50 Ideas for Your 2023 Small Business Marketing Strategy

Katherine Boyarsky

Published: May 19, 2023

Whether you’re launching a new business or already have one, having a small business marketing strategy that includes a strong online presence for your brand is essential.

A woman runs her small business from her laptop

Consumers learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else, with Statista predicting the number of ecommerce users to grow to nearly 290 million by 2027 .

If you’re a small business owner with little experience in online marketing, creating a strategy to boost your online presence may feel overwhelming. Have no fear — we’ve got you covered.

In this post, we’ll help you build and optimize your small business marketing strategy using inbound marketing , setting you up to attract new clients and ultimately grow your business.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

Small Business Marketing

Marketing is meant to raise brand awareness and build a pipeline of qualified leads that turn into sales. With a small business, getting the word out can be challenging due to less visibility and lack of resources (like budget or time).

However, there are key strategies that can help you scale your small business’s marketing efforts.

Whether you’re struggling with a limited budget, the time restraints caused by a smaller team, or even a lack of direction, a marketing plan appropriate for your business can guide you as you scale.

Small Business Marketing Strategies

These strategies are fundamental as you generate awareness and revenue for your organization:

1. Know your audience.

A key mistake is thinking that “anyone” is your buyer. Larger companies may be able to appeal to a wide market, but they say “the riches are in the niches” for a reason.

You’ll have the most leverage as a small business in a niche. And to develop a niche and appeal to buyers within it, you must understand their pains, problems, triggering events, and priorities.

What is pushing them to make a purchasing decision? What does it look like if they succeed? Knowing these things will help you craft messaging that resonates and makes a compelling case for your solution.

Start by thinking about your existing customers and who you’d like to work with. Then, create a buyer persona to get into your ideal client's head.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Download Free Buyer Persona Templates

2. Emphasize your value proposition.

If there’s no difference between you and your competition, there’s no reason why a buyer would be compelled to work with you.

Your value proposition is what will differentiate you from others in your space and make up your prospects’ minds that you're the provider to go with.

What do you do better than anyone in the industry? Conveying this makes a compelling argument.

3. Stay focused on singular goals and objectives.

If you’re exploring the world of marketing, you may have noticed that there are a gazillion directions you can go in. It’s tempting to do it all at once and craft a complicated machine in hopes that you covered all your bases.

However, this strategy makes it easy to take on too much.

Instead, identify where the biggest impact will be. Where is the biggest blind spot in your marketing prohibiting your growth?

Set a performance goal around that one key area and focus your resources on the activities and tactics that will achieve that one performance goal.

You can expand your efforts or pivot to other initiatives when you’ve made more progress toward that singular goal.

4. Capitalize on short-term plays.

Start scrappy. As you scale, it’s critical to see ROI sooner. This will give you the momentum and cash flow to put toward larger projects, long-term plays, and more sustainable growth models.

Tactics that take time to build (such as SEO) are poor fits for your primary initiatives because you won’t see a return soon enough for your liking. If you have enough resources to start there, great. However, don’t put all your eggs in that basket.

If you have evidence that people are taking to Google with purchasing intent for your particular solution, you may find that paid ads will give you that short-term ROI.

5. Double down on what works.

Once you have your initiatives running and you’ve experimented with a few things, pay attention to the data. This can inform you of what’s working. As you scale, it’s a good idea to double down on proven methods of generating revenue.

6. Understand the power of existing customers.

On average, acquiring a new customer costs five times more than closing an existing one. This means you shouldn’t stop marketing once they’ve made a purchase.

Identify your opportunities for repeat purchasing, upselling, and cross-selling. Because your existing customers have already made a purchase, they already know, like, and trust you.

If you’ve provided a good experience, you’ve given them a reason to do business with you again should the need ever arise.

Even if the need doesn’t arise (in cases where it’s a one-and-done purchase with no upsell opportunities), you should still delight your customers. Word of mouth is a powerful (and free) promotional tool.

7. Use free promotional tools.

Speaking of free promotional tools, it’s important to note that since you’ve committed to a limited goal and scope, there’s no need to inflate your overhead with gadgets.

Use free promotional tools where possible, and only commit to paid tools if you know they will drastically improve existing operations or performance. Here’s a helpful list of marketing tools (some free, some paid).

8. Create a website to own your online presence.

A professional-looking website is one of the most important assets you will create for your small business. This is where you will show who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how a potential customer can contact you.

It is a channel you will always own, and it has the capability of generating organic traffic in addition to being a place to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.

Your website isn’t just a simple brochure, either. You can turn it into a 24/7 salesperson by understanding how to convert traffic and turn them into leads (more on that later).

For one of the best website tools, check out HubSpot’s CMS .

9. Consider blogging to attract prospects for your website.

Blogging is a great way to generate organic traffic, particularly for those prospects who have not reached a purchasing decision yet . In addition, it can establish credibility in your space and position you as a thought leader.

To start a blog, you can use an inexpensive or free website tool to make a free site and use one of their templates.

Even if you only publish once a week, it will improve your website’s visibility online and help educate your potential customers on why they should trust your company.

If you plan to write your posts yourself, check out this beginner’s guide to writing .

Once you start writing, you can add a call-to-action (CTAs) on your posts for visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive emails.

This is a great way to start collecting leads and offering potential customers a way to get information if they aren’t ready to buy anything from you yet.

blog post templates graphic

Download Free Blog Post Templates

10. Promote yourself on social media.

With billions of potential customers using various platforms daily, social media is a powerful business tool. Social media marketing can help you engage with potential customers, build brand awareness, and promote your products.

Why wouldn’t you want to be seen where your potential customers spend their time?

The Social Media Content Calendar Template Every Marketer Needs [Free Template]-4

Download the Free Social Media Content Calendar Template

11. Collaborate with influencers to create brand awareness.

Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are top of the list when it comes to social media platforms . But, if your small business is not yet well known on these outlets, consider collaborating with well-established influencers in your niche.

Influencer marketing is currently the top marketing trend. Collaborating with influencers is a surefire way to get your business in front of the eyes of your audience. Influencers understand their (and your!) niche.

Not only do they understand the niche, but influencers have a knack for storytelling — meaning, they’ll be able to effectively tell your business’s story and sell your brand to the appropriate audience.

Consider reaching out to influencers in your niche to add to your small business marketing strategy.

12. Create short-form video content.

Marketers know that a good marketing strategy for your small business should include more than just written content. In fact, in 2022, 44% of social media marketers focused their efforts on creating video content for TikTok.

Adding short-form video content to your marketing strategy is a great idea, as platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook make connecting and engaging with your audience convenient.

Short-form video content is easily shared, meaning you can quickly get your product or service in front of the right audience — and their friends.

13. Stick to a social media posting schedule.

You shouldn’t just post to your social media platforms hoping that something will become a viral post. Instead, you must focus on intentional content creation and posting.

After you find the social media platform that works best for your business, create a social media content calendar and stick to a regular posting schedule.

But, don’t just post every day for the sake of posting. 83% of social media marketers say it’s better to post at a lower frequency with high-quality content than daily posting.

You’ll likely post irrelevant, low-quality content when you post daily.

Take the time to create engaging, thoughtful content and schedule it for the appropriate times to stand out from the competition.

14. Invest in ads.

Organic traffic takes a while to build, and as a small business, you want to invest in short-term plays. Pay-to-play tactics that target buyers with high intent are great for short-term wins to jump-start other objectives.

80% of brands use some form of paid advertisement. Google Ads are perfect if you know that your target audience is searching the web for your product or solution. If they aren’t, you might consider social media ads instead.

Individuals on social media have less buying intent, but with highly targeted ads and enough impressions, you’ll gain the interest of your audience.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Download the Free Advertising Planning Kit

15. Make sure you’re capturing web prospects’ information.

We’ve been talking a lot about visibility and traffic but haven’t really covered how these will help drive revenue yet. One simple way to start generating leads or customers from your website is to implement a conversion tool.

A simple, free option is HubSpot Marketing Free . By using this tool to add a pop-up widget to your website , you can start collecting the email addresses of potential customers.

From there, you can send out promotions and offers and convert them into paying customers. You can also implement any of these 24 conversion tools to help you optimize your website and use it to drive leads.

16. Use email marketing to nurture leads.

Just because you’ve converted website traffic into leads doesn’t mean those leads are ready to buy yet. It’s important to stay top of mind and move them closer to a purchasing decision.

Email marketing is a critical part of your marketing toolkit, and it is the most effective method of marketing. In fact, 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.

This strategy is an easy, free, and scalable way to communicate with both new and existing customers.

Once you have an email marketing tool in place (many are inexpensive or even free), experiment with emailing out newsletters (with your sleek new blog posts) and other promotions to your database.

We know small business owners don’t have tons of free time to devote to digital marketing, so consider using marketing automation to make this process even easier for yourself.

To get started planning your email marketing strategy, check out this guide and template from HubSpot .

17. Manage relationships with a CRM.

Email marketing works best when you’re sending personalized, targeted emails. This begins with a customer database or customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Your CRM stores information about your leads, prospects, and customers so that you can keep track of customer interactions and identify sales opportunities more effectively.

HubSpot has one of the best CRMs (and, best of all, it’s totally free).

18. Lean into word of mouth as a promotion channel.

As mentioned previously, delighting customers can have a big impact on your business, primarily in repeat purchases and word of mouth.

If you provide a great experience, your customers will be more inclined to leave reviews, give testimonials, and tell their friends about you.

That’s why measuring customer satisfaction and encouraging customers to spread the word is a good idea.

19. Connect with other local businesses.

Take your business to the local community and connect with other local business owners in your area. Consider partnering with local businesses to create discounts, deals, or coupons for customers.

Start a live stream with local business owners during a promotional event or coordinate a giveaway.

Connecting with other small businesses is both great for word of mouth and collaboration. If you collaborate with other local businesses, advertise the promotion or sale on your social media outlets.

Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are tips for improving whichever marketing strategies you choose.

1. Determine your brand’s identity.

A consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers. According to a 2020 study, nearly 9 out of 10 people are brand loyal .

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has described a company’s branding as “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

In other words, your brand is people's feelings and emotions when hearing your company name. It combines your brand name, logo, aesthetic, and the design of all your assets, plus the values you support, which is becoming more important to consumers .

2. Identify your buyer persona.

When you imagine a customer searching for your product or service, what are they like? What are their pain points? What is their job? Creating a buyer persona that tells the story of your ideal customer can help you optimize a website for them.

By learning more about your target customer through creating a buyer persona, you can better figure out what types of things they may be searching for so you can include those terms on your website.

3. Design a logo and other assets.

To start getting the creative juices flowing, consider your color scheme and peruse palettes with Adobe Color or Coolors . You can create your own or look through pre-made or customized color palettes.

To create a logo, I’d recommend checking out Upwork or Freelancer .

There are free and less expensive options for designing your own logo online, although using a freelancer or agency can give you a higher quality product and connect you with a designer who can change and update your brand assets as your company grows.

4. Build your website with a CMS template.

If you’re a tech-savvy small business owner, you’ll probably want to build your own website. A content management system (CMS) makes the process simple.

Most CMSs offer customizable templates for your site that you can get for free or for a small fee. There are templates for various skill levels — from beginner all the way to advanced.

Once you’ve created your website, most CMS platforms offer plugins to help you optimize your content for search (look for SEO plugins). This will help you rank better in Google — which we’ll discuss more in-depth in a bit.

5. Draw up a go-to-market strategy.

Once you’ve activated all the tools you need to promote your product or service, you’ll need to create a promotional plan that aligns with the customer journey.

Consider which content will attract, engage, and delight your prospects and how you will convert them into a customer.

To help you plan out this process, use this template.

6. Hire a freelancer to help you scale your content.

If you need help creating regular blogs or promotional content, consider hiring a freelancer over investing in a full-timer. Try Upwork for a freelance blogger, videographer, or photographer.

You could also consider hiring a marketing agency for a larger project.

7. Consult agencies or freelancers for web design help.

If you aren’t technical and want a website built for your small business, you can use a freelancer or a marketing agency specializing in web design.

This is a great option for businesses with an existing website that needs to be updated and revamped for SEO to help improve your Google ranking.

