The power of storytelling in small business marketing

How would you describe the power of storytelling in small business marketing?

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can help small businesses connect with their target audience on an emotional level – and build a strong brand identity.

When small businesses use storytelling in their marketing efforts, they can create a narrative that resonates with their customers. By telling a relatable, inspiring, or informative story, a small business can capture the attention and imagination of its audience, making them more likely to engage with the brand and become loyal customers.

The approach helps small businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors. By sharing unique stories about its products or services, the company can set itself apart and create a more memorable brand experience for customers.

In addition, storytelling can help small businesses communicate their values and mission more compellingly. Small businesses can build trust and credibility with their audience by sharing stories about how their company was founded, the challenges they’ve overcome, or their impact on their community.

Overall, the power of storytelling in small business marketing lies in its ability to create a deeper connection with customers and build a strong, memorable brand identity that sets the business apart from the competition.

What are some excellent examples of stories that small business marketers can share in their content strategy?

Small business marketers can share many different types of stories in their content strategy, depending on the nature of their business and the preferences of their target audience. Here are a few examples:

  1. Origin stories: Share how the business started and what initially inspired the owners. Include challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
  2. Customer success stories: Highlight the positive experiences of customers who have used the business’s products or services. Share how the company has helped them overcome challenges, achieve their goals, or improve their lives.
  3. Behind-the-scenes stories: Offer a glimpse into the business’s day-to-day operations, including how you make products or deliver services. Include anecdotes about the team and their work culture.
  4. Personal stories: Share personal stories from the business owners or employees, such as their passions, hobbies, or community involvement. Doing so helps humanize the brand and make it more relatable to customers.
  5. Social impact stories: Highlight your social responsibility. Share stories about how it is making a positive impact in the community or the world.
  6. Industry insights: To demonstrate the business’s expertise and thought leadership, offer insights into industry trends or news.

By incorporating these stories into a content strategy, small business marketers can create a more engaging and memorable brand experience for their audience.

Where should small business owners share these stories?

Small business owners can share their stories across various platforms and channels, both online and offline. Here are a few examples:

  1. Social media: Share stories on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Use visual content such as images and videos to make the stories more engaging.
  2. Blog: Write blog posts that share stories and insights related to the business, industry, or customer experiences. Doing so helps drive traffic to the business’s website and establish the brand as an industry thought leader.
  3. Email marketing: Share stories through email marketing campaigns, such as newsletters and promotional emails. Emails can help nurture relationships with existing customers and attract new ones.
  4. Events: Host events for product launches, open houses, or community reasons and share stories during these events. Doing so can help create a more personal and engaging experience for customers and prospects.
  5. Public relations: Share stories through press releases, media interviews, and other public relations efforts. Media coverage can raise the business profile in the community.

Sharing stories across these different channels and platforms allows small business owners to reach a broader audience and build stronger relationships. The key is to be strategic and consistent in how they share their stories. And remember to tailor content to the preferences and needs of their target audience.

What’s the best way to start incorporating storytelling into your marketing?

The best way to get started with incorporating storytelling into your marketing is to follow these steps:

  1. Identify your audience: The first step is to understand your target audience and what they care about. What motivates them? What are their pain points and challenges? What are their interests and preferences? 
  2. Define your brand story: Develop a clear and compelling story that captures your business’s essence and what sets it apart. Include the origin story of your business, your mission and values, and what you offer to customers.
  3. Choose the best stories to tell: Determine which stories will most effectively communicate your brand message and engage your audience. Look for stories that are authentic, relevant, and memorable and that align with your brand values.
  4. Develop a content strategy: Once you have identified your audience, defined your brand story, and choose the best stories to tell, it’s time to develop a content strategy. A content strategy should include the types of content you will create, the platforms and channels you will use to distribute it, and a timeline for execution.
  5. Create and share your stories: Now, it’s time to start creating and sharing them. Use a variety of formats, such as videos, images, and written content, and distribute them across a range of channels, including social media, email, and events.
  6. Evaluate and refine: Finally, evaluate the effectiveness of your storytelling efforts and make adjustments as needed. Use metrics such as engagement rates, website traffic, and sales to measure the impact of your stories. Refine your approach over time to maximize results.

By following these steps, small business owners can effectively incorporate storytelling into their marketing efforts and build stronger relationships with their audience. The key is to stay true to your brand values and create stories that resonate with your target audience.

For more information on this topic, check out our quick guide to local marketing strategies.

Creating a successful small business marketing plan

What is a marketing plan, and why is it crucial for small businesses?

A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a small business’s overall marketing strategy and tactics to achieve its business goals. It covers all aspects of marketing, including market research, target audience, positioning, marketing mix, messaging, and budget.

