101 Free Marketing Tips For Local Small Business

101 Free Marketing Tips For Local Small Business

December 22, 2021
(Reading time: 25 - 50 minutes)

Small businesses frequently have a low marketing and advertising budgets in which to work with. This can make marketing your local small business extremely challenging. The good news is that you can often promote yourself to prospects and clients for free or insanely cheap.

This post covers 101 ways to advertise and market your local small business on a tight budget.

To make it easier, I have broken this list up into categories, just click any of the links below to be taken to that section.

Marketing Basics

Marketing Basics

1. What Is Your Niche

You should begin by defining your market fit. In other words you need to be very clear on what solutions your local small business provides and to who you do it for. Everything else you do will fail if you don't have a product/market fit.

What Is Your Niche?

2. Know Exactly Who Your Clients Are by Developing Buyer Personas

Buyer personas go by many different names, such as:

  • Audience persona
  • Buyer avatar
  • Buyer profile
  • Client avatar
  • Client persona
  • Customer avatar
  • Customer persona
  • Ideal audience avatar
  • User persona

Regardless of what you want to refer to them as, buyer personas are all fictional, generalized representations of your ideal clients. Buyer personas help document and internalize the ideal client you’re trying to attract.

A common mistake is believing that "anyone" or “everyone” is a good fit for your services. Larger businesses may appeal to a larger clientele, but there is a reason why they say "the riches are in the niches." As a small business, you have the opportunity to be the most authoritative in a niche, such as a geographical area or something specific that you are an expert in

For example, if you are the only mechanic that services vintage Volkswagens and Porsche in a 100-mile radius of your shop, then chances are you will get most of the business for those. Maybe you are the only business in your geographical area that does soft washing; then you can position yourself as an expert versus Paul the Pressure Washer.

To develop and optimize a niche and attract clients, you must first understand their frustrations, challenges, trigger events, and priorities.

What motivates people to employ your services? What would it look like if they were successful? Knowing these will help you create messages that are memorable and persuasive for the solutions you offer.

Think about your current clients and who you'd want to collaborate with. Then, create a buyer persona to begin the process of putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal client.

 

Buyer Persona Guide

Free Resource

Quickly organize your audience into segments and make your marketing more effective!

Download Your Free Buyer Persona Guide

 

3. Take Ideas From Those Who Are Doing It Right

Looking at your most successful competitors is one of the most apparent areas to learn how to market your brand. When done correctly, reverse engineering their ideas may be pretty effective

4. Emphasize Your Value Proposition

If you are looking for a service provider, you might compare two or more businesses against each other. If there isn’t a distinct reason for you to choose one over the other, then it doesn’t matter which one you choose. Now, this same situation is what your clients are thinking and doing when they are looking for your services. What differentiates you from your competitor? This is where your value proposition comes in and is what will set you apart from your competitors and convinces prospects that you are the provider to choose

5. Start a “Swipe File” 

You should save a document (I like to use a Google Doc) with all the client trigger phrases, terminology, and slang that you come across. As you find this information in online communities, forums, reviews, feedback, etc., place it in your “swipe file” so that you can refer to it later at any time.

6. Utilizing Consistent Branding Across Channels Makes You Memorable

It will be impossible to stand out and be confusing for current clients if you do not have a distinct, identifiable brand that people recognize.

Utilizing Consistent Branding Across Channels Makes You Memorable

7. Win Clients for Life When You Under Promise and Over Deliver

I, along with everyone at Cube Creative Design, feel that you get out what you put in it just as in life and business. That's why we constantly strive to underpromise and overdeliver since we know the ultimate outcome will be better for all stakeholders, but more especially our clients. And you should do the same for your clients!

You want to set clear expectations for the outcome to avoid disappointment, but when you go above and above and surpass expectations, you'll gain their business for life.

Take, for example, my personal plumber Action Service Company. When I first met them, they shattered every stereotype of your typical plumber. They were dressed professionally and were extremely professional. After my home was built, I had them back to do more work. I have referred them to several people, and everyone has been thrilled with their work.

8. Stay Sharp by Constantly Educating Yourself

You need to stay sharp by subscribing to industry magazines, publications, podcasts, and reading relevant websites or email newsletters. It’s absolutely critical that you stay up to date and informed.

9. Make Yourself the Go-to Expert in Your Subject

If you're not an expert in your field, astute clients will notice and go with a competitor. Learning, repetition, and experience all contribute to your authority.

10. Get More Local Clients by Understanding the Demographics of Your Geographical Area

As a local small business, you should understand the local demographics of your area. If you are in a rural area, this is even more important.

11. Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Most small business owners can be a bit of a control freak because they always want everything to work “perfectly.” However, consider hiring a virtual assistant or an in-person assistant to do tedious activities such as email, meeting scheduling, admin work, and so on, freeing up your time to focus on more essential things.

12. Use the KISS Principle

As you start exploring the world of marketing for your local small business, you will find that there are an infinite number of ways you can go. While it can be tempting to do it all at once, you will be much better off keeping it short, stupid rather than crafting a complicated machine that tries to cover all your bases.

You will want to stay focused on your single goals and objectives to start, then once you have those mastered, you can add on others.

13. Focus on the Short-Term Play When You Are Starting Out

When you are first starting, you need to focus on the short-term plays. In other words, what is going to get your local small business the biggest bang for your buck starting out? 

