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Small Business Marketing 101: Definition and Strategies

Small business marketing involves getting your products and services in front of potential customers. Despite the fact that two out of three customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, small business owners often struggle to fulfill this expectation due to less visibility and a lack of resources.

To help you succeed in this journey, we will guide you in the exact step-by-step process on how to create effective small business marketing in 2023. This includes how to create a fail-proof small business marketing plan, and proven and tested small business marketing tips to give you the competitive edge.

What is small business marketing?

Small business marketing is the process of getting your brand, products and services in front of the eyes of more potential customers. It involves various types of marketing strategies, both online and offline,  to grow small business revenue and expand market share. 

Small business marketing strategies are, therefore, somewhat different from general marketing, considering different challenges small businesses face.

How to develop a fail-proof small business marketing plan?

Set and understand the long-term goals of your business

The first step to creating a fail-proof marketing plan is to define specific goals, and the most effective way to do this is by using SMART goals. The acronym SMART means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. 

If used properly, it can be of great benefit to your business as these types of goals are easily tracked. Moreover, it gives businesses a more focused sense of direction, greater focus, increased motivation, and higher productivity.

In contrast to creating generic goals, such as “More Leads”, try creating SMART goals, such as “Generating X leads per month from social media”.

Know your target audience

Did you know that more than 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year, and that one of the main causes is a lack of research and not knowing who the target audience is? 

Despite the fact that only a small percentage of small business owners include a persona in their small business marketing plan, it is considered to be one of the most effective ways to identify and define your target audience.

In order to create a buyer persona, gather a mix of information about the kind of customer you want to target. This can be done using surveys, interviews, existing paid databases, or even your CRM. Then, use customer segmentation to group your customers based on common characteristics. 

In the final part, you can begin creating a visual representation of your ideal customer. Done correctly, then you have yourself a buyer persona who will help you craft messaging that resonates and will be your go-to customer for all your future marketing efforts.

Establish your value disposition

The value proposition is an easy-to-understand promise that explains why a customer should buy a product or service from that particular business. The ideal value proposition is to-the-point and appeals to a customer’s strongest decision-making drivers. 

When forming your unique value proposition, remember to collect feedback early on in the process and to think of it as an ongoing process. Next, you can start creating your own value proposition by following these steps:

  1. Use the data you’ve collected while defining your target audience to create a list of all the benefits your product offers to customers.
  2. Identify what value these benefits bring to the customer.
  3. Use your buyer persona and describe precisely what you’re offering, then describe what benefits and values your product offers makes your brand stand out.

For example, the Nike’s value proposition focuses on satisfying its customers with a superior product made out of the best available materials and latest technologies, which is also fashionable and worn by supreme athletes and sports stars and accessible to anyone.

Set your metrics and KPI

By this point, you’ve gathered all the information you need to create a successful small business marketing plan. Before you can start putting it into practice, you must ensure you’re on the right track during your journey. 

Setting KPIs and tracking metrics to get a better understanding of your business performance is a very effective way to do this. Implementing KPIs in your company means you can set goals, devise a strategy to reach your goals, and evaluate your performance along the way. 

Metrics are important because they help you track progress toward your goals and make important business decisions. They both provide you with important information about your business’s performance in key areas so you can make informed decisions about how to reach your goals.

Small business marketing tips to boost your results

Go omnichannel

In order to win over your target audience, the #1 priority for businesses is to create a seamless experience as 73% of consumers prefer shopping through multiple channels. Businesses that meet and exceed customer expectations increase the average purchase frequency by 250% and the average order value by 13%. 

To create a successful omnichannel strategy, make sure you have well-defined goals, and be clear about your target audience, and what platforms they use. So you can start brainstorming how to utilize technology to provide personalized or seamless customer experiences. 

For example, creating cross-channel experiences in-store and online, such as on Instagram and Amazon. In addition, restaurants can use a mobile app to introduce a loyalty program to their customers by offering a free dish in return for subscribing to the newsletter.

Adopt a customer-centric approach

By embracing a customer-centric approach to your omnichannel strategy, you enable your company to put the customer first at all customer touchpoints. According to Deloitte and Touche, customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer.

Adopting a customer-centric strategy requires centralized access to customer data and insights. Having a CRM database can help facilitate a better understanding of customers to provide a unified front that delivers better customer experiences. In addition, it will also help you provide a positive experience and create an army of brand advocates.

Hone in the power of brand advocacy

When a customer feels valued and their needs are met or exceeded, they are more likely to stay loyal to a brand and spread the word. Applying a customer-centric approach is a great way to build an army of brand advocates. 

Now it’s time to hone in the power of brand advocacy as they are more likely to leave positive customer reviews, give testimonials, and tell their friends about your brand and your products.

