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The best marketing tips for small businesses

Marketing is just as important for a small business as it is for a big business.

In the past, marketing was often an afterthought for small business owners – something fluffy to look at if you have time after the ‘real’ strategy is done. Modern business owners know different.

Marketing your small business is a big deal; doing it well can be the difference between simply getting by, and being truly successful. We understand that it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you don’t have the resources yet to hire a marketing pro or use an agency. That’s why we’ve put together this list of our top tips for marketing your small business:

Know your audience

When marketing your business, it’s important to think about the people you want to communicate with (customers and potential customers). Think about the way you engage with them, both verbally and in writing, and ask yourself if it is suitable for your audience.

For example, a legal or financial services audience requires a more formal approach, while creatives like a more relaxed and even cheeky tone. You could say the same for an older audience, versus those in their teens, twenties and thirties.

Be visible

If you don’t have a website yet, check out our recent blog, 7 ways technology can help grow your small business, to read our advice on getting a low cost business website set up.

Once you’re online, look for other places your brand can be discovered – If your audience is active on social media, so should you be. If the customers you want read online reviews, make a plan for getting more/higher ratings for your business.

Find out where businesses like yours are listed online, and make sure you’re among them. A lot of listings are free, and it is worth considering the value of those that charge – if it’s the place to find a company in your industry, that may be worth the investment.

Create and share valuable content

Nowadays, content is king. If you have the resources to create blogs, podcasts, videos, product and industry news stories etc. you certainly should. However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to produce content of your own, keep an eye out for useful articles, blog posts, videos, infographics and statistics to share with your audience.

Whatever you choose to share, just make sure it is relevant to your audience, educates or entertains and isn’t always a promo for your own products or services. Basically, be interesting!

Show, don’t tell

Consumers engage more with the things they can see – whether that’s on your website, in marketing emails and blog posts or accompanying social media posts. Take some great pictures of your products (or hire a photographer if you can), and feature them, wherever it’s appropriate. If that doesn’t work for your business, you can use stock photos to support and enhance your messaging.

Once you’ve got the hang of this, you can look at using animated GIFs and video marketing.

Encourage advocates

Ask your loyal customers to talk about you on social media, request testimonials and encourage reviews. A recommendation is worth so much more than an advert. You can even offer a reward or referral scheme for your brand champions.

Analyse and develop

Just like your customers, your business changes every day. You will have new things to say and, over time, develop better ways to talk about your products and services. When you have a new product to promote or a special offer running, it’s easy for you to see what to add to your marketing schedule, but there are other ways to highlight changes you can (and should) make.

Use Google Analytics to track conversions from your marketing campaigns and make changes if you aren’t seeing a good return. Explore A/B test subject lines to see what you can do to get more opens for your emails, research competitor activity to see what is working for them and replicate that approach in your own marketing.

Keep learning

Marketing isn’t a one-time thing; you can’t expect to try one campaign and leave it at that. Keep trying new ways to communicate with your audience and take advantage of any and all opportunities to learn more; read marketing strategy books, listen to podcasts, follow marketing blogs, watch video tutorials and educate yourself with free marketing courses like the Google Digital Garage, HubSpot Academy, Quick Sprout University and more.

As you increase your marketing knowledge, you will get better and better at identifying the things your customers like, want and need. With this knowledge, you can create a truly successful marketing strategy for your small business.

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