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Marketing Ideas for Small Business to Inspire Owners

Kit Jenkin
6 Nov 2022

If you've just started your small business, congratulations! You've just done something incredible. But now comes the hard part.

In order for your business to thrive, you need to work hard to promote your products and services. And that's no small task. The attention of your customers is being pulled every which-way. Not only do you need to get them to care about you and your business, you also have to compete for their attention against billion-dollar corporations with million-dollar ad budgets. And the less said about social media platforms making it harder for small businesses to reach their customers, the better.

But don't let all that get you down. Even the smallest of companies can stand out from the big dogs with the right maneuvers. All it takes is a little bit of courage, creativity, and pizzazz.

Wondering how to get started thinking of your small business marketing ideas? Here are 8 marketing ideas for a small business owner that you can execute on a budget and incorporate into your marketing strategy.

Work with your social media channels

Most social media accounts are free, so you should have no problem getting on there. Having a great social media presence can mean the difference between a thriving and struggling business.

Start by creating interesting, shareable content. If you can get your target audience engaged with what you're posting, they'll be more likely to remember your business when they need your products or services.

Make sure to post regularly, and mix up the kinds of content you share. You can post photos, infographics, articles, videos – anything that will capture the attention of your audience.

But there are other marketing tactics you can take advantage of to make the most of your social media accounts.

Host a contest

Nothing gets peoples' blood pumping faster than a good ol' fashioned contest. What the contest is about is up to you, but there's no end to the kinds of social media contests you can host.

You can do a simple like-and-share contest where the prize is one of your products or services.

Or, if you want to get a little more creative, you could do a photo or video contest. This is a great way to show off what your customers are up to, and it gives them the incentive to talk about your business to their friends.

Finally, you could go for a more interactive contest, like a trivia contest. These are great ways to get people engaged with your brand, and they're always fun.

Interact with your followers

Interacting with your existing customers is a great way to build relationships and make your brand more personable.

You can do this by responding to comments, answering questions, and just generally being friendly.

This doesn't mean you should be friends with everyone – you still want to maintain a professional relationship with your customers. But interacting with them will help them see you as a real person, not just a faceless business.

Many businesses also use social media as a de facto customer service line. It's a great way to address any concerns your customers may have quickly and easily.

Create a poll

Social media polls are a great way to get people interacting with your brand. They're easy to create, and they're a lot of fun.

Polls are also a great way to get feedback from your customers. You can use them to find out what people want, what they don't want, and what they think of your products or services.

All you need to do is create a poll and post it on your social media account. Then, sit back and watch the responses roll in.

Hashtags are your friend

The "trending" section of any social media offers an amazing variety of subjects you can post about. If you hop on the right bandwagon at the right time, you can get a massive amount of attention for your posts.

To do this, all you need to do is use the right hashtags. Hashtags are how people find posts about specific subjects, so if you use the right ones, your posts will show up in front of a lot of potential customers.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you're using hashtags, though. First, don't use too many hashtags in one post. This will make your post look spammy, and it will turn people off. Second, make sure you're using relevant hashtags. If you're a clothing company, there's no point in using a hashtag about food.

Finally, mix up the hashtags you use. Don't just use the same ones over and over again. This will make your posts seem repetitive, and people will tune you out.

Pay attention to what's working – and what isn't. The great thing about social media is that it's easy to track what's working. Most platforms have built-in analytics that show how specific posts are doing.

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Get to know SEO

If you're looking to sell online, you need to get familiar with search engine optimization. SEO is how you make sure your website shows up when people search for keywords related to your business. You can't spell "digital marketing" without SEO.

Optimize your website

There's a lot that goes into SEO, but the basics are relatively simple. First, you need to do keyword research to find out what keywords people are using to find businesses like yours. Optimize your website for those keywords by including them in your web pages, titles, and tags. You can also use plugins like Yoast SEO to help you with this.

Make sure you're linking to your website from all of your social media accounts. This will make it easy for people to find your website, and it will help you get more traffic.

You may also want to create a blog post based on keywords you're trying to target. By releasing regular content on subjects you have expertise in, you can draw more attention to your own website.

Create a Google Business account

If you haven't already, create a Google Business account. This is a free listing that will show up when people search for your business on Google.

To create a listing, all you need to do is enter your business information and verify your listing. Once you've done that, your business will show up in Google Maps and in the local search results.

Google Business is a great way to get your business in front of potential customers, so make sure you take advantage of it. Taking advantage is particularly important in digital marketing for retail.

Track your performance with analytics tools

As we mentioned before, you'll need to track the performance of your website with analytics tools. These tools can show you what website visitors are seeing your content, how much engagement you're getting, and what kind of results you're getting from your SEO efforts.

Tools like Google Analytics and Search Console are great tools to help you track your website traffic and leads. You can also use paid tools like SEMrush or Moz to get more granular information and help you plan your future SEO moves.

Videos, anyone?

Images and text are great, but nothing captures someone's attention quite like an amazing video. If you're not using video in your marketing, you're missing out.

