The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Small Business: Expert Tips for Success

By Mary Williams – March 13, 2023
Build a successful business with the Ultimate Guide to marketing a small business

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Small Business

Are you a small business owner, blog writer or community organisation looking for expert marketing advice? Not sure where to start and how to begin? Well, you’ve come to the right place! With nearly 30 years of experience in marketing, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to promote a business effectively.  And here are the results of my thoughts – in my Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Small Business!

I’ve tried a lot of different approaches – some more successful than others at times. And I’m always learning and have high persistence to try many varied approaches. The magic ingredient is to believe in what you do, have grit, be organised, give value, be unique and go to the places where people searching will find you exist. And here you are – eh?!

In this article, I’ll share my top tips and strategies for marketing your small business. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your marketing efforts to the next level, I’ve got you covered. So, grab a cup of tea and your favourite biscuit and dive in!

Read on.

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1. You need to really understand your business inside and out. 

Before you start marketing your company, side hustle, website, YouTube channel or whatever you have created, then you need to take the time to understand exactly what your business is about.

Think about every single little detail. For example:

  • What problem are you solving for the customer? 
  • Do people want what you offer? 
  • Is there a market?
  • Are people you have already worked with happy – and will they work with you again?
  • What can you improve?
  • What systems do you have to deal with increased leads and traffic?

2. You need to be your own biggest cheerleader. 

You need to be the absolute expert on your company and be extremely proud of what you offer. 

If you feel like you are making excuses, wouldn’t want to shout about it and aren’t sure – then you need to have a deep talk with yourself about what you need to change about your outlook. 

Your potential leads and customers need to trust they are in safe hands with you. They won’t if you don’t totally believe in yourself and your ideas.

3. Identify your Unique Selling Point.

Ponder about what makes you special and different from the competition. Does it jump out at them as soon as they start looking into the services you provide?

Potential customers won’t know who you are, what you do or your back story at first glance on an internet or social media search.  You have just a few seconds to catch their attention.

You could be the top expert in your field or have the best product or website content out there, but initially, it’s all down to quick first impressions and whether you can solve their pain point.

And this will make the difference between someone dealing with you or using a competitor. 

Are you selling something totally unique, or do you need to think outside the box to sell something with many competitors looking for the same business?

You must stand out above everyone else with something memorable and make people stop and think without going elsewhere.

4. Define your target audience – who is your ideal customer?

So many people don’t know the answer to this, and they must nail their ideal buyer persona.

Before promoting your business, you must know exactly whom you’re targeting. Think about your ideal customer’s demographics, interests, and pain points. This information will help you create a message that resonates with them.

5. Build a marketing plan.

Once you discover exactly who your target audience is and who you are as a business, you need to create a marketing plan. 

A goal without a plan is just a dream. Make it happen.

Outline your goals, strategies, tactics, and budget. This plan should include a timeline of when you’ll execute each step and how you’ll measure success.



6. Create a strong brand identity.

A strong brand identity can help you stand out from the competition and build customer loyalty. Develop a brand voice, logo, and visual identity that reflects your business values.

Consult a branding designer and expert to make it appear coherent and professional.

However, for those on a budget like sole traders and start-ups – try online design software like Canva. You can set up a brand colour pallet, make a simple logo and create or use templates to match your branding.

7. Build an amazing website.

Having a strong online presence is crucial in today’s digital age. Start by creating a website that’s easy to navigate, visually appealing, and optimized for search engines.

Use persuasive design, colours and actions to make it work effectively. Make sure it’s loading fast, mobile-friendly (as that is how most people view the internet nowadays) and not annoying with popups, adverts, etc.

My approach is based on understanding Psychology, knowing how and why people make decisions, and what you can do to influence that within the website design. In fact, most people don’t even know what is happening and why they made those choices, but it works. 

If you have an existing website it’s got a high bounce rate and low conversion, consider what you can do to improve it. Then once you have done what you can, it’ll appear in the search engines.

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8. Set up social media accounts.

Social media is a powerful tool for reaching new customers and engaging with existing audiences. 

Set up accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. 

You don’t have to do them all – just those relevant to your target buyer persona.

9. Get creating and make valuable content using blogs and videos.

Content marketing is a powerful way to attract and retain customers. You can create blog posts, videos, infographics, and other content that provide value to your audience. Make sure your content is high-quality, informative, and engaging.