As much as search engine optimization and content marketing are excellent, but admittedly they are a long-term play. Utilizing some quick wins such as these can help you get a boost right from the start:

  • Building out local landing pages
  • Claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile
  • Running Google Ads

14. Expand on What Works

Pay attention to the data once you have enough to see what may be working and what may not be working. Then you can double down on what is working, but don’t abandon what you think isn’t working, however. Sometimes what is working right now might not be working in the future, and you are throwing money away. In other words, always test and measure what is working and what isn’t.

15. With a Surefire Marketing Plan, You'll Never Miss a Beat

You're just shooting in the dark if you don't have an effective marketing plan in place that includes the actions and steps you need to implement to reach the goals of your local small business.

16. They Ask, You Answer

If a business is obsessed with hearing their clients' questions, concerns, and desires, they will never run out of content ideas.

If you adopt and follow the philosophy of Marcus Sheridan’s “They Ask, You Answer,” you will mostly likely be ahead of your competition. By simply listening to your clients, they will tell you what they need and want and can ultimately help guide you where your business model needs to go.

17. Consider Asking for Help

There is no shame in asking for help from a professional marketer or marketing agency, especially if they can help get you there faster.

By hiring a professional marketing agency to help you develop, guide, and implement your strategy, you can skyrocket your small business’s growth by leaning on their expertise.

Online Marketing

Online MarketingEvery small business, even local small businesses in rural areas, must have a website. When searchers are looking for your business, your website should appear towards the top of the results. If prospects search for services in your region, your website should be among the results. Through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you increase the likelihood of your website appearing in search results.

In addition to your website, here are some other things you need to consider as part of your online marketing efforts.

18. If You Don’t Have a Website, Get One Yesterday

Owning your own website is the single most important part of your online marketing plan. You'll lose ground to the competition if you're not where your clients are searching, and I don’t mean social media, rather Google and the internet as a whole.

19. Convert More Traffic With Fast Loading Website

Google realizes that speed matters, and how quickly your website loads is critical to how Google ranks your site on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The load time will not only impact your rankings, but it also adds friction to the user experience. Don't take my word for it. Take a look at these statistics about site speed:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. (Source: NeilPatel.com/KissMetric.com)
  • 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. (Source: Think With Google)
  • Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. (Source: Fast Company)

20. A Site That Isn't Updated Loses Value Over Time

You want to keep people and the search engines coming back by constantly updating your website. ‘

This will:

  • encourage visitors to return frequently to check for fresh information and updates
  • allow you to highlight announcements such as new services, events, and so on
  • allow you to give value that produces leads and revenue

Use a content management system (CMS) like Joomla! to design your site so that you can make updates quickly and simply. Furthermore, don't only focus on keeping your blog up to current; keep other portions of your site up to date as well, such as FAQs, fresh testimonials, new services, and other major pages.

21. Monitor Your Brand Mentions With Google Alerts

It's critical that you pay attention to what other people are saying about you and your small business online. It’s important to know if other sites are linking to you (backlinks), quoting you, prompting you, or complaining about you.

Google Alerts can help you keep track of your brand, your competitors, or other keywords related to your field. This will allow you to monitor mentions so you can act.

22. Get Ahead of the Competition by Quickly Responding to Client Enquiries

It's essential that your website's contact forms send client submissions to someone who can respond quickly.

"50% of buyers pick the seller that responds first," according to InsideSales. The report uses Dr. James Oldroyd's 2007 findings, which showed "the probabilities of a lead entering the sales process or getting qualified are 21 times better when contacted within five minutes vs. 30 minutes after the lead was received."

23. Respond to Every Review Good or Bad to Show Prospects You Care

Google My Business Bad Review Example

According to Bright Local, “90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.” When a client takes the time to leave a review through an email, Google Business Profile Review or Yelp review, regardless of whether it's good or bad, you need to respond.

Why Respond

One of the best ways to encourage future clients to leave positive reviews? Respond to current ones. You may say, but I already got a positive review. Why should I respond?

For one, many business owners don't respond to reviews. By merely responding, you are already doing more than most! Besides responding to reviews, the review itself becomes an excellent opportunity to engage with your clientele.

A study by Harvard Business School found that responding to reviews correlated with a higher overall star rating.

Google has even confirmed that responding to reviews helps your business's search ranking. They also tell you on the support page for Google My Business to "interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business."

24. Create a Digital Version of Your Print Brochure

Some people may be "old-school" and prefer traditional media, but that doesn't mean they don't use the internet at all. You should create a digital PDF of your printed brochure and post it on your website.

25. Facebook Advertising

According to Meta (Facebook), “there are now more than two million active advertisers on Facebook.”

Advertising on Facebook can be an inexpensive and effective way to market to virtually any audience, but only if you have the numbers to support it.

Facebook advertisements are great at retargeting by allowing you to target users with a variety of options.

If you want to learn more about Facebook Advertising, take a look at these resources:

26. We Live in a Mobile-First Society, Focus on Mobile Users or Loose Prospects

As you can see from the charts, internet usage has climbed since the 2007 introduction of the first iPhone mobile device. Then as the pandemic took hold, desktop usage surpassed mobile. As of October 2021, the usage is about neck and neck.

