As a small business owner, you are probably already busy and have heard many marketing ideas that seem impossible (or, at least, very difficult) to implement.
It can be difficult to find proven ways to improve your online presence, build your email list, engage potential customers on social media, and generate measurable revenue.
In this column, you’ll find 103 small business marketing ideas designed to help you grow your business by acquiring new customers or retaining existing ones.
And you can actually execute these ideas yourself!
Read on for 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’ve been 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 simple examples:
1. Image of the staff member (s).
2. Picture of a new team member.
3. Image of the owner or boss doing something fun.
4. Image of new open or stocked products.
5. Image of a satisfied customer (with the right consent, of course).
6. Picture of an office pet (if applicable).
7. Picture of a staff member enjoying a meeting during the seasonal holidays.
8. Image of staff members in action (meeting, customer service, shelf stocking, etc.).
9. Picture of a satisfied customer (along with a caption using an infinite number of apps that can do this).
10. Image of new equipment (especially if it is a home service company).
11. Image of the staff working on site (if they are in the field).
12. Picture of “behind the scenes”.
13. Memes made with your photos.
14. Videos of a birthday or some other type of celebration.
15. Video announcement of a promotion, product or special.
16. Video of a customer testimonial.
17. Videos with some useful tips that the customer might find useful.
18. Videos in support of a local cause.
19. Video showing new products or services (30 seconds to one minute).
20. Video of the owner talking about the company’s mission.
21. Video interview with team members.
22. Assemble your photos into a video (many apps can do this).
Using social media to grow your business
With local newspapers on the decline, social media has become even more important because you are likely to find your customers on one of the platforms.
The following tips are relevant regardless of the platform. Don’t let your prejudices or habits determine the social media platforms you use.
You can’t use [insert Social Media platform name]but your business needs to have a presence if your customers do.
23. Publish the images described above.
24. Post one of the videos described above.
25. Post a customer review.
26. Go live with a question and answer. Prepare the seed questions.
27. Go live to an event or party your company hosts or attends.
28. Share good news from another local company.
29. Share a post from a local charity or non-profit seeking help.
30. Answer any questions or comments that come from customers.
31. Organize a customer event and post about it.
32. Post “little known facts” or a historical anniversary relevant to your market or community.
33. Post a photo of your business as the seasons change.
34. Publish customer stories (with permission, of course).
35. Post about a business challenge you have faced and overcome.
36. When a local school team or organization is having success, post a post about them.
37. Turn a FAQ into a helpful advice post for your clients.
38. Post about good news for business.
39. Celebrate a new hire.
Winning new customers often means 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 for them to do business with you.
Here are some items for the customer acquisition checklist:
40. Ask for a referral in an email.
41. Ask for a review by email or SMS.
42. Allow customers to send a text message request.
43. Make sure it’s easy for customers to contact you (try often).
44. Run a simple paid search ad.
45. Make sure your business appears on the map.
46. Exhibit at a local fair or trade show.
47. Sponsor a team or organization (and show up frequently).
48. Run a paid social campaign (pay $ 10 – $ 20 to promote a post or video to a local audience).
49. Start building an email list by giving something of value in exchange.
50. Use a QR code to trick customers into signing up for an instant coupon via SMS.
51. Start referring customers to other (non-competitive) activities.
52. Join a networking group.
53. Attend community events and meetings.
Acquiring new customers is not enough to sustain a business.
Work hard to retain your current customers or you may find yourself constantly at a disadvantage on a climb.
Here are some simple ideas to give you an edge:
54. Submit a quick follow-up survey after your purchase.
55. Ask for a review by email or SMS.
56. Send a thank you to the customer.
57. Follow the customer to make sure they are happy.
58. Send offers (price, preview, early access, etc.) to existing customers.
59. Organize a customer appreciation event.
60. Establish a client advisory group.
61. Send your customer a monthly email with announcements, special offers, and even an occasional personal update.
62. Create a customer schedule of the month.
63. Find out who your best customers are and offer exclusives.
To be blunt, you need to get the word out to give your business a chance to be successful.
While “Field of Dreams” is a fantastic film, the approach doesn’t work in business (“If you build it, they’ll come”).
64. Add a promotional link in your email signatures.
65. Develop some bundle offers of products (or services) to increase the average order value.
66. Try a buy now, pay later service on your e-commerce site.
67. If you are a utility company, offer a cash or prepayment discount.
68. Announce all promotions on social media channels.
69. Try various promotional discounts, packages, payment methods, etc.
70. Partner with other local businesses to promote yours.
71. If you’re going to swag, make it memorable for your customers.
72. Become the face of your business. “People do business with people they like.”
73. Support your local news releases when it makes sense.
74. Get a logo to put on your vehicle.
75. Partner with a bank to offer financing on larger purchases.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably thinking: great! But how do I know if it works 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 ask someone to do so).
77. Document what success looks like from a business perspective.
78. Track your progress towards your goals.
79. Know the difference between a top and bottom metric of the funnel.
80. Keep track of redeemed coupons.
81. Keep track of incoming calls, messages and emails.
82. Make sure conversion tracking is set up for your digital advertising.
83. Ask customers how they heard about you.
84. Measure your foot traffic (if your business is retail).
85. Measure the average order value.
86. Measure your conversion rate (online and in brick-and-mortar stores).
87. Document any changes to your promotion and messaging and note the effect on business.
88. Track your profits to make sure your advertising and promotions lead to profitable sales.
89. Calculate the lifetime value of a customer.
90. Know how much it costs to acquire a new customer.
91. Know your customer retention rate.
92. Know the cost difference between keeping a current customer and acquiring a new one.
93. Test a discounted offer type versus a non-discounted offer type (bundle or buy now, pay later).
Get help with the necessary work
Time is money and you will find that sometimes it is 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 digital marketing skills (PPC, SEO, email, web design. And development).
95. Ask an intern to create all the images and videos described in the content section.
96. Hire a local freelancer if you have budget constraints.
97. Be clear about your definition of success for whoever you hire.
98. Ask to see relevant case studies before hiring someone.
99. Get an SEO audit to identify any gaps.
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 the videos. You may be amazed at how good their work is.
103. Keep a handy list of reliable 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 an easy couple (most likely in the content section) and do it.
Before you know it, find your rhythm.
Featured Image: KucherAV / Shutterstock