Are you looking to learn how to grow your business?
In the past, small business marketing was limited to only a few different methods.
However, the rise of the digital world has opened many new channels to reach your target customers.
In this guide, I will walk you through the best marketing ideas for small business growth. It’s the same methods I have used successfully over the years to grow my business and many other online businesses in different niches.
All techniques described below are highly actionable and work for almost any type of business. To make the most of this guide, go through the ideas one-by-one and create a list of ideas that are applicable to your niche, and add them to your marketing plan.
Use the additional resources to learn more about the specific techniques and how to implement them.
Let’s get started.
30 Best Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Small Business
These are the top 30 ways to grow your small business with online marketing.
- Define Your Target Audience
- Adopt Mobile-First Website Design
- Establish Your Social Media Presence
- Get a Technical SEO Audit
- Perform On-Going SEO Work
- Set up one or more Marketing Funnels
- Create a Blog and Publish Helpful Content
- Create Downloadable Resources
- Grow an Email List
- Send a Monthly Newsletter
- Create a Facebook Group for Your Business
- Develop an App for Android and iOS
- Publish Web Stories
- Use Facebook Ads
- Use Google and Bing Ads
- Host a Webinar
- Start a YouTube Channel
- Offer Free Courses
- Partner With Other Companies
- Add Limited Time Offers and Sales
- Giveaway Coupons on Popular Sites
- Create an Affiliate Program
- Use Push Notifications
- Contribute Content to Other Websites
- Start a Link Building Campaign
- Get Positive Reviews from Customers
- Utilize the Full Power of Local Marketing
- Learn from Your Competitors
- Hire Social Media Influencers
- Improve Customer Service with Online Chat Tools
1. Define Your Target Audience
Before you can start using digital marketing to grow your small business, you need to define your target audience.
A target audience is the specific segment of the market that you choose to make the focal point of your marketing efforts.
With a clearly defined audience, your business is able to craft more relevant content, messaging, and advertisements.
Without a target audience, your business will waste important resources attempting to market to people who are not interested in what you’re selling.
To define your target audience you need to:
- Analyze the profile of your existing customers
- Analyze the profile of your website visitors
- Identify who can benefit from your product/service
- Learn from the competition
- Create primary and secondary targets
2. Adopt Mobile-First Website Design
A high-performing mobile site is essential to the success of your small business.
More than half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices including almost 60% of all online searches.
Also, Google has clearly shown that it considers mobile-friendliness as a key part of ranking websites. Earlier this year the search engine switched to mobile-first indexing meaning that they now use the mobile version of all websites as the baseline when ranking websites.
Despite this, many businesses do not optimize their websites for mobile. This has created an opportunity for businesses that provide a mobile-friendly site to improve their search engine rankings while leaving a lasting impression on customers.
The most efficient way to make your website mobile-friendly is to use a responsive web design for your site.
This will enable all your web pages to automatically adapt to each user’s device so that your site looks great and loads quickly.
3. Establish Your Social Media Presence
Having a strong social media presence can help you grow your customer base quickly.
To be able to cut through the noise of all the brands vying for attention on social media, you need to know who your audience is so that you can design a profile and create content that is valuable to them.
It’s important to stay active and regularly engage with your audience to avoid people forgetting about you.
You’ll need to stay on top of trends and optimize your content to get as much exposure as possible.
There are plenty of tools to manage your social media accounts and you can also consider hiring a social media manager.
Resources to Learn More
4. Get a Technical SEO Audit
There are many technical factors that impact search engine rankings.
A technical SEO audit is a process of analyzing these factors to determine the health of your website.
With a technical SEO audit, you can catch issues that may be negatively impacting your search engine rankings.
When conducting a technical SEO audit you should analyze the following:
- Site speed
- Duplicate content
- Broken links
- Thin and low-value pages
There are plenty of tools online that you can use to run a quick technical audit of your site including SEMrush and SEOptimer.
5. Perform On-Going SEO Work
SEO is an ongoing process and requires consistent attention if you hope to rank high for important keywords and stay there.
