Marketing tips for small business owners

Marketing tips for small business owners

Small business owners often ask Redsteps which marketing tools work, which ones should they use and will they result in more sales and new customers?


The answer will of course vary from business to business; however, here are some general tips to help get you started.

1) Know your customers

Work out who your customer is. What do they do? Where do they work? What motivates them? When you know your customer, you will then know which channels to communicate your messages through.

There is little point putting up a billboard two blocks from your store, if you want to target new customers 15km away – they will never see that sign. You need to be where your customers will see you, and hear you, and you need to be relevant.

2) Create a budget and a strategy

It might take a bit of time; however, it is important to work out how much money you have to spend on marketing. Then, create an annual strategy around your allocated budget. We advise that 4% of your projected profit should be set aside for ongoing marketing.

Small businesses often only activate marketing campaigns when sales are slow. Try conducting regular marketing activities to stay ahead of the slow periods.

It also pays to work out the cost of each potential lead, which is known in the industry as cost per acquisition. If your budget is tight, you can then focus on the marketing tools that offer the lowest cost for gaining new customers.

For example, you could spend $5,000 on an advertisement in an annual community magazine that is distributed to 20,000 businesses in the area. This might sound great however, your target customers may not read that magazine or see your advertisement. So, if this advertisement brought one new customer into your business, it would have cost your business $5,000 for that customer. Depending on your product or service this may be an effective spend. If the lifetime value of one customer is $20,000, then this is a sound investment.

Alternatively, you could spend $5,000 on running an event that will bring 100 new customers directly to your business. This one event alone would give you over one month’s worth of news to discuss on social media to build awareness with your local community. More than 10 of these event attendees could become regular customers, so their cost to your business was $500 each.

By knowing what you have to spend and by planning how you will spend it, will also stop you changing tact too often, or getting lured in by the salesperson offering the next best advertising method for your business.

3) Measure your results

The most important thing you should do is measure your results.

Put in place ways to check which method of marketing is working the best for your business. Use different phone numbers, different email addresses or even different website pages on each of your marketing tools and take the time to review the results. By measuring results, you can track directly which campaign brings you the most leads. This in turn will help determine which campaigns to most effectively spend your marketing dollars on.

4) Be flexible

As small business owners, being flexible is your biggest strength, as well as your biggest challenge. The ability to read what works for your business and then adapt your plans accordingly, is the best advantage you are offered.

Our advice when responding to marketing opportunities is to ensure you refer back to your original goals and strategies. Look back at who your preferred customer is and what budget you have to spend. Just be ready to say no if you believe the new opportunity does not suit where you wanted to take your business.

The challenge with small business is that you are often left doing it all yourself. You will find yourself switching hats between: manager, staff member, procurement, human resources, IT, marketing – the list is endless. Delegating tasks where necessary is the best thing for you and your business. Finding experts in their fields to help you with these tasks will allow you to focus on your core business, where your time is best spent.

For more marketing advice for your business, call Redsteps on 03 8768 9383 or email