To find a freelancer or marketing consultant in your area, you can use Upwork (filtering by design/creative), Codeable (for WordPress experts), or Freelancer .

8. Track your site with analytics tools.

If you’ve never made a website and aren’t entirely comfortable with the technical elements, many free tools and services can help you get started.

When you create your website, implement Google Analytics or HubSpot Marketing Free (both of which are free products) so you can easily track who’s looking at your site.

9. Boost your Google ranking with SEO.

If you already have a business, have you ever searched for yourself or your product/service online? If so, did you think, “Why isn’t my website showing up on Google?”

If so, you probably thought, “How do I rank on Google?” or “How can I improve my Google ranking?”

There are a lot of factors that play into why a certain site or page appears in the top spots on the Google (or another search engine) search engine results page ( SERP ).

Backlinko reports some of Google’s top factors, which include having relevant keywords (and their placement on your site), the length of your content, having high-quality content, how fast your page loads, how often you post content, and more.

When it all boils down, Google tries to find the best content to present to the person searching.

For example, if I’m searching for the best salon in Newport, Rhode Island, it wouldn’t be helpful for me to find a web page of a salon that has closed down and is located in Newport, Kentucky.

It would, however, be helpful for me to find a salon in my area with great Yelp reviews, an easy-to-navigate website, and contact information readily available.

Google always wants to surface the most relevant, highest-quality piece of content.

To rank higher on Google, you can leverage the power of SEO . To start learning everything there is to know about this powerhouse marketing tactic, check out The Ultimate Guide to SEO.

HubSpot explains SEO as “techniques that help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

This makes your website more visible to people looking for solutions that your brand, product, or service can provide via search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.”

In other words, it’s the basic concept of structuring your website and blog posts to be in the best shape for appearing first on search engines.

SEO strategy usually consists of a few things. These include buyer persona research , keyword research, and on-page SEO research.

These three areas can help you learn how your target market is searching online and position your business to get discovered by the right people.

10. Research keywords opportunities.

Keyword research is an extension of buyer persona research. You can use the personas you’ve created to search for the best keywords for your brand, then use a tool like KW Finder to find related keywords for your target audience.

Then, you can do some on-page SEO research and optimization. This is where you put those keywords in the correct places on your website — like in the meta description, page titles, and H1 tags.

11. Optimize your website for mobile devices.

Most Google searches are done on mobile devices , so it’s important to have a site that looks clean and is easy to navigate when someone enters it on their smartphone.

A mobile site can also be beneficial for SEO, with search engines like Google, which reward you with a higher ranking if you have a mobile site.

You don’t have to be a tech expert to build a site that looks good on mobile. In fact, most CMS platforms like HubSpot already offer mobile-optimized templates.

12. Write optimized blog posts.

Content and blogging are extremely important for your search engine ranking. The more often your desired keywords appear in your high-quality and helpful content, the more likely you are to appear in search results.

A great way to become an authority on your topic, product, or service is to blog.

Make sure you’re writing with SEO in mind — use these SEO tips for bloggers or leverage a WordPress plugin like Yoast .

13. Experiment with photo and video content.

According to HubSpot Research , more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands. Additionally, most social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram, are embracing more visual layouts.

To keep up with these trends, it’s a good idea to make a few marketing videos. If you use these tips , producing a few can be quite inexpensive.

14. Launch business pages on Facebook and Yelp.

If your business is focused on a local area, the most important accounts for you are Facebook, Yelp, and Google’s business feature.

Having high Yelp reviews improves your authority online and helps your search ranking. You can claim your business on Yelp for free, customize your profile, add pictures, and ask for reviews.

The same thing goes for registering your Google business page. You can register your business with Google (for free) and add pictures.

If you’ve ever searched for your business in Google Maps and been disappointed not to see it, it’s because you haven’t claimed it yet!

On Facebook, you can create a Facebook business page so that people can find your location and hours.

For any business, having up-to-date social media accounts will help you be found and engage with prospects.

Create a Twitter account , Facebook page , learn how to use Instagram , create a Pinterest page (if relevant), and use them to discover new clients.

15. Build out your social media strategy.

While Facebook and Yelp will be great tools for local searches and reviews, platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter will offer you even more opportunities to share your posts, content, and promotions.

If your customers can purchase your products or services online, these platforms will also give them another way to find you.

Be sure not to spread yourself too thin by joining too many platforms at once. To make strategizing easier, here’s a guide to the five types of social media platforms and the pros and cons of each.

16. Use social media for customer service.

Once you’re on your chosen platforms, be sure to answer customer or follower questions when they ask them through post comments or direct messages. This will make your company look responsive and credible.

Here are some great examples of how brands have used Twitter for customer service.

If you have the means, consider hiring a social media manager with community management experience.

On top of posting content on a regular schedule, community managers are charged with responding to questions or concerns of followers.

Interested? We published a guide on what it takes to be a great social media community manager.

17. Build interesting landing pages.

A landing page offers your potential customers a free resource in exchange for filling out a short contact information form.

When they receive the resource, they might be even more pleased by your company and more interested in buying the full product.

Because landing pages raise your chances of customer conversion, you want yours to look enticing. To get started, read this landing page guide to learn more about what makes this strategy successful.

Then check out these free and professionally designed templates .

18. Plan an email marketing strategy.

Once you start creating regular content and building out landing pages, you’ll want to share them with the prospects who seem most interested in learning more about your product.

For this reason, we suggest building an email marketing strategy.

While you want to be careful not to bombard those who sign up for your email list with too many emails, you want to send just enough to keep your prospects informed and engaged.

Here’s how our metrics improved when we streamlined our email marketing strategy.

If you’ve never sent regular newsletters before, you can use HubSpot or a number of other affordable tools to create and send an email with a professionally designed template.

Many email tools also offer basic analytics that allow you to track open and click rates.

19. Offer coupons in newsletters or on landing pages.

Placing a coupon in your marketing emails can engage and delight your audience. After buying a product or service at a discounted rate, they might also be more willing to pay full price.

If you have a subscription service, offering prospects a code for a free trial can also be helpful so they can test it out.

20. Share your distribution channels on your website.

Once you have a few social media accounts and a newsletter, connect them to your website so your visitors can follow you.

One way companies do this is to display all of their linked social icons and a newsletter sign-up CTA on all pages of your website. A good place to include these is on the top right corner or the footer of each page.

This way, they’re visible but aren’t distracting from any content.

21. Offer a free webinar.

A webinar allows potential customers to sign up for a short online course hosted by you. These courses are usually between 30 minutes to an hour and allow you to give tips and answer questions related to a topic your brand is familiar with.

While this strategy can help you boost your credibility in your field, it can also offer you potential leads and sales opportunities .

22. Try co-marketing.

Is there a local business in your area that isn’t a direct competitor but offers a product or service to a similar target audience?

Consider working with them on a cobranded campaign where you promote each other on social media, via email, or in your blog.

While you’ll give your partnering company added promotion, it will also allow their fanbase to learn more about you.

23. Encourage happy customers to share their experiences.

When a happy customer talks about how great your company is on social media or a review site, your product or service looks like a good investment.

Even on social media, word of mouth is still a huge factor in someone’s purchasing decision .

If a prospect sees a friend raving about your business on Facebook or if they post a photo of a meal from your restaurant on Instagram, they might be more likely to go.

After all, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase based on social media referrals .

If customers tell you they love your product, encourage them to share the experience on Yelp, Google, or social.

If you have a physical business, you should place signs up with your account handles so customers know who to tag if they post a picture of your product.

24. Try out marketing experiments.

If you’re interested in a new social platform or a new marketing trend, don’t be afraid to experiment. If an experiment goes well, you could be ahead of the game, and it never hurts to be a thought leader in your industry.

When you experiment with a new marketing strategy, have a solid hypothesis or question in mind. This will keep you focused on the end goal and reduce the desire to chase the next big thing as it comes along.

Also, prepare for your next steps if you get good or bad results. Here’s a quick guide to leading a successful marketing experiment.

Small Business Advertising Ideas

Now that we’ve covered some marketing strategy basics, let’s look into how you can put your advertising dollars to work. Below are some ways to tackle advertising for small businesses.

1. Set up Google My Business.

Creating a free Google My Business profile is a simple first step to helping potential customers find your business. It only takes a few minutes to add your business contact information, business hours, photos, and a list of your services.

Another perk of having a Google business profile is that you don’t need a storefront to create one. Your profile also comes with analytics that can help you better understand how customers are connecting with your business.

Additionally, you can check out and respond to customer reviews and learn what keywords brought them to your business page.

2. Consider PPC ads with Google & Bing.

Using pay-per-click (PPC) ad programs like Google Adwords or Microsoft Advertising can also help drive customers to your business. If you’re working hard on SEO, but are still looking for an extra boost, consider PPC advertising.

With this search engine marketing technique, you use Google AdWords or Microsoft Ads to show up as an advertised listing in search results.

Before you dive into PPC, you’ll want to make sure your landing page is as optimized as possible. If you are paying by the click and those who click on the page don’t convert, you will lose advertising dollars.

To help you get started, read this Ultimate Guide to PPC . Then, use this PPC planning template to create an optimized campaign. You can also use a few handy tools and software to edit, track, and report on your campaigns.

3. Run social media ads.

Most major social media platforms offer affordable advertising options that can help you target your posts to a specific audience.

While many small businesses have been advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for years, Instagram now allows brands to advertise through its Shoppable tool .

Pinterest is also an excellent option for small businesses to advertise. In fact, Pinterest users say the platform has more influence on their purchasing journey than other platforms.

Shopping ads on Pinterst drive three times the conversion of other competing platforms.

4. Sponsor products on Etsy & Amazon.

If you’ve already set up shop on Amazon, you can boost your products by participating in their sponsored products program.

This cost-per-click ad program generates ads from your product listings and automatically targets your ads, making it a great option if you’ve never created a campaign before.

If you’re a maker and sell your wares on Etsy, consider using Etsy Ads to advertise your products. Similar to Amazon, this is a cost-per-click model with a default minimum daily budget of one dollar.

With Etsy Ads, your products will stand out in Etsy Search, category pages, and marketing pages.

5. Leverage user-generated content.

Some of the best advertising you can get is from existing customers. Happy customers can vouch for your brand and add social proof to your marketing campaigns.

Ask your customers to leave reviews, or if they’ve already created content on social media involving your brand, ask permission to share it.

6. Develop a referral program.

Speaking of enlisting the help of your existing customers, you can incentivize them by using a referral program . Offer a discount, free gift, or other perk in exchange for them bringing in new customers.

Referred customers are 18% more loyal than those who aren’t and spend 13% more on purchases. Since these new customers will have been referred to you by someone they know, they’re more likely to have a positive customer experience.

7. Advertise with your local chamber of commerce.

If you have a storefront, advertise with your local chamber of commerce.

Each city is different, but you can typically be featured on their website, promoted on their social media channels, and included in their email newsletter for an annual fee.

It’s a great way to get your brand out there and an excellent opportunity to network with fellow small business owners.

Start Marketing Your Business Today

Small business owners looking for a way to track ROI and brand awareness need digital marketing.

Not only is digital marketing a must-have for promoting your products or services, but optimizing your online assets is also critical to your business’ overall success.

You may have a long road ahead to build your online presence, but any steps you can make will have a huge impact on your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

The Ultimate Guide to Internet Marketing [Data + Expert Tips]

The Ultimate Guide to Internet Marketing [Data + Expert Tips]

How to Build a Market Development Strategy [Free Planning Templates]

How to Build a Market Development Strategy [Free Planning Templates]

How Marketers Can Still Thrive in a Recession [Data Analysis]

How Marketers Can Still Thrive in a Recession [Data Analysis]

5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]

5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]

20 Valentine's Day Marketing Campaigns We Love

20 Valentine's Day Marketing Campaigns We Love

31 Influencer Marketing Stats to Know in 2023

31 Influencer Marketing Stats to Know in 2023

5 Marketing Trends That Might Not Survive in 2023 [HubSpot Research]

5 Marketing Trends That Might Not Survive in 2023 [HubSpot Research]

Study Finds Most Marketers Don’t Know Their Audience: Here’s Why and How to Fix It

Study Finds Most Marketers Don’t Know Their Audience: Here’s Why and How to Fix It

7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023

7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023

What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

100% Free CRM

Nurture and grow your business with customer relationship management software.

