121 Small Business Marketing Ideas
Marketing is the decisive factor in the success of a small business. It kicks in the entire process of sales funneling, starting from attracting prospects to converting them into customers. So, if you do it right, marketing becomes the key to your survival and growth.
Many would confuse it with creating awareness about a brand. Though partially true, it’s not the ultimate aim of marketing. It’s also not about beating your own trumpet in an already noisy world. Marketers have now started viewing marketing from a different perspective altogether. They prefer to see it as a tool to connect a business to its consumers.
Businesses are doing everything possible to engage their audiences. It necessitates a business marketing plan that should entail the entire modus operandi of how you’d reach your ideal customers.
There are several methods to market your small business or startup, but you should focus on the most effective strategies that can change the game for you.
Marketing Ideas for Small Business
Marketing is a process of targeting your ideal customer and nurturing leads by sharing the right messages at the right time. It all revolves around adding value and making their lives better.
However, you can’t do it if you don’t do a proper marketing audit to identify your target audience and make your marketing message appealing.
Here is a list of 121 small business marketing ideas to fulfill your dream of running a successful entrepreneurial venture.
1. Make a marketing plan keeping in mind your target audience.
2. Do market research to understand its dynamics and find essential information about your ideal customers.
3. Make your buyer persona and further refine it to reach the right audience.
Figure out the value you can add and identify a powerful unique selling proposition (USP).
5. List your product features and service specifications.
6. Relate product features to benefits and use them for your marketing message.
7. Add your mission statement and key marketing message to your business cards.
8. Create and publish white papers, industry research, trends, and brochures to spread your word out.
9. Create a website and offer an excellent user experience. Even a single landing page will do, but it should provide enough information to help users make a purchase decision.
Gifts, Giveaways, and Outreach
The first step of any outreach campaign is to entice your prospects through irresistible offers, gifts, and giveaways. It is probably why many eCommerce companies offer a discount for people when they visit their website for the first time.
Here are a few outreach ideas you can try.
10. Use the power of giveaways and seize the opportunity trade shows and networking events offer.
11. You can offer several gift items people hang on to, such as pens, notebooks, keyrings, stress balls, etc.
12. Keep an elevator pitch ready and use it for quick prospecting. Use the following tips to craft the elevator pitch:
- Use an irresistible offer or hook people can’t ignore.
- It should reflect your enthusiasm.
- Keep the facts and stats ready to support your claims.
Networking and Partnerships
Networking and partnerships help small business owners in a huge way. Participating in local events enables people and local businesses to learn about you. It gives you the required visibility and advantage of working with like-minded people and experts.
You’ll also get institutional and technical assistance and support from business groups and government institutions.
13. Participate in industry events, seminars, meets, and conferences.
14. Leverage the power of networking, use business networking and connect with local networking groups.
15. Attend business workshops, especially the ones taking place in your neighborhood.
16. Join your small business technical assistance center, local small business development center, or the local chamber of commerce, etc.
Direct mail sounds like an old practice, but it’s still very much in fashion. It has become even more relevant because it has a very high level of reach and penetration. It can be a bit expensive, but it’s five times more effective than email in terms of sales. A targeted list is the prerequisite, though.
Here are a few direct mail ideas you can try.
17. Start a well-planned direct mail campaign.
18. Apply multiple tactics and do A/B testing to determine which approach works the best.
19. Use a compelling call to action in your direct mails.
20. Experiment with different direct mail formats such as tear cards, enticing envelopes, and inserts to attract your prospects.
21. Approach customers who have bought from you in the past with free samples and rewards to regain their business.
Advertising is the sub-domain of marketing, so don’t confuse it with marketing. Marketing is a broader concept, whereas advertising is an aspect of business marketing that deals with sending the right message to your audience. Everything counts in advertising, including its timing, message, tone, and platform you use, and it’s planned according to your audience’s mindset, psychology, needs, culture, and emotions.
