Jumpstart your marketing campaign with these 25 small business marketing ideas. Let your marketing game begin!
We know firsthand that owning and operating a small local business is no easy task! To grow, you have to take the time to invest in a marketing plan.
But where do you start? What kind of marketing is worth your while? Which marketing tactics are the best for your business online?
We’re hoping to answer some of these questions with these 25 small business marketing ideas.
These are tried and true ideas that we have successfully used either for ourselves or for our small business clients (or both!).
So take a look and see if there are any ideas on this list you hadn’t thought of or tried yet to grow your business.
25 Small Business Marketing Ideas To Grow Your Business
1. Make a behind-the-scenes video
People value authenticity.
One study found that almost 90% of people say authenticity is a major factor when deciding which brands they support and favor.
That’s huge! So, you want to take advantage of inbound marketing and create content that helps give potential customers the authenticity they’re looking for.
A behind-the-scenes video is a perfect way to do that. This serves as a unique selling proposition because you can show them how your product is made or how your service is executed.
In the process, you can introduce team members, explain why you do things the way you do them, etc.
The thinner the veil between business and customer, the more trust consumers will have in your brand story.
And trust is what leads to sales.
Plus, for small business marketing ideas like this, don’t think that you need a Hollywood budget to create this type of content. If you find yourself on a tight budget, these ideas are for you!
If you own a smartphone, you have all you need to create a BTS video.
In the marketing world, there’s what’s called a rule of 7.
The rule of 7 says someone has to see a piece of content 7 times before they’ll be persuaded to take action.
What’s more, is that 95% of your website traffic won’t return if you don’t retarget them.
So, let’s think about those two statements put together.
If you’re not retargeting your audience, they’re not going to go from your social media posts to your website.
And if you don’t retarget your website traffic, 95% of them won’t come back.
So you’ll have put in all this work to get them to your website…only to let them go after that.
Don’t waste your own time and money like that! Make sure you’re making the most of your website traffic and install retargeting.
Giveaways are an easy jumpstart to increase almost any social media marketing metric. Including more likes, more followers, more comments, etc.
The most common giveaway to host is an Instagram giveaway.
You give away an item and make the requirements to win to:
- follow your page,
- like the post about the giveaway, and
- tag a friend in the comments.
The key to running a successful giveaway is to give away something that’s relevant and useful.
You want the item to be relevant to the product or service you offer and something your audience wants.
Too often we see small business owners giving away an Amazon gift card.
Sure you might get a surge of followers and engagement from people trying to win that.
But then, you’ll also see a decline in followers as soon as the giveaway is over.
The reason is because an Amazon gift card has nothing to do with your offer.
You were attracting people who wanted an Amazon gift card. They weren’t interested in your business.
On the other hand, you might give away something that is related to your business…
…but it’s not important enough to your audience to get them to like, comment, and follow.
So, you need to find the perfect balance between interest and relevance.
For example, if you own a restaurant, a gift card to your restaurant would be a great giveaway item.
The people who like, follow, and comment to win that prize are likely to be interested in your business given the nature of the prize.
And that’s the kind of targeted growth you want from a giveaway.
Most of you are probably familiar with the next one on our list of small business marketing materials.
Sending weekly newsletters keeps your brand in front of your audience while establishing trust.
Newsletters are important for keeping your audience informed on your brand or new products and notable information that may have risen over time.
They are cost-effective and can boost your business to the next level.
It also gives you another opportunity to be authentic, which we know customers care about.
The importance of building an email list that you can send newsletters to is that you own the list.
If all the major social media platforms were to shut down today and you lost all your followers, would you have a customer base?
Owning your own email list will give you indefinite access to your ideal customers and serves as an alternative to direct mail.
Sending the best email newsletter weekly is one of the best ways to maintain that list for small businesses.
5. Go live and answer FAQs
In the same spirit of being authentic and building trust, it doesn’t get more authentic than going live. This helps you build relationships with potential customers.