Copyright © 2023 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Entrepreneur® and its related marks are registered trademarks of Entrepreneur Media Inc.

10 Small Business Marketing Strategies That Actually Work Avoid the pitfalls of small business marketing and achieve long-term goals by choosing the right strategies.

By Christian Nwachukwu • Feb 21, 2022

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a small business owner, you know your vision and plan matter. To start a successful business, you'll need an ironclad business plan that includes financials and a marketing plan.

If you're a small business owner, then you know that marketing can be tough. It seems like everyone is competing for attention, and it's hard to stand out from the crowd.

Related: How To Write A Business Plan | Entrepreneur.com

Whether you handle marketing yourself or you have a marketing department, some strategies can increase visibility to boost awareness for your brand. Ready to learn more? Keep reading for 10 small business marketing strategies that work.

1. Know how to target your audience

When it comes to marketing your small business, it's essential to target the right audience. By developing a strategy that focuses on your ideal customer, you'll be able to reach more people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. So how do you go about doing this? Here are some tips for targeting your audience effectively:

Related: 6 Ways to Market Your Small Business for Less Than $100

2. Leverage cold email marketing

When it comes to small business marketing, cold emailing is one of the most effective strategies. It's a great way to connect with potential customers who may not be familiar with your business. Here are a few tips for using cold email to market your small business:

Related: Email Marketing - Entrepreneur

3. Advertise your business online

When it comes to advertising your business, there are several different strategies that you can use. However, not all of these strategies will be effective for your business. To find the best digital marketing strategy for your small business, you need to do some research and try out a few different tactics.

One of the most popular online marketing tactics is social media advertising. This involves using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote your business. You can create ads that target specific demographics, or you can simply post about your business on your social media apps.

Since most people are on their mobile devices frequently, using social media posts or Google Ads to promote your brand may be a better marketing idea than using direct mail efforts. The internet also functions as the hub of word-of-mouth marketing, with in-person experiences being reflected on review and referral sites like Yelp.

Related: 4 Free Small Business Marketing Tools

4. Use influencers to build brand awareness

When it comes to marketing your small business, you can't afford to overlook the power of influencers. Influencers are individuals with a large online following who can sway the opinions of their followers. In other words, if an influencer promotes your product or service, their followers are likely to take notice.

There are several ways to work with influencers to build awareness for your small business. One option is to reach out to them directly and ask them to join a marketing campaign to promote your product or service. Another option is to partner with an influencer marketing agency that can connect you with influencers who are a good fit for your brand.

Related: What to Know About Influencer Marketing in 2022

5. Connect with local businesses

One of the best ways to market your small business is to connect with local businesses. When you partner with other businesses in your area, you can share resources and promote each other to your customer base. You can also collaborate on marketing initiatives and events.

To connect with local businesses, start by networking with other business owners in your community. Attend business events and join online forums and groups that focus on local business collaboration. You can also reach out to local businesses directly and offer to collaborate.

6. Offer incentives and discounts

This can be in the form of a percentage off your products or services or even a free item with purchase. You can also offer loyalty programs, which give customers rewards for continued patronage. Whatever incentive or discount you choose to offer, make sure it's something that your customers will find valuable.

7. Build an email list

Building an email list isn't hard. It doesn't take much time or any special skills to do, and once it's done, it saves you a lot of time in the future. Here are some ideas for building your initial newsletter subscribers:

8. Automated marketing

Running a small business can often be an all-hands-on-deck situation, especially as you start up. Because you and your employees have so much to juggle, automation might be just what you need to boost efficiency and increase communication consistency.

Automation can also help you and your team take back your time, as it can provide more freedom for job tasks, collaboration, and creativity.

Consider automation platforms for:

9. Invest in search engine optimization ( SEO )

Another popular online marketing strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). This involves optimizing your website so that it appears higher on search engine results pages. By investing in SEO, you can improve your website's ranking in search results and attract more visitors.

There are many different SEO techniques that you can use, and it's important to choose the right ones for your business. If you have a limited budget, you may want to consider using online marketing tools like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads. These tools allow you to target specific audiences with your ads, which can help you save money on advertising costs.

If you have a small marketing budget, check out these five affordable small business SEO softwares:

10. Blog about the latest trends and events related to your business niche

Blogging is a great way to connect with customers and share information about your business. When you blog about the latest trends, news stories, and events related to your business niche, potential customers can learn more about you and what you offer. This can help you attract new customers and build trust with existing customers.

Related: Top Social-Media Marketing Essentials for Small Businesses

Ready to build your small business?

As you continue to grow your small business, your marketing efforts matter. You need to understand your target audience, create multiple marketing channels, maintain consistent content marketing efforts, and follow a messaging system that aligns with your brand's mission.

Visit Entrepreneur today for more marketing tips , customer experience ideas , and how to analyze your marketing platform metrics .

Founder TalkCounsel

Editor's Pick Red Arrow

Related topics red arrow, most popular red arrow, 'the last straw': customers furious as netflix begins charging accounts for password sharing.

The announcement is long-anticipated — Netflix has been threatening a crackdown since last year.

The New BMW Allows You to Change Lanes Only Using Your Eyes

All drivers have to do is look at their side view mirror, and the vehicle automatically maneuvers — traffic conditions permitting.

'Iconic': Woman Defies Wedding Food Budget by Ordering Chili's for Guests

TikToker Madison Mulkey is going viral for her savvy spending decision.

Elon Musk Gets Brutally Honest About Twitter Job Cuts, Said Many Employees 'Didn't Have a Lot of Value'

Musk spoke at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit in London on Tuesday and said other companies could make more cuts, too.

Boldness Is Key When It Comes to Starting a Business — Here Are 5 Ways to Boldly Launch Yours

In this article, we will discuss five key tips to launch a business with boldness. Whether you're a seasoned business owner, or just starting out, there's something here for everyone.

'Please Feel Free To Correct Me': Mark Cuban Slams Elon Musk Over 'Free Speech' On Twitter

Cuban has long been critical of Musk's decisions with the social media platform after purchasing it.

Successfully copied link



50% Off for 6 Months Buy Now & Save

Wow clients with professional invoices that take seconds to create

Quick and easy online, recurring, and invoice-free payment options

Automated, to accurately track time and easily log billable hours

Reports and tools to track money in and out, so you know where you stand

Easily log expenses and receipts to ensure your books are always tax-time ready

Tax time and business health reports keep you informed and tax-time ready

Automatically track your mileage and never miss a mileage deduction again

Time-saving all-in-one bookkeeping that your business can count on

Track project status and collaborate with clients and team members

Organized and professional, helping you stand out and win new clients

Set clear expectations with clients and organize your plans for each project

Client management made easy, with client info all in one place

Pay your employees and keep accurate books with Payroll software integrations

FreshBooks integrates with over 100 partners to help you simplify your workflows

Send invoices, track time, manage payments, and more…from anywhere.

Call Toll Free: 1.866.303.6061


Resources for Your Growing Business

8 marketing strategies for small businesses.

8 Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses

The success of a small business has a lot to do with its marketing plan. Marketing is used to attract the customers needed to keep a business viable and operational. Marketing strategies are used to help a business achieve sales goals and branding initiatives. Through a variety of tactics, marketers work to attract the right customers to the business.

When business owners sit down to write their marketing plan, they need to consider what makes sense for their small business. What is working in the marketplace? And where should they start?

Here are 8 marketing strategies to set your small business up for success.

1. Establish a Brand

For a small business’s customers and potential customers to know what their company is, does and stands for, they need to have a clear brand identity. Once they have decided on their company’s identity they need to match it with a suitable name, logo, colors and imagery that conveys their brand to customers.

Small business owners might decide to establish a brand look with the help of a freelancer or by collaborating with an established agency. This process can be costly but in the end, it is worth it. Think about the recognition of established brands like McDonald’s or Starbucks and how that recognition is tied to their brands, logos and colors.

Once a company has its logo, it should put it on everything: advertising, business cards, website, envelopes, and email signatures.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

2. Know Your Customer

There is no such thing as a one size fits all marketing strategy . Each business caters to a different niche in the market and therefore each company requires a marketing plan is specific to their goals and needs.

Before deciding on tactics and a strategy, small business owners need to better understand who

their target customer is by asking these questions:

Knowing these things about their target customer will help a business develop a targeted and effective overall marketing strategy that will focus on the channels that will produce the best results.

3. Create a Website

Websites are the modern-day business card. It is the first thing potential customers see when the Google company name and the first chance a company to make an impression. A website is the foundation of a marketing plan. Companies can use their website to provide their customers with more information, grab free traffic via search engines, drive people to their social media and establish themselves as an authority in the marketing through helpful content.

If your company doesn’t have a website yet, it is easy enough to get one.

Buy a domain name: Choose the name you want, see if it is available and pay a monthly or annual fee associated with owning that domain.

Sign up for web hosting: This is where another company hosts a company’s webpage on their servers and manages serving it up to their customers. This is often available through the same company where the domain name was purchased.

Get a content management system (CMS): This is used to both create and update the website over time. There are a number of free templates but if a company wants something more unique or customized, they can pay $50–$100 for premium themes.

4. Use the Power of SEO

The most prevalent way traffic is directed to a website is through Google searches. As Google algorithms change, a company needs to make sure to keep their page keywords optimized to make sure they are ranking high on searches.

Having a site show up on the first page of results hugely increases the chances of that website getting clicked on, so a company should do everything in their power to make sure that’s where they are in a Google search.

5. Get Listed on Google

A useful tool for local businesses with local customer bases is Google My Business . When people in the same area as a company search on Google for a product or service the company provides, the company will appear in the top searches.

When potential customers see a business’s profile and it is accompanied with a good review or finds the listing at the top of their list, the business gains credibility and people will be more willing to trust the business.

6. Advertise on Facebook

One of the best ways to target a specific group is using Facebook Ads . A business can focus their adverting on demographics such as age, sex, location, interests, online habits, and more.

Setting up advertising on Facebook is easy and relatively inexpensive. It is a great way for a business to reach a maximum number of potential customers in a short amount of time.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

7. Email Customers and Potential Customers

There are many advantages of using email as a marketing strategy. It is easy to do, can be automated, provides instantaneous communication, costs very little, and can reach a large number of potential customers.

Once email addresses are added to an email list, it is important that a business provides interesting, valuable, and relevant content to their list so the emails get opened and not just merely diverted to spam mail.

8. Use Google AdWords

Remember, the key is for people to find you when they search on Google, and by using Google AdWords , you can greatly increase your chances of people seeing your name.

Google AdWords is more expensive than other marketing tactics we have discussed here but should still be considered as it is a powerful marketing tool. The key is for people to find you when they search on Google and by using Google AdWords, a business can greatly increase the chance of people seeing their name.

What Are the Best Types of Advertising for a Small Business?

Watch the video to learn about 7 types of advertising to consider in your digital marketing strategy—including 3 that are beneficial for almost every small business.


Save Time Billing and Get Paid 2x Faster With FreshBooks

Want More Helpful Articles About Running a Business?

Get more great content in your Inbox.

By subscribing, you agree to receive communications from FreshBooks and acknowledge and agree to FreshBook’s Privacy Policy . You can unsubscribe at any time by contacting us at [email protected].

👋 Welcome to FreshBooks

To see our product designed specifically for your country, please visit the United States site.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Salesforce is closed for new business in your area.