A marketing plan is essential for small businesses for several reasons:

  1. Helps define business goals: A marketing plan helps small businesses identify their specific marketing goals and how they will measure success. The plan lets companies focus on their objectives and avoid wasted marketing efforts.
  2. Provides a roadmap: It provides a roadmap that outlines the specific marketing strategies and tactics that the business will use to achieve its goals. Marketing plans help small businesses stay organized, focused, and consistent in their marketing efforts.
  3. Enables effective resource allocation: A marketing plan helps small businesses allocate their resources effectively, including their budget, time, and personnel. Having one ensures that resources are directed to the most impactful marketing initiatives, resulting in a higher return on investment.
  4. Enhances understanding of target audience: It helps small businesses gain a deep understanding of their target audience, including their needs, preferences, and behaviours. You can tailor your marketing messages and tactics to effectively reach and resonate with their ideal customers.
  5. Provides a competitive advantage: A marketing plan helps small businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors by identifying their unique selling proposition and how they will communicate that message to their target audience.

In summary, a marketing plan is critical for small businesses as it helps them define their marketing goals, allocate resources, understand their target audience, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. As a result, small companies can maximize their marketing efforts and achieve long-term success with a solid marketing plan.

How do you go about creating a successful small business marketing plan?

Creating a successful marketing plan for a small business involves several key steps. Here are some general guidelines to help you get started:

  1. Define your target audience: Knowing your ideal customer will help you create marketing messages and choose the proper marketing channels to reach them.
  2. Set marketing goals: What do you want to achieve with your marketing efforts? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate more leads, or drive sales? Ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  3. Conduct a competitive analysis: Research your competitors and see what they’re doing well and where they fall short. This information will help you differentiate your business and stand out.
  4. Develop your unique selling proposition (USP): Your USP sets you apart. It’s the reason why customers should choose your business over others.
  5. Choose your marketing channels: Based on your target audience, marketing goals, and budget, choose the marketing channels that will be most effective for reaching your ideal customer. Marketing channels include social media, email marketing, SEO, paid advertising, content marketing, or direct mail.
  6. Create your marketing messages: Craft compelling marketing messages that speak directly to your target audience and highlight your USP. Make sure your messaging is consistent across all your marketing channels.
  7. Set your budget: Determine how much you can afford to spend on marketing and allocate your budget to the channels that will impact your target audience the most.
  8. Implement, test, and measure: Launch your marketing campaigns and track your results. Analyze your data to see what’s working and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Remember, a marketing plan is a living document you should revisit and update regularly. These steps can create a solid foundation for your marketing efforts and set your small business up for success.

What are some tools you can use to create a marketing plan?

There are several tools that small businesses can use to create a marketing plan. Here are some examples:

  1. SWOT Analysis: A SWOT analysis is a tool that helps businesses identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis can help identify areas where a small business can differentiate itself and identify potential areas for growth.
  2. Market Research: Conducting market research can help small businesses identify their target audience, their needs, and their preferences. This information can help small companies tailor their marketing messages and tactics to reach their ideal customers effectively.
  3. Competitor Analysis: Conducting a competitor analysis can help small businesses identify their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats in the market. This information can help small businesses differentiate themselves and identify potential areas for growth.
  4. Marketing Mix: The marketing mix is a framework that includes the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. This tool helps small businesses identify how they will position their products or services, how they will price them, how they will promote them, and where they will sell them.
  5. SMART Goals: Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) can help small businesses stay focused and measure the success of their marketing efforts.
  6. Budgeting Tools: Several tools are available to help small businesses create a marketing budget, allocate resources, and track expenses.
  7. Marketing Calendar: A marketing calendar is a tool that helps small businesses plan and schedules their marketing activities, including content creation, email campaigns, social media posts, and promotions.

These are just a few examples of the many tools available to small businesses when creating a marketing plan. Of course, a business’s tools will depend on its specific goals, resources, and market conditions.

What traps should you look out for when creating a marketing plan?

When creating a marketing plan, there are several traps that small businesses should be mindful of. Here are a few common ones to keep in mind:

  1. Lack of focus: One of the biggest traps that small businesses fall into when creating a marketing plan is a need for more focus. To avoid this, clearly defining your goals, target audience, and messaging is essential. Without a clear focus, your marketing efforts may lack direction and fail to achieve your desired outcomes.
  2. Overreliance on a single tactic: It’s essential to diversify your marketing efforts across several channels to ensure you’re effectively reaching your target audience. Overreliance on a single tactic can limit your reach and effectiveness. For example, relying solely on social media marketing may only be effective if your target audience is active there.
  3. Ignoring your competition: It’s essential to understand your competitors’ performance in the market. Failing to do so may result in missed opportunities for differentiation and ultimately losing out to your competition.
  4. Unrealistic goals: Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and frustration. Ensure that your goals are achievable, given your available resources and market conditions.
  5. Not measuring results: Measuring the success of your marketing efforts is critical to refining and improving your strategies over time. You will know what is working and what is not with proper measurement.
  6. Poor allocation of resources: Effective resource allocation is essential to the success of your marketing plan. Failing to allocate your resources effectively can result in wasted resources, ineffective campaigns, and, ultimately, a failed marketing plan.

By avoiding these common traps, small businesses can create a focused and effective marketing plan that helps them achieve their goals and grow their business.