The best way is to consider the questions someone might have when researching your product and perhaps don’t know you exist. Then create a detailed and expertly written and researched article about that subject. 

If your website is SEO-optimised properly, this then provides a rich database for search engines to use. Then people can find what they are looking for from you.



10. Use email marketing.

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to nurture leads and convert them into customers. Send newsletters, promotional emails, and other types of content to your subscribers. Make sure your emails are personalized and relevant to your audience.

Create an email list on Mailchimp (free to 300 users) or pay for Active Campaign or similar.

You need to comply with GDPR regulations in the UK, and their website has clear guidelines to follow.

11. Leverage social media.

Social media is a great way to reach new customers and engage with your existing audience. You can run social media ads, post content, and engage with your followers. Ensure you choose the right platforms for your business and that your content is consistent and on-brand.

12. Network in your community

Networking with people you meet out and about and through hobbies, attending local events, and getting involved in your community are great ways to build your brand and attract new customers.

It’s the way I started my business. People often know someone looking for what you do and are usually happy to mention your name.

Carry a card.

– Promotional Tools


13. Offer promotions and discounts.

Offering promotions and discounts is a great way to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Think about running sales, offering referral discounts, and creating loyalty programs.

14. Monitor your results.

It’s important to monitor your marketing efforts and measure your results. Use analytics tools to track your website traffic, email open rates, social media engagement, and other metrics. This will help you identify what’s working and what’s not so you can adjust your strategies accordingly.

Most websites use Google Analytics, and you can use the stats to help grow your website and see what’s working for you. Read this handy guide about boosting user engagement using GA4.

However, don’t waste your time tracking meaningless data. You may have millions of subscribers, but if they aren’t turning into profit-making leads and customers, then you need to take another look at your strategy.

15. Use search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is optimizing your website and content to rank higher in organic search engine results so people will find you and know what you do. Use relevant keywords, meta tags, and quality content to improve your SEO

This is a technical area of website design and needs to be thoughtfully and expertly done on every page that is posted. Personally, this is an area that I enjoy working in.

Eager to unleash your online potential?

Let’s talk about your marketing and website.

16. Local SEO

Local SEO is further optimizing your website and online presence for local search. This includes creating local business listings, using local keywords and getting local backlinks.

17. Sign up for Google My Business 

Google My Business is an important free tool that allows you to manage your business information across Google, including search and maps. Make sure your listing is up-to-date and optimized for local search.

It’ll help you appear in search results on the map with a Pin, use the messages to talk to customers, and post photos, offers, news and reviews. Customers can post reviews and photos there too.

It’s a win-win.

18. Invest in paid advertising.

Paid advertising can be a powerful tool for reaching new customers and promoting your business. And even more so when you are starting out.

Consider using platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Pinterest.

Depending on the platform, you can create adverts that target the buyer demographics, location and search terms that your perfect buyer persona would use.

19. Create a referral scheme.

Proactively set up Referral programs to incentivize existing customers to refer new customers to your business. Offer rewards like discounts, gifts or free products for successful referrals.

This can be done at the point of sale, on receipt of goods and in the future. Maybe a form that can be filled in if you are in person and via digital methods like your website and email. 

I personally like to use email and contact individuals to follow up after I have completed the work with them. If you are doing this at scale, consider using an email list system like Mailchimp for this purpose. However, they can only be processed via the email list if they have already actively signed up for your mailing list themselves (GDPR rules).

20. Local Events, Trade Shows and Conferences.

Attending local events and conferences is a great way to network and learn about the latest trends in your industry. It’s an excellent opportunity to promote your business and build brand awareness. Discover other businesses whom you can collaborate with that will benefit each other.

21. Find local networking events

Attending networking events can help you build valuable connections and gain insights into your industry. If you do an online search, you can find a suitable event near you. 

Ensure you come prepared with an approachable manner, a smile, business cards and a clear pitch in mind.

22. Collaborate with influencers.

Influencer marketing involves partnering with social media influencers to promote your business to their followers. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and target audience; otherwise, it will not benefit you. 

Don’t be afraid to say no if they aren’t a good fit. For instance, if you are selling anti-ageing to those over the 50s, then an influencer targeting 20-year-olds who love natural beauty won’t be a good match.

You may have to pay them for the advertising and offer free goods or services. 

23. Host your own events.

Hosting events like workshops, webinars, networking, or meetups is a great way to engage with your audience and provide value. 