  • App Development Platform
  • BuildFire Plus
  • Buildfire Plus Services
  • BuildFire Plus Overview Bring your app idea to life with industry experts.
  • Custom App Development Full cycle product development bringing innovative ideas to life.
  • App Launch Kit Proceed with confidence with a resilient app strategy.
  • Concierge Service Strategies and growth tactics to ensure your app is successful.
  • Software Products
  • App Development Platform Our easy to use dashboard to build and maintain your app.
  • BuildFire Reseller White label the BuildFire platform as your own.
  • Industry Solutions
  • Ecommerce App Turn your Shopify store into an app to increase sales.
  • Employee Communication Communicate with your employees anytime, anywhere.
  • Content / Podcasts / Media Take your audience engagement to the next level.
  • Schools and Universities Your students are mobile, are you?
  • Mobile Apps For Events Create mobile experiences your attendees will love.
  • Religious Organizations Engage your congregation in a mobile first world.
  • Fitness & Wellness Apps Modern solution for gyms, personal trainers, and health specialists.
  • Workflow App Builder Improve efficiencies, cut costs, and save time with a custom mobile app for business workflows.
  • Platform Features All the tools you need to rapidly build a mobile app.
  • BuildFire Developers Limitless functionality for your app with our SDK.
  • Feature Marketplace See all the features you can add in just one click.
  • Customer Apps Powering thousands of apps on the BuildFire Platform.
  • Technical Questions Everything you need to know from a technical perspective about BuildFire.
  • BuildFire Alternatives Is BuildFire right for you? Use this guide to compare it with other app development methods.
  • Customer Stories
  • Blog Explore hundreds of posts we have on app development.
  • E-books Our best content packaged into easy to read e-books.
  • Webinars Learn the latest strategies from our app consultants.
  • Videos Everything you should know about building an app.
  • Help Center Get advice and answers from our app development experts.
  • How to Make an App The ultimate guide to take your app from idea to reality.
  • Learning Hub
  • App Design Learn the basics of app design and branding.
  • App Development Everything you need to know about app development.
  • App Marketing The ultimate mobile app marketing resource.
  • App Planning Our best guides for app ideas and market research.
  • Outsource App Development Everything about outsourcing your development project.
  • App Cost Calculator Find out how much your app would cost with a typical app development agency vs. BuildFire. Calculate Now
  • Build an App

19 Awesome Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Today, I’m going to show you 19 different marketing strategies that have a proven history of success for small businesses.

Half of these options will probably be viable growth strategies for your unique business.

Four of them are probably worth testing out over the next month.

And one of them has the potential to skyrocket your growth over the next year.

These work really well if you want to find inexpensive ways to promote your mobile app .

Once you’ve achieved product/market fit, your growth is simply a matter of smart marketing on the front end and a good customer retention on the backend. By the end of this article, you will know exactly what to do next with your marketing.

But before we get started, let me share a secret with you.

There Is No Magic Marketing Strategy

There is no magic bullet.

The goal of marketing is to connect your business’ value to the right customer base. It’s a simple concept but it can take on a million different shades.

The answers to these questions determine which marketing strategies will be viable and which will be a waste of time.

In other words, the key to success for your business is not Facebook Ads.

It’s not SEO.

It’s not conference networking.

There is no magic, universal strategy that will revolutionize your business. I have literally no clue what will work for you, because I don’t know you. I don’t know your business. I don’t know your customers.

But fortunately, you DO know your business! You DO know your customer base!

And after reading this guide, you will have an expanded awareness of viable marketing channels, any of which could hold the key to your future growth.

Eight of the channels we will discuss are strictly digital strategies, which will be conducted online. The other eight are a bit more general, with strategies that can be conducted offline (although many have online applications as well).

Let’s get started.

1. Facebook Advertising

Two million  small to medium sized businesses advertise on Facebook; it’s an inexpensive and effective way to market to virtually any audience.

Facebook Advertsing

Image Credit: ibisinfotech.com

Facebook ads excel at advanced targeting. They allow you to target a specific audience based on location, interests, age, sex, online behavior, and many other factors.

Creating Facebook ads is very easy. You just need a solid headline, a bit of descriptive copy, one image, and a link.

Promote your app icon here as well.

The Facebook Ads Manager also makes it fairly simple to run and test multiple ad sets, allowing you to hone in on a winning formula and reach profitability without needing advanced technical expertise.

That said, many new users have a lot of difficulty succeeding with their initial campaigns. It takes some persistence, but on the plus side, Facebook’s popularity has produced numerous 3rd party tools that can help you succeed.

If you decide that Facebook is the right channel for you, I’d recommend using a tool like AdEspresso  to run your campaigns and speed up your journey to positive ROI.

If you run a business that has a strong visual component, it might be worth trying out Instagram Ads  instead. As a subsidiary of Facebook, Instagram Ads benefit from the same data base and targeting options, while allowing you to connect with an audience that is better primed for visual sales.

Additional Reading

2. Google My Business

Ranking your Google My Business  (GMB) listing is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business.

In fact, if you run a local business targeting local clients, I would dare to say it is THE most powerful strategy available to you.

For example, if someone searches for a “Portland contractor”, this is what they see:

Google my business

What you are seeing here is one paid ad, followed by THREE Google My Business listings before we even see the normal organic search results. If you can rank your GMB listing in these top 3, you can pull in large numbers of highly qualified leads day in and day out without needing to spend a dime on ads.

Google My Business combines all your different Google platforms into one central place, which includes your Google+ profile, Google Maps profile, your Google reviews, access to data on Google Analytics and Google Insights, and more.

If you have a unique brand name, you can even get a large display like this to show when people search for that name:

Google Plus Profiles

GMB immediately gives your business credibility and visibility, and as I said before, if you run a local business, it should be #1 on your priority list.

And best of all, ranking your GMB listing is really not that hard. It simply requires you to optimize your profile and then collect reviews and citations.

3. Google Adwords

There are more than 40,000 search queries on Google every second. No other advertising method has the potential to get your business before that many pairs of eyes.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords is sort of the godfather of online marketing channels. It’s been around a long time. It’s competitive. It’s expensive. And if you know what you’re doing, it can work very, very well for you.

Despite being a paid channel, Adwords’ goal is still to deliver relevant search results to users, and as a result, it will be less expensive for you when you are utilizing proper on-page SEO .

Google assigns a quality score to your ad, which is dependent on CTR (Click Through Rate), relevance and the landing page your ad sends traffic to. This quality score factors into the bid rate you will need to get an ad displayed, with higher scores lowering the bid cost.

Unlike many of the channels we will discuss today, Adwords is a remarkably symbiotic channel that can be paired with many other strategies to maximize output. As a paid marketing channel, it also allows you to obtain immediate results and can scale as far as your budget allows.

4. Content Marketing

18% of marketers say that content marketing has the greatest commercial impact on their business of any channel in 2016.

Greatest commercial impact activities

Image Credit: SmartInsights

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and drive profitable customer action.

Unlike paid advertising, content marketing focuses more on long-term results. The initial payoff tends to be low, but the long-term, sustainable growth in visitors, leads, and customers can single-handedly carry a business.

Content marketing is not easy, however, and requires every element to be done right:

Content is not limited to blog posts. It includes videos, podcasts, online courses, and a host of other mediums in which people consume information.

It’s important to understand that every small business can rely on content marketing. From food delivery apps to B2B consulting, professional services, white label apps , and more, content marketing is versatile for every possible use case.

If you are considering this strategy for your own business, make sure you have the time and capital needed to get going with no initial ROI, and then DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Too many businesses these days are just wasting resources creating mediocre content with no payoff, now or ever.

5. Organic Social Media

Using social media for business is really a non-negotiable.

67% of consumers  use social media for customer support, and 33% prefer using social media instead of the telephone. If people can’t find your business via social media, they will look for your competitors who ARE present on preferred social channels.

The real question isn’t whether you should have active social media accounts, it’s how much time and resources you should be investing in growing your social audiences.

For some businesses, it makes sense to invest heavily in organic social media growth.

For example, Instagram users that follow fashion influencers are actively looking to purchase new styles. By building an active, fashion-savvy audience, a clothing retailer can build a consistent direct sales channel.

organic social media

For other businesses, investing in Instagram might not make sense.

The key is identifying where your customers are and how they like to be approached. If social media is the answer to both those questions, it’s the perfect channel for your business.

6. Coupon Deal Sites

Whether you sell a product or offer a service, you can use coupon deal sites like Groupon to quickly promote your business.

Coupon deal sites amass massive audiences, grouped by location, and then allow local, regional or even national businesses to offer limited-time discounts to their members.

coupon deal sites

Benefits include mass exposure, targeted local advertising, increased brand awareness, and an influx of new customers. The cost comes in the form of low revenue per sale. In the case of Groupon, you are required to discount your product by at least 50%, and at least half the revenue goes to Groupon.

In other words, unless you are running a 300% markup, you will lose money on your Groupon deal. It’s essentially paid advertising.

The primary purpose for using coupon deal sites is not sales. The more significant your discount, the more popular your deal will be. The goal is to get people in your door or trying your product, and from there, your customer retention strategies  kick in.

As an added bonus, many new potential customers will browse your website even if they don’t decide to purchase the deal.

But be warned!

If your deal gains traction, you can quickly be overcome by more customers than you are prepared to handle, and if you don’t do the math correctly, you can lose a lot of money. It’s important to be ready and to have a plan for handling different tiers of new business.

It’s also important to have flawless customer service during the period after running your deal, with the expectation that your coupon-driven customers will be even harder to please than normal customers.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Follow deals going on in your area and see how they play out. If you can, talk with fellow business owners who have run deals and learn from their experience.

And make sure – for the love of all that is good and decent – make sure you do the math.

7. Email Marketing

Email marketing is the cornerstone of digital marketing.

Most of the people who visit your site will not buy from you immediately. Capturing contact info for additional marketing and “lead nurturing” is the best way to sell in 2016, and email remains the highest converting channel for interacting with leads.

Email marketing funnels begin with a “lead magnet”. This is something compelling you offer your website visitors in exchange for their email address. Possible options include a free digital download, a free service trial, a “seat” at a webinar, site membership, a coupon, etc.

Here’s an example from HubSpot :

Email Marketing

HubSpot offers a reliable and feature-packed email marketing tool that’s suited for growing businesses — for free. The tool allows you to create professional marketing emails that engage and grow your audience. You can start from scratch, with the easy drag-and-drop email builder, or use one of the goal-based templates available. 

Other benefits of email marketing include:

There are a lot of marketing channels that are hard. As you may have noticed from the above list, email marketing is one of the few that can be described as “easy”.

8. Webinars

A webinar is essentially a seminar that takes place online. It can be in the form of a presentation, demonstration or discussion.


Image Credit: boss.influxentrepreneur.info

Webinars are often used as lead magnets for email marketing and the right topic can drive a large batch of new subscribers to your list. It can also be used to build credibility with your current subscribers.

Webinars can also be recorded and used as standalone products or even a series of products. They are a great medium for both live and recorded training.

Webinars tend to be more engaging than simple videos, even if they are used in exactly the same way. The actual start time and live Q&A tends to make people feel like they are receiving significantly more value than if they were watching a video with the exact same information.

You will need webinar software to run a webinar that utilizes the following functions:

Webinars work very well in certain niches. You’ll have to test one out to see if it works with your target audience.

9. Promote A Free Consultation

When it comes to professional services, people want access to expertise.

If you have done a good job of positioning yourself as an expert or authority in your niche, promoting a free consultation is a great way to generate new leads. If you have a good interpersonal sales process in place, it also sets you up to close a large percentage of leads.

free consultation strategy

A lot of service providers worry about disclosing too much info in a free consultation. They feel like potential clients will just take the info and run.

In reality, the exact opposite is true. While freeloader types might grab and go, they were never going to buy anyway. The type of people interested in paying for quality will be impressed by the value you provide in the consultation.

After all, if you can provide so much value in 30 minutes to an hour, they will believe that your claims are true and that hiring you is the right decision.

This can be used both online and offline. It can be advertised via pamphlets, newspapers, signs, or even word-of-mouth. And it can be prominently displayed on your website and social media channels.

This strategy won’t be ideal for every businesses, but if you offer an expert service or a high-priced service, it is very much worth considering.

10. Offer Staff Incentives

Referrals are one of the best ways to find new customers, and who better suited to obtain referrals than your current staff?

Your employees know your product or service. They know your customer base. Some of them will take initiative without financial motivation, but most won’t, and those you bring in new business should be encourage to repeat the process with financial or otherwise meaningful reward.

Offer incentives to your staff members who refer new clients. Research proves that it doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary; incentives can even come in the form of:

Like any type of compensation, incentives are about matching your business’ goals to the goals of your employees. If you can find out what they want most, you can motivate them to help grow your business.