How should you measure your marketing plan’s effectiveness once it’s executed?

Measuring the effectiveness of a marketing plan is critical to refining and improving your strategies over time. Here are some standard metrics and methods that small businesses can use to measure the effectiveness of their marketing plan:

  1. Sales Revenue: Measuring your revenue is one of the most effective ways to gauge the success of your marketing plan. Increased sales revenue suggests that your marketing efforts drive customer engagement and sales.
  2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): CAC indicates how much it costs to acquire a new customer. By tracking CAC over time, you can determine if your marketing efforts are becoming more or less efficient in attracting new customers.
  3. Return on Investment (ROI): ROI measures the financial return on your marketing investments. By comparing the revenue generated to the cost of your marketing investments, you can determine the effectiveness of your marketing plan.
  4. Website Traffic: Tracking your website traffic can help determine if your marketing efforts increase your brand’s engagement. You can use tools like Google Analytics to track website traffic and metrics like bounce rate, time spent on site, and conversion rates.
  5. Social Media Engagement: Measuring social media engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.) can help you determine if your social media marketing efforts are resonating with your audience and driving increased engagement.
  6. Customer Feedback: Collecting customer feedback through surveys or other means can help you gauge how your customers perceive your brand and your marketing efforts.
  7. Conversion Rates: Measuring conversion rates (e.g., email sign-ups, contact form submissions, etc.) can help you determine if your marketing efforts effectively drive actions that lead to increased sales or engagement.

It’s essential to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan on an ongoing basis and adjust your strategies as needed. Doing so allows you to refine and optimize your marketing efforts over time and achieve more success.

More resources 

Here are other resources to help you start your small business marketing plan:

AI and Marketing 101

What is AI, and why is it an important concept for marketers?

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, refers to developing computer systems that can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. Examples include situations related to learning, problem-solving, and decision-making.

For marketers, AI can be a valuable tool that can provide insights and automate repetitive tasks, allowing them to optimize strategies and campaigns. Here are a few reasons why AI is important for marketers:

  1. Personalization: Help marketers create personalized customer experiences based on their preferences and behaviours. By analyzing data from customer interactions, AI can recommend customized products, content, and offers to individual customers.
  2. Efficiency: Automate tasks such as data analysis, lead scoring, and campaign optimization, which saves marketers time and resources, allowing them to focus on high-level tasks and creative strategies.
  3. Predictive analytics: Make better decisions by analyzing data and identifying patterns and trends. Results help predict customer behaviour and anticipate future needs.
  4. Customer service: AI can improve customer service by providing quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries through chatbots, virtual assistants, and other AI-powered tools.

In short, Artificial Intelligence can help marketers create more personalized, efficient, and effective campaigns, leading to better customer experiences and higher ROI.

What are some specific marketing tasks that AI can help with?

Artificial Intelligence can help with a wide range of marketing tasks, including:

  1. Data analysis: Analyze large amounts of data to identify patterns, trends, and insights to inform marketing strategies and campaigns.
  2. Audience segmentation: Segment audiences based on behaviour, demographics, and other criteria, allowing marketers to create more targeted and personalized campaigns.
  3. Content creation: Generate product descriptions, blog posts, and social media updates based on data and user preferences.
  4. Personalization: Personalize content, offers, and product recommendations based on user data and behaviour.
  5. Lead scoring: Score leads based on their behaviour and engagement with marketing materials, allowing marketers to focus on the most promising leads.
  6. Chatbots: Chatbots can provide quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries, improving customer service and reducing the workload on human agents.
  7. Predictive analytics: AI can analyze customer data to predict behaviour and anticipate future needs, allowing marketers to tailor their campaigns and offers accordingly.
  8. Ad targeting: AI can analyze user behaviour and preferences to target ads more effectively, improving the ROI of advertising campaigns.

Artificial Intelligence can help marketers automate and optimize many tasks, allowing them to focus on strategy, creativity, and delivering a better customer experience.

John Stroud of AI Guides talks about the role of Articifical Intelligence in marketing on A Little Marketing.  

What should a marketer be careful about incorporating AI solutions into their marketing mix?

While Artificial Intelligence can offer significant benefits to marketers, there are also several pitfalls to watch out for. Here are a few things that marketers should be careful about:

  1. Bias: If the data contains bias or is incomplete, the AI may perpetuate those biases or make incorrect assumptions. It’s important to carefully evaluate the data used to train algorithms and to monitor the output for signs of bias.
  2. Privacy concerns: This technology can involve collecting and analyzing large amounts of personal data. Marketers must be transparent about how they collect and use this data and must comply with applicable privacy regulations.
  3. Implementation challenges: AI solutions can be complex and require significant resources to implement effectively. Marketers should carefully evaluate their needs and capabilities before investing in an AI solution and prepare for a potentially steep learning curve.
  4. Over-reliance: AI can automate many tasks and provide valuable insights but does not replace human judgment and creativity. Marketers should be careful not to rely too heavily on AI and continue using their expertise and intuition.
  5. Ethical considerations: Artificial Intelligence in marketing raises critical ethical concerns, such as the potential for manipulation and the impact on jobs and the economy. Marketers should consider these implications carefully and adapt their strategies accordingly.

