won’t deliver any result, if you do the promotion and advertising in an unplanned manner.
1. Do the market research on your own. Try to answer these questions
- Is my business idea feasible?
- Who are my competitors and how they are performing?
- Who are my customers and do they need my product/service?
2. Accordingly work out a marketing plan which supports your business goal, mission and vision.
3. Determine or develop the Unique Selling Proposition or USP which helps your business stand apart from the crowd. Make sure your business USP answers this basic question, “What’s special about your company? Why should I buy your product/service?”
4. Know precisely whom you want to reach out.
5. And then come up with some catchy marketing messages that not only grab attention but make the right promise too!
Get the Right Tools and Resources For Marketing a Small Business
If you really want to grow your business and spread the words quickly, then you can’t overlook this step. Apparently it might seem a bit expensive investing in marketing tools and resources, but, trust me, your efforts and money won’t go in vain!
6. Design a logo that strengthens your brand identity. Hire a graphic designer, if you are not comfortable designing it on your own.
7. Print business cards, one of the integral tools to start direct marketing. Decide whether you want a conventional or modern look for your business card. Then place the order online or get it done from local stores.
8. Plan the perfect brochure which briefly explains your company profile and its USP. The brochure can be a perfect advertising tool which comes in handy during networking events.
9. Get a business website. Later in this article, I have explained how to use your website for business promotion.
10. Think of some promotional products which can be gifted for free. For instance, coffee mugs or t-shirts with your business logo, printed on them.
11. Read few books to learn the ropes of small business promotion. Consider few of these bestsellers
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi,
Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller,
Marketing Made Simple- A Step-by-Step Storybrand guide for any business
12. Follow some of the best marketing blogs to stay updated about the latest trends.
13. Take the help of some of the best small business apps to grow your business without additional manpower.
Direct Marketing Ideas For Small Business Owners
While online is definitely the preferred medium to promote your small business but there are conventional marketing strategies that still work for local businesses.
How to Send a Direct Mail to Promote Your Business Locally
14. To reduce cost, you can send a simple postcard, that mentions your company name, address and an introductory offer.
15. Drop that product catalog in mailboxes. Yes, this is an age-old marketing strategy which still delivers result, especially if you are offering a certain product/service which people need immediately.
16. Send an one page mailer which mentions some great deals and discounts which people can’t resist!
17. Plan an attractive envelope or fun inserts which entices receiver to open the mail.
18. Send a reminder mail, letting people know that a special offer is going to close within a day or two.
19. Use your mailing list to send some free samples. Yes, people can hardly ignore a mail when it comes with something FREE!
How to Do Local Advertising As a Small Business Owner?
20. Design an attractive billboard or signboard and find a strategic location to place it.
21. Publish ads in local newspapers and magazines , especially the one related to your business. For instance, if you are into food business, you would prefer a magazine/newspaper which exclusively covers the food topic.
22. Radio advertising still works, though it might not be a cheap option. Often the cost depends on the city, radio station and time slot you chose.
23. Get yourself interviewed on your local cable networks.
24. Publish adverts on local cable TV channels, a cost-effective small business marketing strategy! For instance, you can easily get a 30-second slot on CNN for only $25, if you plan advertise your business in a semi-rural area. And then in smaller towns you can buy TV spots for only 2-3 dollars!
25. Print and distribute pamphlets locally. Select the distribution areas carefully. For example, if your shop is selling kids’ items, you would like to target the local parks, amusement centers, etc.
26. Host a local event, may be a contest, which appeals to your target customers. For instance, if you are selling kids’ products, you can plan a game show or sit-and-draw competition on a weekend.
27. Sidewalk marketing is an interesting and cheap way to promote your business locally. Get an artist to design colorful decals which can be pasted on streets/pavements/stairs. You can also consider chalk drawings to spread the word about your business.
28. Use your vehicle in an innovative manner to promote your business. For instance, you can paste stickers or do some drawings to let people know what you are up to!
29. Donate for a cause. In fact, during this Covid-19 pandemic, you can easily find many opportunities to donate for the poor and healthcare workers. Yes, it is definitely a noble way to get noticed and attract clients long-term!
30. If your budget permits, consider sponsoring a local sports event.
Networking Tips For Small Business Owners
If you are running a business, then you won’t be able to prosper without investing some time and money on networking.
Effective Networking Tips For Entrepreneurs
31. Make sure to attend every business networking event and conference. Sometimes you may need to pay a nominal registration fees to attend the conference. Consider it as a business investment which assures positive return!
32. Organize business workshops and invite other business owners in your locality to be a part of it. This is indeed a great opportunity to expand your business circle locally.
33. Keep your business cards ready to exchange during the networking events.
34. Consider a business association to cross promote each other’s products. For instance, you can plan a direct mail campaign with a local business owner, using the mailing list jointly. Or, you can promote deals and discounts of your local business partners and request them to do the same for your brand.
