Answer: The best marketing strategy for small businesses is the one that costs the least amount of money, is implemented in the least amount of time, yet provides the most valid leads.

Before you click away due to the ‘captain obvious’ statement above…

Wait just one second!

Were you looking for something like a list of the best marketing strategies for small business owners? You know, like a shortcut that somehow, someway will be the answer to you having an influx of customers?

That doesn’t exist BUT fine, we took the time and combed through Page 1 and Page 2 of Google (20 total websites) and condensed that advice into a list BUT AGAIN we urge you to keep reading because a list is just that, a list, and we don’t think that’s the way to go about answering this age-old question.

The List

The choice is yours, and so is this list of 14 top strategies based on the top 20 Google results of October 2019 for the question: “what is the best marketing strategy for a small business?”:

  1. Branding – develop a theme around your company and stick with it across all channels
  2. Social Media – make sure your company is on the appropriate social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
  3. Email Marketing – your website needs to be collecting emails (subscribers) to grow your audience and you need to email them often to stay top of mind
  4. SEO – this website of yours better adhere to the latest Google algorithm (which by the way is controlled by AI)
  5. Google Ads – pay to play or pay per click, either way, it’s the fastest way to get to the top of Google’s infamous page 1, but it can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t know what you’re doing. Sidenote: why aren’t people utilizing Bing Ads? Not as popular but much cheaper and you can get a ton of leads for a lot less…just sayin’.
  6. Google My Business – you better have an account here, it’s free and it helps your customers find you
  7. Content Marketing – write, record, post, repeat endlessly
  8. Webinars – if it makes sense, find a group of people willing to sit there and listen to you and hope they buy something or find your information useful enough to share with someone who might
  9. Direct Mail – the old school way of Marketing to your audience but quite effective if it makes sense for you and if it’s something that your customers want – the catch is, you may have to know their address or run a ‘spray and pray’ approach (costly)
  10. Sponsor someone or something to get your brand out there and hope your target audience is…somewhere in that audience
  11. Free demos or loaners – offer them and let customers try before they buy just please make sure you thought of the logistics and return policy before you do
  12. Network however and wherever you can to get to know people in your industry – they may be able to help you with finding customers or even develop a better business strategy
  13. Survey the heck out of people (we love this one!) because people want to tell you what they want/need and you better be prepared to offer that solution for them
  14. Be different (no s***? really?) – clearly, our least favorite ‘strategy’ for a small business. If you’re selling t-shirts, how different can you really be from the thousands of people online doing the same exact thing? Go ahead, think of something, we’ll wait…

There you have it…happy now?

We hope so, because that right there took some time to condense.

The Real Problem with Lists

Isn’t it sad that out of the 20 top pages on Google, you really get the same recommendation over and over again?

If you are just looking for quick ideas NOT strategies (often confused as synonyms), HubSpot has a great small business marketing guide. We’d suggest going there and seeing if you can find anything you’re not currently doing and put it to a test.

It’s easy to point at a broad concept, such as Social Media Marketing, and ‘claim’ it’s the best thing for small businesses. Then you throw in some random stats, and boom, you’ve got yourself a winning blog.

Stop. It. Please.

The Question of the Century

Just like many business owners that have approached the ‘how do I get customers?’ question – you quickly find out, it’s not so easy.

We live in the age of information. The age of choices. Virtually unlimited. Both on the products and services side. Across the B2C, B2B, and B2G spectrum.

‘Standing out’ is not your smartest strategy (contrary to popular belief). Why?

TIME, and time again!

You’ll spend more time than you have trying to figure out what makes you ‘special’ only to realize ‘not much’. Then you’ll lower your prices because that’s the only thing that ‘you can’ change. Then the inevitable.

You reduce yourself out of existence.

The Other Option

Rather than going on an adventure of finding yourself, why don’t you invest into optimizing what you have. Pay close attention to that word. It’s your friend.

Optimization Nation

You want everything and everyone in your business to be in a constant state of optimizing – for your ideal and existing and new and not-so-good and potential…customer.

How?

Surveys, emails, texts, phone calls, good ole communication. Sometimes referred to as ‘giving a s***’.

Take the time to listen to problems. Then turn it into your opportunity.

Oh, that doesn’t pay the bills and won’t keep the lights on?

Moment of Truth

Well fine, go read another blog about all the wonderful strategies and pay money for them and best of luck to you.

Either you’re trying to build a valid, valuable business or you’re trying to make a quick buck. Pick one.

If you’re offended that you have to invest your time and money to attain information for the chance of making money later, you shouldn’t be in business.

Business doesn’t equal making money all the time with every move you make. Business is tough. It’s sacrifice, both financial and mental. Day in and day out.

You have to look at every situation as an opportunity and then weigh its worth into moving you forward.

It may be months before you can earn the income you want, but with persistence and supernatural focus – you’ll get there.

Conclusion

The best marketing strategy for small business is to stop looking at the same exact data telling you what to do then wonder how to do it followed by worrying why it’s not working for you.

Nobody can tell you better about what you need to do than your potential customers. Talk to them. Interview them every chance you get. Invest into them to attain knowledge. Then use that knowledge to grow your business.

Imagine if I was your ideal customer and I said: “I just wish that someone in your field would be honest with me about their return policy and communicate with me throughout the entire process via my preferred method. It would change things drastically for me.”

Would you know what to do with that info?

Would you need a list of the best marketing strategies for small business to help that customer?

Not right that minute you wouldn’t – that would require something far greater than a Social Media Marketing tool can provide.

Talk to your customers. Get to know them. Once you have a solid understanding of their pain points and needs, and how you can help – then come back to #smarketeering and look at the different ways you can spread your message that provides value in the digital world.

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