A “Complete” Guide to Small Business Marketing (featuring the best of SBA.gov’s blogs)
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: December 1, 2011, 11:36 am
- Updated: April 30, 2012, 6:59 pm
Here on SBA.gov we have amassed a catalog of blogs that offer a variety of proven techniques that small business owners can use to plan, execute and nurture their marketing efforts.
We’ve touched on how to plan and budget your marketing activities, as well as how to craft a brand message that communicates the true value of your business. We’ve covered how to use email, online, event marketing, public relations and social media tactics to reach and engage with your customers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: there are well over 50 blogs from industry experts such as Rieva Lesonsky, Anita Campbell, TJ McCue, and of course our own Small Business Matters blog.
But marketing is a broad discipline, which is why we’ve compiled the best of our blogs and guides and organized them into a soup-to-nuts marketing guide that offers tips and advice to help you build out your small business marketing toolkit.
Understand Your Market
The first step in any marketing plan is getting to know the market where you intend to operate. This Small Business Market Research Guide can help you understand how to conduct market research using freely available data.
Get to Know Your Competitors
Understanding your market also means getting to know who is competing for that market and using this information strategically. Read 5 Tips for Getting to Know Your Competition and Using it to Your Advantage.
Develop Your Marketing Message
What is it that you do or sell? What makes you unique? Why should customers do business with you? It sounds simple, but so many businesses stumble at this hurdle. Getting your marketing message right and positioning your business appropriately to your target market is critical. This blog walks you through the process: Stand Out from the Crowd – 7 Tips for Creating a Marketing Message that Sticks.
Build your Brand
Your brand is so much more than your logo, signage, and font choices. Your brand is embodied by your products, services, marketing, and a body of brand advocates including you, your team and your happy customers. Read these blogs for tips on brand-building:
- 5 Tips for Building your Small Business Brand Using its Best Advocate - You!
- 6 Tips for Creating a Customer Experience that Embodies your Unique Business Value
- Does Your Business’s Brand Need a Makeover?
Marketing Planning and Budgeting
A marketing budget works best if you have a clear picture of what you should spend it on, as opposed to how much you can spend. This means having a plan. To help you build a plan and develop a budget that can support it, read Developing a Marketing Budget for your Small Business – Going Beyond the Spreadsheet and Does Your Business Have a Marketing Plan?
Explore and Get More from Online Marketing
If you use or are thinking of adding online marketing into your marketing mix, check out these guides:
- How to Start a Website for Free or Low Cost - 21 Tools to Consider
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): 10 Essential Things You Need to Know
- Does your Website Need a Refresh? 6 Tips for Keeping Your Site Relevant and Engaging
- Managing Your Online Reputation: How to Respond to Customer Reviews
- 5 Tips for Marketing Your Business Online; to Get the Biggest ROI
- Get to the Top! – Tips for Making Your Business Web Site More Prominent in an Online Search
- Going Beyond the Transaction – 5 Tips for Getting Customer Feedback Online
- Online Video as a Marketing and Sales Tool
Email marketing continues to outperform all other forms of direct marketing. The following blogs can help you get more from your email marketing strategy with good content, targeted (permission-based) lists, social media integration, and more:
- Six Ways to Get More from Your Email Marketing Efforts
- Five Tips for Building an Email Marketing List for Your Small Business
- 7 Tips for Getting More from Your Customer E-Newsletter
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a valuable tool that can reap enormous rewards in terms of customer engagement, knowledge-sharing, feedback, community-building, and more. These articles are loaded with tips:
- Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog!
- 8 Tips for Keeping your Business Blog Current, Relevant, and Fresh
- Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Finding the Right Fit for Your Small Business
- Six Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Small Business Tweets!
- How to Improve Engagement with your Facebook Fans - Step Up or Get Left Behind
- How to Build and Engage with a Loyal Social Media Following – Part 1and Part 2
- Putting the "Social" into Social Media Marketing: 3 Tips for Interacting with your Customers
Rieva Lesonsky offers a selection of tips on Marketing Your Business with Events. See also: Got a Trade Show to Go To? Make it Pay Off for Your Small Business.
Done well, public relations can help promote your business for the long term in a way that a paid advertisement never will. These blogs can help:
- Spread the Word – 7 Tips for Promoting your Business with Public Relations
- How to Get Interviewed on TV or Radio
- How to Get Bloggers to Write About your Business
If we’ve missed anything, use the search tool just above the title of this blog to find more blogs on this or other topics!
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General small business tips and tricks.