Regardless of which one is on top, you need to make sure that your website works for both mobile and desktop devices with a responsive design

StatCounter – Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Tablet Market Share United States Of America

(Source: StatCounter – Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Tablet Market Share United States Of America

Global Mobile Phone Website Traffic Share From 2011 to 2021

(Source: https://www.oberlo.com/statistics/mobile-internet-traffic)

27. Make Your Phone Number a Link

Internet searchers who are looking up your business often have the intention of calling you. Make it easy by making your telephone number a hyperlink

For example, if you want to call Jenny’s Janitorial Services, then you should use a hyperlink like “tel:5558675309” that will make the phone number “tappable” so they can get in touch easily.

28. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Claiming and optimizing your small business’s Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB) is one of the most powerful things you can do for any business, large or small, national or local.

If you are a local business targeting local clients, it is the most powerful thing you can do. So much so that we will help you claim and optimize it for you.

 

Looking for
help with your
Google Business Profile?

Free Resource

Do you need help claiming or optimizing your Google Business Profile (Google My Business Listing)? If so we are here to help!

Help me with my Google Business Profile

 

29. Google Ads

According to research from HubSpot,

it’s estimated Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second, translating to 5.6 billion searches per day.

…[While the] average person conducts between three and four searches each day.

Google Search Nnetwork Ad Example

It goes without saying that Google Ads is by far the largest PPC network available, and according to Small Business Trends, at least 45% of small businesses utilize PPC ads.

For local service area businesses, then you will want to work within the Google Search Network (GSN). These search ads are the text ads usually seen at the top, bottom, or both of SERPs above the organic listings. These ads look similar to organic search listings except for the tag “AD,” which is to help differentiate them from organic listings. Fortunately or unfortunately, WebFX says that “50% of users can’t tell the difference between a paid ad and an organic listing.”

Despite being a paid channel, Google Ads’ goal is still to deliver relevant search results to Google’s users, and as a result, it can be a quick win until your content marketing and on-page SEO gears up.

Design

Marketing Basics

30. Use Images in Your Marketing to Convey Information Quickly

The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Furthermore, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without images. As a result, leveraging imagery in your marketing efforts is the most effective.

31. Boost Perceived Value With Attractive Appearance

I typically tell my clients that design is one of the most subtle yet visible parts of their marketing. We aim to produce attractive and beautifully crafted designs that work both online and off.

32. Create Premium Content Using PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides

As a former designer, it pains me to recommend using a presentation software to develop premium content. But on the other hand, I know that many small businesses aren’t able to always hire those services out. Therefore as a shortcut, you can create some visually appealing content with little effort.

33. Create Professional Graphics With a Cloud-Based Graphic Design Software

Again as a former designer, I will always navigate toward traditional design tools. However, I can’t discount that there are several cloud-based graphic design platforms. You can use them to help you create everything from social media graphics to infographics

Here are a few popular ones:

  • Canva
  • Visme
  • Adobe Spark

Getting Found

Marketing Basics

34. Identify and Engage Your Brand's “Champions”

"It's all about who you know," as the adage goes, is true in many aspects of life and business. That is why it is critical for you to identify individuals who are willing to promote your business.

Whether it's a family member, a fellow industry blogger, business colleagues, satisfied clients, or anybody else, give them everything they need to spread the news about your local small business.

35. The Quickest Way to Find Local Clients Is to Get Listed in Local Online Directories

Suppose you don’t have a physical address, such as a home-based business or service area based business. It’s imperative that your local small business is listed in local directories and search engines. Think about it; people go to websites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc., when they need something.

Imagine your vehicle just overheated while you were stuck in traffic on the interstate. You need a local mechanic ASAP! What do you do? You pull out your mobile phone and look up the closest mechanic that can fix you and get you back on the road. If you are that local mechanic, but if you’re not listed online in the places that people use to search, then they will never see you except when they limp by on the way to your competitor's shop.

These services also allow you to collect client reviews, both good and bad. Because internet reviews are public, they may actually make or break a business.

36. Partnerships Can Help You Reach the People

When it comes to being found, you don't want to go it alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and develop strategic partnerships

If you operate an interior design business, for example, collaborating with high-end house builders and architects will ensure you have a consistent supply of new projects and clients to work on.

37. Use Guest Blogging to Tap Into Niche Audiences

While the SEO value of guest posts has been put into question, there is nothing wrong with guest posting when executed right. Instead of the connections, concentrate on the value of exposing your brand in front of a new audience.

38. Press Releases Can Get Your Story to the News Outlets Quickly

PR used to be more successful when people got all their information from the media. Today, everyone gets their information from social media, blogs, and forums. However, that doesn't imply utilizing a service like PRWeb won't work. It comes down to what message you are conveying and the value that the PR professional brings to the table.

39. Get More Referrals by Simply Asking

An obvious but often overlooked strategy for getting more clients is to simply ask your current happy clients, industry partners, and other people for the referrals.

40. Find endless press opportunities using HARO.

HARO stands for “Help A Reporter Out” and is a free platform that gives you access to a database of requests from reporters. There are several plans available, from free to premium.

With the free plan, you get three emails each day Monday through Friday at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m. EST.

When you first start out, you will have to sift the emails, but you can quickly skim and find which ones would work for you after some time and practice.

The benefits include getting published, quoted, building links, etc.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing

41. Content Marketing

In 2018 15.1% of marketers said that content marketing would have the greatest commercial impact on their business of any channel going into 2019.

