How to market your small business

12 min read
Leighton Burley

It can be exciting to start a new venture, but as a small business owner, it’s easy to feel uncertain if you’re doing the right things to build a successful business. One of the ways that you can increase your chances of business success is by learning how to market your small business properly.

How to advertise a small business

To make it easy for you, we’ve outlined some steps to advertise your small business.

1. Get busy on social media

If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to keep your costs low and advertise your business with inexpensive marketing methods.

One of the best ways to market your business on a budget is by building social media accounts for it.

Woman scrolling through her social feed in a cafe

This is free to start, easy to learn and you can get your products and services in front of hundreds of potential customers. You can also gain an audience within a few weeks and retain this audience for future promotions.

You will want to research each social network to determine which one is right for your products or services — in other words, which is used by the people most likely to buy from you.

Some of the best social media platforms for business include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and even TikTok, which is emerging as a powerful promotional tool for business.

Related: Which social media platforms are best for small business?

2. Build a website for your business

It feels awesome to build a following online, but you need somewhere to send them so they can learn more and fall in love with your business.

While you can sell your products and services through social media, it’s much easier to convert through a website.

A website gives you the ability to provide more information about your business such as:

  • Location and hours
  • Products and services, with detailed descriptions and photos
  • Personality and values
  • Business startup story
  • Quotes from people who love your products or services
  • Blog articles on topics related to what you offer

It also gives you an avenue to sell your products online with an e-commerce store.

For a new business owner, building a website might seem like a big project, especially if you’ve never built one before. Don’t worry, creating a website is actually much easier than you think.

For an inexpensive way to get a site up quickly, you may want to use a website builder to create a website for your small business. Using a website builder like GoDaddy’s is a three-step process:

  1. Choose a template
  2. Replace the text and photos in the template with your own
  3. Preview, tweak and launch the website without knowing any coding languages

Unlike on social media, you’ll be able to collect emails from your visitors to use in email marketing, one of the cheapest and most effective marketing tools around (more on this later).

Related: Is social commerce the next big thing?

3. Set Up an SEO strategy

Once you’ve launched your website, you’ll want to begin focusing on search engine optimization (SEO). As a small business owner, you must learn how to make your website understandable and attractive to search engines so that you can have online success.

The purpose of an SEO strategy is to move your website closer to the top of the search engine results page (SERPs).

Google search results for Vancouver bike shops

As your website begins to rank higher on SERPs, more people will find it. This will boost your online traffic and the number of potential customers that are finding your website.

With website marketing, there are two common ways to drive traffic to your website. One way is to:

  • Create an SEO strategy and have your traffic come to you for free
  • Invest in pay-per-click ads and have your traffic come from paid ads

Building an SEO strategy for your website is the most cost-effective way to market your small business. Unless you hire someone to do this for you, it’s entirely free.

4. Create online listings for your small business

Online listings are websites that let you create a business profile for your business and publish information about it so that your customers can find you online. Some of these websites also allow reviews about your business for future customers to read.

When your customers search for your business online, you don’t want them to find little to no information about your business. Instead, you want your website to show up in the online listings that provide more information about your business, hours, services, products, the location of your store and even reviews.

Online listings are a cheap way to advertise your small business to local customers who are using the internet to find more information.

Some of the best online listing websites for small businesses include:

The three above are all free to business owners.

5. Create a content marketing campaign

Once your website has been launched and you’ve got an SEO strategy, it’s time to create a content marketing campaign for your small business.

A content marketing campaign can be implemented on your website, your social media platforms or both.

Most businesses will create content (e.g. blog posts, infographics, eBooks) that they can publish on their website to bring organic traffic (aka free) to their website.

Then they’ll repurpose the content from their website and turn it into social media posts so they can target a new audience with the same content that they published on their website.

A content marketing strategy can consist of blog posts, online videos, podcasts, social media posts or any other forms of media that will attract and engage your target audience and convert them into customers.

6. Create an email marketing strategy

As you build traction online and customers begin to use your website, you’ll be able to ask them for their contact information. This is easily done by adding a sign-up form to your website.

You can use their emails to inform them about upcoming events, news and promotions that you’re offering.

Email is one of the best ways to advertise a small business.

Man reading email on a laptop

This is because email marketing is cheap, or even free. You’re also sending them to people who have already shown interest in your products or services.

As you gain more customers online, your email list will grow, and you’ll be able to reach more people with each email marketing campaign that you run.

Always remember to use email marketing sparingly because your customers may get irritated with too many promotional emails. If you see your unsubscribe rate rising, you know you’re emailing too often.

