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10 Simple Yet Effective Small Business Marketing Ideas Title Graphic
Dustin Hodgson | Design, Marketing

10 Simple (Yet Effective) Small Business Marketing Ideas

The success of a business greatly depends on its ability to market its products and services effectively. Even the best products need the help of marketing to drive sales. Business marketing is a broad term that involves many activities. Customer service, public relations, print marketing, and more fall under its umbrella.

While marketing is essential for any business, the cost can appear to be prohibitive for smaller, mom-and-pop companies. Small business marketing techniques need to be innovative to get the message out to potential customers. For tips on doing more with less, check out our article “15 Small Business Marketing Ideas for a Tight Budget.”

If you’re wondering how to market your business effectively, we’ve compiled a list of marketing strategies for small business owners that can be applied across a variety of industries. 

1. Using Marketing Materials

Designs via MyCreativeShop Auto Brochures, Posters, & Flyers

Marketing materials are a substantial expression of your brand and are a crucial part of any business marketing effort. An effective marketing plan has a solid mix of well-designed printed and digital materials. Brochures, posters, flyers, postcards, business cards, menus: these can have a high return on investment if designed well and placed strategically. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next flyer campaign, peruse our “15 Small Business Flyer Ideas for Better Marketing (Plus Templates).”

2. Networking

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Marketing your business should involve expanding your network as much as possible. Connecting with other business owners will give you more visibility and open communication channels to leaders in your local industry. Joining professional organizations and attending conferences and other networking events is a relatively inexpensive yet easy way to make contacts and get known in your local community. 

3. Social Media Marketing

Mother's Day Gift Sale Instagram Post Template

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This channel is high on the list of small business marketing ideas for its value. Almost everyone is connecting online, so social media is a great way for small business owners to reach prospects and customers. Done right, it can be one of your most effective tools. Using social media for marketing success needs to start with a smart strategy, quality graphic branding, and excellent customer service. 

4. Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing Image

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Internet marketing has been able to offer small businesses unique benefits that other marketing mediums lack. Channels such as search engines, email marketing, and websites can be used for personalized marketing like never before, with the opportunity for instant feedback using data. Online marketing has changed the way businesses interact with customers and even gives small businesses an upper hand through relationship creation with their audiences.

5. Loyalty Cards and Referral Programs

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Referral programs and loyalty programs go hand in hand. They are both great marketing ideas for small business owners as they drive sales from new customers and encourage repeat consumers.

Referral programs work by incentivizing customers to recommend a product or service to their circle. Word of mouth is so effective that 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. Loyalty cards on the other hand work by rewarding already-existing customers, which encourages them to keep using your product. 

6. Contests

Winner Medal

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Contests and marketing sweepstakes are a cost-effective way to generate publicity for a brand or product and traffic for your business. Offline contests are an effective local business marketing tool, while taking it online can generously expand your fan base. With contests, your consumers can do your marketing for you while allowing you to collect information and engage with your audience. 

7. Gifts and Coupons 

Design via Creative Market Branded Business Mockup by Shaman
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Customers feel special when they receive a gift, which makes it one of the most effective ways to strengthen your relationship. Gifts could be anything from gift certificates to promotional items. The best kinds of promotional gifts are those that encourage reuse so you receive continued value from increased visibility. 

8. Free Samples 

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Samples are freebies that are placed directly in the consumer’s hand. This not only makes it effective for brand introduction, it can also be used to convert unconvinced prospective customers— if people are hesitant to switch to your service or product, offering them the chance to try it out without fully committing may be what finally convinces them. Depending on your business, a free sample may look like a gift certificate for a free service, activity, or meal, a BOGO offer, or the more traditional opportunity to taste-test your restaurant or bakery’s signature offerings.

9. Taking Part in Charity Events

Community Pancake Feed

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Participating in local fundraisers and contributing to local charities is a great way to show public support for the organizations you care about. When businesses contribute to society, they build trust with their customers, and trust has a positive impact on sales.

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As a sponsor, a business can even give away branded prizes, including gift certificates, or distribute small tokens of participation, such as bottle tags and cup sleeves. All of these “swag bag” items help promote brand visibility.

10. Co-Marketing 

CoMarketing Image

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Business marketers thrive on relationship building. This is why co-marketing is one of the most effective marketing tips for small businesses. If a business in your area offers a complementary product or service to yours, consider promoting each other with cross-sampling, co-branding, joint marketing campaigns, and the like. It’s a cost-effective and audience-building way to market your business. 


Put Your Plan Into Action

Promoting your brand can be a rewarding affair with these simple but effective essentials for business marketing. If you’re ready to start and are looking to create beautiful marketing materials for both online and offline marketing, MyCreativeShop features over 4000 design templates that can help you create your own high-impact materials with zero design experience.