Here are some of the best ways to advertise your business:
22. Tap the advertising channels to help you reach your target audience. For example, you can buy a spot on the radio.
23. Identify magazines, journals, and other publications your ideal customers love to read. For example, Cosmopolitan, the women’s magazine for fashion, is widely read by women across the globe. Car and Driver is the most popular magazine for auto lovers.
24. Go traditional and rent a billboard having a lot of visibility. People still look at them while waiting at the traffic signals.
25. Besides handouts and pamphlets, use stickers and magnets for advertising on the rear window of your car.
26. Buy advertising space in your local newspaper.
27. Buy ad space on a website related to your niche, but you also need to ensure that this website is popular among your audience.
28. Another forgotten traditional technique is to use a sidewalk sign to promote your products and services. It surely attracts the eyeballs of the locals. So, if you have a local business, it can be an effective medium for promotion.
Social Media Marketing
Very few businesses are able to actually survive if they aren’t a part of our social media ecosystem. Almost everybody is on social media, and if you aren’t active on it, you are missing out on many opportunities. Just like being a part of a group of like-minded people on social media, customers want to follow their favorite brand’s progress, view updates, and make connections with their community.
Social media can help you achieve your marketing objectives by promoting products, creating awareness, generating and nurturing leads, defining your brand image, and building lasting relationships.
Here are a few killer social media marketing ideas for small businesses.
29. Use various social media platforms, including some lesser-known platforms like Foursquare, Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr.
30. Don’t underestimate the potential of growing platforms like Twitch, Discord, TikTok, Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Caffeine, and Instagram Reels.
31. Don’t forget to create your personal and business profile on LinkedIn. It increases your online visibility and opens many vistas of opportunities for you.
32. Regular blogging brings numerous benefits, such as increasing follower growth and engagement. So, invest in blogging and do it consistently; create different versions for different platforms.
33. Creating short videos on TikTok can be magical if you wish to tap a younger audience.
34. Leverage the power of Instagram. Pay attention to the visual quality and maintain an attractive aesthetic. Create short videos for Instagram Reels.
35. Research your audience and popular keywords in your niche, and then create an editorial calendar for your blog and social content. Cover the topics that might add value to the lives of your target audience and address their pain points.
36. Create an informative website and optimize it using the best SEO practices.
37. Leverage the enormous power and reach of paid search using Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Choose the platform as per your audience type.
38. Social media influencers enjoy a dedicated fan following. Hire them for promotional posts and tap newer audiences.
39. Vlogging is the latest craze. Create video blog posts and attach a familiar face to your brand.
40. Leverage YouTube marketing and create YT videos to boost your online visibility.
41. Online directory listings offer numerous benefits for a local business. Save time and get your business listed in desirable directories at an affordable cost using white-label directory listing services.
42. Leverage the power of Facebook advertising. It offers laser-sharp targeting based on your customer characteristics and personality types.
43. Leverage the world’s most extensive professional network. LinkedIn brings you many opportunities by allowing you to connect to people according to their niche, job profile, and location.
44. Try a Facebook Live video demo. To tap into the power of live streaming, you should have a Facebook page. It’s an utterly personal way to engage your fans.
45. Analytics offers many marketing benefits, including Google Analytics or social media analytics. It helps you improve your campaigns. To learn more, refer to this actionable guide on Google Analytics.
46. Always be on the lookout for what’s trending. It can be a new practice prominent brands are tapping into, new platforms and tools, etc.
47. Update yourself with the latest trends in local search marketing and use them to your advantage. Local search marketing is highly effective in terms of conversions and ROI
48. Track your online reputation regularly. To learn more, refer to the definitive guide to online reputation management.
Email marketing is considered even more “intimate” than following a brand’s social media account. People give their email addresses only to the brands they are interested in, making it a powerful means of communication.
Here are a few killer email marketing tactics you can try:
49. Capture your prospect’s email through opt-ins on your website.
50. If you want free publicity, you can organize sports events or sponsor a local sports team.
51. Ask for your prospects’ email in exchange for gifts, access to a platform or event, an ebook, or a free download. You can also try contests, coupons, and incentives.