SmartInsights Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

(Source: SmartInsights Digital Marketing Trends for 2019)

But you may be asking what is content marketing? Content marketing is the practice of developing and delivering useful, relevant, and consistent material in order to attract and maintain a clearly defined audience and drive profitable client action is known as content marketing

Unlike paid advertising, content marketing is more concerned with long-term benefits. The initial return is typically minimal, but the long-term, sustainable growth in visitors, leads, and clients can easily sustain a business growth trajectory.

Here are four links of interest if you want to learn more about content marketing:

  1. Getting Started With Content Marketing by Content Marketing Institute
  2. Why You Need a Growth Model For Your Blog (And How to Create One) by Devesh Khanal
  3. 10 Benefits of Content Marketing for Small Businesses  
  4. Why Small Businesses Need Content Marketing to Compete Online

42. Local Small Business SEO

Because mega-corporations like Walmart and Amazon invest millions on dominating search, small companies are frequently tempted to ignore SEO in their marketing strategy and plans. Usually, there is always be a competitor out there who has built an SEO operation. However, today’s small business owners can’t afford to neglect search in their marketing strategy.

Here’s why:

  • It simply works. A well-executed SEO strategy will boost organic traffic and improve your SERPs.
  • It’s extremely cost-effective. Compared to PPC, and social media marketing, SEO offers a good ROI.
  • It helps you dominate the market share. If “90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.” then it is safe to say that those same buyers or more are searching for your services online prior to reaching out. If they don’t find your business, then you essentially don’t exist 
  • Mobile search is exploding. In May of 2015, Google announced that mobile search outpaced desktop search for the first time.

43. Link-Building for Local Small Businesses

Aside from citations and reviews, backlinks from local authorities can be your best link-building technique—local authorities such as your local high school, community college, town hall, or public library. If you are in a rural community or a small town, your local Chamber of Commerce should have a directory, and it’s worthwhile getting listed in it.

44. On-Page Search Engine Optimization

On-page Search Engine Optimization covers everything you do on your website to improve its competitiveness on the SERPs. On-page SEO factors are those over which you have complete control because you are the business owner and owner of the website.

45. Stay Consistent With a Content Plan

If you are having trouble with your content creation, then you need a content plan. A content plan is a guide that helps you know what to write about each month based on your buyer persona and keyword research. It is much easier to think about writing one or two blogs a month than 18-24. Your plan should also take into account if you need any specific landing pages for your services or local landing pages.

46. Audit and Repurpose Existing Content to Save Time

When we start working with a new client, often one of the first things we do is do an audit of their online and offline content to determine what can be quickly repurposed. If you've already invested time and money in creating videos, images, presentations, copy, and so on, you should repurpose some of that material to create additional content more efficiently.

47. Use “Value Terms” to Significantly Boost Perceived Value

Increase your conversion rates dramatically by utilizing "value terms" to boost the perceived value of your calls to actions, premium content offerings, and generally urging readers to take action.

48. Cultivate Evergreen Content

As you search the interwebs, you may stumble across pages that are really old, yet they show up at the top of the search pages. These old pages are what we in the industry refer to as evergreen content

Evergreen content has no (virtual) expiration date and, ideally, will retain its usefulness over time. Updating and adding to the content, blogs, or pages over time, is another excellent way to keep adding value.

49. Create eBooks and checklists to convert website visitors

Blogging is great, but if you want to increase leads, then you need to give readers more value. One of the easiest ways to do that is to take written content (just like your blog) and put it into a PDF e-book or checklist.

50. Use Video to Create Highly Engaging, Impactful Content

Video could arguably be the most engaging form of content. It is a highly popular medium for consumers at all stages of the buyer’s journey.

Videos are especially great for demonstrating how to complete a task, like changing a tire or installing a garbage disposal. Here are five videos that do well:

  • How-tos and instructional videos
  • Product demos
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Interviews with industry experts or your staff 
  • Slideshows with images and captions

51. Infographics Can Help Searchers Visualize Complex Ideas 

Infographics are incredibly effective marketing tools. They're eye candy, easy to consume, and people love to share them, so they're an excellent approach to increase referral traffic and links.

As a small business owner, chances are you don’t have a team of researchers collecting data for you. However, there are lots of resources where you can get good data and build an infographic with and add your own insights and commentary to it.

Government Data

Global Statistics

General Data

52. Top 10s Topics

While it might seem a little clickbaity, “Top 10 Topic” posts will often perform well. Examples are:

  • Top 10 Lists
  • Top 10 Tools
  • Top 10 Blogs

53. Lists or Listicles

Piggy-backing on top 10s are lists or listicles. These are blog posts that take the form of both article and list, and they are super scannable and quick to read. Great content strategies involve a good mix of quick, snackable content pieces and more in-depth, long-form articles. Here is a quick pro-tip, starting your title with an odd number can make it stand out more in search listings. You can always add a bonus at the end if you need to cover an even number of topics

54. 101 Guides

There’s always someone just starting out in the business, and beginner's guides or industry knowledge 101 content pieces will always get traffic and links.

Social Media

Social Media

55. Social Media in General

I was in graduate school when “The Facebook” came to Appalachian State, and I was early in my career when MySpace was popular with my students. Many people thought that Facebook and social media would be just a fad. And to be honest, it could have been if not for the mobile device and the ability to post from our devices.

DataReportal states,

There are now 4.20 billion social media users around the world. This figure has grown by 490 million over the past 12 months, delivering year-on-year growth of more than 13 percent. The number of social media users is now equivalent to more than 53 percent of the world’s total population.