Provide a mini training session and a taster of a course/product that you provide. And then if they want more, they will book you. Use a carefully crafted persuasion promo section throughout the event to answer questions and provide value.

Make sure your events are relevant and valuable to your target audience.

24. Offer exceptional customer service.

Providing exceptional customer service can set you apart from the competition and turn customers into loyal advocates. Make sure you prioritize customer satisfaction in all aspects of your business.

When you are excellent and care about what you do, your customers will feel supported and nurtured. Then people will want to tell their friends and colleagues about their great experiences. 

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25. Use retargeting ads.

Retargeting ads show ads to people who have previously interacted with your business, such as visiting your website or social media profiles.

It is easy to forget that it can take time to nurture a contact to become a customer. They make take days, weeks, months and even years in some cases before they decide to act. For instance, someone who fancies becoming self-employed but isn’t ready to do so yet because they need to work out their options.

Retargeting the leads and potential customers who are quietly watching and not ready to make a decision to use your services is a worthwhile business decision.

26. Gather honest customer reviews.

This is one of the most important things you can do. It’s real, true and builds credibility.

Customer reviews are an essential tool for building trust and credibility. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your website or third-party review platforms like Google My Business.

And then reply and acknowledge them. Even less positive reviews or if you have been spammed can be a positive asset to a business when you know how to respond correctly.

27. Encourage user-generated content online.

Your customers are your biggest advocates. 

Utilising and encouraging user-generated content like social media, customer photos, and reviews can be an amazing tool for building brand awareness and trust. 

Encourage your customers who enjoy doing this to share their experiences with your products or services on social media platforms, Google My Business or submit content for your website. 

28. Participate in online communities

Joining relevant online communities like forums or Facebook groups can help you build relationships with your target audience and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

Just never be “salesey”. It’s annoying. You are here to advise and not to pitch for business. As you begin to get noticed for your business superpower, potential leads will flock to you.

Look for ones related to the specialism you are working in. And look at your local community groups in your town or city according to where you live.

29. Stay up to date with industry trends

Keeping up with industry trends and developments can help you stay ahead of the competition and provide value to your audience. Stay informed by reading industry blogs, attending conferences, and following thought leaders on social media.

30. Create Branded Merchandise 

Branded merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, and keychains can be a fun and effective way to promote your business. You can give them away as freebies or sell them to customers.

I will be doing this myself for my business.

31. Collaborate with other businesses

Collaborating with other businesses can be a win-win for both parties. You can cross-promote each other’s products or services, run joint promotions, and share resources.

For example, a tradesman who works with an estate agent or lettings agency.

If you haven’t already met them online or at an event, get out there and contact some companies directly. Brainstorm and research to find people that may benefit both of you, as there has to be something for them too. 

Eager to unleash your online potential?

Let’s talk about your marketing and website.

32. Use Direct Mail Marketing – Leaflet dropping.

Direct mail marketing can be an effective way to reach your target audience, especially if you’re targeting a local market. Just make sure your mailer is eye-catching and contains a clear call to action.

33. Offer Free Trials or Samples.

Offering free trials or samples can be a great way to introduce potential customers to your products or services. It also gives them a chance to see the value you provide.

34. Use Video Marketing. 

Video marketing is a great way to engage with your audience and showcase your products or services. You can create product demos, how-to videos, or behind-the-scenes content in easily digestible bites that capture attention.

It’s a favourite pursuit of mine because it gives the human touch to what you do and who you are. People like to connect and see whom they are dealing with. I find it a powerful form of content for me; it doesn’t take long or a professional to produce a short video using today’s technology.

35. Create a Loyalty Program.

A loyalty program can help incentivize repeat business and build customer loyalty. You can offer rewards like discounts or free products to customers who make multiple purchases.

36. Offer promotions and discounts

Offering promotions and discounts is a great way to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Run sales, offer referral discounts, and create loyalty programs.

I’ll update this Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Small Business regularly to keep it current.

Take it easy.

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Mary at My Type of People Marketing and website design covering Bristol & Bath and UK
About The Blog Writer

Hi, I’m Mary

Do you want to know why I love digital marketing and website design and want to set the world on fire? Read my About Page.

PS Can I help you with your marketing or website?
I’m based in Longwell Green BS30 between Bristol and Bath. I cover the whole of the UK – Contact info for Mary.

PPS Please share my article and like my social media pages. As a female startup, it helps me get my name out there. Links are at the top and bottom of this page.

Thanks so much for your support. ❤️

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