52. Build an email list and regularly send emails to them.
53. Subscribe people for a free monthly email newsletter. Click here to know more about cold email marketing.
54. Track the performance of your email marketing campaign. Various tools offer inbuilt analytics. You can also use A/B testing to know what works best for your campaign regarding content, promotional offers, frequency, open rate, CTR, and sending different emails to different customer segments.
55. Optimize your email signature and include links to your website and social media handles.
56. You can use email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, MailerLite, Constant Contact, Hubspot Suite, Moosend, or Drip.
Customer-Focused Marketing Tactics
Here are some more customer-focused and innovative ways to promote your business:
57. Organize contests and promote them aggressively.
58. Create coupons or tie-ups with other brands and offer vouchers and discounts.
59. Launch reward-based loyalty and “frequent buyer” programs.
60. Launch a brand ambassador or an affiliate marketing program.
61. Launch a customer of the month program and announce it on social media.
Pro Tip: Check federal regulations before you promote any giveaways or contests. Check and follow the related rules.
62. Focus on building relationships.
63. Conduct customer satisfaction surveys to check out how satisfied people are with your services. The customer satisfaction ratio is directly linked to your revenue and survival as a business.
64. Use the power of referrals. Request your happy customers to provide referrals.
65. Leverage charity events and humanitarian work. Besides getting the opportunity to work for a noble cause, you’ll also get free publicity.
66. Leverage the power of networking. Tie up with local businesses and cross-promote your products and services with them.
67. You can also create a buzz by joining a professional organization and delivering value to the community.
68. Leverage holidays and make a plan to promote the next holiday. It can trigger sales from “ready to buy” customers.
69. Identify your best and most loyal customers and plan holiday gifts for them.
70. Surprise your bonafide clients by sending them birthday cards, greetings, and gifts.
71. Positioning yourself as an expert or mentor always helps. Neil Patel, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Tom Bilyeu, Tony Robbins, Brian Dean, Rand Fishkin, and even Mark Zuckerburg are renowned mentors apart from business owners and entrepreneurs. Educating others helps you build trust and allows you to make sales happen.
72. Leverage content marketing. Enticing, informative, and engaging content attracts customers to your website, where you can encourage them to buy. Move beyond advertising and create useful and value-adding content.
73. Conduct free teleconferences and webinars. These are some of the most effective techniques for building email lists, lead generation, and boosting sales flow.
74. Leverage podcasting. While live podcasting continues to grow, podcasts are slowly gaining prominence in Google search.
75. Make press releases a part of your marketing strategy. Share press releases to local newspapers and periodicals and paid services like PR Newswire, etc.
76. Repurpose your blogs into videos, podcasts, and infographics. Share such content pieces on different platforms. For example, you can slice your YouTube videos into small videos for TikTok, Instagram Reels, Twitter, and Facebook.
77. Use storytelling in your sales copy and ads.
78. Publish a book to help your target audience and widely promote it. Offer it for free during events and seminars.
79. If you are too busy with day-to-day business operations, recruit a marketing expert or hire a consultant.
80. Increase your PR activities by hiring a PR professional.
81. Hire a trained copywriter to write attention-grabbing sales copy to boost conversion and sales.
Agency Management Tools & Apps
You can use various tools and apps to help you manage your agency tasks swiftly and efficiently. If you’re on a tight budget, you can use such tools to automate tasks like scheduling social media posts.
Here are a few killer tools and apps that will save you from the daily grind:
84. Monitor and report on all of your marketing campaigns in one place using the Analytics App. You can try it for free. For example, you can integrate your Google and Facebook Ad campaigns into the dashboard to monitor your campaigns’ performance in real-time.
85. Now handle your sales CRM and get your contacts data at your fingertips through Contacts App. It’s not an average sales CRM; it helps you effortlessly manage your people and business contacts with beautiful contact cards.