(Source: Digital 2021: Global Overview Report)

Statista – Most popular social networks worldwide

(Source: Statista – Most popular social networks worldwide)

Social media marketing can be a low-cost strategy to leverage all the social media buzz into measurable marketing leads. It can work because it can help you meet your prospects where they’re at.

56. Social Media for Customer Service

Using social media for your small business is really non-negotiable. Social Media Today reports that:

  • 1 in 3 social media users prefer social media customer care services to telephone or email
  • An estimated 67% of consumers now use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for issues
  • Nearly 70% of consumers have said that they have used social media for issues to do with customer service on at least one occasion
  • 60% of customers who complain on social expect a response within one hour
  • 63% of consumers are satisfied with response time in social media
  • Solving a customer issue on social media costs nearly 1/6th as compared to call center interaction
  • 71% of consumers who experience positive social customer care are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared with just 19% of customers who do not get a response
  • 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from companies that leave complaints on social media unanswered
  • Twitter and Facebook are more accurate and faster at delivering customer service responses than email (48% and 44% more successful, respectively)

(Source: Social Media Customer Service Statistics and Trends [Infographic])

57. Sign up for All Relevant Social Media Networks

Now not every social network is appropriate for every company. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB) are the only ones I'd argue are defaults. Twitter is great for larger urban areas and new ones. Also, its openness and ability to communicate with anybody make it a valuable outreach platform. However, depending on your target demographic, platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Houzz, Tick Tock, and others are must-haves.

58. Social Media Is About Relationships, Not Transactions

Something that maybe businesses forget is that social media is about building relationships. It’s even in the name! The reason I think most businesses forget is that it can be an effective channel for driving sales. However, relationship building and enhancing your clients' experiences should take priority over sales. You aim to gain followers, then convert those followers into leads, and finally into clients.

59. Use Facebook Live Video

If you have a verified Facebook profile, you can use live streaming to your advantage. Apart from being in the same room, it's the most intimate approach to engaging your audience.

60. Make More Connections on LinkedIn

If you're not familiar with LinkedIn, it is the world's largest business networking site. People's attitudes change when they log into LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. They're serious about business!

With its numerous capabilities, it's the ideal location to present your portfolio, talents, testimonials, and much more.

61. Answer Peoples’ Questions on Quora

The internet's value lies in its capacity to link individuals who have questions with others who have answers. Everything from useful life advice to speculative conspiracy ideas is covered. I usually take any online opinion with a grain of salt, but if you can give authentic and genuine answers and support to those who have questions, they will choose you to resolve their issues.

62. Save Time With Social Media Automation Tools

As a small business, you don’t have time to fuss with hashtags or answering random DMs; you have a business to run!  This is where social media automation can help.

63. Increase Social Shares by Finding Similar Influencers

One way you can get more social shares of your content is by finding influencers who have already shared similar content.

People are constantly on the lookout for good content to share with their followers. Make their life easier by identifying these people in your niche who contribute similar content as yours. Once you have that done. Send a short outreach email asking if they'd want to see it and share it with their followers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

64. Learn the Basics of SEO to Boost Your Online Visibility

It should be obvious that people spend a lot of time online, according to research from Forrester in 2006, they found that:

93% of all internet traffic comes from a search engine.

(Sources: SearchEngineJournal.com/Archive.org – 10 Stats to Justify SEO and Web FX – 15+ SEO Statistics From This Year That’ll Transform Your Strategy )

When you fully optimize your site and content for the search engines (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go), you will boost your rankings and get more visitors.

65. Getting 1st Page Rankings Will Bring You Free Traffic

Did you know that 75% of users never click past the first page of search results! First-page rankings are vital to any size business since people rarely go past it!

Today’s searchers are bombarded with noise and distractions, all preventing them from finding your small business. The fastest way to the top of the SERPs is to claim and utilize your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB). I know I mentioned it before, but it bears repeating!

The reason this is so important is you are putting information about your business directly into Google’s database. Also, Google uses these profiles in its local ranking, including relevance, distance, and prominence

66. Execute Local SEO Strategy 

The best thing about Google's Local algorithm is that it is designed to deliver the most accurate, high-quality, and relevant results for each given search query. Since it’s not pay-to-play, this has helped to level the playing field allowing small businesses to compete with big businesses on the SERPs.

Here are some local SEO must-dos:

  • Add location-based keywords (think: "Asheville Private School") to the titles, headings, and body text of your website pages.
  • Register on online directories, ensuring that your information is consistent across platforms.
  • Publish blog posts and local landing pages specific to the areas you serve.

Google My Business Map View Example On Mobile

Google My Business Map View Example On Desktop

67. Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now

If you aren’t singing the hit song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give It Away” by now then you need to check it out. It says lyricaly what you should do. For example, realize I don't want to be a miser, confide with sly you'll be the wiser or greedy little people in a sea of distress, keep your more to receive your less.

Now I am sure when they wrote the song they weren’t talking about giving away information and educating buyers about your services. However, it helps to illustrate my point that you should bring so much value to your website and give away so much information with blogging and content in general that people should walk away thinking I wonder how much I owe them for that.

Here are a few interesting stats about blogging:

  • Blogs can result in a 434% increase in indexed pages and a 97% increase in indexed links.
  • Companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies that don't blog.
  • 80% of internet users interact with both social media sites and blogs.
  • Businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don't

(Sources: DemandMetric, HubSpot and HubSpot – 31 Business Blogging Stats You Need to Know in 2021)

Obviously, one of the best strategies to get more free traffic to your website is to blog. However, most people just blog about anything they think people would be interested in. However, each blog article should be focused on a certain keyword(s) or phrase(s) for which you want to rank for.