In summary, incorporating AI into the marketing mix can offer significant benefits. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential challenges and proceed cautiously. Marketers should carefully evaluate the data, ensure compliance with privacy regulations, be prepared for implementation challenges, not rely too heavily on AI, and consider the ethical implications of their use of AI.

Note: This post and several of our more recent posts were generated using ChatGPT.

How Does Online Shopping Affect Local Businesses?

Online shopping has grown significantly in recent years. Several factors, including the increasing availability of high-speed internet and the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, are driving its growth. Additionally, the convenience and potential cost savings associated with e-commerce platforms make them an increasingly popular option. For example, around 76% of U.S. adults shop online, while over half of consumers prefer shopping in a physical store

How does online shopping affect local businesses?

Online shopping can affect local businesses in many ways. On the one hand, online shopping can provide local businesses access to a broader market, allowing them to sell to people who may not visit a physical store. However, on the other hand, it can also make it easier for customers to compare prices and purchase from competitors, potentially taking business away from local stores. In addition, if a customer can buy a product online, they will be less likely to visit a local store – negatively impacting foot traffic and sales. 

Ultimately, the impact of online shopping on local businesses can vary depending on several factors, including the type of business and its online presence.

Should a local business offer e-commerce options?

Whether or not a local business should offer e-commerce options depends on some factors. Companies may find that providing e-commerce options helps them reach a broader market and generate additional revenue. For example, suppose a local bakery only sells its products in its physical location. In that case, it may reach more customers and increase sales by offering online ordering and delivery. 

However, other businesses may find that the costs and time required to set up and maintain an e-commerce platform are not worth the potential benefits. Additionally, some companies may not offer products that lend themselves well to online sales, such as perishable goods or services that require in-person interactions. Ultimately, whether or not a local business should offer e-commerce options depends on its circumstances and goals.

What are some examples of local businesses benefiting from developing an e-commerce option for their clients?

Many examples exist of local businesses benefiting from developing an online option for their clients. For example, a local clothing store may find that offering online shopping allows them to reach customers outside their local area, increasing their reach and sales. Likewise, a local restaurant may find that providing online ordering and delivery will enable them to serve more customers and increase their revenue. Additionally, a local art gallery may reach more buyers by selling products online, allowing them to expand their business and increase profits.

What are some examples of local businesses being negatively affected by competitors offering online shopping options?

There are many examples of local businesses being negatively affected by competitors offering online shopping options. For example, a local bookstore may find that customers can purchase books from online retailers at a lower price, leading to decreased sales. A local clothing store may need help to compete with online-only retailers that offer a more comprehensive selection of products at lower prices. Additionally, a local restaurant may find that customers can order food from a competing restaurant that offers online ordering and delivery, leading to decreased foot traffic and sales. Overall, offering online shopping options can give customers more choices and convenience, which can negatively impact local businesses.

Do customers prefer online shopping versus visiting a brick-and-mortar location?

It is difficult to say whether customers prefer online shopping or visiting a brick-and-mortar location. This can vary depending on several factors, including the product or service offered and the customer’s preferences. For example, some customers may prefer the convenience and ease of e-commerce options. In contrast, others may enjoy the tactile experience of browsing and purchasing products in a physical store. In addition, some customers may prefer to shop online for certain products, such as electronics or clothing, but may choose to shop in person for others, such as groceries or household goods. Overall, the preference for online shopping versus visiting a brick-and-mortar location will likely vary depending on the individual customer and the specific situation.

Which types of local businesses generally succeed with e-commerce platforms?

The types of local businesses likely to succeed with e-commerce platforms can vary depending on the nature of the business and the experience they can offer. For example, companies that provide a wide selection of products, competitive prices, and a seamless experience are likely to be successful with online shopping platforms. Examples can include businesses such as clothing and accessory retailers, bookstores, and home goods stores. 

Companies that offer specialized products may successfully provide online shopping, as they can reach customers who may not find those products at a physical store. But, overall, the success of a local business offering online shopping depends on the quality of its products, the prices it can offer, and the online shopping experience they provide.

Here are some other resources for small businesses

Starting a Podcast to Grow Your Business

Interested in starting a podcast to grow your business? As you know, last summer, we started a podcast that gets posted to YouTube every week. A Little Marketing has been a labour of love since the start. Created in collaboration with Nikki Gillingham of Blue Whale Marketing in Kelowna, B.C., we’re proud of each episode and the amazing guests who have appeared. We’ve quickly seen the benefits.

Starting a podcast can be a great way to grow your business, as it allows you to reach a larger audience and build a stronger connection with your customers and prospects. 

Starting a Podcast to Grow Your Business

One of our first guests on the show was Steph Wharton, a podcasting expert. Our discussion was wide-ranging and included many tips on how to get started. Here are some from Steph and others that are helpful.