Some of the on-going SEO work your small business will need to perform includes:
- Optimizing technical factors
- Researching target keywords
- Creating content for those keywords
- Optimizing the on-page elements of your site to rank for those keywords
- Gaining backlinks to increase page and domain authority
You can choose to hire in-house staff to perform these tasks or outsource the work to an SEO expert or agency.
Resources to Learn More
- How to Learn SEO – The best approach to take to learn SEO and use your skills to grow your small business.
6. Set up one or more Marketing Funnels
A marketing funnel is a process of breaking down the customer journey into different stages to be able to send each individual more relevant messages based on where they are in the decision-making process.
Businesses can define their own funnel stages but most usually use some variation of the following:
Setting up one or more funnels to get your audience to complete the desired action is a great way to make your business grow.
You want to start by defining the goal of each marketing campaign.
Is it to increase overall sales, sell more of a certain product, or generate more email leads?
Once you have determined your goals, you can focus on the specific audience you want to target in your funnel. You will then create unique content to target each different stage of the funnel.
For example, in a B2B sales funnel you may use an e-book during the awareness stage and a detailed case study during the consideration stage.
As people move through your funnel, you need to track the performance of your campaigns.
This will allow you to see what is working and what is not so you can make any necessary adjustments.
7. Create a Blog and Publish Helpful Content
Blogs are a great way to build a connection with your audience while bringing more traffic to your website.
By creating valuable content, you can also establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
To get started with your business blog you need to create a content marketing strategy. This will involve performing keyword research to find relevant ideas that your target audience is looking for in search engines.
Once you compile a list of keywords you can create topics for your blog posts and start producing content.
You’ll want to be sure to optimize your blogs for SEO by including the target keywords, and related keywords, as well as ensuring the piece is structured to maximize user engagement.
Look to create content for all stages of your marketing funnel so that you are able to provide value to all your readers.
8. Create Downloadable Resources
Creating free resources for your audience is a great way to provide value while strengthening the connection with your business.
The goal of providing downloadable resources is to have your audience exchange their email for the content.
This allows you to follow up with subscribers to provide them even more detail about your products or services.
There are different ways you can deliver your downloadable resources including:
- A direct download link on your website
- Automated email follow-ups containing a link to the resource or a downloadable attachment
- A resource library page that is restricted and only available to subscribers
9. Grow an Email List
While it may be one of the oldest digital marketing strategies, email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective tactics while also providing the highest ROI potential.
Email marketing allows you to reach a relevant audience with highly personalized messages.
To take advantage of all the benefits of email marketing, you need to build your email list. For this, you will need to leverage your website to get users to provide you their email addresses.
You can create landing pages in which you give away a valuable piece of content like an ebook or a checklist for free in exchange for emails.
Another effective way to gain subscribers is to add forms to your blog either on the sidebar or as an exit-intent popup.
10. Send a Newsletter
As your email list grows you want to continue to build the relationship with subscribers by sending regular newsletters.
This will allow you to nurture new prospects, teaching them more about your business as well as connect with existing customers.
There are plenty of email marketing tools you can use to send newsletters to your audience.
These solutions allow you to schedule newsletters in advance and segment the recipients based on a wide range of criteria to ensure that you are sending highly-relevant messages
11.Create a Facebook Group for Your Business
Facebook groups are a great marketing tool for both attracting new customers and engaging with your previous buyers.
They serve as a place where those who are interested in your business come together to connect over their mutual love for your company.
You can use your Facebook groups to engage with your audience by answering their questions and giving them bonuses for being part of your community. This helps you increase brand awareness to be able to attract an even larger audience.
12. Develop an App for Android and iOS
Building your own mobile app can help your business expand its reach to attract a larger customer base.
Mobile apps are also highly engaging allowing you to build a better connection with your audience.
You can add unique functionality to your app by enabling customers to buy your products or it can simply be informational. Another effective marketing technique is to offer promotions to those who download and/or actively use your app.
13. Publish Web Stories
Web stories are a visually-rich form of content that can appear on Google and Google Discover on mobile devices. They will soon be available on desktop as well.
You create the stories on your own website and add the appropriate metadata to ensure they are eligible to appear on Google Search and Google Discover.
Web stories are a great way to generate awareness for your business as they appear right at the top of search results.
