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A “Complete” Guide to Small Business Marketing (featuring the best of SBA.gov’s blogs)

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A “Complete” Guide to Small Business Marketing (featuring the best of SBA.gov’s blogs)

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: December 1, 2011 Updated: August 6, 2015

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:

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:

Email Marketing

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:

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:

Event Marketing

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.

Public Relations

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: 

Happy reading!

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!

About the Author:

Caron Beesley


Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley


Great tips, thanks!
Very usefull tips Caron, Thats really a huge collection of information, Thank you very much!
It's been couple years since I've been blogging. From my experience, to rank on the 1st page of Google and Social Media Marketing are two most important things to win. Thanks for sharing!
Great article with great advice, because so many people get marketing wrong. The key is getting relevant content out to your target audience. This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
Very nice collection of articles. I wouldn't need to consume longer time browsing the articles and looking for the topic 1 by 1. House in the Philippines
I really enjoyed reading this article. I think you made some strong points on the overall business plan for success. I've been a small business owner of a Green Naperville Limo business and didn't set any budget for marketing and it that was a big mistake. I wish I had found this website a few years ago. Thanks for sharing!
I agree with many pieces and some comments from this post. It is basically a given that in order for a business to succeed today it will need a website. Some people have found it very easy to build their own website. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a program called Joomla. There are templates that cater to the do it your self person. We have found this site beneficial for small business owners in need of a website. This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
It's a really good post. I think too many small business marketing initiatives fail when it comes to acquiring new leads as they fail to use a strong call to action. This link has been removed from public view. Please review the Community Rules of Conduct for more information.
This is a great post. And I agree with some of the comments. Many small businesses do not place enough attention and emphasis on marketing. But without marketing, where are you getting your customers from? Maybe it's because many small business owners do not have time to really sit down and think about their marketing strategy because they're bogged down with the day to day workings of their business. But indeed, more attention needs to be given to this. Great overview of marketing for small business. I hope to apply this to my future custom t-shirt printing business
I work for a small business as an internet marketing manager. For some business online marketing works the best and it is usually the cheapest. For our company PPC works wonders, but not great for everyone. More and more small business realizing the importance of online marketing and hiring in-house marketing professionals. It's usually cost more but companies have full control over every aspects of their online efforts which is very important. This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.


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