7 Popular Marketing Techniques for Small Businesses (2023)

When you don’t have a big budget, marketing can be a challenge, but there’s plenty a small business owner can do to attract and maintain a customer base. The rise in digital marketing has made it easier for small business owners to find a way to create a presence and attract informed buyers.

Before your business starts marketing a product, it helps to create a buyer persona whom you want to reach with your promotional materials. Once you have your ideal customer, you’ll have a wide choice of marketing methods. Most of these are low-cost or no-cost tactics (sometimes called guerrilla marketing). You may use different ones at different stages of your business cycle—oryou may utilize them all at once from your business’ inception.

When you build a business, the first thing you want to secure is a customer base. With a decent printer, a phone, and an internet-connected device, you can put together a fairly extensive advertising campaign without having to pay for space. We’ll look at seven of these small business marketing techniques in more detail.

Key Takeaways

  • Small businesses don’t have the advertising budget of larger rivals, but there are inexpensive ways to build a customer base.
  • Hitting the pavement with flyers distributed door to door (where allowed) and placing posters strategically can help get the word out.
  • Follow up with customers after the first round of ads to reinforce the initial message and don’t fear cold calls—they can be effective.
  • Value additions, such as discounts or freebies for repeat customers, are a big boon once the business is up and running.
  • Referrals—both from customer to customer and business to business—are important as well.
  • Prioritize digital marketing, including traditional websites and social media.

1. Flyers

This is the carpet-bombing method of cheap advertising. You find an area where you would like to do business and distribute flyers to all the mailboxes within reach. Your flyer should be brief and to the point, highlighting the services you offer or products you sell and providing contact information. Offering a free appraisal, coupon, or discount never hurts.

2. Posters

Most supermarkets, public spaces, and malls offer free bulletin board space for announcements and advertisements. This method is hit-or-miss, but you should try to make your poster reasonably visible and have removable tabs that the customers can present for a discount. Make each location a different color to get an idea from the tabs where the most leads are being generated. If one area is producing most of your leads, you can better target your campaign (flyers, ads in local media catering to those areas, cold calling, etc.)

3. Value Additions

Value additions (or value-ads) are powerful selling points for any product or service. On the surface, value additions are very similar to coupons and free appraisals, but they aim to increase customer satisfaction and widen the gap between you and the competition.

Common value additions include guarantees, discounts for repeat customers, point cards, and referralrewards. The deciding factor for a customer choosing between two similar shops is the one that offers a point card or preferred customer card. You don’t have to promise the moon to add value. Instead, state something that the customer may not realize about your product or service. It's important to highlight the value additions when creating your advertising materials.

4. Referral Networks

Referral networks are invaluable to a business, which often include customer referrals, who are encouraged through discounts or other rewards per referral. However, referral networks also include business-to-business referrals. If you have ever found yourself saying, “We don’t do/sell that here, but X down the street does,” you should make certain that you are getting a referral in return.

When dealing with white-collar professions, this network is even stronger. A lawyer refers people to an accountant; an accountant refers people to a broker; a financial planner refers to a real estate agent.In each of these situations, the person stakes their professional reputation on the referral. Regardless of your business, make sure you create a referral network that has the same outlook and commitment to quality that you do.

As a final note on referral networks, remember that your competition is not always your enemy. If you are too busy to take a job, throw it their way.Most times, you will find the favor returned. Besides, it can be bad for your reputation if a customer has to wait too long.

5. Follow-Ups

Advertising can help you get a job, but what you do after a job can often be a much stronger marketing tool. Follow-up questionnaires are one of the best sources of feedback on how your ad campaign is going.

  • Why did the customer choose your business?
  • Where did they hear about it?
  • Which other companies had they considered?
  • What produced the most customer satisfaction?
  • What was the least satisfying?

Also, if your job involves going to the customer, make sure to slip a flyer intonearby mailboxes, as people of similar needs and interests tend to live in the same area.

6. Cold Calls

Unpleasant? Yes. Important? Yes.

Cold calling—whether it happens over the phone or door to door—is a baptism of fire for many small businesses. Cold calling forces you to sell yourself as well as your business. If people can’t buy you (the person talking to them),they won’t buy anything from you. Over the phone, you don’t have the benefit of a smile or face-to-face conversation—a phone is a license for people to be as caustic and abrupt as possible (we are all guilty of this at one time or another). However, cold calling does make you think on your feet and encourages creativity and adaptability when facing potential customers.

A combination of old-fashioned pounding the pavement and modern-day pounding the keyboard will provide the best results for a small business looking to market itself.

