Small Business Marketing Strategies

Small business owners are always on the hunt for cheap marketing ideas to help grow their business. From email marketing to social media optimization — small business marketing can be done with little to no money and still be extremely effective.

We’ve developed this helpful guide to the best small business marketing ideas to grow your business on a budget.


What is a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is a method or tactic being used to market your business and, in turn, acquire new customers. Marketing strategies can be anything from building up your website’s SEO to buying a newspaper ad.

Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

The key to effective marketing is building a foundation of marketing knowledge to pull from throughout each of your marketing campaigns. For small business marketing, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Build a strong brand and stay true to it
  • Don’t be afraid to try new marketing ideas and build on the strategies that work for your business
  • Start small and grow your marketing campaigns — don’t invest too much before you know what works

Define Your Business’s Brand

A business’s brand provides an example of the personality and intention of the business while also attracting targeted customers. For this reason, building a brand on social media for your small business is one of the most effective ways to market your small business. Branding on social media can include the logo, color scheme, the type of photos or videos used, the tone of writing, and more.

As a first step, we recommend creating a logo. Your business’s logo is used on everything from your social media to merchandise, making it one of the most important branding tools for a small business. To create a unique logo for free, use our free logo maker.

Network Locally

Forming a network of people in your community or industry is one of the most effective ways for small businesses to market themselves locally. By building strong community relationships, you can:

  • Gain potential referrals
  • Receive community support
  • Gain potential brand partners or affiliates

Finding businesses to network with that align with your business objectives can be done in a number of ways. We recommend trying these ideas to get started:

  • Get involved in events in your community or industry and get to know other business owners in your area.
  • Reach out to businesses online using social media. Follow and interact with any business you’d like to open a rapport with.

Finally, by utilizing our state-specific guides to starting a limited liability company (LLC), you can find the best small business resources in the area using our Local Business Resources tool.

Improve Your Website’s SEO

One of the best small business marketing strategies is SEO or search engine optimization. Improving your SEO can increase your search engine rankings and drive site traffic, attracting potential customers to your business’s website. This is especially helpful for online businesses; however, working on SEO can benefit every type of small business. Here’s how to get started:

Get an SEO-Friendly Business Name

If you haven’t already found a good brand name, finding the right name for your business is one of the first and most important steps to starting a small business and marketing it effectively. An SEO-friendly business name can help drive site traffic and build your customer base.

To create a small business name, use our free business name generator and find the perfect name for your business.

Enhance Site Content

Creating a strong foundation of content is key to SEO. Not only do algorithms pick up on helpful, well-researched content, but by producing targeted content, you also become a resource for customers to depend on for their need-to-know information, which builds credibility. When you’re developing content, try out these ideas and suggestions:

  • Update your website regularly
  • Research and utilize keywords
  • Stay on-brand with targeted content
  • Create a blog for the website and post blogs regularly

Optimize Your On-Page SEO

Everything from content to layout on your small business website can be structured for on-page SEO. There are many ways to optimize your website content in order to improve your search engine ranking and drive traffic; here are some of the most effective ways to optimize your website for on-page SEO:

  • Add images and videos to your website
  • Pay close attention to your headings and optimize them for keywords when possible
  • Get creative with your URLs
  • Build a user-friendly mobile site
  • Ensure your page is responsive

Optimize Your Off-Page SEO

Comparatively, off-page SEO is the tactics you can use off your website to drive site traffic. This is also referred to as domain authority and includes everything from social media to affiliate links. Here are the most effective ways to optimize your website for off-page SEO:

  • Create referral links through social media or guest blogging on other websites
  • Find an affiliate that will promote your business for a commission of each sale or promote an affiliate yourself
  • Build your social media pages and link back to your website

Grow Your Social Media Presence

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to small businesses today. This marketing technique grows brand awareness, increases credibility, and allows your business to research and connect with their customer base. Learning how to use social media marketing effectively is easy by following these tips:

Choose the Right Social Media Platform(s) for Your Business

The most popular social media platforms for businesses are Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Each of these platforms has benefits depending on your target audience and business type. To choose the right social media platforms for your small business, get to know what each has to offer:

  • Instagram offers a platform for people and businesses that prefer visual content such as photos and videos. One benefit of their Instagram for Business program is the opportunity for connection this platform provides its users. For example, a business can share photos that capture their day-to-day to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite businesses.
  • Facebook is a great tool for sharing information such as events, hours of operation, pricing, and updates about your business. Additionally, you can easily link your business’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for seamless posting.
  • Twitter, a platform that allows users to share short text posts with optional video or photo attachments, is best for businesses that want to give quick updates to their customers. It can also serve as a space to receive customer feedback and connect with a targeted audience.
  • LinkedIn is a social networking platform that specializes in business interactions. Users are able to add their professional information to connect with people and businesses that align with their experience and goals.

Another social networking platform to consider is Yelp. Customer reviews are a valuable and trusted tool that are effective in attracting new customers to businesses. Platforms like Yelp offer customers a space to review your business for other users to peruse before committing themselves.

Communicate and Connect with Your Audience

No matter what social media platform(s) you choose to use to market your small business, connecting with your audience is always the goal. Communication with your audience means more than consistently posting, however — you need to interact with your audience on a deeper level as well:

  • Respond to messages, tweets, and posts about your business.
  • Share your followers’ posts
  • Get some brand ambassadors
  • Do a giveaway (and invite other businesses to participate with you!)

Start an Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is a great small business marketing tactic to connect with customers, serving as a direct line between your business and the customers who sign up for your email list. A successful email marketing campaign can encourage brand loyalty and awareness while effectively communicating important updates about your business. While you begin your email marketing campaign, keep these things in mind:

  • Offer your customers incentives to join your email list such as a discount code or free gift when they sign up.
  • Send out emails regularly but don’t overdo it. Utilizing analytics and surveys can help with developing an email marketing schedule that works for your customer base.
  • Make joining the email list simple by creating an email opt-in for your website and social media.
  • Invest time and effort into creating emails that are visually appealing and engaging by using audio, video, and actionable elements. Or, you can hire an email marketing service.

Try Digital Advertising

Advertising your business can be done physically or digitally; however, starting your marketing campaign online can save you time and money. Most small businesses don’t have a large sum to invest in advertising right away, so finding cheap advertising ideas for small businesses is key. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Yelp Advertising

Advertising a small business on yelp will move your business towards the top of any related searches making your business profile more accessible to curious customers. Yelp Advertising provides options for targeted ads, ad tracking, and an easy-to-use self-service model to make advertising simple for everyone.

Google Ads

A method of pay-per-click advertising, Google Ads offers businesses flexible budgeting and stellar analytics to target your ads effectively. Additionally, Google rewards successful ads based on keywords and relevancy, resulting in higher page ranking and lower ad costs.

Social Media Ads

Advertising on social media can expand your reach on the platform and help you gain new customers. Most social networking sites offer business services, including targeted ads and analytics, to build your audience without overspending.

Display Advertising

Display advertising, also known as banner ads, are visible during web searches based on customer targeting. You can also utilize display advertising on YouTube videos and other video content instead of directly on websites. The most popular platform for display ads is Google Display Ads, which offer a wide range of targeting options on a platform that reaches roughly 90% of internet users.

Small Business Marketing FAQ

What is the most effective form of marketing?

While there is no single most effective way to market your business, some marketing strategies have proven to be more effective than others. Social media marketing and search engine optimization are two of the most effective ways to market a business.

With the rise of technology, more customers are online than ever before, and with billions of social media users, the possibilities are endless for digital marketing campaigns like these.

How do I advertise locally?

Advertising locally can be done in two ways: traditionally and digitally. Traditional advertising includes brochures, newspaper ads, and newsletters, while digital marketing entails enhancing local SEO, targeted social media advertising, and display ads.

How can I promote my business with no money?

There are many ways to advertise your business with no money. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Do a giveaway on social media to gain exposure
  • Network within your industry and community
  • Dedicate yourself to optimizing your website for SEO
  • Utilize word-of-mouth marketing
  • Build your email marketing list with incentives such as discounts

How do small business owners target customers?

To start targeting customers for your small business, you need to define who your target market is and how to reach them. For example, a boutique clothing store with a customer base of women between the ages of 24 and 30 will target this demographic using ads in places this specific audience frequents such as social media.