Brand advocacy comes in the following 4 different forms:

  • Customer brand advocacy
  • Influencer brand advocacy
  • Affiliate advocacy
  • Employee brand advocacy. 

All four are excellent brand advocacy strategies that any brand will benefit significantly from using. Instead of using all four, pick one group of brand advocates and start building relationships by engaging with them. The better you do this, the more they will spread the word. 

Promote yourself on social media

With over 4.2 billion social media users, social media is a powerful business tool to promote your business as it reaches a wider audience. In order to leverage the power of social media for your small business, use the following tips:

  • Use of the latest social media trends will allow businesses to create meaningful touchpoints with new and existing customers. 
  • Leverage the power of your brand advocates by sharing social proof, testimonials and customer reviews as they are 50% more likely to influence a purchase.
  • Social media community management is a great way to discover how well your brand is engaging with your audience and establishing long-term relationships. This can include responding to comments, answering questions, and interacting with customers on social media.

Focus on building a user-friendly website

In addition to social media, having a user-friendly website is one of the most valuable assets in your small business. Since it allows users to access information on any device, boosts search engine optimization, increases time spent on the site, and increases reputation.

Here are a few ways to create a winning website:

  • Optimize your website for conversion. This includes compelling copy, carefully planned call-to-action (CTA), mobile friendly, and SEO web design.
  • Implement a reliable content management system (CMS) that helps you create and manage your digital content. Choose one with features matching your needs, including user-friendliness, pricing, and scalability.
  • Make sure you implement tracking tools like Google Analytics. This will enable you to track the metrics and KPIs you defined in the early stages to verify you’re on the right track.

Utilize email marketing to nurture leads

From all the leads you’ve gathered through your social media and website, most of them are not ready to buy. In fact, it takes an average 6 to 8 touches to transform a lead into a customer.

Utilizing email marketing to nurture leads is according to 47% of marketers the most effective strategy as it can bring in a 451% increase in qualified leads. Lead nurturing examples can come in many forms like:

  • Welcome campaigns
  • Promotional campaigns
  • Educational campaigns
  • Renewal/re-engagement campaigns

The ideal way to approach a lead nurturing campaign is to take it one step at a time. Here are some of the best practices you can use to nurture leads from your email marketing strategy:

  • Provide valuable content
  • Focus on one relevant topic per email
  • Keep it short
  • Test your emails and track key metrics

Be timely and responsive on all channels

Once you have cultivated an effective lead generation strategy through one of your channels, it’s critical to respond promptly and ensure they will return. According to Statista, 27% of people surveyed indicated that a lack of effectiveness when responding was their number one customer service frustration. Followed by 22% lack of speed and lack of accuracy was the biggest frustration.

The quicker the response time, the more quickly progress can occur. In the end, being timely and responsive on all channels will give you a competitive edge as you meet and exceed customer expectations. One of the best practices to create personalized experiences and create timely responses is by leveraging the power of a CRM system.

Manage relationships with a CRM

In this post, we’ve covered multiple strategies on how to attract customers, nurture leads, and gather a goldmine of information about customer behavior. A customer relationship management (CRM) system allows you to manage this information in one place. You can use this information to identify sales opportunities more effectively and check if you’re on the right track to meet your metrics and KPIs. 

Cloud-based CRM platform Breadstack uses the power of artificial intelligence to help supercharge e-commerce businesses. Their data-driven suite of tools helps their customers:

  • Visualize segmented target audiences with AI-built customer profiles to target specific customers and create a more personalized experience.

  • Deliver a seamless omnichannel experience by assisting in managing inventory across all online and offline stores in one dashboard.

  • Analyze customer behavior to deliver personalized experiences that your customers will love to respond to and predict what your customers will do next with behavior-based analytics.

Breadstack serves as a textbook example on how to utilize the potential a CRM system can add to your business. The features differentiate from creating personalized experiences based on AI to data driven decision making in order to help their customers to deliver a next-generation ecommerce experience.

Create an effective marketing plan for your business

Over the last decade, the digital landscape has formed small business marketing as it is today. 75% of small business owners think that internet marketing is extremely effective for attracting new customers. 

 However, digital marketing is a big umbrella that requires a lot of knowledge and effort to effectively implement. The good news is you don’t have to do it on your own. The Government of Canada and Advesa are here to help you. The government offers financial aid options to help you grow your business, including the recent Digital Adoption Program (CDAP).

Ensure your marketing success by partnering with a team of digital marketing specialists. Advesa’s team of experts is highly dedicated to coming up with proven and tested smart business marketing strategies that are specifically designed to help your business win in the long run.

Connect with us today so we can transform your business vision into reality.


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