Your Guide to Marketing Your Small Business

If you’re looking to take your small business to the next level, you’ve probably looked into various forms of advertising and found yourself overwhelmed by the options. The various forms of advertising and media available for businesses of any size today are why it’s crucial to create an effective and well-constructed marketing strategy. The fact that, as a small business, you must compete with larger businesses who have access to greater resources only makes it more crucial to create an effective marketing strategy.

Small Businesses and Inbound Marketing

If you’ve ever spent time on the internet, you’ve probably experienced the incredible difference in experience with outbound vs inbound marketing. In a nutshell, outbound marketing pushes customers to visit your physical location or website through aggressive marketing tactics such as billboards and pop-up ads, while inbound marketing prioritizes the experience of customers once they are already there. Inbound marketing is usually far more effective when it comes to small businesses, since prioritizing the content and experience of your customers will both improve your business and increase word of mouth without massive, expensive marketing campaigns. In general, a small business should concentrate their attention on inbound marketing with a smaller degree of emphasis on outbound marketing. This will help keep your budget down and give your customers a reason to keep coming back again and again.

Crafting Your Business’s Image with Target Demographics

It is possible that you already know your target demographic and have started crafting your business’s image and persona, but many business owners, in fact, haven’t done this work to the degree it needs to be done. In general, your target demographic has to walk a tightrope – if your target is too large, you’ll get lost in the deluge of larger businesses with more marketing and variety in what they offer, but if your target is too small you’ll find yourself without enough customers to be sustainable.

When determining your target demographic and crafting your business’s image, there are various ways to gather the data needed to create an accurate image of your customer base. Customer interviews, surveys, and digital analytics from your website can all provide valuable information. Determining your target demographic is about more than just age and location – you need to determine what method of payment and purchase your customers prefer, what kind of content and social media they find useful, and what kind of brand-buyer relationship they prefer. This information will help you choose what channels to focus your marketing through and craft messaging that will be effective with your customers.

Determining the Right Channels

There are a few basic channels when it comes to inbound marketing that small businesses can utilize. These include SEO, blogging, social media, small ads, branding, and referral. The right channels for your business greatly depend on both your target demographic and your business itself. For example, if you run a lawn care service, there are some strategies that won’t work no matter how hard you try. No one follows a lawn care service’s Twitter feed, so concentrating on social media as a small business is a waste of your time. On the other hand, concentrating on SEO would likely be far more effective – your potential customers will likely be looking for your service in the first place, so concentrating on pushing your service up the ranks in Google searches will give you the opportunity to make your pitch and attract customers.

Where Channel and Demographic Meet

There are obviously some demographics where certain channels will be more effective than other channels. Social media is an excellent example of this. The social media you concentrate on will greatly depend on your demographic – Facebook is a good form of social media if you’re concentrating on older demographics, while TikTok will be more effective if you want to attract customers in their teens and twenties. Other forms of social media, such as Instagram and Twitter, have broader appeal but vary greatly in the language and imaging used for different demographics.

For example, say that your business is a small indie bookshop. You stock both the latest releases by large and indie publishers as well as offering some older, rare books. You decide to start a Twitter, and because your rare books are a unique aspect of your business you begin posting photos and information about these rare books. To your surprise, you don’t get an influx of customers from your social media, despite good engagement on Twitter. What’s happened here is a mistake in demographic marketing – while many of your potential customers find rare books interesting and are willing to like and retweet your posts, there are only a limited number of them who are willing to pay large amounts of money for rare books. Because you concentrated your social media on the wrong aspect of your bookshop, you gave the impression that your business was not selling products that your potential customers would be able to buy and use.

Encouraging Word of Mouth

When it comes to small business marketing, the goal of any campaign or strategy is to encourage word of mouth. This compounds the effects of your advertising and makes your campaign far more effective than it might otherwise have been. There are multiple ways to encourage word of mouth, and the good news is that almost all of these methods involve inbound rather than outbound advertising.

One of the most effective ways to build word of mouth is to create online content that is highly shareable. This can range from in-depth blog posts that include easy ways to share them on forms of social media to your own social media posts. If you know the social media you are using well, you can create content that will motivate your followers to share your posts with other potential customers.

There are other, more traditional ways to encourage word of mouth. One of the more popular ways is to create custom promotional items (like those from that your customers can wear or use in their everyday lives. This is an especially effective strategy if your business is of the type that often emphasises brand loyalty. Restaurants, bars, and businesses specializing in a subculture or lifestyle can all find great success in creating t-shirts, reusable shopping bags, or mugs. These both encourage customers to return and provide advertising for potential new customers.