You want to make sure that your web story pages are mobile-friendly and that Google Search has indexed them.
14. Use Facebook Ads
It goes without saying that advertisements are one of the most common suggestions when learning how to make your business grow.
Advertising allows you to get your business right in front of people most interested in your products.
Facebook is a great platform for advertising as it has an incredible amount of data for each of its users.
This allows you to craft highly targeted campaigns that yield better results.
You want to start by experimenting with different ad formats. After your campaigns run for a while you should examine their performance to see which ads were the most effective.
You’ll also want to set up retargeting campaigns to reach out to your previous customers as well as people who interacted with your business but didn’t buy.
If you are inexperienced with advertising, you can outsource the work to experts. They will be able to determine the best strategy and create the ad copy and images needed to drive results.
15. Use Google and Bing Ads
Google and Bing are other useful advertising mediums as you are able to target a relevant audience at scale.
The mechanics of running ad campaigns on Google or Bing is slightly different than that of Facebook.
You’ll want to begin your campaigns by researching the related keywords your potential customers are searching for.
This will allow you to include these terms in your campaigns so that your ads appear in front of the right people.
Retargeting is also important with Google and Bings ads as it allows you to reconnect with those that have previously interacted with your business.
16. Host a Webinar
If you are looking for a more interactive way to engage with your audience while teaching them about your products or services, webinars are a solid choice.
Webinars provide great value and allow you to interact with hundreds of people anywhere in the world at the same time.
They also serve as an effective lead generation tool as individuals will need to register to gain access to the event.
You can expand the reach of your webinars even further by inviting guest contributors and leveraging their audiences.
17. Start a YouTube Channel
You can use the power of video to grow your small business by creating a Youtube channel.
This will allow you to upload demos of your products to highlight the benefits to users.
You can also create free educational content to provide value to your audience and drive them to your site to generate leads and sales.
18. Offer Free Courses
Offering free online courses is a great way to educate potential customers about your product and other related topics.
With a better understanding of how your products work and the benefits they provide, people will be more likely to buy from your business.
This will also enable customers to use your products more efficiently, leading to better customer satisfaction and a better reputation for your business.
19. Partner With Other Companies
Partnering with other companies can help you leverage their audience and brand awareness to grow your business.
You could host a joint event like a webinar, or create a joint piece of content for shared lead generation.
You can also actively promote each other’s businesses to your customer base and offer a discount for any customers you refer.
When forming strategic partnerships you’ll want to research to find companies that have an audience with similar interests but are not direct competitors.
20. Add Limited Time Offers and Sales
One of the most tried and true marketing ideas for small businesses is to run limited-time promotions.
Time-bound offers and sales create a sense of urgency, increasing the likelihood that people complete a purchase.
You can promote your limited-time offers on your website, social media profiles, or through advertisements.
21. Giveaway Coupons on Popular Sites
You can incentivize customers to buy from your business by publishing coupons on popular coupon sites.
This can help expose your business to a new audience with little effort on your end. Individuals who come across your coupons will be more likely to purchase from you given the discount.
Some popular coupon site to consider include:
Some of these outlets are free to use while others will come with a cost for displaying your coupons.
22. Create an Affiliate Program
One efficient way to use digital marketing to grow your small business is to set up an affiliate program.
Affiliate marketing is the process of letting other parties promote your business while you give them a commission from the sales that they refer to.
It is a great way to expand your business as it allows you to leverage the efforts of others to reach new customers.
To start an affiliate program you will need to determine how you will manage your affiliate partnerships.
Based on the software you use for your website, there are several extensions available to help you streamline the process.
You can also join an affiliate network like ShareASale or CJ Affiliate.
Once you have the foundation in place, you’ll want to make a page for your affiliate program so that users can find it and sign up.
23. Use Push Notifications
Push notification marketing allows you to send messages to your target audience about your products or services via browser notifications on a number of devices.
To be able to send push notifications to your users, you will need them to opt into receiving messages.
Similar to an email sign up form, you can configure a notification to appear on your website that asks users for permission to receive further notifications.
24. Contribute Content to Other Websites
You can scale your content marketing efforts even more by contributing content to other websites.
