BusinessHow to Market Your Small Business

How to Market Your Small Business

So you’re thinking about starting your own business or maybe you’ve already opened up shop and are wondering how to grow your customer base. Marketing your small business, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar operation or a remote enterprise you can run from your home office, doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money, but it does require a strategic approach that takes into account the kind of audience you’re trying to reach.

Hold old is your typical customer? Are they married or single? Are they homeowners? What does their household income look like? Answering these questions can help you determine what kind of customer you need to target with your marketing.

Here are some tips for using a combination of free and paid online tools, as well as some social and in-person networking, to build long-term relationships with prospects and customers and turn them into loyal clients. 

Ensure You Have a Social Media Presence

Social media can be a powerful and relatively inexpensive marketing tool for a small business, but with so many social channels available, how do you decide which one(s) to use? The key is understanding your target audience and where they spend their time. 

If you run a flower shop, for example, then you can benefit from sharing captivating visuals of completed flower arrangements or videos of the design process. In this case, visual-focused platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are ideal. To generate interest and gain followers, you can offer contests and promotions with prizes like a free Mother’s Day bouquet or a gift certificate for a future purchase to help draw potential customers into your brick and mortar store or onto your retail website to place an order. 

On the other hand, if you sell products on Etsy, you may want to use social media a little differently. Facebook and Instagram allow you to showcase your unique products directly, whether that’s handmade jewelry or crafting supplies, while also giving you the opportunity to embed links to your Etsy shop for easy product browsing and purchasing.

You might even consider running targeted ads on social platforms to directly reach prospects interested in handmade goods. Through use of “stories” and live video features, you can provide a behind-the-scenes look at how you make your products and establish an engaging platform that keeps would-be crafters and seekers of handmade goods coming back for more.  

Set Up Email Marketing Campaigns

Another relatively low-cost marketing option for small businesses is email marketing. Begin by building an email list that includes former as well as existing clients and maybe some likely prospects, including friends, family, or professional acquaintances. You can use email marketing software like HubSpot or Mailchimp to design professional and eye-catching emails and to distribute them easily to your contacts. 

Email marketing provides an opportunity as well to establish yourself as a trusted adviser. For example, if you run a tax preparation business, you can send your clients and prospects regular and seasonally appropriate emails throughout the year that provide advice on tax-saving tips, changes in tax laws, and information on filing deadlines. Make sure every email includes a clear call to action, maybe urging the recipient to schedule a consultation with you or to access tax advisement resources on your website. 

According to data from ConstantContact, brands made $36 for every dollar spent on email marketing in 2023. If you can provide helpful information and resources through your email marketing campaigns, you’ll grow your open and click-through rates and keep your customers coming back for more. 

Create High-Quality Content

Content marketing is another valuable yet low-investment-cost tool to fuel your small business’ growth. Many companies and sole proprietors maintain blogs or write regularly for third-party media outlets to establish themselves as thought leaders in their field of expertise. 

For instance, a freelance resume writer could market her services by contributing weekly to her own blog and providing clients and prospects tips on how to get headhunters’ attention on LinkedIn or how to craft the perfect cover letter, thus establishing herself as a valuable resource for job seekers while also providing a soft sell on her services writing resumes or preparing clients for interviews. 

Meanwhile an independent tax preparer might write regular short articles for his LinkedIn profile, discussing new tax deductions and credits, tips for ensuring clients get a tax refund, or best practices for keeping annual receipts organized. By contributing his ideas and resources regularly on LinkedIn or other social platforms, he can build his reputation as an industry expert, gain followers, and drive more prospects to his website where they can sign up for consultations. 

Create High Quality Content

Look for Opportunities for Networking and Local Partnerships

Networking can be a powerful tool for growing your small business, and it often requires no to minimal financial investment, just a willingness to spend time building relationships. 

For instance, if you own a flower shop, it makes sense for you to join a local business association, like a chamber of commerce, where you can connect with other businesses that might have need of your services, including wedding planners, restaurants, or event venues. You might even be able to collaborate with other businesses to create unique package deals, say by offering a wedding bouquet and photo shoot package for bridal portraits through a partnership with a local photographer. 

Meanwhile, if you’re a tax preparer, you can benefit from the resources of professional organizations like the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Offer your services as a speaker at annual events or other professional association engagements, and also consider establishing relationships with local banks and financial advisers whose clients might need tax preparation assistance. 

Invest in Paid Advertising Online

Paid online advertising can often be a solid marketing investment for your small business, as it allows you to specifically target the demographic that would seek or benefit from your services. Here are some examples: 

  • Search engine advertising platforms like Google Ads give you the opportunity to display targeted ads on search engine results pages (SERPs). That means when a potential customer searches for keywords related to your business offerings, like “tax preparation services,” your ad appears among the results. 
  • Social media advertising provides the option of creating targeted ads based on demographics, interests, and online behavior. Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads, for example, can help you promote products, special offers, or events, while targeting a specific audience within the platform.
  • Pay-per-click advertising is another online model that involves paying a fee only when someone clicks on your ad. This can be used on various platforms, from Google to Facebook, and ensures you only pay for advertising when a prospect clicks on your ad.

While there are a wealth of low- to no-cost options for marketing your small business, make sure you understand your target audience first. Know where they spend their time. Is it on Facebook or Instagram? And know how they most likely learn about or search for the types of products and services you offer. Maybe that’s through a search engine like Google or through referrals from colleagues. Once you know your audience and how they find and make purchases of services and products, you can choose the marketing tools best suited to grow your client base. 

Daniel Odoh
Daniel Odoh
A technology writer and smartphone enthusiast with over 9 years of experience. With a deep understanding of the latest advancements in mobile technology, I deliver informative and engaging content on smartphone features, trends, and optimization. My expertise extends beyond smartphones to include software, hardware, and emerging technologies like AI and IoT, making me a versatile contributor to any tech-related publication.

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