Small Business Marketing 101

Whether you’ve launched your small business or are about to, developing an effective marketing strategy is key to long-term success. No matter how great your product or service is, customers need to be attracted to your brand before they walk into your store or search for your company online.

But how do you create a winning strategy with limited resources or a shoestring budget? The good news is there are plenty of steps you can take that don’t require a dedicated marketing team or an expensive loan.

Read on for a brief guide on the basics of brand identity and marketing.


Who are You?

Until you’ve developed your brand’s identity, you’re dead in the water. Your brand identity is the Why behind everything you do. It lets the world know who you are and the purpose of your existence. A good brand identity reflects a company’s values, mission, and vision and should be clearly reflected in all areas of business. Even non-consumer-facing decisions, like hiring employees, should on some level follow your brand identity. A candidate might have the right qualifications, but how closely do their values align with the company’s?

Your ability to deliver a cohesive message in every interaction will give you the best chance of making connections and building consumer trust.


Who are Your Consumers?

Ask yourself who your target audience is—and try not to make the common mistake of assuming it’s just anyone. A big consumer base might be true for certain larger companies, but most brands occupy a smaller niche and do well to stick to it. Narrowing your demographic is the best way to craft a detailed and accurate consumer persona. It allows you to more easily answer questions like

  • What is my consumer’s age demographic?
  • Does my product fit into a specific gender market?
  • Where do my consumers live?
  • What is my consumer’s average household income and education level?
  • What platforms do my customers use most when shopping and discovering brands?


If you already have an existing customer base, ask them what they value most about your business. Phone calls, emails, online surveys and in-person interaction are all effective ways to gather this information.


Which Marketing Tactics Should You Use?

Let’s go over the basic online spaces where your brand should live. The goal is to make interacting with your brand as easy as possible for existing and potential customers.

  1. Your website: The first thing a consumer will do after learning about your brand is Google it. You need a website to prove you’re real and provide meaningful information about your business. Remember to make your site mobile-friendly and if you can, ask for search engine optimization (SEO). Also consider Google Analytics to track traffic to your site.
  2. Your social media profiles: According to a 2022 Nerdwallet survey, 42 percent of Americans use social media platforms to find their favorite small businesses. Identify the social media platforms where your target audience is most active and engage with them regularly. Share valuable content, run targeted ads, host giveaways or contests, and actively respond to comments and messages to foster relationships and build brand loyalty.
  3. Utilize Email Marketing: Build an email list of interested customers and prospects. Send regular newsletters, promotional offers, updates, and exclusive content to keep your audience engaged and encourage repeat business.


You can also consider traditional marketing tactics including:

  1. Discover your demographic’s most-frequented locations and distribute flyers or brochures.
  2. Head to relevant trade shows, fairs, farmer’s markets, and other events to hand out flyers, offer samples, and interact with potential customers.
  3. Host an open house at your store with free food and exclusive deals or swag.
  4. Work with other entrepreneurs in your area to build connections and discover other channels of promotion.



You created your business for a reason. Maybe you decided to make a product you’ve never found in stores or devised a better way to offer a service. Whatever your motivation, odds are others have also noticed this product’s absence and are eager to have it in their lives—you just need to find them and figure out how to best reach them. The best way to do this is to get to know your business as a brand and push your message out again and again until customers are listening.





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