Live streaming gains you the opportunity to obtain an even larger audience so that you can bring about more traffic and online clarity.
You give your followers access to you via video in real time: no editing and no do-overs.
It’s also one of the most-watched media types.
People can comment while you’re live streaming, allowing you to answer in real-time.
This makes going live the perfect time to answer questions you receive about your business.
Answering frequently asked questions will boost users overall experience.
FAQ’s authorize you to touch on specific questions that many customers may have regarding your business. They serve as a way to connect with your audience and are an important component to your website.
In a filtered, edited world, people are drawn to live videos where they can watch great things happen and see people speak without being edited.
So you get the benefit of building trust with your viewers while also seeing a boost in engagement.
6. Start posting Reels and TikToks
TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms today, and Instagram took note.
Thus, between TikToks and Instagram Reels, short-form videos and video marketing have swept the world.
The biggest component to posting Reels and on TikTok is creating brand awareness.
Your content will be widely available, reaching people you never thought you would be able to reach!
These features give your business the opportunity to get creative while expanding your overall customer engagement.
One study predicted that this year, TikTok’s total watch time will surpass YouTube’s!
We’re talking about billions of hours spent watching short videos between all the major platforms.
Think about all the people scrolling and watching those videos on their phones.
You can put your brand in front of all those eyeballs by posting Reels and TikToks for your business.
Not only is it the #1 preferred media type by most customers…
…but the social media platform itself will most likely give you an extra organic boost in the algorithm for posting it.
Instagram and Facebook in particular are trying to keep up with TikTok.
The more Reels you post on their platforms, the more the algorithm will be on your side.
So it’s a win-win for you! Check out this blog if you need more TikTok ideas for business.
7. Write blogs for both your customers and Google
Moving on to the next one on our small business marketing ideas list is writing blogs on your website.
Writing blogs should be done for two different audiences: your target customer and Google.
The reason is because the purpose behind writing blogs is not to educate your readers. It’s also to help you rank high in the Google search results.
There are hundreds of factors that Google analytics takes into consideration…
…when making a decision on which websites to rank in what order for any given search query.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process small business owners take to account for those ranking factors. It’s a process to appeal to Google.
One of the most effective local SEO tactics is content marketing, most commonly executed in the form of writing a blog.
If you write blogs around a certain keyword or search query…
…it tells Google you have some authority around that keyword and know what you’re talking about.
So, Google is more likely to rank you higher for that keyword. And you want to rank highly for keywords that are relevant to your business.
For instance, let’s say you’re a mechanic in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
It would be beneficial for you to be the #1 result that appears when someone searches “car mechanic near Jackson Hole” on Google, right?
The majority of all clicks that Google receives on search results fall within the top 5 results.
So if your website doesn’t appear until page 2 of the search results, it’s as good as nonexistent.
That’s why you want to write a blog with Google’s ranking factors in mind, but don’t forget to write them for your customer too.
Your blogs shouldn’t be so Google-oriented that they sound robotic or lack real substance.
At the same time, they shouldn’t be so customer-oriented that they are not optimized for SEO.
You’ll need to find a balance to see success.
8. Create a lead magnet tool that’s helpful to your audience
A lead magnet is something you give to your audience in exchange for their name and information- usually their email and phone number.
The lead magnet itself can be any number of things depending on the nature of your business.
Here’s a quick list of some small business marketing ideas for a lead magnet:
- a free ebook,
- free consultation,
- budget calculator,
- free webinar,
- sample product,
- free samples.
You’ll want to think about what your audience finds valuable and helpful, and then create that for them.
Relevant lead magnets are a great way to create a positive interaction between your brand and customers…
…while getting their information to funnel into your email campaign marketing efforts!
9. Create a private Facebook Group with exclusive content/hacks/secrets
Facebook Groups for small business allows you to create an even more narrowed-down version of your Facebook Business page.
