The 7 Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in 2021 (and Beyond)

Seven proven marketing strategies you can implement today to grow your small business even if you have a shoestring budget.

Cleverly Team
May 7, 2021
9 min read

Marketing for small businesses can be challenging. It's hard to get the word out about your business when you don't have a huge marketing budget. 

However, several creative and effective small business marketing strategies allow you to build awareness of your brand without breaking the bank. We've compiled a list of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses in 2021 and beyond, including offline and online marketing opportunities that can help you increase revenue while staying true to your core values.

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract your target audience. Some examples of content marketing include:

  • Blogs
  • ‌YouTube videos
  • ‌Podcasts
  • ‌Infographics
  • ‌e-books‌

Content marketing is a great way to attract visitors and customers and engage with your target audience. 

For small businesses without an advertising budget, this can be the most affordable form of marketing. You have complete control over what content you provide and how often it's shared online. Your efforts will lead to more visibility for your business in search engine rankings, which may mean that potential clients find you organically rather than through paid ads.

Creating a blog post or putting together an e-book are great ways to get started in the world of content marketing. You can also produce videos for YouTube that educate people on how they can solve their problems with your product or service. 

Consider the search terms your potential customer might be using and create content around these themes. For example, if you sell wedding dresses, your blog posts or videos might be about finding the perfect dress for any occasion in any season of the year.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires patience; it's inexpensive compared to advertising but provides rewards over time. As you create more content around a theme, your search engine rankings will improve, and you'll be well-positioned to attract new customers. 

The content you create also gives you a rich source of material for social media posts. 

2. Social Media Marketing‌

Another inexpensive marketing strategy is social media marketing. Make sure you're using the most popular channels to promote your business, such as Facebook and Instagram. 

You can also use Twitter or Pinterest to reach new audiences; each platform has its strengths regarding how it might help attract customers (such as what type of customer you want). For example, Twitter attracts a higher percentage of men, Facebook's audience skews older, and Instagram lends itself to quick visual messages aimed at a young, primarily female audience.

Finally, don't forget LinkedIn; it's a great place to connect with professionals who are likely prospects for your products or services. One tip: Use automated outreach on LinkedIn, as it will save tons of time and pump up your results. Cleverly is a LinkedIn lead generation agency you can use to scale outbound marketing. Cleverly takes over your LinkedIn profile and makes connections on your behalf. When a prospect replies, you take over the conversation and close the sale.

3. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the fastest marketing strategies for small businesses that want to reach many prospects. As a business owner, you can set up ads on Facebook or Google to target people interested in your products and services — people, who might not have heard about them yet. You'll pay when someone clicks on your ad (hence "pay per click").

You can target people based on demographics like age and gender or target people by narrow interests. For example, if your business sells products for babies, you could choose to advertise only to parents of newborns or those with children under 12 months old.

PPC is expensive, so make sure you're getting the best return on your investment by testing different ads and tweaking them.

4. Online Map Listings

Online map listings are essential for businesses with brick-and-mortar locations. They offer a concise snapshot of your business info so customers can quickly contact you or visit your store. Best of all, they don't cost any money. Make sure your business is on Google My Business and local review sites like Yelp to show up in search engines.

Here are the steps to make the best use of online map listings:

  • Create your listing on Google My Business and Yelp.
  • ‌Link to Google Maps from all over the web, like marketing materials and social media profiles. 
  • ‌Add a map marker for physical locations with contact information visible beneath it in the search results.
  • ‌Keep your listings up to date with your current hours, phone number, and other details.
  • ‌Invite your customers to leave reviews and post photos of your business.
  • ‌Promote reviews on social media to show off how great you are doing.‌

5. Traditional Marketing

Digital marketing gets a lot of attention, but traditional marketing methods still work, especially for local businesses.  

Traditional marketing can take many forms, such as: 

  • Advertising on local television or radio stations. 
  • ‌Putting up a billboard in your city (or nearby cities) to promote an event you're hosting. 
  • ‌Buying slide advertising at local movie theaters.
  • ‌Printing and distributing paper brochures for offline distribution with relevant contact information listed prominently. 
  • Setting up a booth at events that are relevant to your customers and industry.

6. Discounts and Offers‌

Discount sites like Groupon are still relevant in marketing today. People may not be using them as much, but you can use these sites to your advantage — especially if you offer travel packages, local services, or products. 

Offering deals and discounts to customers is a great way to increase customer loyalty, too. Sending gift cards or discount vouchers as Christmas or birthday gifts could prompt additional sales throughout the year.

7. Email Marketing

Email marketing is an essential strategy for small businesses to stay in contact with their customers. 

Give your customers and website visitors an incentive to join your list. Then follow up with emails about your blog posts, selling features, discounts, promotions, and new products. 

You can use email marketing to build brand awareness, increase your volume of business from each customer, and even sell products.

Putting It All Together

There are many marketing strategies for small businesses, including content marketing, social media marketing, and traditional marketing (such as TV ads). Determining what approach to take will vary depending on your budget, goals, and resources. 

If you're a B2B company, your ideal prospects might hang out on LinkedIn. Learn if we can scale your outbound marketing by booking a time to speak with someone on our team here.

FREE CONSULTATION