It’s also important to give them the tools they need, whether that’s a customized landing page, printed coupons, a special discount for employee referred clients, or whatever.

Hold training sessions and teach your staff how to effectively promote your business, but remember that this form of marketing will only work if they genuinely feel good about your business and are properly motivated to pitch it to friends, family, and acquaintances.

11. Advertise In Niche Print Media

While much of the world has moved online, print media still exists, and in some niches, it still thrives.

In fact, as recently as 2014 , retail consumers cited printed materials as the chief sources of information behind their purchasing decisions.

Niche print media

As print media continues to decrease in overall popularity, pricing for ad placement lowers as well. In the right niches, it is now possible to run effective ads at incredibly affordable prices.

That said, print media is rarely effective as a solo marketing strategy. It is best used in conjunction with online marketing strategies, with the two channels arranged to compliment each other and create an engaging experience for potential buyers.

12. Write A Column

If you are a decent writer, sharing your expertise in the form of weekly or monthly write-ups can do wonders for your brand.

This isn’t usually a situation where you get paid, but it’s also not a situation where you have to pay. These columns give you the opportunity to make consistent contact with an audience, building an actual relationship with the publication’s readers. That audience then begins to think of you when they think of experts in your field.

On the more accessible end, local newspapers or non-profit magazines are often looking for quality contributors. One the more exclusive end, publications like Forbes, Inc, and Fast Company are made up almost exclusively of unpaid expert columns.

But believe me. These experts make bank thanks to their place on these influential platforms.

Make sure that what you write about is valuable to the target audience. This isn’t lowkey advertising. It’s a chance to access and build trust with an audience someone else worked really hard to build.

Plus, even if you don’t land a column, you might be able to land a guest post, which can be incredibly valuable as well.

Some ideas for articles you can write include:

13. Join Local Business Groups

Joining local business groups will give you the opportunity to meet up with other like-minded people who already share some common ground with you: owning a business. While a lot of more general entrepreneur groups exist, there might also be some niche-specific groups and meetups in your area.

These groups are a great opportunity to bounce ideas off other smart people, share referrals, find talent, and identify new opportunities.

They are also a major catalyst in expanding your network around the city in which you live. Connections tend to multiply, and if your group takes networking seriously, you can leverage your seemingly minor connections into much significant ones.

While these groups are typically best found online, it’s preferable to have in-person meetups for the bulk of your interactions.

Lastly, these groups can lead to joint ventures and profitable partnerships, which we will discuss more in the next section.

14. Partner With Other Businesses

Teamwork is always more effective than singular effort, and combining resources with another business can help you do things you could never accomplish on your own.

It’s typically best to target companies in your local area, even if your clientele isn’t local. Your goal is to work out a complementary arrangement that provides mutual benefit for both businesses.

Some joint venture examples include:

There is really no limit to what’s possible. Simply identify crossover in your audience and a non-competitor’s audience and then find a way to tap into that crossover in a mutually beneficial way.

15. Direct Mail Marketing

Like print media, direct mail marketing is not dead.

As online channels become more and more saturated with content, fewer companies look to direct mail, and that means opportunity for you.

Like with any marketing strategy, success comes down to targeted creativity. You can’t just spam people and expect a return on your investment. Just like you need to compel people to click your blog post headline, you need to compel mail recipients to open your letters.

Start with the envelope, which will never be opened if it looks like a run-of-the-mill promo piece. Stand out. Use a colored envelope. Use an unusual shape, size or material. Make it look interesting.

If possible, handwrite the address on every envelope or include something bulky inside to make the envelope lumpy – anything you can do to grab attention

Compare this envelope:

Direct mail marketing

Image Credit: Freelogoservices

With this one. You’re more likely to open the following envelope, right?

free logo service

Image Credit: KezzysCreations

The next thing to focus on is the content. If you want the best results, your headline has to be enticing, and your copywriting needs to hold the reader’s attention through the duration of your pitch.

Like most offline campaigns in 2016, direct mail is typically run in conjunction with an online marketing funnel.

16. Speak At Events

In terms of branding and establishing yourself as an authority, few things are more impactful than being a speaker at popular events in your niche.

While invitations to speak at larger events are often extended as a result of accomplishments or visible influence, you can also work your way into these opportunities by becoming a talented speaker and delivering great talks at smaller events.

Or you can simply use it as another marketing channel, by speaking at some of these types of events:

Be prepared, and treat every event like a big deal.

17. Small Business SEO

Small businesses are often tempted to give short shrift to SEO in their overall marketing, perhaps because mega-corporations such as Walmart and Amazon invest millions in dominating the search game. While it’s true that there will always be a competitor out there who has built a better small business SEO operation, it’s also true that today’s small business owner can’t afford to neglect search.

Here’s why:

Of course, if you operate a local business, you really can’t afford to ignore SEO in your marketing plan. Google’s latest algorithm favors local businesses in its search results in an effort to deliver the highly relevant and individualized results today’s consumers demand. This is especially true for consumers who use Google on their smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices.

If your business has a mobile app, give yourself kudos for being ahead of the curve for marketing and SEO. The exponential growth in mobile search is a huge boon for businesses who capitalize on the SEO advantages of a mobile app.

Your mobile app helps SEO in two distinct ways:

If your business markets to a highly mobile audience or relies on mobile search for traffic and leads, you might want to consider adding a mobile app to your marketing strategy.

18. Link-Building for Small Businesses

The Google algorithm factors the quality and quantity of sites that link to you in your search rankings. In fact, some SEO consultants even recommend that fledgling businesses actually buy links to boost their ranking. That tactic, however, may do more harm than good.

There is no question that high quality links build authority and credibility, ultimately improving your ranking, but changes in the Google Penguin algorithm actually penalizes sites containing too many low-quality or “spammy” links. The key is building links the old-fashioned way—by creating useful, relevant content that people want to share.

For SMEs, this means investing the money and resources to develop highly shareable, top quality content . Long-form blog posts and in-depth articles, infographics, and video tutorials are examples of high performing content likely to garner links.

19. On-Page Optimization

If keyword research is the foundation of your SEO strategy, on-page optimization undergirds the rest of the search infrastructure. On-page optimization includes everything from optimal keyword density to site load speed that helps Google evaluate and rank your page. Great keywords won’t deliver results without good on-page optimization. Here’s a look at the basics:

Page titles should have an H1 tag (most content management systems do this automatically) and include a keyword and your brand name, if applicable. Limit your title to about 55 or 60 characters, which is all that displays in search results.

While metas aren’t technically factored into search, they do give the searcher more information, entice them to visit, and often serve as a call to action. Limit them to about 150 characters or so.

Use Google’s Page Insight tool to see how your site stacks up. Aim for a score of 85 or better and make any recommended changes or fixes marked with a red exclamation point. If time and resources allow, make “yellow” fixes, as well. 

Adding schema markups is one of the most powerful ways to boost your website in the SERPs. Schema tells the search engine what your content means, not just what it says, which changes the way the content is indexed. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper makes it easy to add schema markups to your site.

While there is no “optimum” keyword density percentage, there are some best practices to follow, such as including keywords in the title, meta, and anchor text, and avoiding keyword stuffing on the page. Use natural language and aim to drop the keyword at least once in the first 100 words of copy on a page.

Social media has a prime place in small business SEO; Google bots make a direct connection between your website and your social media profile pages . Include relevant social icons on your web pages—it not only improves your search, it adds credibility for visitors who land on your site.

Be sure to look at all your pages, including landing pages, product pages, and your company blog and implement SEO best practices across the board. Don’t forget ALT tags for images on your site; while the impact is small, the cumulative effect could make a difference in your rankings.

Conclusion & Summary

Well, that’s the scoop: 16 proven marketing strategies that have worked for thousands of businesses and can work for you.

Here’s the full list:

While only half of these are probably worth considering for your unique business, I’m guessing at least four of them are great fits, and as I said at the beginning of the article, one of these channels has the potential to skyrocket your growth this next year.

Evaluate the criteria I talked about at the beginning.

Use the answers to select four viable channels from today’s list of marketing strategies for small businesses, and then run small tests with each strategy to see what fails and what performs.

'  data-srcset=

More from the blog

33 creative ways to promote your app for free (app marketing strategy), the 5 ways to build a mobile app, what to expect from a mobile app development platform, 8 steps you must take before starting mobile app development, how much does mobile app development really cost, 5 hidden costs of software you need to anticipate after you launch, the definitive guide to mobile app design, mobile app download and usage statistics (2021).

Try BuildFire’s app development platform. It’s powerful, easy-to-use, and a fraction of the cost of traditional app development.

Powerful app builder

Ios, android & pwa, unlimited customization.

The Best Marketing Strategies For Small Business

As a small business owner, you know how important it is to consistently attract new clients and customers to engage your services or buy your products. Whether you are a professional services provider, an established business owner with a sound reputation, or are getting a new wholesale or retail startup operation off the ground, you understand that a healthy business needs to develop and implement sound marketing strategies.

SEO Title | The Best Marketing Strategies For Small Business

When you don’t have a big budget, marketing can be challenging, but there’s plenty a small business owner can do to attract and maintain a customer base. The rise in digital marketing has made it easier for small business owners to find a way to create a presence and attract informed buyers.

When you build a business, the first thing you want to secure is a customer base. Then, with a decent printer, a phone, and an internet-connected device, you can create a reasonably extensive advertising campaign without paying for digital space. Here are seven small business marketing techniques you can use to boost your business.

Key Takeaways

5 Biggest Challenges Facing Your Small Business

Before you start marketing.

Before your business starts marketing a product, it helps to create a buyer persona whom you want to reach with your promotional materials. Once you have your ideal customer, you’ll have a wide choice of marketing methods. Most of these are low-cost or no-cost tactics (sometimes called guerrilla marketing). You may use different ones at different stages of your business cycle—or you may utilize them all at once from your business’ inception.

This is the carpet-bombing method of cheap advertising. You find an area where you would like to do business and distribute flyers to all the mailboxes within reach. Your flyer should be brief and to the point, highlighting the services you offer or products you sell and providing contact information. Offering a free appraisal, coupon, or discount can help attract your first customers.

Flyers shouldn't be mistaken for posters. Flyers are more informative, listing services or products provided, contact information, addresses, and specialties.

Most supermarkets, public spaces, and malls offer free bulletin board space for announcements and advertisements. This method is hit-or-miss, but you should try to make your poster visible and have removable tabs that the customers can present for a discount.

Make each location a different color to get an idea from the tabs where the most leads are generated. If one area is producing most of your leads, you can better target your campaign (flyers, ads in local media catering to those areas, cold calling , etc.)

Posters should feature appealing images and catchy, memorable phrasing so viewers will recall it when they're wondering where to go for whatever it is they need.

Traditional marketing methods like radio, print advertising, and billboards shouldn't be overlooked. The more channels you use, the more exposure you have.

Value additions (or value-ads) are powerful selling points for any product or service. On the surface, value additions are very similar to coupons and free appraisals, but they aim to increase customer satisfaction and widen the gap between you and the competition.

Common value additions typically include:

The deciding factor for a customer choosing between two similar shops might be the one that offers a point card or preferred customer card. You don’t have to promise the moon to add value—instead, point out something that the customer may not realize about your product or service. It's important to highlight the value additions when creating your advertising materials.

Referral networks are invaluable to a business which often include customer referrals. These can be encouraged through discounts or other rewards per referral. However, referral networks also include business-to-business referrals. If you have ever found yourself saying, “We don’t do/sell that here, but X down the street does,” you might want to introduce yourself to Xs owner and talk to them about referral quid-pro-quo.

When dealing with white-collar professions, this network is even stronger. For example, a lawyer might refer you to an accountant; in turn, the accountant might refer you to a financial planner, who could refer you to a broker. In each situation, the person stakes their professional reputation on the referral. Regardless of your business, make sure you create a referral network that has the same outlook and commitment to quality that you do.

Remember that your competition is not always your enemy. If you are too busy to take a job, throw it their way. You will often find the favor returned—besides, it can be bad for your reputation if a customer waits too long.