  • Choose a relevant topic for your business that will interest your target audience. The stories you tell on your podcast will help attract and engage listeners. In addition, your stories will position your business as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Invest in high-quality equipment, such as a good microphone and recording software, to ensure that your podcast sounds professional.
  • Plan and outline your episodes in advance, and prepare any materials or notes you need. Doing so will help you stay focused and on track and avoid rambling or losing your train of thought.
  • Promote your podcast on your website and social media channels, and encourage your audience to subscribe and leave reviews. 
  • Be consistent and commit to regularly publishing new episodes to build a loyal audience and keep them engaged with your content.

Starting a podcast can be a powerful marketing tool for your business but it requires planning, preparation, and dedication. By following these tips and being consistent, you can use your podcast to grow your business and connect with your audience in a meaningful way.

For more help understanding how starting a podcast can help grow your business, watch our podcast with Steph Wharton. And remember to learn from other marketing experts from our A Little Marketing podcast. 

On which platforms should I place my podcast?

You can publish your podcast on many platforms, including popular ones like Apple, Spotify, and Google. These platforms are easy to use and have a large audience, making them an excellent place to start.

In addition to these mainstream platforms, there are many specialized podcast hosting and distribution services, such as AnchorBuzzsprout, and Podbean. These services can provide additional features and tools to help you manage and promote your podcast, such as analytics, show notes, and customizable RSS feeds.

It can also be helpful to publish your podcast on your website and on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Doing so will help you reach a wider audience and give you more control over the presentation of your podcast and how it’s shared.

Ultimately, the best platforms for your podcast will depend on your target audience, goals, and resources. It’s a good idea to experiment and try publishing on different platforms to see which works best for you and your business.

How should I promote my podcast?

Promoting your podcast is essential to growing your audience and reaching new listeners. Here are some tips to help you effectively promote your podcast:

  • Include your podcast on your website and social media channels. Make it easy for people to find and subscribe to your podcast – share episodes on your social media feed to promote them to your followers.
  • Create show notes for each episode, including a summary, key takeaways, and any relevant links or resources. Show notes help people understand your episode and give them a reason to listen.
  • Use keywords and tags to make your podcast discoverable on platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Keywords and tags help people find your podcast when they search for related topics.
  • Collaborate with other podcasters or influencers in your industry. You can cross-promote each other’s shows, guest on episodes, or share each other’s content on social media. This idea aims to help you reach a new audience and build relationships with other creators.
  • Engage with your audience and encourage feedback. Respond to comments and reviews, and ask for input or suggestions on future episodes. You’ll build a community around your podcast and make your audience feel valued.

Overall, promoting your podcast requires a combination of tactics and strategies. By using a variety of channels and engaging with your audience, you can effectively promote and grow your podcast over time.

What are some benefits of starting a podcast to support and promote my business?

Starting a podcast can provide many benefits for your business, including the following:

  • Reach a larger audience. Podcasts are a popular and convenient way for people to consume content. They can help you get a wider audience than you can with other marketing channels.
  • Build credibility and authority. By sharing your expertise and insights on your podcast, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build credibility and trust with your audience.
  • Connect with your audience. Podcasts offer a personal and engaging format to help you build stronger connections with your audience and foster loyalty.
  • Provide value to your audience. You can demonstrate your expertise and help your audience learn and grow by providing valuable and relevant content on your podcast.
  • Generate leads and sales. Your podcast can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your website and generating leads and sales for your business. You can include calls to action and links to your products and services in your episodes to encourage listeners to take action.

Starting a podcast can be a valuable addition to your marketing strategy and can help you grow your business and connect with your audience in a meaningful way.

Is YouTube a viable platform for podcasting?

Yes, YouTube can be a viable platform for podcasting. Many podcasters publish their episodes on YouTube and other podcasting platforms, as it can help them reach a wider audience and gain more visibility for their content.

One advantage of publishing your podcast on YouTube is that it allows you to include visuals with your audio content. The visual aspect makes your episodes more engaging and helps you promote your brand and showcase your products and services.

Another advantage of YouTube is that it has a large and active community of users, and it can be an excellent place to connect with other creators and share your content. You can also use YouTube’s tools and features, such as analytics and advertising, to help you grow your audience and reach new listeners.

Of course, there are also some challenges to publishing your podcast on YouTube. For example, YouTube’s algorithms can make it difficult for your episodes to get discovered, and it can be competitive to get views and subscribers on the platform.

Whether or not YouTube is a good platform for your podcast depends on your goals, audience, and content. It can be worth considering as part of your overall podcasting strategy, but you may also want to publish your episodes on other platforms.

Basic Small Business Marketing Strategies

Small business marketing refers to the strategies and tactics to promote products or services and reach a small business’s target audience. Because small businesses typically have limited resources, their marketing efforts may be focused on a specific local area or target audience. They may include a mix of online and offline marketing tactics.

Small business marketing can include a wide range of activities. Some examples include:

  • Creating a solid brand identity and developing a marketing plan
  • Developing and distributing marketing materials
  • Using social media and other online platforms to connect with customers
  • Participating in local events and community activities to raise awareness of the business. 

