7 marketing ideas for small business

Flip your business on its head

Although setting up a small business does not require an extensive marketing strategy, it could be worthwhile to consider multiple avenues. You’ll want to incorporate the best marketing ideas around to drive traffic to your business — and that means exploring a number of different marketing ideas for small business to come up with the combination that will work best for your particular venture.

Considering that digital platforms are growing at an extremely fast pace, marketers are now opting for effective and efficient marketing solutions for the promotion of their businesses. Traditional marketing mediums, like radio ads, have been showing a downward trend in relation to digital advertising. Moreover, digital ad spending is projected to surpass TV by the end of 2017.

That being said, it’s not necessary for businesses to dump an excessive amount of money for the promotion of their products or services. Small businesses can reach the heights of success by deploying cost-effective and smarter marketing strategies.

Read on to take a look at some of the best marketing ideas for small businesses — these seven suggestions can help you obtain maximum exposure from your targeted audience.

7 great marketing ideas for small business

  1. Email marketing

  2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

  3. Content marketing

  4. Social media ads

  5. Local search (SEO)

  6. Facebook retargeting

  7. Contests and giveaways

1. Email marketing

Best Marketing Ideas MailboxOne of the most efficient marketing strategies for small businesses is email marketing. This is due to its affordability, approachability and total automation. Any business can start collecting email leads with a simple, email-capture call-to-action (CTA) on their website.

Email marketing is believed to be one of the most effective strategies for acquiring new customers, and it generates a massive return on investment ($38 from every $1 spent).

As most consumers these days read emails on their mobile devices, email turns out to be an appropriate way for promoting products and services at any time, in any place. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive and time-efficient. Most email marketing software providers offer full automation based on specific actions made by visitors on your website.

For example, when someone signs up for your email list, a marketing software of your choice will be capable of sending an automatic, tailored message to the new subscriber, saving you time and money.

2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Best Marketing Ideas SearchSEO is a method of improving a website’s organic search engine visibility with the primary purpose of driving organic (free) traffic to the website. While SEO should always be approached with care, diligence, and a long-term vision, it’s considered being one of the most effective strategies for driving quality, targeted traffic.

Although Google takes more than 200 factors into consideration when it comes to organic search rankings, there are three main components to a successful SEO strategy:

  • Technical SEO. Focusing on performance and speed of the website, codes and scripts, structured data, redirects, robots.txt, sitemaps, etc.
  • On-page SEO. Internal optimization of the website, including meta titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, navigation, URL structure, content, etc.
  • Off-page SEO. “External” optimization of the website is often considered the most determinant factor and involves aspects like inbound links, linking root domains and brand mentions.

Small businesses can opt for the right SEO strategy by focusing on the following four key factors:

Targeted keywords. Choosing the right set of keywords is key to uplifting SEO for small businesses. Choose keywords that are directly relevant to the products or services consumers are looking for.

Targeted content. A well-designed content plan can lead small businesses to the heights of success. Content should be targeted at educating visitors by providing valuable information as opposed to posting sales pitches.

On-page optimization. After selecting the right set of targeted keywords, small businesses should be focusing on optimizing internal elements of the website, including meta descriptions, page titles, header tags and alt tags. The on-site optimization will create a bigger impact on the visibility of your website.

Off-page SEO and backlinks. Earning quality backlinks is essential for improving a website’s visibility and authority. There are numerous strategies for gaining powerful inbound links, such as conducting manual blogger outreach, guest blogging, creating tools and many more.

3. Content marketing

Designing a decent content marketing strategy is an absolute necessity for gaining traction online. By generating well-designed content, small businesses can drive an influx of traffic to the website, as well attract potential customers.

By judging target audiences and setting up the right content marketing strategy, even smaller and less-experienced businesses can achieve their desired goals.

In most cases, SEO and content marketing should go hand-in-hand.

4. Social media ads

Best Marketing Ideas Social Media
Photo: Jason A. Howie via Visualhunt / CC BY

It comes as a no-brainer that social media is an incredible medium for reaching new customers, engaging with an existing audience, and providing support to loyal customers. According to Statista, there are roughly 2.5 billion active social media users. This number on its own presents an immense opportunity to small businesses for reaching potential customers.

Best Marketing Ideas Statista
Statista reports on the amount of social media users throughout the years.

The most popular social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, give businesses an opportunity to advertise their products and services for a fee based on CPC (Cost-Per-Click) or CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions).

With precise targeting and a relatively low budget of $100, small businesses can generate thousands of impressions and hundreds of website clicks. If it’s in the budget, utilizing social media ads is a great way to gain exposure.

5. Local search (SEO)

Another cost-effective yet powerful marketing tactic for small businesses is local SEO. Local SEO serves as a helpful tool for small businesses to promote their products and services to the local customers at the exact time and location they are searching for it.

Having a powerful local presence on the web gives small businesses an opportunity to appear in map listings.

Key to successful local SEO lies in the following five components:

  1. Link signals
  2. Precise and consistent directory listings
  3. Google My Business signals
  4. Review signals
  5. On-page SEO (meta titles, meta descriptions, local business schema markup, alt tags, headings, etc.)

Editor’s note: Want an easy way to get listed locally? Check out GoDaddy’s Local Business Listings tool — your business information listed everywhere, all from one place.

6. Facebook retargeting

Best Marketing Ideas FacebookFacebook retargeting (also known as remarketing) is a powerful way of reaching people who have visited a website and performed certain actions.

For instance, small businesses can incorporate Facebook retargeting to show ads to people who’ve visited a particular product page on the website, but haven’t proceeded to the actual checkout page. A tailored retargeting message will only be shown to the people who match this criterion.

7. Contests and giveaways

Giveaways work on the basis of running a competition where people are required to perform certain actions (e.g., opt-in) in return for a chance of winning a prize. Online tools like Rafflecopter give the ability to easily create and embed a contest entry form on your website and across social media profiles.

Contests are great for generating immediate buzz around your business, which can lead to an increase in sales and brand exposure.


With a tiny freebie (perhaps a free product or eBook), a business can benefit from the following:

  • Thousands of entries. In order to opt-in, ask participants to leave an email address, which can then be used for email marketing purposes.
  • Social media exposure. Ask participants to share the contest with their friends and followers, thus generating buzz around your business.
  • Free advertising. Successful contests get shared hundreds of times, thereby generating an influx of website traffic and exposure around your business.

To sum up

Although there is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for all small businesses, these seven marketing ideas for small business are definitely worth the consideration. Evaluate your resources (financial and labor) and the desired outcome of your marketing efforts before you get started. Then, rely on one (or more) of these best marketing ideas to drive more traffic to your site.

Pro tip: Want to get the most out of your marketing campaigns? Try A/B testing several strategies simultaneously to see which ones work best.

Image by: Wendelin Jacober via Visualhunt / CC BY