Small Business Marketing Tips

If you’re a small business owner or leader within a smaller company, you wear a lot of hats and your to-do list is likely longer than your arm. You know that marketing is necessary to grow and improve your bottom line, but oftentimes, you’re too busy running your business to promote it.

This can result in a frustrating catch 22 cycle that leaves you wondering where to start. Ditch the overwhelm and take your best next steps toward progress, one at a time with these marketing tips.

Step 1: Learn & Prioritize
Tactics, channels and audience preferences are constantly evolving. And when you wear a lot of hats, the all-important strategy steps often get missed and many businesses end up paying the price for that later.

A brand should be built around a company’s overall goals. From a marketing perspective, everything you say and do should ultimately connect back to your goals. Here are some guiding tactics to start connecting those dots:

  1. Identify your audience
  2. Consider your offer
  3. Craft your message
  4. Audit your materials
  5. Start small

Step 2: Make a Wishlist
It’s helpful to identify a checklist of key elements that successful businesses require when they’re ready to take their brand to the next level. While a business may not be able to tackle all of these right away, this is the list to prioritize before attacking other marketing initiatives:

  1. Logo identity design
  2. Website design and development
  3. Marketing collateral suite
  4. Digital assets for social media

These are the items that define who you are to the world as a brand; they are the components that will begin to tell your story to the world. Brand identity is what makes a company distinguishable to others; it includes the visual elements of colors, fonts, logos, whitespace, etc., but it reaches far beyond these.

It defines a company’s voice, employee culture and overall customer experience with their brand, including the feeling that brand evokes. A strong brand identity helps fulfill your key business goals by showing up in appropriate markets and appealing to your target audience. 

Step 3: Create a Budget 
Like anything worth doing right, quality results require resources. Time, talent and budget to name a few. In a growth culture, devoting serious time to doing the research and answering the questions to move the ball down the field is a luxury that generally doesn’t exist. That’s what can make the budgeting process so tough – not having a frame of reference and no time to get one.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing strategy, here are some considerations to provide budgeting perspective:

  • Google-commissioned study by Deloitte found that when compared to less digitally-focused businesses, those who embrace digital strategy earned four times the revenue growth and had an average employment growth rate that was six times higher.
  • As a general rule, the U.S. Small Business Administrationrecommends that businesses with revenues below $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenue to marketing.  
  • There are several free business calculators available that can provide some additional context and perspective. 
  • Consider the cost/value of items that you can DIY and what would be a better use of your resources to release and call in reinforcements for, whether that be expanding your in-house team or outsourcing

Step 4: Track Results 
If you desire for your work to demonstrate value, it’s necessary to put solid goals in place, but they’re only useful if you measure against them.While you can’t do everything right away, putting systems in place early on to measure and analyze your active tactics can maximize your efforts.It is how you are effectively able to show the value of the dollars you are putting behind your marketing efforts. Analytics is the name of the game here, and if you do one thing to market your business today, if you have a website, make sure you have Google Analytics set up. Data isn’t a luxury, it’s a lifeline. It will provide you with the necessary baseline to work from to evaluate your efforts for driving traffic to your website.

What’s your best next step? We can help plot the course.