7. The Internet

It is difficult to overstate the internet’s importance to building a successful business. Methods of marketing have stayed pretty much the same across the last 50 years, except for the birth and rapid evolution of the internet. No company (even a local café) should be without, at the very least, a website with vital details such as location and hours. You need a point of access for everyone who Googles first when they want to make a buying decision.

You also need a social media presence (Facebook page, Instagram, andTwitter accounts) combined witha content management system (CMS) with good search engine optimization (SEO). All this digital dexterity may feel intimidating at first. However, publishing technology has evolved to the point where WordPress—just one example of a free CMS—can meet all these needs. Yes, the internet is a beast. Make it your friendly one.

On October 28, 2021, Facebook Inc. changed its name to Meta Inc. and will change its stock ticker from FB to MVRS in early 2022.


5 Biggest Challenges Facing Your Small Business

The Bottom Line

More than likely, you will find that the conversion rate on marketing is very low. Even the most successful campaigns measure leads (and converted sales from those leads)in the 10% to 20%range. This helps to shatter any illusions about instant success, but it is also an opportunity for improvement.

Do you want a company to buy your product? Give a presentation showing its benefits to that company. Do you want someone to use your service? Give an estimate or a sample of what you will do for them. Be confident, creative, and unapologetic, andpeople will eventually respond.


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Marketing Tips for Launching a New Product
  • Study your competition. ...
  • Target the ideal customer. ...
  • Create a unique value proposition. ...
  • Define your marketing strategy and tactics. ...
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  • Roll out your campaign. ...
  • Know your product's lifecycle.
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What are the 5 main marketing strategies? ›

Discover the Value the 5 P's of Marketing Can Bring. The 5 P's of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People – are a framework that helps guide marketing strategies and keep marketers focused on the right things.

Why are the 7 P's of marketing important? ›

Why are the 7 Ps important? The seven Ps are important because they can help you plan and lead discussions about a business' marketing practices, whether the company sells products, services or both. This means if you're marketing a service or product, you can consider the seven Ps to help you sell it effectively.

How can I promote my small business 2022? ›

7 Marketing Ideas for Growing Your Small Business in 2022:
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  2. Tell Your Brand Story.
  3. Leverage Social Media Marketing.
  4. Start a Rewards and Referral Program From the Outset.
  5. Invest in Analytics Early-On.
  6. Establish Your Expertise in Your Niche.
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What are the 7 elements of a marketing plan? ›

These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people.

What are the 4 types of marketing strategies? ›

The four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion.

How do you market a product to gain customers? ›

The best ways to promote a new product or service
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  2. Use a special introductory offer. ...
  3. Make use of Google My Business. ...
  4. Run a social media contest. ...
  5. Spread the word via email. ...
  6. Write a blog post. ...
  7. Host an event. ...
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How do you market your business to start? ›

7 Ways to Build Hype Months Before Your Business Launches
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  2. Pinpoint interests of your target market. ...
  3. Find the right influencers. ...
  4. Create a webpage with a sign-up form. ...
  5. Hold contests with giveaways. ...
  6. Track and analyze everything. ...
  7. Keep audience in suspense.
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How do I advertise my business locally? ›

How to promote your business locally
  1. Write a blog. ...
  2. Master social media marketing. ...
  3. Sign up for a local directory or local listings. ...
  4. Use locally targeted ads. ...
  5. Set up a direct mail campaign. ...
  6. Grow your email list. ...
  7. Get involved in the community. ...
  8. Promote a loyalty program.

What is the most effective method of marketing? ›

If you are looking for the overall most effective marketing strategy for small business, content marketing is the winner. Content marketing encompasses blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, webinars, and more – basically, any type of content you can distribute online falls into this category.

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What are the 4Cs of marketing? ›

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What among the 7 in the marketing mix is the most important? ›

Price: The Most Important P in the Marketing Mix.

Who invented 7Ps of marketing? ›

Booms and Mary J. Bitner further developed the traditional marketing mix developed by the American Professor of Marketing Jerome McCarthy into the extended marketing mix or services marketing mix. This Service Marketing Mix is also called the 7P model or the 7 Ps of Booms and Bitner.

What is product in 7Ps of marketing mix? ›

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What is marketing mix 4Ps and 7Ps? ›

The marketing mix

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Which of the 7 Ps of marketing is especially crucial in the services industry? ›

Place. Place and distribution is a very crucial part of the marketing mix. The place of distribution of products and services must be accessible to potential buyers. Thus, it is very important to get the most efficient place or distribution channel that can directly reach the target audience.

What are marketing ideas? ›

Try one of these ideas on for your marketing strategy:
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  • Connect with influencers. ...
  • Hold a contest or giveaway. ...
  • Partner with another brand or account. ...
  • Use video. ...
  • Feature customer testimonials. ...
  • Jump on trends and holidays.

