In simple terms, marketing is how you get the word out to your customers about your product. Without it, even a product as successful as the iPhone wouldn’t reach the hands of users.
While you may not have an item as coveted as the iPhone, you will drown in the background noise and fade away without solid marketing strategies.
Done right, marketing helps you reach your target customers and engage with the audience to make your name known. Not surprisingly, businesses, brands, and advertisers are all locked in a battle for a bit of attention from their audience.
Major brands and businesses with fat pockets hog most of the screen time and advertising real estate, leaving little for small businesses. So how can you get your business noticed in this hyper-competitive space? Continue reading for some great small business marketing ideas!
Why do small businesses need to get creative with marketing?
Marketing is both an art and a science; there’s room for calculated investments and predictable ROI, and creative, low-cost ideas that can generate the desired result.
According to Deloitte, in 2022, businesses averaged 8.7% of overall company revenue to marketing. Marketing experts advise 2-3% of revenue allocation for marketing to startups and small businesses. Some even go as far as to suggest 20%, especially when the company is in a highly competitive industry.
However, not all businesses can shell out double-digit numbers out of their revenue to marketing. It becomes imperative to squeeze as much value as possible from low-cost and free marketing methods before putting money into it.
Getting creative with marketing means generating the biggest splash while spending the least.
Getting the basics right
In terms of marketing, getting the basics right is mandatory. To get your basics right, you need to define your target audience, establish a robust brand identity, leverage social media, optimize your social presence and build exquisitely valuable content.
10 Creative marketing ideas
Here are 10 small business marketing ideas you need to use to market your product creatively. While not all of them will work for you, most of these must go into your marketing strategy.
1. Post frequently on social media
Once you start a page for your business on social media, it’s crucial to stay active by making regular posts, preferably daily. Both algorithms and followers love frequent posts as it keeps the engagement going.
The idea is to build your community and drive engagement to grow your business. The more people see you posting quality personalized content online about your products and the industry surrounding it, the more you build authority that makes you a trusted source for the audience.
Jump on relevant trending topics but try to avoid posting personal opinions on sensitive or political issues, as those kinds of content can go south quickly. Wit and humor can also be significant assets on social media.
2. Tag people and brands on social media
The trick to success on social media is engagement- how many people find your posts interesting, how many interact with them, and how many are willing to share the post with their friends online.
Personalization is a great way to boost engagement as it brings your business down to earth. For instance, tagging your most loyal customers and evangelists on social media or even the pages of your corporate clients and vendors can significantly increase organic search.
Offering freebies to nano and micro-influencers is also a great way to increase your reach to the target audience while staying within the marketing budget. Small influencers generally have more followers who trust their advice, with the potential to boost your engagement significantly.
3. Make the most out of free marketing tools
There’s much you can do with all the free tools you can find online or the limited services offered by premium products. Google Analytics, for instance, is a free tool that can track your website activity and engagement.
It also offers a great insight into how well your SEO strategy is working and with comprehensive information broken down by customer demographics. Google Alerts similarly gives you an alert every time your business is mentioned online so you can have a tab on what influence you’re having.
Many tools offer plenty of freebies that can be combined to craft your marketing strategy for no cost.
4. Get creative with infographics
Infographics have the effect of stirring people’s emotions, and that’s primarily the reason why they’re easier to remember. People also remember textual information better when presented with exaggerated pictorial representation.
Making appealing infographics takes time and some experience. For example, if you’re a hairstylist, a great infographic can be on “How To Cut Your Own Bangs.” You can start with the right color and design in the background, which appeals to your target demographic.
Break down the process into simple steps accompanied by self-explanatory diagrams and enough text to get the point across. Sharing valuable tips on social media is a great way to build credibility and followers.
You can combine study information or collaborate with influencers to make appealing infographics.
5. Work extensively on SEO
Including search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most feasible and effective ways to boost your marketing efforts. Having your digital presence optimized for search engines means targeting the right keywords in your published content, such as blogs and videos.
Write for low-volume keywords with minimal competition to build success in the long run. Paying attention to local SEO is also crucial if you’re running a business that is highly specific to your area.
Add location-based keywords to the headings and body of content, optimize image alts, list on online directories, and publish content specific to your area.
6. Have your family and friends become your advocates
Your friends and family are the best unpaid brand ambassadors you can have, especially when you’re starting.
Every person you know probably has a few hundred friends on social media, so having your friends and family evangelize for your brands can quickly get you a reach of a few thousand people.
Have your followers create snippets and a montage for your company’s page to create a more significant impact. User-generated content (UGC) scores high on social proof as consumers are 2.4X more likely to say UGC is more authentic than brand-generated content.
You can also turn your employees into brand ambassadors for word-of-mouth marketing. Offer exclusive discounts to friends of the family, friends of friends, or employees for better promotion on social media.
7. Give guerilla marketing a shot
Guerilla marketing is a detour off the beaten path., but when done correctly, it can be very effective as a cost-effective marketing strategy.
As the name suggests, guerilla marketing involves stunts or approaches to promote your brands through unconventional methods.
The essence of guerilla marketing is surprise, awe, wonder, or shock. Bounty’s infamous Popsicle created quite a sensation with the onlookers and passersby. The company left a giant popsicle on the streets of New York, creating a little mess after it melted in the heat.
Many took photos, and some even tasted it to ensure it was real. When done correctly, guerilla marketing can be very effective.
8. Start a channel and generate excellent content
Starting a channel is one of the best small business marketing ideas to build your authority in the field. Content marketing is highly effective and doesn’t consume too much into your marketing budget.
Writing informative blog posts or producing videos sharing your knowledge or “how to” tutorials can go a long way in impressing prospects who come looking for a guide. Search engines also love high-quality content as it gives the best answers to the questions the users are looking for. Enhance your content creation process with the assistance of an AI writing tool, enabling you to consistently produce high-quality blog posts and tutorials that not only impress prospects but also align with search engines' preference for informative and valuable content.
Show interest in your followers at every opportunity and pay attention to what they’re saying in the comment section.
Maybe they need a part-2 or a more detailed video on a specific topic. Curate the content around what they desire to see to keep the engagement levels up.
9. Host events, competitions, or classes
Running any event or competition is an effective marketing strategy as it gets the word out while you spend minimal resources.
Although you may need to shell out some money for the prize and event organization, the rewards of leads and prospects can be substantial.
A social media competition, on the other hand, can have a wider reach while you spend next to nothing on the effort. The prizes, however, can be simple, such as free products for the rest of the month or fancy backpacks or water bottles.
Classes, especially when they are free, showcasing the proper use of your product, can also gather a lot of eyeballs.
10. Sell mystery boxes
People love to surprise and mystery; they are wired to respond strongly to a potential unknown reward, regardless of the value of the reward.
If you’re in a business that sells many different items, include a mystery item in the package to keep your subscribers interested in what they might receive.
The small business marketing ideas listed above give you an idea of how you can make the best out of existing tools to maximize your reach.
Marketing need not cost a bomb if you’re clever at squeezing the last drop of value out of every resource you have.
Having a pulse on your customer base is an effective way to know when to switch strategies or try something new to keep them surprised and engaged.