People will like a page easier and quicker than they will join a group, which means any members your group receives are more intentional.
This is particularly the case with private groups because they have to request to join.
The key to drawing in a lot of requests to join is by offering content that is exclusive to the Group and unavailable anywhere else.
This can include secrets, pro tips, hacks, and more that you don’t share anywhere else.
Small business marketing ideas like this will start building you a close-knit community of people who are invested in your brand.
Think of your business web page as being the top of funnel.
If they join your private Facebook group, then they’re moving down your funnel closer to the conversion stage.
10. Partner with an influencer to reach a larger audience
As of this year, the influencer industry reached 16.4 billion and is expected to continue growing.
The reason influencer marketing has grown so big is because it works. Influencers are social media personalities with large followings.
Businesses pay influencers to promote their products or services to millions of followers. This in turn drives sales for the business.
It gives the business reach and the ability to attract new customers it may not have acquired otherwise.
Even though the influencer legally has to disclose that it’s a paid advertisement when they promote the business…
…followers still trust that the influencer wouldn’t have partnered with the brand at all if they didn’t really believe in the product or service.
Influencers share the ins and outs of their everyday lives on social media. As a result, their followers feel like they know them as real-life friends.
Their huge follower base trusts their purchasing decisions, and that’s what makes an influencer marketing strategy so lucrative.
Plus, if you’re tired of thinking of small business marketing ideas or have hit writer’s block in making content, influencers are professional content creators!
They can help you produce beautiful, valuable content.
So if you haven’t already, do some market research to find an influencer with a follower base that matches your target audience.
Partner with them for extensive reach and new sales.
11. Encourage and repost UGC
UGC stands for user-generated content, and it’s almost like the new reviews or word-of-mouth.
UGC is when a customer or someone who does not work for or with your business posts content about your brand.
When someone posts a positive social media post about your brand and tags you, you’ll want to DM them and ask for permission to repost it.
The power of an unsponsored customer posting about your brand is that it isn’t biased.
Customers expect you as the brand to say positive things about your business, but when a customer does it? People think, “Wow, that must really be true.”
Small business marketing ideas like this can act as their own social proof.
Plus, once people see that you repost customer content on social channels…
…it’ll encourage others to do the same because they’ll want to be featured on your page too.
So, make sure you’re encouraging UGC and reposting it every time you get permission from the user to do so.
12. Make products available to purchase via Instagram
If you own an eCommerce store, you need to set up an Instagram shop if you haven’t already.
Instagram Shops will allow your Instagram audience to peruse and shop through your products on the app.
They can even check out all without leaving the Instagram app.
One of the biggest objections to purchases that customers have with small businesses…
…is that they’ve never bought from them before and aren’t familiar or comfortable enough with their website to submit their payment information.
Setting up an Instagram Shop helps bridge that gap because people are already super familiar and comfortable with the Instagram app.
It makes it easier for you to get the sale because it’s one less objection you have to overcome.
13. Ask your existing customers/clients for positive reviews
Reviews serve as a great form of customer service and can take part in referral marketing. Good reviews can encourage others to purchase from your business.
This isn’t always the case, but most of the time if someone is going out of their way to leave reviews, they’re bad ones.
If a customer is happy with your product or service, they go on about their day satisfied.
It usually isn’t until someone is unhappy with your product or service that they feel like they need to tell others about it.
So if your reviews are mostly negative or nonexistent, you need to ask your existing customers or clients for positive reviews.
The key value proposition to buyers is asking previous customers to review your products.
And of course, be sure to only ask the clients you know are happy with your work.
It may be a good cause to send out a customer satisfaction survey prior to asking for reviews to get a feel for who would be good to ask and who wouldn’t.
It’s easiest to ask clients right after you’ve had a positive interaction with them, like right after they satisfactorily used your product or service.
Email them thanking them for being a customer and be sure to include your email signature..
Ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a positive 5-star review, and give them a direct link to click to leave the review.