35. Plan an open house and invite your business associates and partners to attend it. This is an innovative way to showcase your business facilities and specialties to business associates, and co-workers.
36. Don’t hesitate to keep in touch over phone or email, after the networking event is over.
37. Plan an one-to-one meeting , if you feel the communication is taking a positive turn.
Few More Often Ignored Local Marketing Ideas
38. Offer to help your business associates, even if it is not related to your business. For instance, if someone is looking for a reliable web designer and you happen to know one, you can always be the matchmaker, even though you might not make money out of it.
39. Don’t be hesitant to ask for a favor. If you feel someone from your business network can help you with a quick reference or introduction, simply ask for it!
40. Be bold with your brand! Find an opportunity to display your brand locally other than signboards or adverts. For instance, you can work out a business association with local coffee shops to serve coffee on cups, designed with your company logo and name.
41. Take part in trade shows. But before you take the plunge, remember this is not a cost-effective marketing idea for your small business. You need to follow some specific steps to make the most of a trade show.
Internet Marketing Strategies Small Business
Now that we are going to hit the most trending part of small business marketing, be prepared for some exclusive and exhaustive tips!
How to Use Your Website For Small Business Marketing?
Your website can be a great promotional tool, provided you use it the right way.
42. Select your website design carefully. Avoid too cumbersome design that confuses visitors. Make sure your website looks great on different devices. Select fonts which are easy to read on mobile devices. if you decide to self-host the WordPress site, check out these necessary facts.
43. Spend time and money on on-page and off-page SEO, without which it is impossible to attract organic traffic to your website. Take special care to write product/service description so that they automatically rank higher on Google and other search engines. Invest in a high quality SEO tool (get 30% discount on the purchase), to find the most appropriate long-tail keywords, matching your business theme.
44. Make sure your visitors find the website easy to navigate. For instance, after reading a product description, if visitors fail to find the “Buy” button promptly, then your marketing efforts are going to fail for sure!
45. Your website needs to be super-fast with minimum downtime, else it will result in high bounce rate.
46. There should be enough visuals to engage visitors, e.g. banners, charts, images, gif, memes, Infographics, etc.
47. Offer something for free. This often encourages visitors to take an action. For instance if you are providing some sort of consulting services, then offer the first session for free.
48. Keep your online payment options transparent and reliable. Take all necessary measures to reduce ecommerce return rate. This will help boost your business goodwill.
49. Add a blog page and publish content regularly. Also take care to update existing blog posts with latest information. This is a great small business marketing strategy to get traffic without much effort.
50. Submit your website to appropriate online directories. For instance, if you are into real estate business, then you can consider platforms like Zillow or Realtor to post your properties for free! And of course, don’t forget to add your website to google my business.
51. Use Google Adwords to run a pay-per-click campaign.
How to Use Social Media For Your Small Business Promotion?
Needless to say that social media plays a huge role in promoting your small business, almost free of cost! However, you should be well-equipped with the right social media marketing strategies to get result from your efforts.
52. Open a Facebook page for your business. Your page should have the same name as your website name. Also make sure, the Facebook page displays your business logo, website URL and necessary contact information.
53. Plan your social media posting well in advance. Here’s a list of social media post ideas for 30 days.
54. Connect with influencers on Twitter and LinkedIn. Start by following them and then send a polite message, requesting them to check out your business website and write a few lines about it on their social platform.
55. Find micro influencers to promote your small business.
56. Publish ads on Facebook whenever you are coming up with a special offer or discount.
57. Offer freebies to social media influencers and request them to do a review post / video about your product/service.
58. Adopt the right strategy to promote your brand on Instagram.
59. Go live on Facebook and connect with your followers instantly. Use the sessions to answer questions, or to teach something new. Learn how to use live videos for small business promotion.
60. Share the social media buttons on your websites at strategic points to quickly divert the web traffic to your Facebook / Instagram pages.
How to Use YouTube For Small Business Marketing?
I know many might not be comfortable using videos as a marketing tool. But trust me, if you are serious about running your small business, then you just can’t ignore those 2 billion users who log in to Youtube every month! But before that, you should do little bit study to know how to start a popular Youtube channel.
61. Hesitant to face the camera? Then start by making presentation videos that offer information about your product/service. For example, you can simply do a slideshow offering info about your top 10 products.
62. Post interview videos. For instance, if you are a nutrition coach, you can plan an interview with a nutrition expert or dietitian and share it on your Youtube channel.
63. Make short videos of 1-2 minutes to keep your followers updated with daily tips and news.
64. Go personal by sharing videos about your hobbies and passion. Yes, it is a great way to connect with followers, without talking “business”!
65. Make instructional videos about how to use your product. For example, if you are selling a software, then people will follow your instructional video to use the software properly.
66. Have a good rapport with few of your buyers? Then you can plan an interesting video in a storytelling format, where the buyers share their experience of using your product. I guess, the premiere personal care brand, Dove, showed us how to advertise successfully by sharing real user experience.
