Small business owners need every edge to succeed. Time is limited and competition is fierce. Marketing is necessary but can seem overwhelming considering everything else on your plate. You need quick and easy ways to win at promoting your operation.
That’s why we’re sharing our top proven small business marketing hacks. Use them to make your life simpler and better.
Think Like a BIG Business Owner
Owners of smaller companies are in a constant scramble to earn revenue. When promoting themselves, their thinking is often: Act >>> React.
CEOs and marketers at larger companies think differently: Research >>> Strategize >>> Act >>> Analyze >>> Refine.
Owners of larger companies often spend more time planning than smaller ones thanks to an abundance of resources. In most cases, the extra time spent researching their prospective buyers and the competition, coming up with strategies to connect with consumers and distinguish themselves from the competition, analyzing their results, and looking out for opportunities for improvement pays off. It typically delivers better results more quickly than acting impulsively or reacting all the time.
If you take away only one hack after reading this piece, it’s to slow down, plan, and analyze more—in other words, think like a chief executive of a large, successful company.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
If you take our advice in the previous section, it becomes apparent that marketing quality is much more important than marketing quantity.
Focusing on a few quality marketing campaigns is usually far more beneficial than spreading things too thin. For instance, put most of your effort into the customer segments most likely to do business with you (if you’re not sure who they are, analyze your sales data to figure out who your most profitable customers are, typically those who buy more, more often). Also, focus on your most successful promotional efforts. Again, if you’re unsure, slow things down and determine which of your campaigns generates the most value for every dollar you spend.
Ultimately, the best marketers and business owners know that a few quality campaigns are worth far more than a slew of random efforts.
Most small businesses don’t have unlimited marketing budgets. It can be almost impossible to promote yourself to everybody in your consideration set adequately.
Instead of going after everyone you could do business with, consider who is most likely to do business with you and market to them instead. Concentrate your marketing and messaging on them. Select the media they engage with. Consider your business a boutique with an exclusive customer base rather than a big box store going after everyone.
Microtargeting is another example of doing less to generate better results. You may be surprised if you give it a try.
Think of Your Business as Different Rather than Unique
In today’s crowded marketplace, it can be almost impossible for businesses to be truly unique. Even if you dreamed up the idea for your company on your own, other people likely had similar dreams.
Instead, take time to understand your competition and figure out what makes you different from them. In simple digital media—for example, social media, Google Ads, and display advertising—it may be easier and more effective to take a comparative approach to marketing, explaining why you’re better or different. Once you get someone’s attention by differentiating yourself, it buys you time to express the uniqueness of your company vision on your website.
Consider Charging More
In today’s inflationary economy, many businesses are competing by cutting prices. This often turns into a race to the bottom that no one wins.
Depending on what you sell, it might make much more sense to charge a premium. For instance, if you own a salon, healthcare practice, or contracting business, you might position yourself as the better alternative, offering a higher level of service. For a specific type of customer, this could be very attractive and earn you more business. Just make sure you deliver something premium to justify the extra expense. If you can’t back up your higher prices with a better experience, you’ll quickly land yourself in trouble.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Business owners are focused on their businesses. And that’s as it should be. It’s easy to think that everyone takes in everything you communicate, whether in social media, email, or other promotional efforts.
The truth: Prospective consumers aren’t as obsessed with your business as you are. They’ve got their own concerns. Monitor your marketing efforts. Make sure you’re hitting customers and prospects often enough to stay top of mind. You always want to be in their consideration set when they need to buy what you’ve got to sell.
Allow Your Business to Grow
Many business owners sabotage their marketing because they’re afraid to grow. They cut back when campaigns are about to take off.
Change—whether it’s opening a new location, hiring more workers, or selling new goods or services—can be frightening. However, it shouldn’t hold you back.
If you don’t have a vision for future business growth, write a business plan. Many simple-to-use templates are available online. Writing a plan forces you to think through the next chapters of development for your business. A plan will help you feel more confident about growth and change. Also, having a vision for your company's future will help improve your marketing, ensuring it is synced up with getting you to where you want to be.
Build a Brand
Many business owners think their organizations are too small to brand. Nothing could be further from the truth. In today’s cluttered media world, you only have a few seconds or less to make an impression on consumers. That’s why it’s necessary to have a clearly defined brand, including messaging, look-and-feel, and logo, that makes it possible for prospective customers to “get” your business instantly and recall it over time. A small investment in developing a professional brand could pay off in improved business results quickly.
Small Business Marketing Hacks: The Last Word
Many small business owners stumble when it comes to marketing. It can feel overwhelming.
Instead of thinking of marketing as this huge beast, attack it as a series of hacks, like the ones in this piece. There are no shortcuts, but there are plenty of ways to work smarter. Taking this advice will make your marketing feel more manageable, and you’ll likely be able to accomplish a whole lot more by doing less.