11 Creative Small Business Marketing Ideas to Help You Grow!
How Can You Market Your Small Business? Let’s Count The Ways!
Our team specializes in mobile-first web design for small businesses. We love exploring different ways to help our small business clients. Always striving to be on the cutting edge, we invest significant time and research so you don’t have to.
Are your marketing objectives for 2022 and beyond to increase website visits, build brand awareness, or grow market share? Here are a few creative small business marketing ideas to get you started.
To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products.Brian Halligan
Over the years, we discussed and explored alternatives to tried-and-true small business marketing. We refined and whittled away at the list until we came up with these 11 creative small business marketing ideas that any business can implement. Go ahead, take a look, and pick one you like. Implement it and watch what happens. You may surprise yourself!
And yes, we understand that as a small business owner, you have time and financial constraints. You can implement most of our small business marketing ideas without financial cost. Many of them will take you less than a few hours. You may already do (or should be doing) some of them for your small business marketing.
Creative Small Business Marketing Ideas
1 – Optimize Your Online Presence
Let’s assume you already have a small business website. Your website should be more than a simple telephone book listing your location and hours. It should be your most powerful marketing tool, primarily if you can deliver value above and beyond promoting your business.
The best small business websites offer relevant content and serve as a resource for your industry. Consider starting an active blogging strategy that provides updates about your small business and other exciting content, such as industry news and observations.
Use your writing and images to establish a unique point-of-view and creative voice, further amplifying your brand’s tone. Distribution platforms like Outbrain Amplify can help you find a more extensive network for your work, even without a massive marketing budget. Not sure what topics will appeal to your readers? Ask Storybase what your audience is expecting!
Additionally, make sure to include clear calls to action on the heels of useful content, such as inviting readers to sign up for your email distribution list or to find you on social media. And be sure your site is mobile-first. More and more readers access information on the go, and small businesses not optimized for mobile formats risk falling behind the curve.
2 – Mobile-First Web Design is Queen
You may have already heard that “content is king.” Your small business website must contain relevant content designed for both your website visitors and search engines. But what good is having all that excellent content with a poorly designed small business website? Having the right material will help you drive more traffic to your website, but that should not be your only objective.
Your small business website aims to attract visitors, tell them how fantastic your business is, and convert them into your product or service consumers. This “journey of conversion” is driven by integrating content with web design and calls to action. Here is how to do that:
Focus on design
Focusing on a bold and minimal design for your small business website allows your valuable content to take center stage. By not distracting your online visitors with unnecessary design elements, they will automatically zoom in on the important stuff, the info you provide! But be sure to include all essentials of a business website!
Have a plan
Combining content and web design begins in the planning stage and continues through design and development. It’s critical that your web design agency understands this and intentionally allocates real estate for each piece of content on your website. Otherwise, you’ll continue to “patch” things in here and there, and the results will reflect this thoughtlessness to your potential clients.
Use compelling calls to action (CTA)
A compelling call to action can differentiate between converting a visitor into a lead and losing them. Remember, a compelling call to action should remove or reduce risk, be concise and straightforward, and encourage immediate action.
3 – Put User Experience First
Some of our creative small business marketing ideas focus on the user or consumer. With so many choices available for online consumers, small businesses must focus on providing optimal user experience. Rather than just an afterthought, web designers and web developers ought to consider the overall design, navigation, and usability.
We always recommend hiring a professional web designer or agency for apparent reasons. Small business web design is more complicated than you may think. Many small business owners are tempted to use a free or cheap website builder. Avoid that temptation! You will never get the small business website you need that way.
A professional web designer or agency can help you provide a much better user experience for your online consumers and prospects. They will consider content strategy and structure, user interface, and user experience as part of your small business website’s overall design.
Test and monitor
A lot of this will depend on your target audience. Older, more conservative consumers have different tastes and expectations than mobile Millennials. This difference affects everything from the type of visuals to your CTA. For example, we implement A/B testing in our web design to see which CTA works best.
Use mobile-first web design.
Your small business website must be easy to view, read, and navigate on all mobile and desktop devices. You must serve identical content to customers on various devices ranging from giant desktop monitors to laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Mobile-first websites are the only way to go.
Track and analyze
Are your consumers finding the content you want them to see? Are they getting to the critical information on your small business website? The only way to know is to track and analyze your online performance.
