10 Essential Marketing Activities for Small Business Owners: From Beginner to Advanced

As a small business owner, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to marketing your new venture. The first few months after opening your doors are crucial for establishing your brand, building awareness and attracting customers.

Here are the first five marketing activities you should prioritize for your business:

1. Create a website

In today’s digital age, having a website is a must for any business. Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix and Shopify make it easy to create a professional-looking website without any coding experience. Your website should be visually appealing, easy to navigate and provide all the essential information about your products or services. Make sure your website is optimized for search engines so that potential customers can find you online.

2. Develop a social media presence

Social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram (managed together in Meta’s Business Suite), are excellent channels to engage with your audience and promote your business. Create social media accounts for your business and post regularly with compelling content, such as product photos, staff spotlights, promotions and customer testimonials.

3. Start email marketing

Email marketing is an effective way to keep your customers informed about your business, deals and upcoming events. Create an email list and send out newsletters regularly to stay top-of-mind with your customers. Entry-level email marketing software, like Mailchimp, Constant Contact and ConvertKit, provides tools to create and send newsletters, manage subscribers and track the success of your campaigns with ease.

4. Network in your local community

Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools for small businesses. Attend local networking events (especially those hosted by JumpStart), join community groups and offer special deals to customers who refer friends and family. Meetup, Eventbrite and LinkedIn Groups are great ways to find local networking events and connect with other small business owners across Northern Ohio.

5. Launch a referral or loyalty program

Referral programs incentivize customers to refer their friends and family to your business. Offer discounts, exclusive access to events or free products to customers who refer new business to you. Referral programs not only increase sales but also help to build a loyal customer base. ReferralCandy, Refersion and Smile.io are some of the most popular options that make it simple to set up and manage referral programs for your business.

Once you’ve successfully completed the first checklist for marketing your small business, it’s time to take things to the next level and explore more sophisticated marketing tactics to grow your awareness even further.

Here are five more advanced marketing activities to consider:

6. Utilize video marketing

Video is a powerful medium for engaging with your audience and promoting your products or services. Consider creating product demos, testimonials or behind-the-scenes footage to share on your website, social media, YouTube and other marketing channels.

7. Invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

PPC advertising allows you to display ads on search engines and social media platforms, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Consider hiring a PPC expert or using a self-service platform like Google Ads to run targeted ads and reach your ideal audience.

8. Develop a content marketing strategy

Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content, such as blog posts, videos and digital flyers, to attract and retain customers. Invest in creating high-quality, highly informative and even entertaining content that resonates with your target audience and promotes your brand. More on this in a future blog post.

9. Engage with influencers

Influencers are social media personalities with a large following and significant influence over their audience. Consider seeking out and partnering with influencers in your industry to promote your products or services and increase your brand’s reach.

10. Experiment with new channels

Marketing trends and channels are constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest innovations. Consider exploring new channels like TikTok, Discord or virtual events to reach new audiences and stay ahead of the competition.

Remember, marketing is a continuous process, and measuring the success of your efforts regularly is key. Use data and analytics to track your progress, make adjustments as needed, and continue to evolve your marketing strategy over time. By focusing on these activities first, you can create a strong foundation for your company’s brand and be well on your way to achieving long-term success.

Posted in Small Business, Thought Leadership