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SMB Marketing: 103 Ideas for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

post-it-notes-SMB-marketing-ideas

As a small and medium-sized business (SMB), marketing need not be a challenge. 

In fact, there are literally hundreds of marketing ideas you can use as a small business owner regardless of your budget size.

Paid advertising ideas for SMB

PPC ads and paid campaigns are the most popular SMB marketing plan due to Google’s extensive targeting options.

1. Google search ads

With billions of searches every day, Google search ads are a simple and effective way to show off your business. 

Discover keywords with Google AdWords and create ads for your business around them.

2. Google display ads 

Display ads feature on websites that are part of Google’s Display Ad Network.

These ads use cookies to target users based on their previous searches. With over two million websites on the network, display ads are an excellent way to find high-quality leads.

3. PPC affiliate marketing

Sign-up with an affiliate marketing network and display your business with specialist bloggers. You will only pay when a user makes a sale from their recommendation.

4. Remarketing ads

Remarketing allows you to advertise to users that have previously visited your website, used your app, or are part of your CRM database.

It offers a second chance at a conversion from a user that has shown interest in your product.

5. Instream YouTube ads

Instream ads are the skippable video adverts that often appear at the start of a YouTube video.

Research has found that in-stream ads perform 2.8x better than traditional pre-roll adverts, and you don’t have to pay if a user skips.

6. Google shopping ads

Add product information to your Google Merchant Center to create rich shopping ads.

These adverts display product name, images, price, and merchant information whenever a user searches for a relevant keyword.

7. Banner ads

Banner ads are image adverts and have been around for as long as the internet itself.

While click-through-rates are low, banner PPC ads are a more cost-effective source of impressions than Google for a business trying to get its name out there.

8. YouTube non-video ads

This budget-friendly YouTube PPC format appears in search results as if it were a YouTube video.

It doesn’t require you to spend money creating a video but does offer rich content to a target audience.

9. Local service ads

To o qualify for Google’s local service ad platform, your SMB must be vetted according to Google’s criteria.

Once your local business has been approved, you will only pay when a user follows through and contacts your business.

10. Google maps ads

One of the best SMB marketing strategies for physical businesses is to advertise on Google maps.

Whenever a person searches for a business in your niche and local, your business will be placed at the top of the list.

Content Marketing ideas for SMBs

Unleash the power of content in your SMB marketing strategy with these tips.

11. Create Instagram stories

Convert any recent pictures and videos into stories as part of your social media marketing strategies.

Behind the scenes, content is always popular with customers and an effective smb marketing tactic.

12. Hire a guest blogger

Blogger Featured Image Blog

Guest bloggers can elevate your content marketing efforts by introducing a well-respected expert into your business marketing plan.

It is one of the best ways to build quality backlinks for small and medium-sized businesses. 

13. Write product reviews

Use your expertise in your niche to show prospective customers the value of your own business.

Writing product reviews on Yelp, Google, and Amazon will increase brand awareness and make sure your products or services are found alongside your competition.

14. Shoot a YouTube video

Creating video content has never been easier and is fast becoming a cornerstone of smb marketing strategies.

Consider creating an instructional video for a low budget, low entry barrier option with reliable results for your content marketing efforts. 

15. Record a podcast

Man recording on microphone, with headphones - podcast

Business podcasts are fast becoming a staple of the standard smb marketing strategy. 

Companies use podcasts to help the content marketing strategy stay up to date. It encourages interaction with industry experts while requiring minimal advertising budget.

16. Run a social media poll

Get to know your customer base with a simple social media poll. Question your followers about your brand, website design, customer experience, products, and services.

Polls are potent tools in the smb content marketing plan and one of the fastest ways to get your customers’ insights.

17. Respond to trending topics

You don’t need to hire a marketing agency to find popular company content for your audience. 

Use your business social media account to follow trending content and apply it to your content marketing strategy for a cost-effective way to expand your audience.

18. Create downloadable content

Create eBooks and share your organization’s expertise to add value to your brand and enrich your customers’ experience.

19. Design an infographic

The infographic is a staple of small business marketing campaigns because it is a cost-effective way to create informative content in a sharable format. 