Not having Google Analytics installed does you no good if you’re not putting all that info to good use. And for additional insights, you may want to look into other options, including GTMetrix, Hotjar, and Pingdom.
Don’t overwhelm visitors.
Sure, you want as much personal information as possible about every visitor. But the number of visitors who will fill out a form is directly related to the amount of information you seek. It’s better to start small and then follow up.
4 – Move Beyond Basic SEO
We love search engine optimization. And seeing how many people find us on Google, it is working for us. However, many small businesses believe that SEO and the end-all and be-all of online marketing. That is not the case! Diversifying your small business marketing strategy, like managing an investment portfolio is crucial.
You may allocate a significant chunk of your marketing budget to SEO. Still, if that is your only strategy, you may give your competitors an advantage. Here are some other small business marketing ideas that may give you some new ideas for your SEO strategy.
Paid Online Advertising
Sorry to burst your bubble, but online advertising is no longer free. You should consider investing money in online advertising for your small business. We like to recommend Google Search Advertising as a natural and targeted way to get started. Another simple and cost-effective method is Facebook Advertising. Here are some more places to advertise your business online. Start small and go from there.
SEO should always be part of your small business marketing strategy. We encourage our small business clients to take full advantage of the benefits of SEO by:
- Regularly adding strategic and relevant content to their website and social networks.
- Re-evaluating existing SEO Strategies to allow for Google (and other search engines) algorithm changes
5 – Be Social
Create and maintain innovative and original social media accounts that don’t only promote your small business but establish your personality. The precision of social media makes the medium such a great way to hone your brand message and get clear about exactly who you are and what you offer.
At the very least, all small businesses should have an active Facebook and Twitter presence. We recommend adding Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn to reach a new customer base and further show your creativity and vision.
A Google My Business listing is useful for your local business as it enables special local features on Google search. You can also use these profiles to become active in social communities relevant to your service or product.
Social media also offers a great way to engage your customer base by providing perks like discounts or giveaways. Ultimately, your voice here reinforces the sense that a real person is behind the marketing. Using some must-have social media marketing tools will help you create, publish, and analyze your social media posts.
6 – Get Online Reviews
Reviews should be one of the obvious small business marketing ideas. Yet many small business owners don’t believe online reviews are essential to their business. And that is faulty reasoning, folks! According to KissMetrics, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as they make a personal recommendation, and 72% trust a local business more based on positive online reviews.
88% of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business.KissMetrics
Many small businesses ignore this aspect of marketing because they are afraid of bad reviews. And bad reviews are a part of owning a business; not everyone will love you and appreciate what you do! However, you must acknowledge that your potential consumers will read online reviews, and those online reviews will impact their decision.
Set up profiles on review websites
Many review websites are out there, and you need to identify the most relevant to your business, service, or industry: Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, etc. Claim and optimize your small business profile on all relevant to your small business.
Another option is to get listed on commercial review sites. Review sites such as Clutch.co, a website that helps small business owners find trusted resources. But many other business review sites help small businesses.
Respond to reviews
Be sure to respond to reviews – both positive AND negative. After negative feedback, reaching out demonstrates responsiveness and a commitment to customer service that many larger companies can’t deliver.
Ask Your Customers
Believe it or not, asking your current customers is the best way to get more online reviews. Ask them nicely for an online review when they pay their check or send out a simple request with online order confirmations.
Keep it simple
Make leaving online reviews as straightforward as possible. Ask for reviews directly from your website, and include links to your preferred review sites. Make it as easy as possible for consumers to review you. And don’t forget to thank them for doing so!
7 – Join Communities and Groups
Many industries and location-specific community websites exist, specifically for small business owners. There are many Meetup Groups geared toward small business owners. Focus areas range from broad topics such as small business marketing to specialized areas such as minimum wage laws for small restaurants.
8 – Attend, Speak, and Host Local Events
One of our creative small business marketing ideas is to engage with like-minded others. In other words, get involved in the small business community in your area as much as possible. Join as many local networks and attend as many local events as possible.
Explore opportunities for hosting your events, or sponsor an event on your own or in conjunction with a more significant sponsorship opportunity.
Join your local business association or chamber of commerce and volunteer for committees to get your business out there. Contact the journalist in your area. Advertise in the local papers, and even host your event to get people excited about a product launch or simply bring the community together.