68. Apply for business awards

Most industries have business awards that you can win; usually, they come with an online badge which you can display on your website. These kinds of badges can promote trustworthiness and, as a result, sales.

69. Use the Same Domain for Your Website and Blog

The easiest way to boost the authority and rankings of your website and blog is by having them on the same domain.

That means the URL is either “blog.example.com/article” or “example.com/blog/article”

Lead Generation

Lead Generation

70. Increase Your Email List by Gathering Information on Your Clients

Your email list should be a group of email subscribers that consist of either site visitors, current and/or past clients.

Four of the most common ways to generate and add to your email list are:

  • Collecting emails at checkout: most e-commerce systems make it simple to set this up. However, you may want to think twice before requiring a new account set up, as over 30% of businesses report cart abandonment because clients are required to create an account.
  • Including email signup forms: most content management systems make it simple to add email signup forms to your website. You can add them to the footer, a sidebar, or as an exit intent pop-up.
  • Using social media to encourage signups: social media is big. You can use it to promote new services or valuable content.
  • Use emails from your billing software: one trick you can use is to export the billing emails from your accounting software. If you are a small business and deal with other small businesses, then chances are you are emailing invoices out. Why not use those same emails to help start your email list.

Now once you have a list of emails, you will want to clean it up. At Cube Creative Design, we have used and can highly recommend Never Bounce. While it isn’t free, it’s a one-time cost that will save you headaches down the road.

Once you have all this in place, you will want to use an email marketing platform to send your marketing emails. Sending marketing emails to your clients from Google, Outlook, or any other personal email service provider may seem innocent enough. But it violates major laws and can have negative effects on your business, too.

If you want to learn more about the laws or check out a platform comparison, then take a look at these resources:

71. Generate More Leads With Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is simply an enticement that you offer to prospects in return for their contact information.

Premium content offerings, such as eBooks and email courses, produce three times as many leads as typical outbound marketing while costing 62% less.

Let's face it: your bland "subscribe to our email list" offer isn't converting anyone. Instead, give out a premium piece of content about a topic your target audience is confronting, then collect everyone's email who wants to read it.

When you develop a lead magnet based on the challenges of your target audience, you know the individuals who opt-in are a good fit for your product or service.

If you want to learn a little more about lead magnets, take a look at these links:

72. Use Calls-to-Actions to Direct People

Calls-To-Actions or CTAs are like road signs in your marketing and should help direct people exactly where you want them to go.

Isn't the main objective of your website to convert visitors into leads and sales? However, if your visitors arrive at your site and don't know what to do next, you've already lost them. That is why it is critical to employ visually appealing CTAs with enticing copy that directs visitors to where you want them to go.

73. For Busy People Make Posts Available to Download

There are far too many distractions online for people to focus on one thing for too long. That’s why it’s a good idea to offer your blog posts in a PDF if it's long for people to download and read later.

74. Use Social Proof in Your Marketing to Instantly Establish Trust

You can use social proof in your marketing to earn instant trust by using client reviews. But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at these statistics about social proof and trust:

  • 83% of people trust reviews over advertising. (Source: Nielsen)
  • 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers (Source: Nielsen)
  • 90% of users need less than ten reviews to form an opinion about a business.
  • 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family (Source: Big Commerce)
  • On average, testimonials on sales pages increase conversions by 34% (Source: Impact)

75. Target Influencers

As a small business, you may be able to identify and connect with influencers in your niche to expand your reach, even if they are micro-influencers.

Renzo Costarella writes that “People buy what they know and from people they trust. This is why influencer marketing is becoming one of the most popular marketing strategies in the modern world. With so many digital channels at our disposal, influencers can easily promote products and services to millions of followers with the click of a button.” (Source: Calendar – 4 Marketing Tips for Your Startup)

This is why influencer marketing has become so popular and has been shown to produce a 6-to-1 return when used effectively.

76. Leverage Word of Mouth Promotion as a Promotion Channel

Delighting clients can have a significant impact on your business, primarily in repeat business and word-of-mouth. If you provide a great experience, your clients will be more inclined to leave reviews, give testimonials, and tell their friends.

77. Make Use of User Generated Content

A great way to promote your small business is to get your clients to help in the creative process by getting them to create content for you, also called user-generated content (UGC).

Consumers are much more interested in hearing the views and opinions of their peers than reading cleverly written sales messages. Bazaar Voice says 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want additional ways to contribute their opinions on businesses, while other research suggests that clients trust user-created content more than all other types of media.

Given these developments, there has never been a better moment to begin utilizing UGC to engage your prospects and create trust with them.

78. Captivate Readers With Real Numbers in Your Content

If you want to really captivate your prospects and readers of your content, then use real numbers as it can be extremely effective

79. Increase Your Testimonial Count by Simply Asking for Them

If you want to get more testimonials, you need to follow up with your satisfied clients and always ask for reviews.

Now there is a fine line between asking for a review too early and too late. Everything is dependent on the sales cycle and your clientele. It's up to you to determine when is the best moment, and if you can automate it, even better.