Every SMB marketing campaign should include infographics to share on social media platforms.

20. Make a checklist

Customers love checklists. Straightforward instructional content is one of the best performing formats in content marketing, and every SMB marketing plan can benefit from it.

21. Recap popular content

Collating your most popular content into one post is a guaranteed social media marketing win for your business. 

As it doesn’t require any new work on your part, it is a cost-effective small business marketing strategy that is always popular with customers.

22. Write a beginners guide

Share expertise with your customers and introduce them to new aspects of your business niche with a beginner’s guide

A ‘marketing methods 101’ could improve sales and display any new products or services available from your business.

23. Make the most of holidays

Black Friday Feature Image

Whether it is Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, or Christmas Day, holidays are among the best opportunities for small businesses to gain some traction on social media platforms. 

Every SMB marketing strategy should leverage them in its content marketing efforts.

24. Answer questions on Quora

Increase brand awareness and customer trust by answering customer questions in your niche. Soon, customers will associate your brand, products, and services with quality content.

25. Track social trends

Use Google trends to understand how your customers use the search engine to find products and cater to your marketing plan accordingly.

26. Study the stats

Statistics always do well on social media. Collect statistics relevant to your business and share them with your audience. 

One common tactic in SMB marketing is to add your logo to the infographic to make sure customers associate the information with your brand.

27. Share customer success stories

Put your customers in the spotlight and share their experience with your company. 

Customer success is an effective SMB marketing strategy, and social proof will go a long way to help humanize your brand.

Search Engine Optimization ideas for SMB

Every SMB marketing plan should capitalize on organic traffic by improving SEO.

28. Compile keywords

Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant search terms for your marketing campaigns.

29. Build links to your website

High-quality backlinks are essential for website SEO. Focus on long term wins and only build backlinks from trusted websites. 

Try hiring a guest blogger or making a brand collaboration to do so.

30. Publish fresh content

Your business needs to stay up to date on its content to improve its SEO. Best practices show that search engine results favor businesses with new content. 

Equivalently make sure to remove any duplicate content on your company website as this will harm your SEO efforts. 

31. Analyze Google

SMBs benefit from SEO as it is a free way to improve your organic search volume. Analyze Google’s first page to see what other businesses in your niche are doing to rank on the search engine.

32. Optimize for search intent

Include keywords in your landing page, titles, and meta descriptions of your website to optimize your content for search intent. 

33. Write longer content

One of the best practices for SEO is to write longer content because search engines interpret it as higher quality. Long-form blogging is a standard feature in SMB marketing strategies.

34. Create topic clusters

Clusters of keywords tend to perform better than focusing on one keyword in particular. Clustered content will drive more traffic to your website.

35. Optimize for on-site SEO

Blocks spelling out SEO

Search engine optimization relies on many factors. Check all images, links, and pages work correctly to improve your on-site SEO and remember essential content like adding a phone number.

36. Design for mobile

Mobile phones now make up the majority of website traffic. Your site needs to be responsive to capture this traffic, and your customers will thank you.

37. Stay local

Local SEO is an excellent option for small and medium-sized businesses. 

While SMB marketing strategies might not be effective on a national scale, your small business has a great chance to stand out in your community.

38. Optimize for voice search

Voice search is relatively new in search engine optimization but is showing substantial search volumes. 

Keywords here tend to be more abstract and are therefore easier to rank.

39. Consider YouTube SEO

Almost every brand can benefit from a video marketing campaign. As an SMB marketer, YouTube is one place where small businesses can get the upper hand.

40. Take time with titles

Build website titles around keywords so customers know exactly what they will find when they land on your website.

41. Harness your URLs

Many businesses forget that URLs should also be keyword rich. It is a simple but effective SMB marketing strategy that all SMBs can implement.

Social media marketing ideas for SMB

Social media campaigns are a cornerstone of SMB marketing plans and a powerful tool for your company brand.

42. Launch an Instagram ad campaign

Social media ads are necessary for every SMB marketing strategy. Instagram’s PPC ads can be targeted by location, interests, gender, and much more.