Small business marketing aims to generate leads and sales and build a loyal customer base.

What are some small business marketing strategies?

Small businesses can use different marketing strategies depending on their goals and resources. Some common approaches include:

  1. Creating a solid brand identity and ensuring consistency in marketing materials – think logo, website, and social media channels.
  2. Building a customer email list and sending regular newsletters or promotions to keep customers engaged and informed about your business.
  3. Leveraging social media to connect with customers, share content, and promote your products or services.
  4. Offering promotions, discounts, or other incentives to encourage customers to try your products or services.
  5. Collaborating with other businesses or influencers to reach a broader audience and gain exposure for your brand.
  6. Investing in search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your visibility on search engines and attract more organic traffic to your website.
  7. Creating and sharing engaging, high-quality content, such as blog posts, videos, or infographics, to attract and retain customers.
  8. Focusing on customer service and building positive relationships with your customers to encourage repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.
What kind of stories should small businesses tell in their marketing efforts?

Small businesses should focus on telling stories that resonate with their target audience and highlight the unique aspects of their brand. Tips to achieve this can include:

  • Stories about the history of the business
  • The inspiration behind their products or services
  • The challenges they have overcome
  • The positive impact they have made in their community.

Some examples may include the following:

  • An artisanal bakery might tell the story of how the owner learned to bake from their grandmother and how they use traditional recipes and techniques to create their delicious pastries.
  • A fashion boutique might tell the story of how the owner sources clothing from independent designers and supports the local fashion community.
  • A small artisanal soap company might tell how they started making soap as a hobby using natural ingredients and sustainable packaging.

These stories can help small businesses connect with their customers on a deeper level and differentiate themselves from larger, more impersonal brands. By telling authentic, engaging stories, small companies can create a solid emotional connection with their customers and build a loyal following.

What are some good ways for small businesses to develop trust with clients?

Developing trust with clients is essential for the success of any small business. Here are some ways that small businesses can build trust with their clients:

  1. Be transparent and honest in all your interactions with clients. This means being upfront about your pricing, services, and policies and not making false or exaggerated claims about your products or services.
  2. Provide exceptional customer service and be responsive to your client’s needs, which means being available to answer questions, address concerns, and resolve any issues promptly and professionally.
  3. Deliver on your promises and meet your client’s expectations. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you follow through and do it to the best of your ability.
  4. Be consistent in the quality of your products or services. If you consistently provide high-quality products or services, your clients will come to trust that they can count on you to deliver what you say you will.
  5. Use testimonials, reviews, and referrals to show potential clients that others have had positive experiences working with your business, which can help build trust and credibility with potential clients.
  6. Be transparent about your business practices and policies. Include sharing information about your supply chain, sustainability efforts, or community involvement.
  7. Be responsive and communicative with your clients to keep them informed about the progress of their projects. Be available to answer questions or address concerns as they arise.

Building trust with your clients is about consistently providing high-quality products or services, being transparent and honest in your interactions, and being responsive and communicative throughout the process. And, yes, building trust is all about the outcomes of your marketing efforts.

Other Marketing Resources for Small Businesses

Canva Benefits for Small Businesses

Canva is a fantastic graphic design tool for small businesses looking for a DIY design model for creating marketing materials. Canva allows users to create visual content for various purposes, such as social media posts, presentations, and posters. It provides users with several templates, design elements that customize to fit their needs, and various tools for editing and enhancing images. Canva is available online and as a mobile app, and it offers both a free version and a paid subscription plan with additional features and access to more content.

Why are businesses using Canva?

Businesses use this fantastic tool for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it allows them to create professional-looking visual content quickly and easily without the need for specialized design skills or software. As a result, Canva can save businesses time and money and help them create more consistent and effective marketing materials. Additionally, Canva’s templates and design elements are customizable, so businesses can create tailored content for their brand aesthetic. Furthermore, Canva’s online platform and mobile app make it easy for teams to collaborate and work on design projects, which can be especially useful for businesses with remote or distributed teams.

What are some specific business applications?

Some specific business applications for Canva include creating marketing materials such as social media posts, ads, and email newsletters; designing presentations and infographics; creating branded documents and other collateral; and editing and enhancing product images. People can also use Canva to create visual content for websites, such as banner images, headers, and promotional materials like posters and flyers. Additionally, businesses can use Canva to create and print physical products, such as business cards, stickers, and marketing collateral.

What skills do you need to learn how to use this tool?

To learn to use Canva, you should understand basic graphic design principles, such as composition, colour theory, and typography. Additionally, it can be helpful to have a creative eye and an understanding of your business’s brand and aesthetic so that you can create designs that are effective and consistent with your brand. But this isn’t necessary, as Canva is accessible to people of all design skills. With practice, anyone can learn to use Canva to create professional-looking visual content.