Video is a great way to show off your products, give people a behind-the-scenes look at your business, or just tell your brand's story. And people love it – studies have shown that people are more likely to engage with and share video.

Create stunning videos of your product lines

Nothing shows off your products quite like a video. You can use video to give people a tour of your store, show off new products, or just show how your products are made.

If you're not using video, you're missing out on a great way to connect with potential customers and promote your products.

Take videos of your operations and post it on social media

It's always best to show the human side of your business on social media. Take quick videos on your smartphone of your employees working, particularly if they're doing something eye-catching. If they're willing, tag your employees in your post so that they're more likely to share it.

Film informative tutorials for your paying customers

A lot of people like to learn by watching. If you have a product or service that's difficult for newcomers to understand, a quick video explaining how it all works will help your customers get used to your products and services.

Not only will this help your customers, but it will also show off how knowledgeable you are about your products and services

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Work with other small businesses

If you're a small business, you've got a lot of competition. Not only are you competing with big corporations, you're probably also competing with other small businesses that are trying to do the same things as you.

But you don't have to see other small businesses as your competition. You can actually work with them to help each other out. Check out our blogs on retail business ideas and small business ideas if you're looking for inspiration for the kind of business you want to partner with.

Get to know other businesses in your industry

The first step to working with other businesses is to get to know them. Follow them on social media, read their blog posts, and comment on their articles.

You should also introduce yourself in person if you have the opportunity. Attend industry events or meetups, and make sure you exchange business cards.

By getting to know other businesses in your industry, you'll be able to form relationships and partnerships that will benefit both of you.

Partner with other small businesses in your area

You shouldn't limit your marketing activities to other businesses in your sector. You can reach out to businesses you share proximity with.

Let's say you've opened a coffee shop and sales are slow. You may want to partner with a nearby bookstore to offer discounts on products (nothing goes together like a new book and a hot cup of coffee!).

Get your know your local area and get creative with your marketing ideas. Who knows what crazy idea might rake in the profits?

Listen to your customers

You're proud of your business, but that doesn't mean it can't improve. Many small businesses fail because they don't take customer feedback into account. Your customers can be a potential goldmine of suggestions to improve your business.

Collect feedback

You can collect feedback in all sorts of ways. You can have a suggestion box at your store, create a survey on your website, or simply ask customers for their thoughts when they're paying for their purchase. You may also want to send out a customer satisfaction survey over your email marketing provider to gather feedback and more marketing ideas quickly.

Make sure you actually do something with the feedback you collect! It won't do you any good to just let it sit there. This is one of the most powerful things you can do when doing email marketing for retail.

Implement suggestions

Once you've collected feedback, it's time to start making changes to your business. Take a look at the suggestions and see which ones you can implement.

You don't have to make all the changes that are suggested, but even making a few can have a big impact on how customers perceive your business.

After you've made the changes, make sure you let your customers know that their suggestions were heard and implemented. They'll be more likely to give feedback in the future if they see that their voices are actually being heard.

Reviews the results

After you've made the changes, take a step back and review the results. Are customers happier? Are they spending more money? Has your business improved?

Make note of what works and what doesn't so that you can continue to make changes and improve your business.

Get local

If you're a hospitality or retail business engaging in retail marketing or hospitality marketing, your success will come from how well you know your customers and your community. There are a few ways you can ingratiate yourself with your local business community and get some publicity for your business.

Enter contests for local business awards

This is a great way to get some recognition for your business. Many cities have awards that businesses can enter, and it's usually not too difficult to find the entry forms.

You may have to pay a small fee to enter, but it's worth it if you win! Make sure you publicize your win by putting up a sign in your store or on your website.

People like to do business with companies that care about more than just making money. If you support a local cause, you'll not only make yourself feel good, but you'll also make potential customers aware of your business.

Attend local events, especially business events

You can learn a lot and make some valuable connections by attending local business events. You may even meet some potential customers!

You should never stop networking, no matter how successful your business becomes. There are always new people to meet and new relationships to forge,

A great way to network is to join a local business organization. These organizations usually have monthly meetings where members can network with each other.

Create a loyalty program

Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage customers to keep coming back to your business. Many small businesses create loyalty cards that give customers a certain number of points for every purchase they make.

Customers can then redeem these points for discounts or freebies. This is a great way to show your customers that you appreciate their business.

There are many other marketing ideas for small businesses, but these are just a few of the most effective. Try implementing some of these ideas and see how they impact your business. With a little effort, you can take your small business to the next level!

Final thoughts

This list was just a taste of the potential activities you could undertake for small business marketing. But if you're in retail or hospitality, nothing but a hospitality POS or retail POS system will help you better manage your business while offering an amazing payment processing service.

With an Epos Now POS system, you can:

  • Set up, onboard and train staff in minutes​

  • Meet customers on a variety of channels

  • Access your business insights through any device, on-the-go​

  • Accept all major payment methods

  • Real-time reporting on staff, customers, sales, margin and stock​

  • Use standalone, or connect to hundreds of apps including payment systems, accounting software and much more​

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