Here are a few tips based on your business model:

  • If you have a retail location, focus on getting Google and possibly Yelp reviews.
  • If you are an eCommerce business, you should get and display product ratings along with reviews about your shipping, service, etc
  • If you are a service-based business, then Google reviews are a must, along with any other places people might go to look for your business

Email Marketing

Email Marketing

80. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing.

The majority of visitors that visit your site are not ready to buy. In today’s competitive marketplace, the greatest strategy to sell is to collect searchers' contact information (name and email address) for additional marketing and “lead nurturing.” With this information, you can email the new prospects and work on converting them

A "lead magnet" is the first step in an email marketing funnel. These are compelling you offer on your website for visitors in exchange for their name and email address. A free digital download, a free trial, a discount, and so on are all possibilities.

81. Create an Eye-Catching Email Signature

How often have you opened a business email and scrolled down to the signature to learn more about the sender, only to see the typical information, an inspirational quote, or please “think before printing this” statements? 

While there is nothing wrong with those, it doesn't help the recipient know any more about you or build trust

Aside from your subject line, your email signature is frequently your first impression. Whether you're doing outreach or addressing a new client, your email signature should catch their attention, enlighten them, and include a call to action.

If you want some help transforming your email signature, take a look at the Email Signature Generator from HubSpot

82. Build Mutually Beneficial Relationships by Sending a Balance of Value and Promotional Emails

If you keep hammering your prospects with “BUY NOW” type emails, you'll not only irritate them, but you'll also lose their confidence, and they are likely to unsubscribe, and then you have lost their business for good.

What you want to do is to build a relationship with your email list or prospects by sharing a mix of value and promotional emails, leaning more toward the value than promo

83. Automate Lead Nurturing Campaigns to Save Time and Money

You can save a ton of time and get a better ROI by automating your lead nurturing campaigns

Businesses that automate their lead nurturing process with customized messaging generally see a 10% or larger ROI in 6-9 months. Now there is no right or wrong email sequence as long as you are providing value before asking for something in return.

84. Learn When to Send Emails by Tracking Open and Click Through Rates

Any reputable email sending software will provide you with some sort of tracking reports which includes open and click-through rates. These metrics will help you measure the engagement of your subject lines and the campaign content of your subscriber list

These statistics are an excellent way to start testing and improving your email marketing efforts. However, with the recent changes in Apple’s privacy feature, it is a little more difficult to track open-rates. Adam recently had a great post on how to fight back against the changes that you can read about here.

Sales

Sales

86. Learn How to Sell Better to Increase Sales

You may have heard the adage that people don’t buy a 1/4 drill bit; they buy a 1/4 hole; the bit is just the means to making the hole.

In other words, people don’t buy services; they buy solutions to their problems. This means that true selling is more about listening to your clients’ needs and finding a solution, even if that isn’t you!

You may have also heard that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. You should focus more on building the relationship and less on the transaction.

Lastly, knowing your unique value proposition and why people buy from you is key to closing any deal.

87. Promote A Free Consultation

When it comes to professional services, buyers want access to your knowledge and expertise.

Promoting a free consultation can be a terrific approach to attracting new leads since you are an expert and authority in your area

Many service providers I talk to are concerned about giving too much information during a free consultation. They believe that potential clients will just take the information and run.

In most cases, the inverse is true. While DIYers could take the information and run, they were never good fits in the first place. The value you deliver during the consultation will impress the people who are willing to pay you for your quality and expertise.

This can and should be used both offline and online. It can be promoted by traditional media such as brochures, newspapers, signs, or simply word of mouth. It should also be conveyed prominently on your website and via social media.

88. Use a CRM Tool to Track Leads

Any sales method is only as good as the records you keep. If you are keeping it all in your head, in your email, post-it notes, or in a little notebook, you owe it to yourself to explore the use of a CRM. A CRM is a client relationship management system or client database.

Your CRM can help you store information about new leads, active prospects, and your clients so that you can keep track of your interactions with them and identify sales opportunities more effectively.

At Cube Creative, we use and help our clients with HubSpot, which is FREE. Check out HubSpot’s free CRM here.

89. Increase Purchasing Frequency and Amounts Using Profit Maximizers

Upsells, cross-sells, bundles, and high-ticket items are all ways to increase client transaction value and lifetime value.

90. Call Warm-Leads to Convert Them Into Clients

If your small business is going to survive, you need a constant stream of clients and leads. This is where warm calling comes in

But what is warm calling?

Dan Tyre says that,

Warm calling is connecting with a company that you’ve proactively identified as a good fit, although they haven't demonstrated an interest in your product or service yet. Based on your knowledge and experience, they fit the profile of your successful customers.

(Source: HubSpot – 15 Tips for Effective Warm Calling)

If it sounds a little like cold calling, it is; however you aren’t just randomly dialing people who aren't a good fit, you are doing your research to find people you can help, which is what a good salesperson wants to do.

Delighting Clients

Delighting Clients

91. Clients Will Love You if You Provide Outstanding Customer Service

Customer service is an indirect form of marketing that generates word-of-mouth referrals According to Khoros. “65% of customers also said they have switched to a different brand because of a poor experience.” (Source: Khoros – Must-know customer service statistics of 2021) That’s why creating a stellar customer support system from day one is vital to the success of your small business.

92. Underpromise and Overdeliver With Gifts and Bonuses

Bonuses and gifts can often make people feel like they are getting much more than they paid for.

For example, I have a client who routinely fixes something small because it needs fixing and does not charge the person extra. It may be something as simple as a brake light that costs him $2.00 and five minutes of his time, but he knows that they will come back when they need something bigger because he treated them right.

