The Ultimate Guide To Marketing Your Small Business

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iPad with marketing on screen (caption: Guide to Marketing)Marketing a small business is more challenging than ever in today’s digital age, but how do you cover all your bases if you don’t have expert marketers on your team or a sizable budget?

Let us be your one-stop resource for all of your needs. We cover all of your marketing plan essentials and a number of affordable tools you can use to reach customers and boost your brand (and sales, of course).

Article Overview

Start With The Basics: Business Branding 101

Branding your new business with a unique name and logo is paramount to your company’s success. But deciding on a name, creating a logo and knowing upfront what else you need to boost your brand aren’t easy endeavors. Our guide to branding your business can help you take those first steps before you tackle other key marketing strategies.

Essential Elements Of Creative Content Marketing

Why is your creative content essential for business growth? In today’s super-competitive business world, you have to work harder than ever to stand out. There are tons of other companies who provide the same services you do. So to get more customers, you have to find a way to shine brighter than the competition. The less you look and sound like everyone else, the more you’ll be seen and heard.

Graphic Design

If your budget allows, we encourage you to hire a graphic designer. A talented and creative designer is an expert in finding ways to differentiate you from your competition and can help you build your customer-driven marketing plan. Design has the power to persuade and make connections with your customers.

Whether you’re hiring a designer or have some graphic design experience yourself, you’ll need the best tools to design your print materials and creative visuals for your website. See our reviews of the best graphic design software for our recommendations.

Tip: Before you upload or use any graphic to market your website, you’ll want to make sure you are optimizing your images to increase speed and functionality. This, in turn, can improve your search rankings since search engines (and visitors) value speed (i.e. fast page load times).

You can also opt to go with photo editing software, like Photoshop or Canva. Photo editors are more limited in design capabilities than traditional graphic design software, but they still give you the ability to get creative in adding your brand’s look to photos. You can also get creative by installing custom fonts on your computer or even turn a photo into a cartoon.

Photography & Images

Best Stock Photo Sites ReviewedSpeaking of photos, it will pay dividends to plan ahead as far as your photography budget and the types of photos and images you’ll need for your website and marketing materials. But remember, there are legalities about how you can use stock images. Read our informative article on royalty-free images to learn more about your options and their legal uses.

And be sure to check out our top picks for the best stock photography sites where you can purchase photos, illustrations, vector art, audio, video and other media. If you have a very limited budget, there are also some free stock photo sites you may want to consider.

Want To Sell Your Photos?

Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer, a great way to earn some income is by selling your stock photos online. This guide includes our top picks for the best online photo marketplaces.

Your Brand’s Voice

Your brand’s voice is just as important to your success as its look. And this means that you need high-quality writing that not only stays on message but also captivates your audience. One of the best ways to draw in readers is through outstanding headlines. And we have 10 tips to creating catchy headlines for you to always keep in mind, whether you’re writing print or web-related content.

To help establish your reader’s trust, you’ll want to make sure your writing is as professional as possible. Nothing turns off potential customers like typos and grammatical errors. Even the best writers don’t catch everything, so we encourage you to use one of these grammar checking apps to ensure you’re catching all of your errors before you publish.

All About Blogging

Thinking about creating a blog but don’t know where to begin? A blog can be a fantastic asset to complement your company’s website — or it can be your primary venture. In either case, check out our beginner’s guide to blogging to learn how to get started, how to generate visitors and much more.

Webinars Can Convert Visitors To Customers

Girl hosting webinar on computer and phoneIf you want to go beyond print and web marketing content, you might want to consider adding webinars to your marketing plan. They are a proven way to generate new customers and keep your existing customers coming back. And they’re a fantastic way for you to get a leg up on your competition by offering unique and powerful content no one else is producing.

Don’t have the in-house resources to run polished webinars? No worries. Online webinar software can do most of the work for you for a surprisingly affordable cost. What are the best ones and what do they offer? Check out our reviews of the best webinar software to learn more.

Email As A Powerful Marketing Tool

Email marketing is an absolute must-have tool to connect with your audience. It can be a surprisingly affordable investment that really pays off in spades.

Laptop, note book and phone on deskIf you’re just launching your small business and need to learn the ropes, be sure to start with our essential guide to email marketing. We share information on how email marketing benefits your business, what you need to consider before choosing a service provider and much more.

Deciding on the best email service provider for your business is no easy feat. There are TONS of them out there, but we’ve done extensive research to help you narrow down your choices whether you need an entry-level or more advanced service. Our email marketing service reviews break down providers by features they offer, pros and cons, pricing and more and also includes a terminology section to help you better understand all the features these providers offer.

Don’t Miss Tips: See our handy tips on how to create effective email marketing campaigns, essential components of a killer email and email etiquette to always keep in mind.

Another major factor you want to consider is how you’ll grow your email subscriber list in a way that isn’t off-putting to your site’s visitors. And yes, there’s some nifty software that can help you do just that. The best email capture software, like OptinMonster, is highly customizable, can integrate with your email marketing service provider and give you useful conversion analytics.

Create Your Social Media Presence

In addition to your website and email marketing efforts, your digital marketing plan should also include social media. It’s a sure bet your competitors are focusing on social media — and the last thing you want is a void on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other popular channels where your audience may be trying to find you.

Our social media gurus have written a comprehensive guide on making social media work for your business, from getting started with social networks to leveraging highly targeted fan engagement to support your brand identity.

Use Affiliate Marketing To Grow Sales

If you want to reach more potential customers, you may want to consider affiliate marketing opportunities. Affiliate marketing is often much more affordable than traditional online advertising to drive customers to your website. How does it work?

As a company, you can partner up with bloggers and other online publishers who will refer their readers to your company’s website with the ultimate goal of purchasing your products or services. See our guide to affiliate marketing to learn more about how it works, the best networks you can join and more.

Note: If you’re considering affiliate marketing, be sure to read our article on the affiliate nexus tax program.

Refine Your Marketing With Automation

Person drawing on wall CRM: Best Marketing AutomationWhen you have all of your basic marketing ducks in a row (as we’ve outlined above), how can you streamline all of your efforts to save you time and resources — especially if you don’t have a team of marketers on board? Some fantastic online marketing automation services can do an amazing job of doing this for you.

These services can sync together your website, email, social media and other marketing efforts all in one platform. Having all of these different channels in one place helps to streamline your communication with your customers and also gives you better analytics to gauge the success of all of your various marketing strategies. It can be a huge time saver for small businesses.

Do you have any digital marketing tips to share? 

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations in the late 1990s, Sally began a long career researching and writing about business, technical and scientific topics.

Her decades of experience as well as a passion to stay on top of the latest online tools and resources combine to help small businesses (and freelancers like herself) flourish.

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