86. Manage all your data in one place with the Dashboard app. Use dozens of pre-built widgets across all your apps and extract your data into one unified dashboard for better monitoring and management. Create your dashboard view using drag-and-drop widgets to create your perfect view. It enables you to run your entire business with one platform.
87. Experience the power of automation when managing leads and deals within your sales pipelines with the Deals app. Additionally, this app also allows you to generate reports, gain insights, and showcase your leaderboard. Sales is an extremely tough and exhausting job, but this app creates a truly transformational experience for your sales team.
88. Improve your workflow and turn data collection into an exciting experience with a powerful Forms app. Online forms are designed to meet all your data collection needs. Manage unlimited form submissions with the Forms app, and collect them straight away from your dashboard.
89. If lead management is a hassle for you, try the Inbound app and organize all your leads like never before! This app can streamline and manage your inbound leads across different platforms. Later on, you can assign them to your sales reps, so they can easily track progress and do a follow-up. With this app, you don’t need to log in to multiple third-party softwares to manage inbound leads; you can fetch all those leads in one place.
90. If you need in-depth performance reports, use the InstaReports app; Data is complex, so you should prepare reports so that everybody can understand them and interpret the complex facts. The InstaReports app offers a grading scale that is easy to comprehend and helps in decision-making. If you manually try to compile this much data, it might consume several days, but with InstaReports, you can do it in a matter of seconds.
91. Are you struggling with website building for your clients? InstaSites app, the instant website builder, comes to your rescue in this. Create a custom website in seconds from hundreds of niche templates. You can choose from hundreds of pre-built niche-specific templates to design your dream website for your clients with a few clicks. These site templates come ready with the content, thanks to the white-label fulfillment services from DashClicks. So, you don’t need to create content for most web pages.
92. Projects, a projects management app, is good news for agencies as it allows them to swiftly manage their projects, teams, customers, etc. The Projects app helps you execute your tasks with lightning speed.
93. If website management becomes a hassle for you, download the Sites app. It allows you to create and manage your websites using a drag-and-drop website builder. You can swiftly edit your website using the app’s custom content management system (CMS). So, you don’t need any IT background or coding skills to manage your website.
94. With the Templates app, you can create custom email and SMS marketing templates. It streamlines your communication across the organization.
Other Marketing Ideas
The ultimate objective of marketing is to differentiate your brand. You can go a bit crazy, creative, or even provocative to grab the attention of the masses.
95. Partnerships work wonders for a business. Identify a complimentary brand and cross-promote each other’s products. This way, both parties will find newer audiences.
96. Invent a lucky charm for your business and aggressively promote your brand using it.
97. Launch your startup business coaching for your target audience and cite your business as a case study. You’ll get many benefits through free publicity, strong branding, lead generation, etc.
98. Distribute corporate gifts and branded wearable items such as t-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, polos, fleece jackets, shorts, wristbands, office stationery, etc.
99. Get your office building and the car painted in your brand colors. Add logos everywhere.
100. Sign up for the most popular business coach or mentor online and get yourself trained in cutting-edge business skills and strategies. They will help you scale, revamp, and restructure your business if needed. They will also teach you marketing skills to outperform your competition.
101. Research the businesses doing it right in your niche and generating handsome revenue, and learn from them. You can also borrow ideas to succeed if you don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
102. Use Amazon’s “trigger phrases” while marketing your products. Amazon filters its top reviews according to the trigger phrases that define the customers’ pain points in your niche in customer lingo. You can use that to exploit search results and reach the right audience.
Here is an example of a few trigger phrases for Amazon Kindle eBook readers:
You can also fetch such trigger phrases from forums and online communities and collect them in a file.
103 Ask for success tips from your suppliers and vendors. Since these guys have been in your business for a long time, they are the best people to advise you on the best practices to survive in your industry.
104. Subscribe to industry magazines and publications to get tons of valuable insights and information. It will also help in lead generation.