You want to make it as easy for them to leave a review as possible.
Not only will this help others who are in the research stage of their purchasing decision look at your business fondly…
…but it will also help your SEO rankings like we talked about earlier.
14. Offer incentive for referrals
If you already have a handful of happy customers, work smarter not harder!
Make the most of them before you spend time and money acquiring customers the hard way.
Offer your existing customers an incentive for referrals they send your way.
This incentive can vary depending on the nature of your business, but a few great examples include:
- a free product,
- a service discount for the life of the referred client,
- this month’s subscription half off,
…and so on.
Your happy clients will want the incentive for themselves, thus making little salespeople out of them on your behalf!
15. Optimize above the fold on your website
Above the fold is a term that describes the top of your website.
It’s what people see when they first land on your site without scrolling or clicking anywhere yet.
Many small business owners make the mistake of designing the top of their website in a cutesy way that compromises clarity.
For instance, let’s say you landed on a website that said in big letters across the top, “Today is the day,” or “Achieve your dreams.”
That wouldn’t tell you anything about what this business is or what they do, right?
Your above the fold should be optimized to encourage maximum session times and conversions.
It should explain exactly what you do and how you help your target market and include a clear call to action.
Don’t substitute clarity for cleverness. Make it as easy for your customer to understand and take your preferred action as possible.
16. Start a podcast
Next on our list of free small business marketing ideas are podcasts.
Podcasting is another powerful form of interactive content marketing in which you can put your brand in front of billions of listeners there are worldwide.
A large majority of podcast listeners tune in to learn something new.
So, if there’s a topic you can speak on that’s related to your product or service, you have a great opportunity to build a loyal community here.
We say “loyal” because one study found that people listen to over 7 hours worth of podcasts weekly on average.
If you’re doing your podcast right, you’ll have your audience wanting to come back, again and again, to listen to the new episodes.
This again moves them further down your sales funnel and gets them more invested in your brand.
Learning how to start a podcast is quick and easy for any small business owner to learn.
17. Set up dynamic retargeting if you own an eCommerce store
If you own an eCommerce store, basic retargeting is not enough. You need to set up dynamic retargeting.
Dynamic retargeting is when the ad platform shows the customer a specific product based on what they viewed on your website.
To do this, you’ll need to have your products uploaded in an online marketing catalog for the ad platform to read and utilize.
So, you don’t manually create one ad with one product image or video and caption for the ad platform to show to all of your website visitors.
Instead, the ad platform shows different visitors different products based on what they looked at.
This creates a personalized retargeting experience that’s specific to each individual.
And this absolutely increases the amount of purchases you can receive from retargeting.
If to date you’ve found that your social media posts just aren’t really taking off, it could be that you’re not taking advantage of trends.
Especially now that short-form videos like Reels and TikToks are so popular, there are multiple ways for you to tap into trends.
You can utilize trending audios and songs on your short videos, tap into trending hashtags on Twitter, and more.
The trick with small business marketing ideas like this is to get in on the trends early.
If you’re late to the trend, then you’re going to be one more of the millions contributing to the noise at that point.
You want to try to nail down trends early so you can obtain the most reach and engagement out of them.
Service-based businesses in particular can benefit from writing case studies that share client successes.
When customers seek out your services, it’s because they have a pain point they’re trying to solve or a goal they’re trying to achieve.
Case studies basically show them other people who are just like them…
…and show that they overcame that same pain point or achieved that same business goal because of your product or service.
Case studies are proof that your product or service works.
The more you can create for all the different scenarios your audience finds themselves in, the better.
20. Send abandoned cart reminders via text and email
What did we say at the beginning of this post? That 95% of your website traffic won’t come back if they’re not retargeted.
If you own an eCommerce store, abandoned cart reminders are a great way to get them back to your site to complete the purchase.
Businesses have been doing this via email for years, but what’s equally if not more effective, yet underutilized, is SMS or text message reminders.