This can be in the form of sponsored content where you pay a publication to publish a post you have written that highlights your business in some way and links back to your website.
You can also contribute guest posts where you write content for other outlets free of charge. Beyond gaining referral traffic, the goal of guest posting is to establish authority in your industry.
It is also an effective tactic to use in a link-building campaign which I discuss below.
25. Start a Link Building Campaign
Do you want to drive a large amount of organic traffic to your business from search results?
If so, you will need to master the art of link building.
Search engines use links for discovering new web pages and determining how high to rank a page in search results.
When your website has a good amount of links pointing back to it from quality sites, the authority of your website will increase making it easier to rank at the top for competitive search terms.
There are many ways to conduct a link building campaign. The most effective way to earn high-quality links is to focus on relationship building and providing value to potential link targets.
You need to create quality content that is worth linking to before compiling a list of relevant link targets in your industry.
From there, you will want to begin outreach to start telling link targets about the awesome content you have made.
Look to start with the high-level targets first as they will not only produce the most significant results but will provide a valuable asset that you can leverage as social proof when reaching out to other websites.
26. Get Positive Reviews from Customers
Your previous customers are often the best marketers for your business.
When you provide customers with a great buying experience they are more likely to share and recommend your business to friends.
Customer reviews have also become an integral part of the online shopping process as many prospective buyers will turn to testimonials to determine whether to buy a product or service.
While some customers will eagerly leave reviews for experiences (both good and bad), others need to be encouraged to provide a review otherwise it will slip their mind.
Identify which communication channels your customers are most engaged with, and create a structured process for gathering reviews.
If your customers respond well to email, send a follow-up campaign asking for a review after they have had time to use the product.
As you begin to gather reviews from your customers you’ll want to post them on Google, Facebook, TrustPilot, and other trusted review sites.
This way potential buyers will be able to see the benefits of engaging with your business.
27. Utilize the Full Power of Local Marketing
If you run a local business, leveraging local marketing can help you rapidly expand your customer base.
To start, you should list your business in all relevant directories, most importantly Google My Business (GMB).
You want to ensure that your business information is up to date and that your profile is optimized to attract new customers.
Local SEO provides a powerful tool for increasing traffic to your website. You’ll want to research local search terms and ensure to optimize the content on your website to rank for these queries.
28. Learn from Your Competitors
You can accelerate the growth of your business by learning from your competitors.
Established players in your industry will have done the research to determine the appropriate target audience and the best marketing tactics to turn them into customers.
You can use this information as a starting point for running your campaigns more efficiently.
Go to your competitors’ websites to see how they are speaking to their audience.
You can also get a better idea of the ads they are running by searching for branded search terms in Google as well as viewing their current and previous ads in Facebook Ad Library.
29. Hire Social Media Influencers
Partnering with social media influencers is a great way to boost your brand awareness.
Influencers have built a reputation for expertise in their niche and are able to generate a large following of people who are actively engaged with what they post on social media.
Research different influencers in your niche to find those who align with your interests and could provide value to your business.
You can create sponsorships where you provide them your products for free to promote to their audience, giving them a percentage of the sales they generate. Or you can set up a recurring payment schedule to have them regularly post content about your products.
30. Improve Customer Service with Online Chat Tools
The way customers are engaging with businesses is changing. Today, people want their interactions to mirror those in their personal lives.
This means quick responses and seamless communication channels.
Adding live chat to your website, either through chatbots or dedicated support staff, will allow you to improve how you engage with customers.
When someone has an inquiry or issue that needs to be resolved, you’ll be able to provide rapid responses, helping to reduce friction in the buying process, and the chance of losing potential customers to competitors.
Digital marketing has created many new opportunities for small businesses.
You start your small business marketing by defining your target audience.
With your audience defined you want to optimize your website for mobile devices and SEO.
Creating content for your website will allow you to provide value to your audience while generating leads through email sign-ups.
You can expand your online presence even more by growing your social media profiles and running advertisements on different platforms.
Partnering with other companies, influencers, and affiliates help you leverage other people’s audiences to reach a larger customer base.
Overall, there are plenty of small business marketing ideas you can use to grow your business. Determine which of these tips will provide you the most value and begin implementing them right away.