Advertising can help attract customers, but what you do after they come in can often be a much stronger marketing tool. Follow-up questionnaires are one of the best sources of feedback on how your ad campaign is going. Questions you could ask include:

Also, if your job involves going to the customer, make sure to slip a flyer into nearby mailboxes, as people of similar needs and interests tend to live in the same area.

Unpleasant? Important? Yes, and yes.

Cold calling—whether over the phone or door to door—is a baptism of fire for many small businesses. Cold calling forces you to sell yourself as well as your business. If people can’t buy you (the person talking to them), they won’t buy anything from you.

Over the phone, you don’t have the benefit of a smile or face-to-face conversation—a phone is a license for some people to be as caustic and abrupt as possible (we are all guilty of this at one time or another). However, cold calling does make you think on your feet and encourages creativity and adaptability when facing potential customers.

A combination of old-fashioned pounding the pavement and modern-day pounding the keyboard will provide the best results for a small business looking to market itself.

Warm calls are an alternative to cold calls. You make calls to people you have already met or introduced yourself to through social events, email campaigns, or other activities.

The importance of the internet in building a successful business cannot be overstated. Marketing methods have stayed pretty much the same across the last 50 years, except for the birth and rapid evolution of the internet. No company (even a local café) should be without, at the very least, a website with vital details such as location and hours. You need a point of access for everyone who searches the internet first when they want to make a buying decision.

You may also need:

All this digital dexterity may feel intimidating at first. However, publishing technology has evolved to the point where an open-source content management system can meet all these needs.

How to Identify Your Value Proposition, Audience, and Goals

Before you begin printing and distributing your materials, it's best to figure out who your audience is and how to make your product or services valuable to them. Then, set realistic and attainable goals for your business and marketing endeavors.

Value Proposition

A value proposition is a reason a customer should buy your product or service instead of the competition. Look for what your target audience needs from you rather than what your product has. These needs are usually called benefits, where a product's physical properties or what it does are called features.

Critical to selling your product or services is identifying what you do for people that others do not (or don't do very well). To establish your value proposition, compare what you're offering to the competition. Identify their features and benefits to yours, and create ways to describe yours that outweigh the competition.

Your top value proposition should be unique to your offering and make it appealing to your audience. For example, imagine you have a coffee shop and bistro. It's a trendy convenience found in many towns and cities, so you'll have to analyze your competitors and use your imagination to discover the one thing that makes you stand out.

You can still highlight features, but they should be backed up with a benefit that aligns with your audience's needs.

Say you've perfected bread recipes from around the world, like Pao de Qeuijo (a gluten-free Brazilian bread made from gue flour and cheese) or Aesh Baladi (an Egyptian bread), and import coffee from the countries you make bread from. You may have a competitive advantage and an excellent value proposition—you offer an experience no other café in town does.

You'll need to identify who your audience is. To do this, you'll need to research to find out who your audience is if you didn't design your product specifically for one.

You'll need to identify who you want to sell to the most and ensure your product or service caters to them. For example, if you like the idea of a global café with bread and coffee from around the world, you'll need a customer base to sell it to.

You could start talking to people and listening to their coffee concerns. Find out their ages and average incomes, see what they'd like, and ask what current issues they have getting the coffee and the experience they want. Learn as much about them as possible—spending habits, needs, income levels, hobbies, or anything else that might provide insights into what might attract them.

Once you define your audience and what they need, you can figure out the message you're going to send.

Audience is key to marketing. If you're targeting one demographic that doesn't have a large presence in your area, you may not be too successful unless you're an online retailer.

One of the best ways to accomplish something is to set a goal. However, you don't want to set one goal—you should set an end goal and several small attainable goals that contribute to the final goal. Along with the smaller goals, set up a timeline and dates you'd like to complete the small goals. This way, you have small steps to guide you and a way to measure your progress and success.

The internet, and the various technologies and platforms created using it, gives businesses enormous marketing opportunities for those who understand how to leverage it. Here are the top marketing channels used; it's likely you've heard of or been exposed to them.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is top dog when it comes to marketing. It involves structuring your website and content so that it ranks as high as possible on Google search engine results pages. Google uses a technique called web crawling that finds web pages to add to its index. When creating or adjusting your webpage or site for SEO, there are several factors to consider, such as following Google's best practices and spam policies.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a technique used to promote interest in your brand without explicitly promoting a product or service. You'll find examples of this on many companies' websites where a blog or article discusses a topic and how the company relates to it or works to help people do something. Generally, there is a call to action towards the end of the article, like "if you need help with XYZ, contact us today" or something similar.

Content marketing establishes expertise and gives potential customers a brand to remember.

Email Marketing

It's been predicted that more than 4.5 billion people will have an email address by 2025. To gain access to this ocean of people, you'll need an email marketing application. You can find hundreds of email marketing applications that will allow you to create email marketing campaigns.

Social Media Marketing

We've all seen advertisements on our social media pages that seem to target us by what we've been shopping for. It's no secret that using social media increases brand exposure and generates interest, so it is in a small business's best interest to, at a minimum, create a social media profile for itself and begin posting content.

Influencer Marketing

Influencers are people with a large viewer and follower base on their platform of choice. For instance, someone who regularly posts content on Instagram could have millions of followers. This person then becomes an influence in the lives of their followers—giving businesses another exposure outlet. Chances are you've seen someone talking about a product or service on their social media platform; they've been sponsored by a company to talk about that business's services. Influencers can help you generate tons of interest.

What Is Small Business Marketing?

Small business marketing is creating a campaign for your small business to generate interest and a consumer base. It involves using traditional and modern marketing techniques to develop a marketing campaign.

Which Marketing is Best for Small Business?

The most effective marketing combines social media, networking, and traditional methods like flyers, posters, and cold-calling. However, social media advertising reaches the most people the quickest.

How Can I Promote My Small Business?

Social media is the quickest method for promoting your business. For the promotion itself, you can offer discounts for referrals, promotional pricing, participate in events in your community, or anything else you can think of. Technology has created many more channels you can use, but it's up to you to figure out ways to exploit them.

More than likely, you will find that the conversion rate on marketing is very low. Even the most successful campaigns measure leads (and converted sales from those leads) in the 10% to 20% range. This helps to shatter any illusions about instant success, but it is also an opportunity for improvement. However, it helps to consider that if you convert 0.5% of 1 million leads to sales, you've got 5,000 sales.

The more exposure you have, the more leads you can generate and convert. Ultimately, this turns into sales, profits, and growth.

Google Search Central. " Google Search Essentials ."

Radicate Group, Inc. " Email Statistics Report, 2021-2025 ," Page 3.

Unbounce. " The 2021 Conversion Benchmark Report ."

Business Insurance

Career Advice

How to Start a Business

Small Business Insurance

Wealth Management

Tax Deductions


By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

More From Forbes

Eight marketing strategies every startup or small business can afford.

Forbes Communications Council

Roshni  is the CMO of Foxquilt Insurance and Founder of Prosh Marketing, specializing in Go-To-Market strategies for technology startups.

As the founder of a marketing company that helps startups and small businesses, people often ask me, “How can we effectively market and scale with a tight budget?” It can be challenging to decide where to invest your time and limited resources in marketing. Should you invest in the top of the funnel or the bottom? 

In my experience, a full-funnel approach is usually the most sustainable over time. That said, certain strategies are just out of reach and do not make sense for smaller companies — like, for example, TV advertising. Here are eight tried-and-tested marketing strategies I recommend every startup or small business consider:

1. Earned Media/PR

The value of a credible third party touting your praises cannot be underestimated. Not only do press articles and earned media gain you trust, but you can also benefit from a wider distribution by leveraging their existing audiences. Influencers and bloggers can fall into this category and can share your company with their followers, which gains you an endorsement with potentially exponential reach. Stunts can also be a creative (and low-cost, if done right) way to garner media attention or that of your target market. 

2. Content Marketing

Creating content that’s relevant and interesting to your target audience can help you generate new leads by capturing their interest and building trust. It can also help increase your close ratio by building your brand, answering customer questions and providing reasons why prospects should choose you. From articles to infographics to eBooks and even videos, you should showcase your expertise, differentiation and brand values to attract potential customers and help those who are already considering you to make that purchase decision. Great content also often gets featured and backlinked, so you can increase your domain authority by placing it on your website. 

Best Travel Insurance Companies

Best covid-19 travel insurance plans.

3. Partner Marketing

Partnering with another company or organization that has a similar target customer can help you both increase your reach and marketing abilities if you pool your resources together to build your brands. Complimentary products and services can be a great place to start. By sharing email lists, exchanging blogs, bundling offerings or even co-branding programs, ads or sponsorships, you can create win-win situations for both partners. 

4. Social Media

Having your own social channels not only allows you to control your message and share updates freely, but also allows you to build a community around your brand, company and product. As a free channel to activate, social media can be a great place to build user-generated content, get feedback or even address customer service concerns. Many customers also look to social channels to see if they can trust the brand or company or to check out their reviews, so maintaining a presence can actually help conversion rates. 

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most people search for information online, and organic search can account for the majority of a website’s traffic. This makes optimizing your website for SEO extremely important. Through strategic SEO, you can introduce yourself to leads with a high need state or purchase intent, which can make this kind of business easier to close. Furthermore, if a customer searches for help with a problem and your website comes up, this helps position you as a credible, trustworthy source to help them. 

6. Email Marketing

If you’ve built your email list right, you’ve gathered a group of people who have expressed some interest in your company or product. By segmenting this group based on different characteristics and then emailing them with the right content and offers at the right time in their customer journey, you can influence a purchase decision successfully with no added impact to your marketing budget. 

7. Affiliate Programs

Affiliates are a cost-effective way to build sales without adding large fixed marketing costs like advertising. Because they have skin in the game, affiliates are properly incentivized to promote your products or services and are only rewarded if they are successful. These affiliates can take the form of influencers, content publishers and review or coupon sites, and you can structure the partnerships to pay out based on clicks, leads or sales. 

8. Referral Marketing

Tapping into the goodwill of happy, existing customers is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to grow. Mobilize your customers to spread the word about your products or services by reminding them to share their experiences and incentivizing them to bring new business to you. You’ll likely get highly qualified leads at a lower overall cost of acquisition than if you had to find them on your own. 

Even with a modest budget, there are many options available to you to create a solid marketing plan as a startup or small business. By employing a number of different affordable strategies that address the entire marketing funnel, from awareness through conversion and advocacy, you can strategically, creatively and tactfully garner customers and build revenues to eventually reinvest in your marketing efforts and speed up your growth. 

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Roshni Wijayasinha

Marketing Insider Group

7 Smart Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

marketing strategies for small businesses

marketing strategies for small businesses

Whether you’re launching a new small business or already have an existing one, you need to develop a marketing strategy that prioritizes a strong online presence. With 97% of people researching local businesses online, it’s essential to meet potential customers where they spend the most time.

However, growing your small business in the digital landscape isn’t easy. Between defining your target audience, promoting your services, and getting the word out, it’s simple to understand why you’d be overwhelmed.

Throw developing a marketing strategy into the mix, and it might seem like you’re trying to learn a foreign language.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Don’t worry! With the right strategies and channels in place, you can get on the fast track to growing brand awareness and earning ROI. In this post, let’s discover what should be at the center of your small business marketing strategy.

Quick Takeaways :

🤫 PS – I put together these 10 tips for optimizing your content marketing. Watch Now!

Why is it Important to Build a Small Business Marketing Strategy?

Every business wants to get their name out there, but when you’re a small business with a modest budget , it’s hard to come up with traditional and online marketing ideas while balancing marketing expenses against the expenses of actually doing business. And with advertising costing as much as it does, it’s no wonder that so many small businesses struggle to get noticed.

Here’s the plot twist, though: advertising isn’t the best way to generate leads anymore. The average person today sees around 5,000 ads a day, a number that’s over twice as high as it was in the ‘80s. As a result, ad blockers are now used by more than 250 million people. So if ads aren’t the way to build a customer base, what is?

Well-researched and planned digital marketing, diligently and consistently executed will keep the branding and sales wheel churning for the smallest of businesses.