43. Use Messenger ads

Users who see messenger ads can click them to start a live chat with your business. This SMB marketing strategy allows companies to interact with their target market directly.

44. Create LinkedIn sponsored content

Sponsored content is perfect for B2B SMB marketing on social media. It is also an excellent resource for integrating industry experts into any SMB marketing plan.

45. Run a Reddit AMA

An ‘ask me anything’ can introduce a small to medium-sized business to a dedicated community of prospective customers on social media.

On Reddit, users organize themselves into groups based on specific niches. Simple.

46. Go live

Small businesses everywhere are using social media live streams to connect with their target audience. 

As an SMB marketing strategy, it allows you to interact directly with customers while humanizing your brand.

47. Always reply to your followers

Businesses that engage with their audience on social media enjoy the long term benefits of customer trust and word of mouth recommendations. It’s an SMB marketing essential.

48. Host a social media takeover 

A takeover is a mutually beneficial marketing campaign and improves your company visibility without paying for social media ads. Hire an influencer or collaborate with other brands.

49. Organize a giveaway

Every SMB marketer knows that people love freebies. A giveaway marketing campaign is a perfect way for SMBs to grow its account and their audience.

50. Ask a question in the comments

Whether it is YouTube, Reddit, or Facebook. Social media sites rank comments highly in their algorithms. Asking a question always improves engagement.

51. Unleash the YouTube community tab

YouTube isn’t just videos. The community tab allows an SMB to communicate directly with its target market. Use polls to find out what your audience wants to see.

52. Add annotations to YouTube videos

YouTube values cumulative watch time. Remember to always link to your other videos in annotations or even link out to your website.

53. Cross share your content

Integrate marketing campaigns across social media channels and your company website to maximize your audience. Include popular tweets, statistics, and graphics in your blog posts.

54. Share knowledge in subreddits 

Build a long-term relationship with your audience and establish company trust in your site, products, and services by sharing expertise with your target demographics. 

55. Turn your images into GIFs

Why use a photo when you can use a GIF. Animated image formats are used on one in five websites for a reason. Quick, sharable content is king in social media SMB marketing.

56. Make a meme

Memes have long since become mainstream content for even the most established businesses. In SMB marketing, creating viral content is your best shot to appeal to a broader audience.

57. Go behind the scenes

Companies are opening their doors to behind the scenes content to appear more relatable. Show off your team and display the process behind your services to demonstrate value.

58. Share customer reviews

Create a Google My Business account and connect with customers. Sharing review is one way to build social proof, but don’t just focus on the good ones. Take time to respond to mistakes.

59. Answer FAQs

It stands to reason that giving answers to FAQs in your niche is going to be popular content. It will also help position your company as a reliable name in your sector. 

60. Share top-performing content

Keep track of the most successful content from your company and your competitors. Reshare it periodically to enjoy a quick boost to your marketing campaign.

Email marketing ideas for SMB

Email marketing campaigns are still the number one performing tactic in SMB marketing. Apply these tips to improve your emails.

61. Optimize for mobile

Over half of all email is opened on mobile. To accommodate for the fact that email marketing has increasingly focused on pre-header text, quick copy, and bringing button calls-to-action to the forefront.

62. Shorter subject lines

Due to the importance of mobile in email marketing, subject lines are getting shorter and shorter. 

Forty-one characters was once the gold standard, but some email marketing strategies recommended even shorter email subject lines. 

Remember, the iPhone email app shows only the first thirty characters.

63. Segment subscribers

Segmentation is an email marketing personalization strategy. It is the practice of sending different emails to sections of your subscribers based on factors such as interests, location, and purchase history.

Mailchimp found that segmented email marketing increased open rates by 14%.

64. Send exclusive content

If your company has gone to gather thousands of email addresses, it is crucial to do more than send weekly newsletters.

Every email address on your list is a possible conversion. 

Treat your subscribers as valued customers and give them exclusive access to discounts, information, or resources such as eBooks.

65. A/B test everything

A B Testing

SMB marketing relies on the power of testing to optimize marketing channels on a budget. Companies should test everything to find what works best.

A personalized first name and last name email might well perform better than an automated email blast. 