Your customers can get a text directly to their cell phone prompting them to checkout with the items they left in their online cart.
If you’re already sending abandoned cart reminders and you’re still seeing an uneven ratio of add to carts vs purchases…
…it could be a sign to check that your checkout process is not working.
Or it could be that your shipping costs are too high and are deterring customers!
But if you’re not already sending abandoned cart reminders, that’s the first step you need to take to encourage more conversions.
21. Create a 10% off pop-up on your website to gather emails & encourage purchases
If you’re getting a fair amount of website traffic but you’re not getting much action from it…
…try adding a pop-up on your website that offers a discount in exchange for their contact information.
This could be their email, cell phone number, or both.
A lot of businesses are now requiring the user to enter both in order to get the discount…
…as well as to click “Allow” on the pop-up to receive both emails and SMS texts from the brand.
This should not only help increase sales but also help you build up your email and SMS list for you to market to moving forward.
When done well, this will allow you to make repeat customers out of them in the future!
22. Make your contact information easy to find everywhere
One of the easiest quick fixes you can take care of for your business…
…is to make sure your contact information is the same everywhere and easy to find everywhere.
The idea that a customer wants to contact you but can’t figure out how is inexcusable in today’s day and age.
So you’ll want to make sure your contact information is the same on Google as it is on Facebook, Instagram, Apple Maps, and so on.
This includes making your usernames the same across all social media platforms.
@JonnysPizzaAtlanta on Instagram and @JonnyPizzaATL on Facebook isn’t going to cut it.
One study found that brand consistency increased revenue for the brand by 33%!
Don’t lose out on 33% of profits for something that can be fixed with the click of a button.
23. Post polls to encourage engagement
Polls create easy opportunities for your audience to engage.
Whether it’s a poll on your Instagram Story, a YouTube community poll, a Facebook feed poll, or a Twitter poll…
…there are lots of areas for you to post polls and garner engagement.
People participate in polls easily because it requires minimal effort from them.
They don’t have to type out an answer; they can just answer with one click.
And once you start getting lots of responses, that will tell the social media platform that those users like your content.
From there, it should start putting your content in front of them organically more often moving forward.
24. Establish an online presence on a relevant directory within your industry
Google is not the only place people look at reviews.
Depending on your industry, they are probably other directories out there that compare all the top businesses within your space.
If you’re not listed within those directories, you’re letting your competitors beat you!
Step 1 is to research and see what directories there are out there that are specific to your industry.
Step 2 is to figure out what you need to do to rank highly on them.
In some cases, this can mean garnering positive reviews from customers specifically on that directory…
…which means your Google reviews won’t count for anything here.
In other cases, you can pay to rank towards the top.
It will vary from directory to directory, but in any case, you need to a) be aware of them and b) be at the top of them.
25. Audit how much you’re spending on marketing vs your ROI & adjust accordingly
The last on our list of small business marketing ideas is all about auditing.
Oftentimes, small business owners get so caught up in trying anything and everything to grow…
…that they forget to stop and take a look back at what’s worked so far.
It’s important to audit which efforts are not just generating a return, but a profitable return.
This is so that you can adjust where you’re allocating your money accordingly.
For instance, making $50 from a sale might sound good, but not if you spent $100 in paid ads to get it.
Knowing how much you’re spending on each individual marketing effort…
…as well as what the ROI was from those efforts will allow you to focus your time and money on the right areas, so that you are guaranteed to make money.
25 Small Business Marketing Ideas To Use Today
We hope this list of the best low-cost marketing ideas helps get the creative juices flowing. Now you can jumpstart your next marketing campaign!
These are ideas that are totally doable even if you’re a small business owner with minimal resources.
We know this to be especially true because we’ve either implemented these ideas for ourselves…
…or for our small business clients (or both!) and have seen great results.
Comment and let us know which of these small business marketing ideas you intend to try for best results!
And if you need help implementing any of these marketing ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can talk more about your business.