67. Share fun videos of your weekends. Videos that show how you spend time with kids, take care of pets, or bake a special dish for the family, are going to be big hits!
68. Have you reached a milestone, e.g. 10lakh subscribers in a month? Then make a “Thank you” video for your subscribers.
Fresh Marketing Ideas to Build Long-Term Relationship With Customers
The success of a business ultimately demands on how well you bond with your customers and whether you are able to build up a long-term relationship with them.
69. Email marketing is one of the inexpensive marketing ideas for small business, that let you keep in touch with customers always. However getting result from email marketing is not easy at all, which is why you need to get prepared with the right strategies before launching the email campaign.
70. Start a referral program. For instance, if you are selling a software or app, you can reward the referrer for each download/purchase.
71. Reward your first-time buyers with special discounts on their second purchases. This will encourage them to keep coming back to you.
72. Announce special discounts and deals for long-term customers. Try something innovative like celebrating client appreciation day.
73. Remember to wish your clients on their special days like birthday or marriage anniversary.
74. Send gifts to your dedicated customers during Christmas or New Year.
75. Offer volunteering services to any charitable organization of your choice.
76. Set up an affiliate program and invite blogger and vloggers to participate in it.
How to Re-purpose Content For Business Promotion?
If you are not creating quality content, then you are simply missing out on inexpensive marketing ideas for small business! In fact, the current pandemic and endless lockdown phase puts greater emphasis on creating valuable content, Let’s see how you can use and re-use content to grow your business in 2020 and beyond.
77. Write high quality blog post which offers complete information about the topic. Share statistics and screenshots to prove your points.
78. Convert the blog post into an engaging video and post it on Youtube and other social media platforms. Share relevant blog post links along with the video to divert traffic to your website.
79. If you already have a good collection of videos, then convert them into informative blog posts and Infographics.
80. Covert your top-shared infographics into videos and slideshows. Post them on YouTube and SlideShare.
81. If you have a lengthy blog post which extensively covers a specific topic, then convert it into an eBook and self-publish it.
82. Plan a free webinar, before launching your product/service. Share your webinar video on YouTube.
83. Do you have a good collection of images which you have used in your blog posts? Then re-use them on social media platforms with the blog post link.
84. Start own podcast. Invite experts in your field to take part in interviews, and discussions on different topics.
85. Convert a series of newsletters into blog posts and videos.
Few More Out of the Box Ideas For Marketing Your Small Business
86. Use Quora to grow your brand, by answering questions related to your business/topic.
87. Blog commenting is also a great way to divert traffic to your blog. However, your blog comments should be constructive and relevant, else top bloggers might not approve your comment. Share your website URL (if permitted) along with the comment.
88. Boost your brand by launching own clothing line with your business logo/brand name/theme color. Consider low-cost items like t-shirts, scarves, tops, etc.
89. Write guest posts for other business blogs and share your website link inside the post. This is a great off-page SEO strategy which instantly boosts your website Domain Authority.
90. Join online forums related to your topic/business. Participate actively by offering useful suggestions.
91. Get noticed with eco-friendly marketing. For instance, you can use recycled products for packaging purpose. Or you can work with green vendors and suppliers.
92. Try something a little weird! For example, you can hire someone to wear a sandwich board advertising your company at a community event.
93. Plan a scavenger hunt which leads people to your office/shop, one of the inexpensive marketing ideas for small business to increase footfall.
94. Offer to be a guest speaker for free, at local community group events. For instance, if you run a security service agency, you can talk about what types of security services and tools are needed for residential and commercial buildings.
95. Write a book related to your business topic. Quite an easy way to prove your expertise and competency!
96. Consider Pinterest marketing. Create visually appealing pins and link them to your website and blogs.
97. Install a messenger chat bot on your website to connect with visitors instantly.
98. Create Virtual Reality (VR) content. A 360 degree videos or 3D animation can grab attention of visitors quickly and help you stay ahead of competitors.
99. Use WhatsApp to stay connected with customers 24×7. You can initiate a group or one-to-chat based on your marketing objective.
100. Outsource some of the marketing tasks to experts, e.g. SEO, copywriting, graphic designing, etc.
The above mentioned small business marketing tips will surely work for your company, provided you have done a thorough planning. As I mentioned in the beginning, start with a proper marketing plan and stick to it. Wait for at least 6-9 months to assess the outcome. And then you can decide the next move.
Related links used as reference:
Sweta is a veteran content creator, passionate traveler, movie enthusiast, music lover (reasonably good singer!), an informed reader …. and a coffee connoisseur! She has over 10 years experience in developing content for small businesses, internet marketing firms, website development companies and internet entrepreneurs. The experience has helped her develop in-depth knowledge about small business online which she now shares on the OnlismallbiZ platform. In her own words, “I am a dreamer and a doer!”