Testing the font, images, CTA, and subject lines are likely to have a much more significant impact on your emails’ success.

66. Use social proof

One way to increase sales from your emails is to leverage social proof. Prove your authority with the products or services that bring the most sales and reviews.

67. Stick to one call to action

People skim emails even faster than they skim articles. Stick to one clear and concise call to action in your emails if you want to create sales.

Email SMB marketing should focus on one CTA per segment.

68. Timing is essential

Conventional wisdom states that midweek is the best time to send emails. Studies have shown that 11 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday are the most effective times.

Companies that focus on B2B should naturally also send emails in the working week.

69. Integrate emails and social media

Facebook business pages allow companies to add an email subscribe button directly to their social media profiles.

In SMB marketing, lead generation is one of the toughest challenges facing any business, so it pays to gather emails on every platform possible.

70. Re-engage inactive subscribers

Bringing disconnected customers back requires more than writing a personalized name email blast.

Companies know that customer retention is always cheaper than acquisition. Even if your business needs to offer huge incentives on its services to bring a customer back, it is almost always going to be worth it. 

71. Give a discount

January Sales Feature

Discounts are one of the most common SMB marketing tactics because they work so well. Financial incentives will always increase conversions.

72. Restrain yourself

While it is good practice in SMB marketing to be active with emails, companies that overdo it are likely to lose subscribers.

Try to limit your email output to one per week.

Branding ideas for SMB

Branding need not be expensive. There are plenty of SMB marketing strategies to solidify your brand on a budget.

73. Sponsor a podcast

Podcasts are a perfect way to connect with a niche audience. There are even podcasts dedicate to B2B marketing. 

Treat podcasting as an opportunity to engage in performance SMB marketing with measurable sign-up codes. Better yet, start your own business podcast.

74. Define a brand personality 

Your company brand personality should underpin all of your marketing efforts. Your company logo, tone of voice, social media posts, and services should form a cohesive personality.

75. Sponsor industry events

Industry events and conferences are great for B2B networking and provide marketing opportunities for SMBs to put their name on the map.

By sponsoring sector events, your brand is aligning itself as a leader in the industry.

76. Commission a professional logo

Hound-studios-logo
Hound Studios logo design

A professional logo can make all the difference to the way that customers perceive SMBs. 

For small online businesses, success is a question of customer trust, and a professionally designed logo will go a long way in establishing it.

77. Be socially responsible

Consider adding a charitable or social cause to your SMB marketing plans and company narrative.

Customers are increasingly socially conscious, and that is reflected in businesses at every level.

78. Share your story

People love success stories. SMBs tend to have greater customer loyalty than larger businesses because customers feel that they can relate.

Sharing the story of your company is a well known SMB marketing strategy. Crucially, it is often well-received as it offers greater depth in the customer relationship.

79. Find a brand ambassador

Suppose your own story doesn’t inspire. Look for a brand ambassador to represent your SMB in its marketing efforts.

It could be a lifelong customer, a charity, a celebrity, or an establishment. As long as the ambassador demonstrates your brand identity, it will work.

80. Define your audience

It is impossible to craft an effective marketing campaign without knowing who your target market is. 

For that reason, it is essential to conduct market research and competitor analysis before you get started on your brand.

Polls, surveys, and keyword research will help you refine your SMB marketing strategy to match your audience’s needs.

81. Collaborate with other brands

Other brands are not always your enemy. SMBs within the same niche can even benefit from marketing collaborations.

Reach out to possible collaborators to enhance your brand image and authority.

82. Start a YouTube channel

Youtube is the world’s second most popular website, and your SMB can always benefit from video marketing.

Viewers can retain up to 95% of the information in a video compared to just 10% in the text. So, it would be a big mistake not to advertise your services in this way.

PR and outreach ideas for SMB

SMB marketing should not be a solo effort. Your best bet for growth is to reach out to other authoritative sources.

83. Create a calendar

A PR calendar will help your business grow by planning content around marketing opportunities such as holidays and event days. 

If your business operates in a niche represented by a big PR opportunity, it is worth dedicating time to create a targeted marketing campaign.