Did you know that 50% of small businesses don’t have a dedicated digital marketing strategy? Small businesses often deal with a limited marketing budget. As a result, it can be a challenge to earn visibility in a local community.

A marketing strategy helps you increase brand awareness and develop a pipeline of qualified leads that will turn into sales. With the right digital tactics in place, you can scale your small business marketing efforts to earn more customers in your local area.

Before diving into your channel strategies, you need to build a foundation. Consider the following elements when getting started:

How to Build a Small Business Marketing Strategy?

There’s no secret sauce to developing a small business marketing strategy. However, the below strategies can help small businesses earn high ROI, and even get some valuable time back.

While the combination might be trial and error, dedicating time and budget to your marketing will pay off in sales and brand reputation.

1. Search Engine Optimization

Beyond developing an impressive website, search engine optimization (SEO) is perhaps the most impactful marketing strategy for small businesses. SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content for search engines or end users to find your company easily.

Often, the higher you rank on Google, the more likely you’ll be able to drive traffic and consumers to your website. With over 35% of all traffic coming from local sources, customers searching for your services will be more likely to find your business in search engine results.

You can implement SEO by:

good marketing strategies for small businesses

At Marketing Insider Group, we’re constantly optimizing our strategy for ourselves and for the clients we serve.

The best advice we can give to any small business is to publish blog articles multiple times per week. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth to do it all right now, start small! Check out our guide to writing the perfect blog post and skip right on over the trial and error of blog posting.

Don’t expect to write a few words on an industry trend or two and expect your website to crash from too many visitors! Research SEO blog posting strategies and others that could help to build your credibility in search.

😜 PS – Check out our weekly blog content service to grow your website traffic and leads!

2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows small businesses to display ads when consumers search for certain keywords in a search engine. While it can lead to an expensive bidding war, local markets are often less competitive and the PPC model helps you keep a regulated budget.

Sounds good, right? But, how does this work?

You bid on certain keywords—like “local printing company” or “office supplies near me”—and create ads around those phrases. Advertising platforms will then use an algorithm to display your ads in the search engine result pages (SERP) based on factors such as keyword relevance and landing page quality. You pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

For some, it works wonders. But this must be a thoughtful approach! Definitely don’t just “throw money at the problem.” Make sure your business roots are strong, like your strategy, website, and brand messaging. Then assess if PPC advertising could truly make a difference for you.

3. Email Marketing

With a projected 4.3 billion email users by the end of 2023, email marketing is an excellent way for you to reach your target audience. In fact, 81% of small businesses report that email is their primary lead generation and retention tool.

Email marketing is the only digital marketing tool that allows you to build a personalized relationship with customers and continue to nurture them well after their first purchase. You can send customers drip campaigns based on an action—like signing up for a consultation or completing a purchase—or send regular newsletters filled with company and product updates.

To use email marketing successfully, consider the following tactics:

good marketing strategies for small businesses

4. Social Media Marketing

If you’re looking to reach a larger audience and engage with customers regularly, social media is a small business must-have. While it may not be the biggest driver of sales growth , it can help you reach awareness and branding goals.

The average user spends 3 hours a day on social media. While it may seem intimidating at first, it’s essential not to spread yourself too thin and join every platform.

Instead, focus on your target audience. Where are they spending the most time? What type of content do they enjoy? How can you make the biggest impact?

Depending on your customer needs, consider the following platforms:

good marketing strategies for small businesses

But remember this important detail: showing up on social media platforms when you feel like it is not enough!

Your small business’s social media accounts could use their own smart strategy. Once you’ve figured out where your audience is lurking, build a realistic content plan and publishing schedule. Stay consistent for a few weeks and don’t be afraid to make small adjustments along the way.

5. Content Marketing

What should be at the center of your small business marketing strategy? Content marketing .

Content marketing is the act of developing and publishing high-quality content that is valuable to your target audience. It should speak to their challenges and needs while positioning your business as the solution through creative storytelling.

It’s important to note that content marketing is a long-term strategy. It will take significant time to build rapport with your customers and search engines. However, when done correctly, content marketing can position your business as an industry leader and build long-lasting relationships with your audience.

Your content should include a wide range of formats to highlight your industry expertise and learn what your audience prefers to consume. When getting started, consider the following content types:

good marketing strategies for small businesses

The quality of content you create is invaluable. Each business has a field of expertise, and you can capitalize on your valuable expertise by sharing your knowledge online. Customers then find your content when searching for information on the topic.

So rather than trying to find your customers to shove an ad in their faces, your customers come looking for you . And the better the content, the more loyalty you’ll build with your audience. Just be sure you’re combining content efforts with search engine optimization (SEO), so that your content shows up in Google searches.

Further, content isn’t just text. Written content can be boosted with some snappy visuals. Whether you’re including a well-crafted infographic , some applicable photos or visual references, or even a video, giving your audience something to look at will increase engagement.

You can even go a step further, and get in on what all those trendsetters have been talking about: live streaming on social media. Hold a Q&A on Twitter Spaces, give visitors an on-site a tour of your facilities on Facebook, or show them how you get the job done with LinkedIn Stories. The more transparent you are with your audience, the more they will trust you.

🔥 PS – Check out our latest case study that shows how we helped one company double their leads!

6. Ratings and Reviews

Beyond the content you create, the product or service you provide has a big impact on your online presence. You need to be aware that people are leaving reviews of your company and your products on places like Google, Amazon, Yelp, and more. If you’re providing something remarkable and offering great customer service, then this is a good thing.

If not , then it can have some serious consequences. You need to be proactive about encouraging positive reviews and about remedying negative ones. This isn’t to say that you should manipulate reviews to suit the image of your company, but rather that you should make it convenient for your customer to leave an organic review and act quickly to resolve the problems in negative reviews. Here are some tips:

7. Online Reputation Management

Remember how we mentioned SEO? Well, just like you need to watch out for negative reviews, you need to watch out for negative or defaming search results. Negative search results can crowd out positive ones, and make it hard for customers to find your business, let alone trust it.

Reputation management is a very large topic to cover. To simplify, you should definitely be checking regularly for what comes up when you search your company’s name.

Make sure you’re honest and customer-friendly in your dealings, you’re producing excellent content, and that you’re making the most of social media sites and business directory listings. The more positive stuff about you that you can put out there, the better chance you’ll have at crowding out the negative noise.

5 Questions Answered on Small Business Marketing Strategy

Figuring out a marketing strategy when you’re the owner of a small business can seen daunting. Once you have a foundation, we can start to dig a little deeper. Here are 5 important questions on marketing for small businesses, answered:

1. What marketing tricks can SMBs learn from Fortune 500 companies?

First, large companies believe that they can be known for something, but their egos get in the way when they only talk about themselves. Small companies are often better able to maintain the important focus on customers and become known as true thought leaders in their space. We help SMBs to craft customer-focused mission statements to guide their strategy.

Second, small companies have less technical infrastructure. We’ve seen them out maneuver their larger peers with better customer experiences on their website, more authentic and engaging content and more interaction on social media.

Third, smaller companies also tend to have more passionate employees who are willing to create engaging content, interact on social, and even drive referrals for customers and new recruits. SMBs should identify this strength early on and focus on employee and customer engagement as part of their marketing strategy.

Fourth, retention is the secret to a high ROI Marketing strategy. In larger companies, working closely with existing customers can become secondary to driving growth. SMBs face similar pressure for different reasons. But the math behind the growth engine is different for SMBs. They need growth with lower investment. Customer Retention programs are the best way to achieve high ROI with little investment.

2. Where should marketers be focusing today when designing marketing campaigns?

Today’s customers and buyers are always searching online for information, education and solutions to their problems. The smart marketers are creating always-on programs to answer this need. That includes educational and non-promotional thought leadership, activating employees in content creation and social engagement, and then creating and testing the right paths to conversions.

3. What is the key to wildly successful digital marketing programs?

Wildly successful marketing programs are always running. They are always testing the right content or message. They are always tweaking the audience filters and targeting parameters. They are always optimizing the visual elements of the program. And they are always testing conversion paths. Being always on is the key.

4. How should SMBs approach campaign development today, and where do they typically go wrong?

SMBs can sometimes be so desperate to deliver on the sales or lead goals, that we focus too much on the last stage of the buying process. Marketing programs should match the buying process as much as possible.

This means creating a lot of content at the early stages.

On average, for every 1 customer, there are 100 people in the early stages of the buying journey. These are people who know they have a problem but are not even sure what the solution is. Explain it to them and why it’s important (no product yet)!

For every buyer there are 10 people in the middle-stages. These folks are looking for deeper how-to education. Spend time helping them (not too much product yet).

Now you’ve earned a right to talk about who you are, what you sell and why you are better.

5. What are some great tips for designing customer journeys?

We live in a digital world where it’s relatively easy to see what your customers need at each stage of their journey. We can simply use Google auto-fill or related searches to tell us what content to create. If I’m selling content marketing strategy services, I know that people want content marketing strategy tools, templates and examples because Google auto-fill or related searches told me that’s what most people are searching for.

Once you’ve created a list of topics, you can group them into categories and use Google Trends to tell you which categories of content and topics are more important for your customer journey relative to each other.

We can use other tools to tell us what questions we should be answering with our content at each stage of the buyer journey, and which channels are most important to our customers. For B2B businesses, LinkedIn might be the place to be. But if you’re in fashion, for example, you have to be on Instagram. Don’t leave these decisions up to your gut. We can quantify the impact of each of these approaches.

Develop Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

Limited resources and a small budget don’t mean you can’t leverage a marketing strategy to grow your business. Developing a small business marketing strategy allows you to learn about your ideal customers so you can better serve their needs and earn their loyalty.

To increase brand awareness and conversions in your local area, don’t forget about how these marketing strategies can help you grow:

Unsure of how to get started with marketing as a small business? Schedule a free consultation to learn about our Weekly Blog Writing  Services that make quality content seamless.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

About Haley McDevitt

Haley McDevitt is a Director of Marketing Strategy and Client Services at Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency. She has worked in marketing and communications at Fortune 500 companies such as Qurate Retail, Inc (QVC, HSN, Zulily) and Universal Health Services, Inc. Her part-time hustle is her photography business, a lifestyle & wedding photography brand. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

marketing strategies for small businesses

October 17, 2022

Top 13 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Vibhanshu Dixit

Table of Contents

Small businesses often suffer from low budgets and limited resources when it comes to marketing. This restricts their brand exposure.

But, with so many marketing channels available today, promoting your business has become easier and cheaper than ever.

Nearly 97% of people research local businesses online before making a decision. However, promoting a small business online isn’t simple. It requires proper research about the target audience, engaging with them, and creating a buzz that promotes word-of-mouth marketing.

If your business isn’t showing up on search results, you’re missing many potential leads. Thus, following result-driven marketing strategies for small businesses is the key to skyrocket growth.

With the right marketing strategy, you’ll see how your business evolves into a popular brand and generates positive ROI.

Importance of Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Limited budgets are a  constraint in terms of marketing for small businesses as they struggle to gain visibility in a crowded market.

But with access to many advertising options nowadays, there can be no holding back. In fact, stats say 50% of small businesses don’t build a marketing strategy. Thus, you can stand out from the competition with an effective marketing plan .

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Small business marketing strategies:

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Things to Keep in Mind: The Initial Drawing Board

To build a marketing strategy for small businesses, it’s crucial to figure out inputs and ideal outcomes:

Strategies help in achieving your goals, but you must create specific and measurable goals first. The above questions can pinpoint the ideal outcomes that you want to achieve. Finalizing the founding questions will serve as a guide rail during marketing operations.

Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses to Boost Growth and Sales

There’s no secret sauce for building perfect marketing strategies for your small business. Most marketing techniques require iterations to pay off in the end.

What might not work for others may suit your business well. In short, iterating on the marketing strategies, allocating budget, and tracking marketing ROI help increase brand awareness, reputation, and sales.

1. Content marketing

content marketing strategy for small business educate audience and provide them with value through content.

Content marketing should be at the center of marketing strategies for small businesses. It is one of the most effective inbound marketing tactics that give compounding results.

The primary aim of content marketing is to educate your audience and provide them with value through your content.