93. Send Hand-Written Thank You Cards

Nothing says you care more than a Thank You note. YOu can send a thank you note for letting you quote their business. You can send one if you get the job or after you finish it. Little things like that will set you apart and make you memorable when the time comes.

94. Take care of your employees, and they will take care of clients.

Have you've ever wondered how Southwest Airlines grew from a small regional airline to a world-class corporation? It was through establishing a company culture in which employees were treated incredibly well and cared for. Employees that are satisfied at work naturally treat clients better.

So, if you're not a one-man (or woman) show, you must understand that how you treat your employees extends all the way to your clients.

Off-line Marketing

Offline Marketing

95. Ask for Referrals

John Rampton wrote an excellent article for Entrepreneur in which he says, “referrals are the most effective, and cost-effective, way to generate new business.” (Source: Entrepreneur – 25 Ways to Ask for a Referral Without Looking Desperate) But the problem is that we often feel awkward or as if we are bothering the person when we ask for a referral.

Here's how you can make the most of referrals' incredible reach:

First off, trust is key. The reason referrals are so successful is because they provide instant credibility.

Secondly, you can’t forget to ask. Even if your clients are 100% satisfied, they will forget to refer you mainly because your needs are not on their immediate minds. However, if you can get in the habit of asking your satisfied clients if they know somebody who could use your services, you will be ahead of the game.

Lastly, wait until clients are happy. Heaven forbid if your client had a bad experience, you wouldn't want to be top of mind for them, as they may do more harm than good. But if you went the extra mile, then asking that happy client for a referral can pay off big time.

Here are a few other ways to think about getting referrals:

  • Ask for referrals directly via email, in person, or online.
  • Focus on asking your best client or clients instead of all of them.
  • Give referrals.
  • Join a professional networking or referral group.

96. Join Organizations That Would Benefit Your Business 

As I mentioned before, asking for referrals, joining a professional networking group, your local Chamber of Commerce, or a professional association can be a lot of work. Still, they can also be beneficial as well. As your business grows, you want to be the face of your business, and there is no better way than to get involved in the community.

97. Get Instant Credibility From Peers and Potential Clients by Speaking

You will have several opportunities to speak in front of an audience. In reality, presenters are frequently needed at industry conferences, volunteer organizations, local business groups, community institutions, and libraries. As a consequence, you'll gain some brand awareness, contacts, and exposure.

There are numerous opportunities to speak if you seek them out. Oftentimes industry conferences, volunteer organizations, local business groups, community colleges, Chamber of Commerce, and libraries are always looking for speakers. As a result, you can increase your visibility, credibility, and profitability.

98. People Are Subconsciously Judging You by Your Business Card

Over the years, I have been handed a variety of business cards, from wood and metal to super thick cards to thin and flimsy

I also jokingly say that I judge a business by its business cards. I think you can tell a lot about a business by how much they are willing to invest in something they get trashed or crammed in a wallet or purse to be brought out at a later date.

I will never forget the card I got handed by a small business owner one time. I was meeting with him about the possibility of helping him with his marketing. Then he gave me his “business card” and wanted to know the price for them. Unfortunately for this businessman, what he thought was a business card was a business card size piece of copy paper with his contact info on it. He hadn’t even invested in getting the perforated cards that he could run on an ink-jet printer.

I knew right then that he wouldn't be a good fit, but I did quote him my price, which he said was “too much.” I never went back by his business other than to drive by. Sometimes I do wonder how his business is doing, though.

I tell that little story to say that if I wasn’t in this business, I doubt that I would have ever remembered his business or the “card” he handed me. I believe that people are subconsciously judging you by your business card. Therefore, invest a little so that people know that you are reputable.

99. Get Your Brand and Contact Information on Your Work Vehicle

One of our clients once told me that probably one of his best forms of marketing is having his trucks wrapped. I can’t deny the fact that it probably is. At the very least, he is getting some excellent brand recognition. His trucks, once wrapped, become rolling billboards for his pest control business. If you see them parked in your neighborhood, then you know they are there to help solve or prevent some problem.

100. Sponsor an Organization to Reach New Clients

There are a variety of organizations that make ideal partners for you and your business, such as charities, non-profits, churches, schools, kids sports teams, professional organizations, and conferences. These organizations can help you significantly increase the visibility of your business.

101. Guest Posting

Guest posting is an excellent approach to broaden your audience and establish your expertise.

I know what you're thinking. You own a small business seldom have time to write content for your own site, let alone write articles for other sites.

But bear with me. When looking for guest writing opportunities, you're probably looking for well-established blogs with a sizable readership.

You and your business will be exposed to a much broader audience by posting on the site. You'll almost certainly add connections to your own site, which could increase traffic.

Final Thoughts

In this list of 101 Marketing Ideas For Local Small Business, I have tried to purposely exclude any expensive but albeit good opportunities.

If you walk away from this post with one thing, this is what I want you to remember. There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to market a small business such as yours. They are only limited only by your own creativity.

If your small business needs digital marketing or advertising help, contact our expert team of marketing strategists at Cube Creative Design today! Our marketing agency has been serving North Carolina businesses since 2005. We’d love to help you come up with more cheap advertising ideas for your small business.

Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  December 22, 2021

Chad is our business development manager. He will help you survey your business needs, ensuring you are educated on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

See Chad Treadway's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/chad-treadway