84. Make a media kit

A media kit is a collection of the newsworthy aspects of your business. SMBs can use a media kit to reach out to journalists, influencers, and collaborators for marketing opportunities.

85. Create Google alerts

Setting alerts on Google for relevant topics to your business is useful for crafting timely content in response to breaking news.

SMBs that respond quickly and effectively to trending topics in their niche will be able to capitalize on traffic in the moment.

86. Champion local causes

Increase your business’ standing in the community by sponsoring local events or donating to community causes. 

It will boost your customer loyalty and a natural PR opportunity while also doing a good deed.

87. Refine your pitch

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day. To make a story stand out, many SMBs employ the inverted pyramid approach.

For this approach, you need to present information in descending order of importance. Start with your hook, just like a call to action, as this is the thing that will catch a reporter’s interest.

88. Craft the perfect press release

The best press releases should do some of the hard work for the reporter. Think about what a journalist would need to write up a story quickly.

Images, videos, customer quotes, and statistics are all useful to building a narrative.

89. Tell stories

A heartfelt narrative is an SMBs best friend in securing press coverage. Think about your own business journey or particular instances of customer success. 

Aside from PR opportunities, good stories make perfect social media and blog content.

90. Conduct consumer research

Consumer research can throw up unknown or unreported angles on a niche or even a local audience.

Talk to your customers to understand their experiences and use that share that story when reaching out to possible collaborators.

91. Break a record

Breaking a record is a guaranteed news story. Whether it is a serious record or just for branding purposes, it is almost always a good PR exercise.

92. Know when to newsjack

Newsjacking is the practice of jumping on trending news topics to direct a portion of that spike in interest to your own business.

SMBs must pick these moments carefully as it can occasionally come across as opportunistic or in bad taste.

93. Own your mistakes 

Respond to customers who have had a poor experience publicly, and people will appreciate your honesty in the long term.

Occasionally, publicizing negative reviews can work as a tongue-in-cheek marketing strategy but be careful not to offend your audience.

Networking and event ideas for SMBs

Whether in person or online, B2B and B2C networking and events are an effective method to boost your business visibility.

94. Leverage LinkedIn

It is the world’s most prominent business networking website and a natural place to conduct B2B networking.

Share your company values, narrative, and success with your peers to make new networking opportunities.

95. Host a Q&A

Get online and open your company up to the scrutiny of the public and your competitors. A successful Q&A should help establish SMBs as influential voices in their niche.

96. Turn up to trade shows

It might not be the most exciting place to be when your company knows its niche inside and out, but trade shows are the best place to network with important players in your sector.

97. Celebrate an anniversary

Company anniversaries such as birthdays or sales milestones make for the perfect event. Consider offering discounts to boost interest.

98. Don’t discount word of mouth

Modern SMBs might focus mainly on online marketing, but that doesn’t mean that word of mouth isn’t valuable.

Personal recommendations are often the most powerful factor in making a sale. If you want to encourage word of mouth marketing, it is essential to offer the best possible customer service.

99. Become a guest blogger

Kick start your business blog and lend your expertise to other brands. Not only will this make great connections, but it will also reinforce your brand’s authority.

100. Run a charity campaign

Give back to the community and make a statement about the identity of your SMB. Charitable campaigns are more than just marketing opportunities. 

Your brand can align itself with an important cause and raise some money at the same time.

101. Attend a webinar

Online seminars are the perfect place to meet influential people in your niche. Webinars are often hosted by large companies in the sector and are great for collaborating on new ideas and branding.

102. Tweet chats

Twitter chats are moderated conversations based around a particular topic or hashtag. Your SMB can use them to get potential clients talking about you.

103. Promote everywhere

Promoting content is not only for social media. There are still plenty of growth opportunities on traditional media platforms such as newspapers, radio, and television.

As an SMB, it helps to reach out to local news outlets to get your story out there.

Written by

Author avatar

Damien

Damien is a self-professed, semi-obsessed, word-freak that wants nothing more than to tell small-business stories in a big way. Always scouring the market to find the right tools for the job, he is focused on finding creative ways to bring them to the people. When not writing, Damien is known to be a massive music bore, amateur-radio enthusiast, and woodland wanderer.

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