Consider sponsoring or supporting local neighborhood activities that benefit your business or customers. Activities can include local neighborhood cleanups and graffiti removal, organizing a walking tour of your neighborhood, or sponsoring a fundraiser for the local food bank.
Even volunteering your time one afternoon a month can significantly impact how potential consumers perceive your business.
9 – Build Relationships
Some of our small business marketing ideas work even better if you are little! As a small business, you have a unique advantage here! Small companies don’t have the layers of professional firewalls that hinder big companies’ efforts to make themselves seem friendly and approachable.
Rather than focusing on how you don’t have the same reach or power as a large business, think about what makes your small business particularly useful – for example, the opportunity to form close, meaningful relationships with your customers.
Cultivate a brand voice for your marketing efforts that is personable and unique. Use that presence to build your online relationships through an email newsletter and influential social media groups.
Start a loyalty program (online or in-store) that gives preference to repeat customers, and consider a referral program that honors customers who tell their friends about you. Invite repeat customers to special events such as a pre-sale exclusive, or offer them a membership discount. These close customer relationships are the best way to ensure longevity.
10 – Think Local
One fun small business marketing idea is to get involved in your local business community. Whatever the size of your audience, mobilizing your immediate community is still one of the best ways to create buzz. If you are a brick-and-mortar store, think about ways to connect with your neighbors and show your investment in your community’s strength.
Collaborate with other local businesses – especially those who aren’t your direct competitors – to cross-promote or pair your services as part of local packages. Cross-promotion benefits both sets of clients and helps you build new connections.
Target Local Media
Target local media to respond to community issues and for publicity opportunities. Participate in local craft or food fairs or be a sponsor at a community event. Offer a raffle prize for a local fundraiser, or participate in a neighborhood volunteer effort. Make sure you have a killer elevator pitch and start networking!
Once you know the rhythms of your neighborhood, you’ll be able to craft your brand to more directly meet the needs of the people you’re serving and meet your customers with your marketing message. And above all, you’ll demonstrate a real commitment to making your business integral to your neighborhood’s growth.
11 – Focus on ROI
ROI seems to be an odd thing to include in a list of creative small business marketing ideas. But it isn’t! ROI (return on investment) is the measure of the gains (or profit) earned from an investment. Simply put, “what did I get for my money?”
When it comes to small business marketing, calculating ROI can be complicated. Why? Because there are many forms of “returns” (sales, increased brand awareness, etc.) that business owners need to consider.
Small business owners looking to make the most of their marketing dollars must identify appropriate metrics and ensure their marketing efforts measure satisfaction. If you are not tracking your small business marketing’s actual performance, how do you know if it is working?
“Forecast” instead of “backcast”
You should measure current visitor behavior to give insight into current and past customer behavior. But you mustn’t merely rely on what used to work (“backcasting”) and instead also invest some energy into “forecasting.”
You need to determine how behavior changes over time. How can you do that? Gather data from your sales force and interview clients to gain valuable information about changes in your marketplace.
Look at the whole picture
Many small businesses focus on one channel and forget consumers frequently transition between mediums before making buying decisions. It is essential to remember that all marketing elements (website, social media, and online reviews) can and will impact customer acquisition capacity.
Understand the payoff curve
You spent $100 on Google Adwords, making $1000 in profit. But does that mean that spending $200 will yield $2000? Maybe, but maybe not. Smart marketers understand that small business marketing ROI does not follow a linear pattern. You must assess and reassess each effort as you make changes to ensure optimal performance.
Remember your brand
Sometimes we are too focused on hard performance metrics and miss what is right in front of our eyes. Marketers must assign a value to brand equity when measuring each element’s return in the complete marketing strategy. Remember that you need a strong personal or business brand to stand out!
Implementing Creative Small Business Marketing Ideas
These are just some small business marketing ideas and tools that can directly, efficiently, and inexpensively help you extend your reach. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can attain the same results as a big marketing firm, even without significant resources.
As with our tips and recommendations, I suggest you start slow and see how things work out for you. Pick one or two of our small business marketing ideas and implement them. Take a breather and see how things go. If you like what you see, continue. If things don’t go as planned, adjust your strategy, or try something else.
Are You Marketing Your Small Business?
Have you tried any of our creative marketing ideas for your small business? How has that worked out for you? Do you have anything to add to our creative small business marketing ideas?
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