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Marketing Tips
  1. Champion social responsibility. ...
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  3. Create more short-form videos. ...
  4. Let customers hear from you. ...
  5. Create delightful products and practice smart marketing. ...
  6. Tap into your personal networks. ...
  7. Turn your personal brand into a spectacle. ...
  8. Make your product sell itself.
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How do I create a simple marketing plan? ›

Develop your marketing plan
  1. Analyse your market. Market research can help you to understand your strengths, weaknesses and the opportunities that you can take advantage of. ...
  2. Set your goals and objectives. ...
  3. Outline your marketing strategies. ...
  4. Set your marketing budget. ...
  5. Keep your marketing plan up-to-date.
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What are the 6 marketing strategies? ›

The building blocks of an effective marketing strategy include the 6 P's of marketing: product, price, place, promotion, people, and presentation. The effective integration of the 6 P's of marketing can serve as the foundation for an effective growth strategy.

What are the 3 marketing strategies? ›

There are three ways to compete--product, service, and price.
Let's explore how they work.
  • Product strategy. This lever is about what is being delivered to the marketplace and consumed by the customer. ...
  • Service strategy. This lever is about defining how to provide customer support to the marketplace. ...
  • Pricing strategy.
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What are the three main types of marketing? ›

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Remarket the Product
  1. Take new product photos.
  2. Reword the description to sound fresher.
  3. Try left-digit pricing (pricing your items with a . 99 instead of a round number)
  4. Place items in new locations on your store's site.
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How can I sell my product fast? ›

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  2. Start with Niche Marketing.
  3. Build Strong Customer Relationships.
  4. Elicit an Emotional Response.
  5. Personalize the Experience.
  6. Creating Gift Guides.
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  8. Reuse Customer Generated Content.
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How do you get customers before launch? ›

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  3. Create an incentive. ...
  4. Guest posts are just as effective. ...
  5. A quick way to get an extra hundred subscribers… ...
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Here are six ways the experts say you can promote your business and build your brand loyalty without relying on social media.
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  2. Event Sponsorships. ...
  3. Search Engine Marketing and SEO. ...
  4. Streaming Platform Content. ...
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What are the 4 types of marketing strategies? ›

The four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion.

What is the 4 C's in marketing? ›

The 4Cs to replace the 4Ps of the marketing mix: Consumer wants and needs; Cost to satisfy; Convenience to buy and Communication (Lauterborn, 1990). The 4Cs for marketing communications: Clarity; Credibility; Consistency and Competitiveness (Jobber and Fahy, 2009).

What are the 6 types of marketing? ›

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  • Marketing Segment and Marketing Mix:
  • Target Marketing:
  • Alternative Market Targeting Strategies:
  • Undifferentiated Marketing:
  • Differentiated Marketing:
  • Concentrated Marketing:

What are the 3 marketing strategies? ›

There are three ways to compete--product, service, and price.
Let's explore how they work.
  • Product strategy. This lever is about what is being delivered to the marketplace and consumed by the customer. ...
  • Service strategy. This lever is about defining how to provide customer support to the marketplace. ...
  • Pricing strategy.
16 Mar 2015

What are the three main types of marketing? ›

So, without further ado, the three types of marketing are: Call to Action (CTA) Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA) Point of Purchase (PoP)

What is modern marketing method? ›

Modern marketing is a holistic, agile, data-driven methodology that connects brands with their ideal customers to drive targeted business results. To achieve that level of personalization, we, as modern marketers, need to develop a deep understanding of our customers.

How do you attract customer? ›

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  2. Use Direct Response Marketing to Attract Customers. ...
  3. Give Something Away to Entice New Customers. ...
  4. Give Your Business a Face Lift to Increase Sales. ...
  5. Get The (Right) Word Out.

What kind of marketing is most successful? ›

Social media marketing is one of the most popular types of marketing strategies. And, it's also one of the most effective to build awareness and increase sales. And it's not hard to understand why when more than 2.8 billion people use social media platforms. That's approximately 37% of the world's population!

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What is 4P and 4c in marketing? ›

The 4Ps of product, price, place, and promotion refer to the products your company is offering and how to get them into the hands of the consumer. The 4Cs refer to stakeholders, costs, communication, and distribution channels which are all different aspects of how your company functions.

What are the four Ps of communication? ›

Good office communication flow boils down to what I call, the “four Ps” — portions, packaging, placement and point-in-time. In other words, you've got to pass the message at the right time, in the right place, and in nicely packaged, digestible bites.

How do you increase sales? ›

Increase sales
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What are main types of marketing? ›

The 10 most common types of traditional marketing
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  • Direct mail. ...
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  • Telemarketing. ...
  • Public relations (PR) marketing. ...
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