Canva is generally easy to use. It has a user-friendly interface and provides users with various customizable templates and design elements to fit their needs. It also offers a variety of tools for editing and enhancing images, which are intuitive and straightforward to use. Additionally, Canva provides a range of tutorials and other resources to help users learn how to use the platform, so even if you are new to graphic design, you can quickly learn how to create professional-looking designs. Most people find Canva relatively easy to use, even without experience with graphic design.

Do I need to pay to use it?

Canva offers both a free version and a paid subscription plan. The free version includes access to a wide range of templates, design elements, tools, and the ability to create and share designs. However, the free version is ad-supported and has some limitations, such as a limited selection of images and templates and the inability to use certain features, such as the ability to save designs as PDFs or to upload custom fonts. 

The paid subscription plan, called Canva Pro, removes these limitations and gives users access to additional features and content, such as more templates and images, the ability to save designs as PDFs, and upload custom fonts. Canva Pro also includes access to additional design tools and features, such as advanced editing capabilities and the ability to create and share design templates within a team.


Coworking for Small Businesses

One of the more interesting conversations we’ve had on A Little Marketing, our podcast with Blue Whale Communications’s Nikki Gillingham, was with Caterina Mazzone of Metspace. Metspace is a coworking business with locations in Montreal. During our conversation, we discussed the benefits of working in such an environment and, of course, the benefits.

Watch our episode to learn everything Caterina has to say!

Caterina Mazzone of Metspace discussed the benefits of working in a coworking space.

What is a coworking space?

A coworking space is a shared workspace where people from different companies and organizations can come together to work. These spaces often provide high-speed internet, printing services, conference rooms, and a community of like-minded professionals. Offices like these are becoming increasingly popular as a flexible, cost-effective alternative to traditional office spaces.

What kinds of businesses best fit a coworking space?

A shared office space can be a good fit for many businesses, including freelancers, startups, and small to medium-sized enterprises. However, coworking spaces generally are best suited for companies that value flexibility, collaboration, and cost-efficiency. Some examples of businesses that may be well-suited to working in a coworking space include digital marketing agencies, design firms, software development companies, and other businesses that can benefit from this environment.

What are the benefits of working in a shared office space for a small business owner?

There are many benefits of working at a shared office space for a small business owner. Some of the most significant benefits include the following:

  1. Cost savings: Renting space can be much more affordable than leasing a traditional office space. Valid especially for small business owners who may only need a little space.
  2. Flexibility: Most shared office spaces offer flexible lease options, which is helpful for businesses that need to scale up or down quickly.
  3. Collaboration: Coworking spaces allow for collaboration and networking with other professionals. Business owners can drive new business opportunities and valuable connections.
  4. Community: Many of these spaces have a strong sense of community and can provide a supportive and collaborative environment.
  5. Amenities: Coworking spaces often provide high-speed internet, printing services, and conference rooms. Access to these tools is excellent for small business owners who may not have these resources.
What are the networking benefits of working at a coworking space?

Working in a shared office space can provide many networking benefits. Some of the most significant benefits include the following:

  1. Access to a built-in community. Many coworking spaces have a strong sense of community and provide opportunities for members to connect and build relationships.
  2. Opportunities to learn from other professionals. Gain valuable insights into different industries and business models.
  3. Exposure to potential clients and partners. Coworking spaces often attract a diverse range of businesses, allowing small business owners to meet potential clients and partners.
  4. Access to a supportive and collaborative environment. Working in a shared office space can provide a supportive and collaborative environment to help small business owners thrive and grow their businesses.
Can my business be listed on Google Maps and Search if I work at a coworking space?

Your business can be listed on Google Maps and Search if you work at a coworking space. However, the specific requirements for being listed on Google Maps and Search may vary depending on the location of the coworking space and other factors. For example, the shared office space must be a permanent, physical location open to the public during regular business hours. The address must also be verifiable through a third-party source, such as a government agency or business directory. Therefore, checking with the coworking space and Google is essential to determine whether your business is eligible for listing on Google Maps and Search.

How To Use Event Marketing To Market Your Business

Whether you’re a small, medium or large business, finding new ways to market your business will always be a critical piece of the puzzle. Getting innovative with your marketing tactics can help you attract new clients or customers and keep current ones extra engaged. One exciting strategy businesses use to market their business is event marketing – hosting a live event. Whether the event is in-person, virtual or a hybrid, a live event allows you to share your valuable knowledge with a large audience in a more in-depth and engaging setting.

What is Event Marketing?

Event marketing is a strategy that businesses use to promote their brand, products or services through real-time, live engagement. During these events, audiences can interact directly with event representatives.

The truth is that your business has made it as far as it has today because of your expert knowledge in your industry. Your customers turn to your business because they trust you have valuable knowledge and resources to help them. Putting on a live event allows you, as a business owner, to continue to showcase all that your business has to offer.

You could put on an event for a new product or service launch, for presentations with expert speakers from your business, to promote an exciting new business endeavour or for any other reason that brings a large number of potential clientele to hear you speak.

So, if you want to learn more about putting on a live event to market your business, we have the inside scoop on event marketing!