105. Use emotions in your advertising. Apart from the four basic emotions, i.e., happiness, gloom, fear/surprise, and anger/disgust, you can use a wide range of mixed emotions to connect with the audience. It always works.
106. A deeper understanding of the local demographics will always help. It includes purchasing power, taste, and buying behavior. If you don’t want an unexpected outcome, spend some time understanding the local demographics.
107. Make it a practice to listen to customers’ queries, needs, and concerns. When you prioritize listening to them, you get deep insights into what they expect from you. It will also help you generate lots of content ideas for content marketing.
108. Set Google Alerts and track every “brand mention.” Tracking brand mentions is a good way of social media monitoring and getting to know what people are saying about you and your products. Likewise, it’s also crucial to know if other businesses mention you, link to your website or social accounts, or simply complain about you.
109. Over 42 million people in the US speak Spanish, so it’s a good idea to translate your website into multiple languages. It will help you target new audiences.
110. Optimize your website to load faster. Fast-loading websites attract more traffic and enjoy better Google rankings. To achieve this, you can compress files, optimize images, remove heavy elements and reduce the number of active plugins.
111. Add fresh content and regularly update your website and give a reason for visitors to come back to your site again and again. Add value by providing helpful content. Update your website by adding new landing pages dedicated to new products or events, etc.
112. Reduce your response time. According to Forbes, the average lead response time was 47 hours. Businesses that respond within an hour of receiving the leads are almost seven times more likely to have meaningful conversations with decision-makers. It clearly shows that the sooner you respond, the higher are your chances of closing the sale.
113. Respond to all online feedback. Customers like the seller who cares about what the customers say and responds to them. Whether negative or positive, make it a priority to respond to customer feedback as soon as you receive feedback from a customer. You should monitor customer feedback on your eCommerce platform, blog comments, Yelp, Google, or other review sites.
114. Leverage blog commenting. When you leave thoughtful comments that add value and provide additional information on other blogs in your niche, you create awareness about your brand and attract the eyeballs of the audience visiting those blogs.
115. Create a digital brochure. You might have used your printed brochure for offline publicity. Consider creating a digital brochure in PDF format and promoting it everywhere, including your social media accounts and through email marketing. Upload it to a visible place on your website. You can also use additional graphics to highlight it and attract eyeballs. Encourage people to download it.
116. Focus on personal branding and thought leadership. People respect influencers and follow their advice. So, when you promote yourself as an expert, people trust you and flock to you for advice and industry updates. You can create your personnel website for this purpose. Apart from that, you can also try these things:
- Participate in industry events
- Get featured in media outlets
- Write columns for industry-specific websites or blogs
- Host or get invited to a YouTube or podcast channel of another influencer in your niche
117. Use retargeting to bring back your ad and site visitors. Retargeting is extremely powerful. A study claims retargeted visitors are 70% more likely to convert to your website. Stats also confirm a tenfold increase in brand searches after running retargeting ads.
118. Make it easy for mobile users to contact you. You can make your phone number “tappable” so they can call you with a single tap.
119. Use Canva to create stunning professional-grade graphics and banners. You don’t need to know Photoshop or Illustrator to do that. With Canva, you can create beautiful marketing templates, banners, and graphics to use on your website, social media, email, etc.
120. Try SMS marketing. The average CTR of SMS marketing is an impressive 35%, which is pretty high for any marketing platform these days. The open rate is 99%, which is surprisingly high.
121. Use more visual content for your marketing. Visuals convey your message faster and more straightforwardly. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times more quickly than it takes to decode text-based content. Also, content with relevant images and graphics gets twice as many views than content without visual elements.
These are the handpicked ideas and tips that will help you succeed in your small business venture. Your ability to understand your audience and their buying behavior is highly crucial to your success. Apart from that, you should also work smarter using apps and technology rather than doing everything manually. It will reduce the cost, time, and efforts involved and help you execute things faster and manage your campaigns in a better way.