Small Business Marketing Guide

1. Intro to Small Business Marketing

Next Read: How to Create a Small Business Marketing Strategy

Small Business Marketing

Intro to Small Business Marketing

Jul 13, 2023 • 9 min read
Millennials on phones and computers
Table of Contents

      Let’s face it. There’s a lot of bad marketing advice out there. Or great advice that’s far too in-depth for a small business owner who isn’t looking to start a full-time career in marketing. We created this guide to cut through the clutter and provide you with principles, direction and the applicable step-by-step how-tos to get the job done. Each article is written by an experienced marketer who catered their advice to a small business owner.

      Navigating the guide.

      The marketing guide is divided into logical chapters. Read from start to finish or click through to the section you’re most interested in. Within each chapter, you’ll have the option to dive deeper into certain topics, such as a step-by-step tutorial on setting up a Google Ads campaign in the Digital Marketing chapter or a guide on running an Instagram giveaway in the Social Media Marketing chapter.

      An overview of small business marketing.

      This article will provide an introductory overview of small business marketing. Click through to the various chapters of the guide for more in-depth information.

      1. Small business marketing strategy.

      Before diving into strategies and tactics, start by building out a thorough marketing strategy for your business. This will give you the information and direction you need to put your time and money into the right marketing tactics for your business. Start by performing thorough market research to understand your competition and your customers. This research will inform your pricing strategy and which marketing channels will best reach your customers. 

      Once you have that research in place, select your channels, plan out a marketing budget and build out a marketing plan for getting it all done.

      Full chapter

      2. Small business branding.

      Branding may sound like unnecessary arts and crafts for a small business, but it can actually have an impact on your bottom line. Having a consistent brand creates an identity for your business that customers can connect with and share with friends and family. Benefiting from great branding doesn’t have to be complex or a huge investment. 

      Start with the basics of

      • Brand Name
      • Brand Messaging
      • Logo
      • Colors
      • Font
      • Value Proposition

      Then document those decisions in a style guide and apply them consistently to your marketing materials.

      Full chapter

      3. Digital marketing 

      Digital marketing encompasses any marketing tactic that lives on the web including digital advertising, search engine optimization, your website, email marketing, and social media. 

      Creating a website is an important first step to getting started with digital marketing. Today there are many DIY options for small business owners via drag-and-drop website builders with professionally designed website templates.

      Through digital advertising you can reach a target audience you define either by the searches they are typing in Google, characteristics such as location, or by other webpages they have visited on the Internet. This enables you to show ads to a highly targeted audience that is most likely to be interested in your product. 

      Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website to show up in Google search results when someone searches for something relevant to your business. While SEO does take some investment upfront to ensure your website is friendly to search engines and has the content necessary to show up in search results, any clicks you get via SEO are free.

      Full chapter

      4. Social media marketing.

      Social media can be powerful for building brand awareness and engaging with your customers. Before adopting a social media marketing strategy, be sure to think strategically about which social media platforms make the most sense for you to use. Social media is a huge time commitment, so avoid trying to appear on every single platform and instead pick the ones that your customers use the most. 

      Full chapter

      5. Email marketing

      Email marketing can produce a huge ROI for your business if done right. Start by selecting the right email automation tool for your needs. Then start building a list of email contacts. As your collecting emails, think about the strategy you will use to market to your different lists. You may want to send product updates to current customers or a special discount to a prospect.

      Remember to incorporate your branding and good design practices into the emails your send, and to follow all privacy and spam laws. 

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      6. Public relations

      By interacting with media, bloggers and podcasts, you can reach your customers via publications they currently read or listen to. Unlike an ad, public relations requires providing a newsworthy story or original content to a reporter or publisher. A piece of news could include a grand opening of a store, a giveaway or a special holiday offer. Original content could include an interview or an article written by you on a topic you have unique insights about.

      Full chapter

      7. Marketing events

      Whether you host your own event or sponsor an event run by another organization, event marketing is another way to market your business to your target audience where they are gathered either in-person or online. There are many different types of events that can be effective from a training session or tradeshow sponsorship to community events or hosting entertainment at your business’s location.

      Full chapter

      8. Word-of-mouth marketing

      Through word-of-mouth marketing, customers help market your business for you by telling their friends and family about a great experience or recommending your products and services. While providing a great product or service is the primary key to word-of-mouth marketing, there are strategies you can use to encourage customers to talk about your business. These can include a customer referral program, social media giveaways and user-generated content.

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      9. Local marketing

      Local marketing involves marketing to a specific geographic area. Small businesses with a physical presence such as a restaurant, dental offices or barber shops would all likely use local marketing. While many tactics of local marketing, such as signage, attending community events and distributing flyers are offline, there are ways to market locally online as well.

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      10. Customer marketing

      New customers shouldn’t be your only marketing focus. Current customers are your biggest asset. They bring in repeat sales for a fraction of the cost, refer new customers to your business and boost your brand by leaving reviews and testimonials. Email marketing, social media and customer loyalty programs are all great ways to engage with your customers.

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      11. Marketing tools

      There are many tools available to help you better market your business including many that offer free or less expensive plans to smaller businesses. Read through tool comparisons for market research tools, SEO tools, email marketing platforms and more. 

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      12. Marketing agency selection

      Looking to outsource your marketing or start scaling your current marketing program? Learn what to look for in a marketing agency.

      Full chapter

      About the author

      Lendio's team of experts is here to help you with every nook and cranny of your business. We'll make sure you have the best advice for financing, operations, management, hiring, and much more.

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