Marketing for Small Businesses

Small Business Marketing

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January 9, 2016

Where to start with marketing for small businesses? Well, a marketing plan is an excellent step forward, offering a route map to next 6 or 12 months or even longer. But, when it comes to actually doing the marketing, what do you need? What marketing tools and avenues are available to you? What materials do you need?

It’s knowing the answers to these questions that will give you something solid to get your marketing teeth into. So, without further ado, let’s start with the core small business marketing tools.

Your website.
This is your online store window. Keep it clear, informative, and simple/intuitive to use. In terms of its design, innovation is good (you want to stand out) but in terms of functionality don’t stray too far from the norm or people won’t be able to find what they need (and if they become frustrated they won’t be buying from you).

Local search.
Even if your target market is local, remember that before leaving their front door, many people these days will search and check out options online – simply listing your business on Google Maps and sites like Yahoo Local will boost your local search engine results.

Social media.
No modern marketing strategy is complete without Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Best of all, these sites offer free access to creating a global presence for your business.

A monthly newsletter is a classic way to engage with existing and potential customers and regularly raise your profile with them. The easiest method these days is of course, to do this via email; just remember to make the content interesting and useful to the reader (and don’t go too heavy on the sales pitches!). Looking for a newsletter provider, check out Mailchimp, Constant Contact or GetResponse.

Whether you’re business is service- or product-based, a blog is your way of demonstrating some expertise and (just like the newsletter) providing helpful and interesting information to your target market (thus establishing you as an authority and therefore trustworthy and reliable).

Affiliate marketing.
These types of programs are not just for large businesses like Amazon. A business of any size can offer other website owners a commission for referrals that convert to sales. The half of the marketing equation is having something to say. Knowing the avenues through which you reach your market is all very well, but you then need to be providing them with information that will turn them into customers and clients. What’s more, it’s poor use of time to create such material from scratch each time – any efficient small business has the following documents (up to date, of course) readily to hand as the building blocks of each item of marketing material:

  • Product or service facts.A sheet on each product or service you offer, detailing distinctive features,
    value, comparison to other similar products and services.
  • Basic company facts.This is essential information for investors, the media, even customers and employees. A simple fact sheet should include: foundation date, location of offices, names and brief details of founders and top management (if any), contact details. Consider getting your company listed on websites such as Crunchbase.
  • More detailed company facts.For the next layer of detail, have to hand, biographies of founders and senior management, the company mission statement and values, a narrative that tells the ‘story’ of your business (not too lengthy but a few paragraphs that engage the reader in your journey and makes you more than just another supplier).
  • Client list.A rundown of your current clients and customers (and, if appropriate, partners). Testimonials are useful to emphasize that these are satisfied customers.
  • Press kit.This is good when launching new products or services (or at the launch of the business itself). Online, mail, or passed out by hand, your press kit should include:
    – A cover letter pitching the new product or service
    – A press release – The company and relevant product/service fact sheets
    – Any articles written about your company
  • Clip file.Any articles or press attention, online or print should be collected and saved, ready to add weight to any relevant promotional material.


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