As per the SmartInsights report, 18% of marketers said content marketing had the biggest commercial impact on their business. Further, HubSpot reports 40% of marketers to agree content marketing is a core part of their overall marketing strategy.

Content marketing pays off in the long run, but it’s not easy. To stand out, you’ve to create and distribute content consistently and effectively.

You can leverage content marketing for each stage of the customer journey:

Gain awareness > Develop trust > Offer solution.

Whatever content you create, ensure it checks these four boxes: quality, optimized for readers and SEO, relevant, smart distribution.

2. Build a website

Having a website is essential for companies. Often dubbed as the modern-day business card, it adds credibility and helps you create a lasting impression.

A website is a foundation on which all marketing plans are built. It is the source of all your company-related information and allows brands to establish themselves as an authority in their domain through well-thought-out content.

If you’re just starting, getting a website is easy. All you need to do is:

Purchase a domain name and web hosting: Select the domain name and check its availability on the online domain registrar. If the domain name is available, sign up for web hosting.

Choose a content management software (CMS): This is critical for creating content and keeping your website up-to-date over time. Most CMS solutions, including WordPress, already have free templates to help you get started.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Having a website isn’t enough. You must fine-tune it to appear among the top results on Google. The number one result on Google SERP gets 31% CTR and has 10x higher CTR than #10 results ( Backlinko , 2019).

What’s more, ranking up one spot in the search results increases CTR by 30.8% (also depends upon your initial rank too). That’s why SEO is critical. It’s simply the process of optimizing your website, its content, and elements for search engines and end-users.

The higher you rank, the more people visit your landing page. In fact, about 35% of all traffic comes from local sources.

Thus, higher ranks will send more traffic to your website, and a majority of them might get converted into customers. Customers searching for a solution will consider your product/ service and likely be delighted.

You can rank higher on SERPs with the following SEO tips for small businesses:

good marketing strategies for small businesses

4. PPC advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising helps small businesses display ads in search engines when people search a specific keyword

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising helps small businesses display ads in search engines when people search a specific keyword. It’s a type of paid marketing in which you (advertiser) have to pay a fee every time your ad is clicked.

PPC advertising might involve a tough bidding war when you’re launching a campaign. But that’s not the case with local keywords, as they are less competitive and underutilized.

PPC is one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses to track money spent and customers acquired. You can use the Google Ads platform to research keywords and use audience targeting to reach people that align with your buyer persona.

When you add an audience to a campaign or ad group, select from a wide range of categories—like fans of travel, people shopping for cars, or targeted people that have visited your website or app. Google Ads will show ads to people who likely fall in these categories.

5. Email marketing

One advantage that email marketing has over other small business marketing strategies is personalization.

In email marketing, you own the email list of target buyers, unlike other platforms. Plus, you don’t have to send a common message to the masses that results in a low conversion rate. Instead, you can tailor the message according to the customer and their stage in the buyer’s journey.

A report by Emarsys reveals that 81% of small businesses leverage email marketing for customer acquisition, retention, and customer loyalty . Email marketing delights new customers while offering after-sales support to the existing buyers.

As a small business owner, you can kick off drip campaigns when a user completes an action like signing up or completing a purchase. You can then send them a series of email newsletters about your products and company updates.

To leverage email marketing strategy for small businesses, learn the following tactics:

6. Social media marketing

More than selling, businesses use social media to build strong relationships with customers .

Successful companies aim to build a community of fans and leverage social listening using social media. If you want to engage with your customers regularly, then SMM is a must-have marketing strategy for your small business.

With millions of users spending more than 3 hours a day on social media, it can be intimidating to use every social platform for marketing. But step back because narrowing down is the key here. Go back to the drawing board and figure out who’s your target audience.

Find out, where are they spending the most time? What type of content do they love and talk about? How can you give value to them to make an impact?

Then, double down on the platforms they use the most. For instance, if you’re a B2B company, your prospects most likely use LinkedIn and Twitter. Whereas, if you’re a D2C brand for teens, Facebook or Instagram might be the channels for you.

Depending on your buyer’s persona and their interests, consider the following strategy for social media marketing:

7. Facebook Advertising

Facebook is an inexpensive way for small and mid-sized businesses to market products/services to virtually any customer segment. With over six million advertisers , Facebook is one of the largest marketing channels.

Facebook ads trump other channels because of advanced targeting options like demographics, interests, online behavior, connections and more to reach Core, Custom, or Lookalike audiences.

Here are the steps to advertise using Facebook Ads:

If your business relies on a strong visual factor, consider advertising on Instagram instead. As a subsidiary of Facebook, you’ll get all the options to connect with the audience using visual sales.

8. Google my business

If you’re a small business, then Google My Business (GMB) is another effective marketing strategy to attract locals.

Your GMB rankings can significantly boost the visibility and sales of your business. For instance, if a person searches “home renovation company Cincinnati”, this is what they’ll get:

marketing strategies for small business; GMB rankings can significantly boost the visibility and sales of your business

Notice how the three GMB are at the top of the SERP result. If you can rank in the top three of GMB results, you can attract many highly qualified leads without spending anything. Further, these leads are already in the consideration stage; you just need to pitch your offer when they contact you.

Google My Business combines your data from different public platforms (Google+, Google reviews, Play store, etc.) and displays it under GMB. Further, if you’ve got a unique brand name, you can get a big display when people search for that name. Thus, if you’re a local business, GMB should be at the top of your marketing strategies.

9. Coupon deal sites

Coupon sites like Groupon are an excellent way to attract new customers to your business. If you’re a business that offers discounts, leverage coupon deal sites to promote your business to interested buyers.

Coupon deal sites attract large chunks of customers based on location and allow regional, local, and national businesses to give limited-time offers to their members.

The prime benefit of this marketing technique is brand awareness and local advertising. Be aware that you’ll incur costs in terms of revenue per sale. For instance, Groupon requires you to offer at least a 50% discount, and Groupon takes at least 50% of the revenue. It’s basically a form of paid advertising.

Remember, the aim of this marketing strategy isn’t sales—it’s mass exposure and brand awareness. Once you get a flock of new customers, kickstart your customer success and retention strategies.

10. Offer free consultation

If you’re an expert and an authority in your niche, offer free consultations. It’s an effective way of generating new leads and igniting word-of-mouth advertising. Bonus--if you have excellent sales skills, you can close a large number of deals effortlessly.

Don’t worry about giving free information to potential clients. Freeloaders will anyway grab it and run away. Those aren’t your ideal clients.

Your prospects will pay for your premium services because of the value you offered in a 30-minute call. These are the ones that will be loyal and spread the word.

Display free consultation offers using offline media (pamphlets, newspapers, signs) or online (banners on your website, social media, etc.) This strategy isn’t for everyone—it will suit professionals who provide expert service.

11. Use influencers

Influencers are people with a substantial online following. Their opinions can sway the thinking of their followers and even set the trend. So, if an influencer promotes your brand, their followers will most likely notice your brand. Marketing your small business can use some influencers backing to promote their brand.

You can reach out to them directly and request them to promote your service or product. You can also give influencers your product for free in exchange for a brand mention or promotion. Lastly, you can also work with an influencer marketing agency, introducing you to influencers in your industry or who are a good fit.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

12. Manage online reputation

A few years ago, reputation management was considered necessary for celebrities and large businesses. And it appeared that smaller firms had little to care about. Today, more than 70% of customers start their buying journey with a Google search, making it critical for companies of all sizes to manage their online reputation. Companies cannot afford to come on the SERPs as unreliable and disreputable.

Small businesses too need to build a positive brand perception by monitoring reputation, addressing any negative customer feedback, and deploying strategies to prevent and solve defaming problems that could potentially damage brand reputation.

While online reputation management is a topic in itself, there are certain things a brand can do to manage adverse comments online. They should regularly check what Google shows while searching for their company name and put out positive content online while carefully addressing all the negative comments.

13. Ask for reviews

Following up on our previous point, one way to manage online reputation is by asking happy customers to rate and review your product online. In addition to the content you create, product reviews have a significant impact on the mind of potential customers. In fact, 90% of consumers who read online feedback stated that positive reviews affect their buying decision. But this isn’t to say that you should manipulate reviews to suit your brand image.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

Rounding Up Marketing Ideas for Small Business

Here are the top marketing strategies for small businesses at a glance:

Limited resources for a small business shouldn’t hinder marketing. In fact, turn it to your advantage as you’ll have more opportunities to leverage all your resources creatively.

Moreover, small businesses have greater freedom to experiment with uncommon marketing strategies (aka growth hacking). In a nutshell, marketing is as crucial as building a product; if you can build it, you can market it.

good marketing strategies for small businesses

You might also like

Top 7 Note-Taking Tips and Methods To Maximize Efficiency At Work

Top 7 Note-Taking Tips and Methods To Maximize Efficiency At Work


5 Reasons Why You Must Use Sales Training Software

Ayush Kudesia

The Ultimate Guide to Taking Notes During Employee Interviews


  1. List Of Small Business Marketing Ideas

    good marketing strategies for small businesses

  2. The 8 Most Effective Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses

    good marketing strategies for small businesses

  3. https://www.persistseo.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/small-business

    good marketing strategies for small businesses

  4. Pin on Small Business Marketing

    good marketing strategies for small businesses

  5. Top 5 Marketing Strategies for Small Business

    good marketing strategies for small businesses

  6. 21 Creative Small Business Marketing Ideas

    good marketing strategies for small businesses


  1. Why Miss Kemya's Youtube Channel?

  2. Best Networking Night In Arizona

  3. You HAVE to deliver what you're promoting in your business

  4. My New Nightly Motto #shorts #businessmotivation #businessownerlife #smallbizowner #confidenceboost

  5. When People From Years Ago Keep Snooping.. 👀😂 #shorts #businessownerlife #movingforward #instreel



  1. Top 10 Ways to Market Your Business Online

    Did you know that 81% of retail consumers conduct online research before buying? So, retail marketers are spending more on digital marketing to get more customers. In the U.S, for example, retailers are expected to spend $35.48 billion on o...

  2. What Is the Capital Market?

    The capital market revolves around capital. Capital is more or less another word for money — usually money that businesses need to produce the goods or services they sell. Capital markets are one of the foundations of free-market economies ...

  3. What Is a Business Market?

    A business market is the specific group or industry a company focuses on when trying to sell products and services. These audiences are often dictated by the kind of materials an organization deals in and the kinds of competition these busi...

  4. 50 Ideas for Your 2023 Small Business Marketing Strategy

    Blogging is a great way to generate organic traffic, particularly for those prospects who have not reached a purchasing decision yet. In

  5. 10 Small Business Marketing Strategies That Actually Work

    One of the most popular online marketing tactics is social media advertising. This involves using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

  6. 8 Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses

    8 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses · 1. Establish a Brand · 2. Know Your Customer · 3. Create a Website · 4. Use the Power of SEO · 5. Get

  7. The 13 Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

    When you're a small business, email marketing is a perfect opportunity to establish loyalty. If your customers and prospects are handing over

  8. How to Create a Small Business Marketing Strategy

    As a small business owner, you already know that you need a strong marketing plan — but you may not know how to go about creating an effective strategy.

  9. The 16 Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

    6. Coupon Deal Sites. Whether you sell a product or offer a service, you can use coupon deal sites like Groupon to quickly promote your business.

  10. The Best Marketing Strategies For Small Business

    5 Ways To Build A Solid And Effective Small Business Marketing Strategy · 1. SEO · 2. Content Marketing · 3. Pay-Per-Click Advertising · 4. Social Media Marketing.

  11. 7 Popular Marketing Techniques for Small Businesses

    Which Marketing is Best for Small Business? The most effective marketing combines social media, networking, and traditional methods like flyers, posters, and

  12. Eight Marketing Strategies Every Startup Or Small Business Can Afford

    Eight Marketing Strategies Every Startup Or Small Business Can Afford · 1. Earned Media/PR. The value of a credible third party touting your

  13. 7 Smart Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

    How to Build a Small Business Marketing Strategy? · 1. Search Engine Optimization · 2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising · 3. Email Marketing · 4. Social

  14. Top 13 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

    Content marketing should be at the center of marketing strategies for small businesses. It is one of the most effective inbound marketing