As a small business owner, you are probably already busy and have heard many marketing ideas that seem impossible (or at least difficult to implement).
It can be difficult to come up with proven ways to improve your online presence, build your email list, engage potential customers on social networks, and generate measurable revenue.
In this column, you’ll find 103 small business marketing ideas designed to help you grow your business through either acquiring new customers or retaining existing ones.
And you can actually implement these ideas yourself!
Keep reading to find out what tactics you can use in your small business to create better and more content, grow your social presence, acquire and retain customers, and more.
If you’re paying attention, you know you need content.
It may sound intimidating, but you and your employees have the power to create powerful and relevant content with a basic smartphone.
Here are some easy examples:
1. The employee’s photo.
2. A photo of the new team member.
3. A picture of the owner or boss doing something funny.
4. New products not packed or stocked.
5. A picture of a happy client (with appropriate approval, of course).
6. A picture of a desk animal (if any).
7. Photo of an employee enjoying a seasonal holiday gathering.
8. A picture of the staff in action (meeting, helping customers, stocking shelves, etc.).
9. A picture of a happy customer (with an explanation using the infinite number of apps that can do this).
10. A picture of new equipment (especially if it is a home service company).
11. A photo of the staff working on the site (if in the field).
12. “Behind the scenes” photo.
13. Memes made from your own photos.
14. A video for a birthday or any other kind of celebration.
15. A promotional, product or special video ad.
16. Video of customer’s testimonial.
17. A video with some useful advice that the client may find useful.
18. Video supports a local issue.
19. A video introducing new products or services (30 seconds to a minute).
20. A video of the owner talking about the company’s mission.
21. Video interview with team members.
22. Combine your photos into a video (many apps can do this).
Use social media to grow your business
With the decline of local newspapers, social media is becoming more and more important because you are likely to find your customers on one of the platforms.
The tips below are relevant regardless of the platform. Don’t let your biases or habits define the social media platforms you use.
You may not use files [insert Social Media platform name]But your business needs to exist if your customers do.
23. Post the photos shown above.
24. Post one of the videos shown above.
25. Post a customer review.
26. Go live with a Q&A. Prepare initial questions.
27. Go live at an event or party your business is hosting or participating in.
28. Share the good news from another local company.
29. Share a post from a local charity or non-profit looking for help.
30. Answer any questions or comments that come from customers.
31. Have an event with the client and post about it.
32. Post “Little-Known Facts” or historical anecdotes relevant to your market or community.
33. Post a photo of your work as the seasons change.
34. Post customer stories (with permission, of course).
35. Post about a business challenge you faced and overcame.
36. When a local school team or organization is having success, post about it.
37. Turn a frequently asked question into a helpful how-to post for your customers.
38. Post about the good news for business.
39. Celebrate the new appointment.
Acquiring new customers is often about doing the little things right.
People in your community need the goods and services you sell.
Part of your job is to make it easy to do business with you.
Here are some items for your customer acquisition checklist:
40. Ask for a referral in an email.
41. Ask for a review in an email or text.
42. Allow customers to send an inquiry via text messages.
43. Make sure it’s easy for clients to contact you (test it often).
44. Run a simple paid search ad.
45. Make sure your business appears on the map.
46. Participate in a local trade show or fair.
47. Sponsor a team or organization (often shown).
48. Run a paid social campaign (pay $10-$20 to boost a post or video to a local audience).
49. Start building an email list by giving something of value in return.
50. Use a QR code to lead customers to register to receive an instant voucher via SMS.
51. Start referring customers to other (non-competitive) businesses.
52. Join an outreach group.
53. Participate in community events and gatherings.
Acquiring new customers is not enough to maintain a business.
Work hard to retain your existing clients or you may always be at a disadvantage on the uphill climb.
Here are some simple ideas to help you:
54. Send a quick follow-up survey after purchase.
55. Ask for a review in an email or text.
56. Send a thank you to the customer.
57. Follow up with the customer to make sure they are happy.
58. Send offers (price, quick overview, early access, etc.) to existing customers.
59. Have a customer appreciation event.
60. Create a client advisory group.
61. Send a monthly email to your customer with announcements, special offers, and even occasional personal updates.
62. Create a customer of the month program.
63. Know who your best customers are and offer exclusive offers.
To be honest, you need to get the word out to give your business a chance to succeed.
While Field of Dreams is a great movie, the approach just doesn’t work for the business (“If you make it, they will come”).
64. Add a promotional link in email signatures.
65. Develop some product (or service) bundle deals to increase the average order value.
66. Test out the buy now, pay later service on your e-commerce site.
67. If you are a service company, offer a cash discount or down payment.
68. Announce all promotions on social media channels.
69. Test various promotional discounts, packages, payment methods, etc.
70. Partner with other local businesses to promote yours.
71. If you’re going to do swag, make it memorable for your customers.
72. Be the face of your business. “People deal with the people they like.”
73. Support your local newsletter when it makes sense.
74. Get a logo to put on your vehicle.
75. Partner with a bank to provide financing for large purchases.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably thinking: wow! But how do I know if any of this is working or not?
Here are some key things you can do to measure the effectiveness of your efforts:
76. Add Google Analytics to your website (or have someone do it).
77. Document what success looks like from a business perspective.
78. Track your progress toward your goals.
79. Learn the difference between the top and bottom of a funnel scale.
80. Track Coupons Redeemed.
81. Keep track of incoming calls, messages, and emails.
82. Make sure you set up conversion tracking for your digital ads.
83. Ask clients how they heard about you.
84. Measure your traffic (if your business is retail).
85. Measure the average order value.
86. Measure your conversion rate (online and in physical stores).
87. Document any changes in your promotion and messaging and note the impact on the business.
88. Track your bottom line to ensure that your ads and promotions lead to profitable sales.
89. Calculate the lifetime value of a customer.
90. Know the cost of acquiring a new customer.
91. Know your customer retention rate.
92. Know the cost difference between retaining an existing customer and acquiring a new one.
93. Test the discount type against the non-discount type of offer (bundle or buy now, pay later).
Get help with the required work
Time is money, and you’ll find that sometimes it’s best to hire an expert who can help you market your business.
Here are some tips for doing this:
94. Ask for a referral to hire experts in digital marketing (PPC, SEO, email, web design, and development).
95. Get an intern to create all of the images and videos described in the content section.
96. Hire a local freelancer if you have budget constraints.
97. Be crystal clear about your definition of success to anyone you hire.
98. Ask to see relevant case studies before hiring anyone.
99. Get an SEO audit to identify any loopholes.
100. Use online resources like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99 Designs for some of your needs.
101. Hire someone who can write content for you.
102. Ask an employee or someone you know to edit videos. You might be surprised at how well they work.
103. Keep a handy list of trusted resources for when you need them.
This is the list!
103 Small Business Marketing Ideas You Can Actually Implement.
The best advice I can give you to get started is to pick a couple of the easy tips (most likely in the content section) and get it.
Before you know it, you find your rhythm.
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