Related: How not to fail at email marketing 

7. Build an online ads campaign

When you’re trying to advertise a small business, it’s important to keep costs low until your business begins to make money. This is why you want to look for cost-friendly marketing strategies for your small business like those mentioned above.

However, once your business begins to generate revenue, you can use this money for more advertising that can grow your small business.

Example of Facebook ad

One of the ways that you can use the money to market your small business is through online ads.

The online ads can be used on platforms such as:

You can choose to pay for views on your ad (CPM Ads) or pay per click on your ads (CPC Ads). There are pros and cons to each of these ad campaign styles, and you’ll need to determine which is best for each ad you run.

8. Use influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a social media strategy that you can use to advertise your small business.

The goal of influencer marketing is to find influencers on social media who will be willing to use, share and advertise your products or services to their social audience.

To get influencers to showcase your business to their audience, you’ll either need to:

  • Pay them for the advertisement
  • Provide free products or services in exchange for free advertising

Another option is to create an affiliate program so they can get paid for the sales that come from their marketing efforts.

Cooking influencer in a kitchen

Affiliate programs reward those who promote a business’s products or services by paying them a small fee every time someone clicks on an ad or link to their website.

When you’re pursuing influencer marketing, it’s best to find micro-influencers that have less than 25k followers on their accounts. This is because you’ll reach a large audience, and the micro-influencers won’t charge you as much as a famous influencer.

Always make sure to find influencers that are centred around your industry. This will ensure that their promotional posts about your business will reach your target audience.

Related: Influencer marketing on a shoestring budget

How to market your small business summary

To have a successful small business, you need to have a good product or service and then advertise your business through various marketing channels.

These channels may be through social media, a website, influencer marketing or even review sites that draw your future customer to your business.

While advertising a small business may seem complicated, it’s achievable if you have the right tools and stay consistent with your marketing efforts.


Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

In this section, we will cover some of the frequently asked questions when it comes to advertising your small business.

Here are some of the most common FAQs that we’ve found.

How do I market my local small business?

The best way to market a small local business is by getting active in the community and networking with other small business owners. Over time, you’ll become known in your community and gain local customers who are loyal to locally run businesses.

Building a website and optimizing it for local SEO will also help you find customers in your immediate area. You can also build social media pages and target your local area with posts about your products or services so that others in your area know you exist.

It’s worth noting that websites built on Canada’s official .ca domain name are preferred by Canadians. The .cadomain extension tells Canadians at a glance that your business is located here.

Get your .ca domain name now:

What are 5 ways to promote a small business?

If you’re looking for a simple yet effective marketing plan to advertise your small business, there are several marketing methods that you’ll want to focus on. These marketing strategies include:

  1. Create social media profiles for your business
  2. Build a website for your business
  3. Design an SEO strategy to gain organic traffic
  4. Use online ads for more online exposure
  5. Create a content marketing plan for your website and social media

These marketing methods will help you gain a social media following, allow yourself to be found online, bring people to your website, engage your audiences through creative content and effectively advertise your small business.

How can I promote my business on my own?

The best way to promote your business is by getting started. Begin promoting your business with the methods that you already understand, such as social media marketing. Then research the areas of marketing that you don’t understand.

Over time, you’ll gain more experience in marketing your business and learn what works best for you. It’s not impossible to market a business on your own and there are countless resources on the internet to help you become an expert marketer.

How can I make my business more popular?

One of the best ways to build a popular business is by listening to reviews, surveys and feedback from your past customers to ensure that you have a good product and service and that your customers are satisfied.

After all, it’s hard to build a popular business if customers are unhappy after purchasing from you.

If your past customers are satisfied with your products and services, the next step to building a popular business is by asking those customers for reviews and featuring those reviews on your website and social channels.

You can use many marketing methods to advertise your business, but the key is staying consistent with your marketing efforts so that you can create momentum and get everyone talking about your business.

How do I get my business noticed online?

The easiest way to get your business noticed online is by driving traffic to any platforms that are promoting your products or services.

If you’ve just started promoting your business and are using social media to build your business, there are several ways that you can drive traffic to your social media profiles such as:

  • Influencer marketing
  • Ongoing content marketing
  • Paid online ads

If your business has a website, there are many more marketing strategies that you can use to get noticed online.

You can use an SEO strategy to bring traffic to your website through Google, use paid ads to gain exposure for your business, find influencer marketers in your niche to promote your business on social media and send the traffic to your website and curate content marketing strategies to attract and engage a larger audience.