In the latest episode of A Little Marketing, a Podcast with Nikki and Mark, we chatted with Enzo Palermo of Tecnika, event technology specialist in Montreal, Quebec. Our discussion discussed event planning and things to consider for virtual and in-person events. Enzo shares valuable information on how you can launch a live event to market your business.

Event Marketing with Guest Expert Enzo Palermo

Enzo Palermo of Tecnika Productions discusses event marketing on our latest episode of A Little Marketing

So, what exactly is the purpose of putting on a live event? Well, Enzo says that it’s all about making connections, which is crucial for any business, “At the end of the day, we’re trying to connect people to people…We have a message to deliver. So, how do we deliver it?”

Live events. That’s how those connections are delivered.

But there are various formats of live events. Traditionally, these events have mostly been in-person, but in the wake of the pandemic, virtual and hybrid live events are becoming increasingly popular.

“It’s hard to replace face-to-face with virtual, but there’s a place for virtual, I think, for a long, long time. Think of the reach you can get with a virtual event,” Enzo says.

He also mentions that hybrid events are trendy now. Hybrid events allow attendees to attend virtually or in person – an excellent option for businesses with a wide geographic range of clients.

“If the pandemic taught us one thing…it’s that we need to try new things. The pandemic forced us to do that,” Enzo says about hybrid live events.

So which platforms to use for either hybrid or virtual events? Enzo says, “There’s no magic formula… but I sometimes find when you combine different platforms, you get the best results.” For example, he mentions that Zoom is the most popular platform in the industry for live events. Venus software and Zoom make a great combination, as it takes the production quality of the Zoom event to the next level – giving a higher experience for virtual event attendees.

Learn More About Event Marketing

The bottom line is that event marketing is innovative tool businesses have at their disposal for marketing and creating connections. Be sure to check out the episode of our podcast here to learn more. And remember to subscribe so that you get all the episodes!

How To Move My Business Up On Google Search

When it comes to your business’ presence on search engines, the higher you rank, the easier it is for potential customers to find you. And with Google being home to 83% of the internet’s searches, moving your business’ website ranking up on Google Search is especially important for web visibility. 

Having more visibility on Google adds authenticity and credibility to your business. Searchers are more likely to interact with the first few search results as they might view them as the most credible or relevant results. Consumers also want things to be simple. They don’t want to spend time scrolling through pages of search results on Google, which is why the higher you rank on Google, the more traffic your website will generate. And more traffic means more revenue!

It’s no secret that ranking higher on Google is crucial for your business. But how can you move your business up on Google search?

Ranking higher on Google is all about playing the long game. It requires diligence and consistency in applying specific search ranking tactics. The good news is that if you are consistent with your search engine strategy, you’ll start to see actual results. And trust us when we say it’s worth it to put in the work to rank higher on Google.

So, if you want to move your business up on Google search, here are some things you should do.

Have a Strong SEO Strategy

First, ensure your business is optimized to rank higher in search engines with a fully optimized website. If you don’t know what SEO is, it’s worth learning more about how to accomplish this. What’s great about an SEO strategy is that it’s a highly inexpensive marketing tactic. 

Here are some ways that you can update your website to reflect good SEO:

  • Have a blog: A blog allows you to consistently update your website with new content – something Google’s algorithm likes. The more you update your website’s content, the higher you can rank in Google’s search results. Blogs are also an excellent opportunity to insert keywords. We’ll talk more about the importance of keywords in the next section.
  • Make your website accessible: The more accessible your website is, the higher you’ll rank. Having an accessible website allows searchers with disabilities to interact with the content on your website. Examples of accessibility could include closed captioning on videos or text-to-talk translation features. 
  • Add internal links: Build authority for your website with internal links. Link to relevant content, or even link back to your website’s blog.
  • Keywords! Keywords are one of the most effective ways to rank higher in Google. Your business can even own keywords on Google so that your website pops up whenever someone searches for one! So let’s talk about how your business can use keywords to rank higher.
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords!

Think about it: when a customer searches for something on a search engine, how are they searching for what they want to find? Keywords! So having a good keyword strategy is one of the best ways to move up in Google. 

An excellent place to start is keyword research. Identify opportunities to own specific keywords online. Also, look for any keyword gaps that the competition leaves open.

Use keywords in your blog, in the headings on your website – even in your URL! A good rule of thumb for keywords and SEO is that your content should match the keywords in your headers, URL or page title. Google evaluates pages to ensure that the content matches the keywords in those places, so choose and apply relevant keywords for each page. All these tips help you move up in the rankings.

And remember – this doesn’t happen overnight! It’s all about consistency.

Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile 

If you still need to claim your business with Google Business Profile Manager (formerly Google My Business), you’re missing out on a lot of search traffic. When searchers are looking for specific places, Google Business Listings will appear at the top of the page. So, it would be best to claim your business on Google Business Profile Manager and continuously update your business information.

Check out our free guide here to learn more about Google Business Profile listings.

Start Ranking Higher in Google Today!

If you need an extra hand getting these strategies up and running, and staying consistent with them, contact our team of search engine ranking experts at 10|20 Marketing! We can help you set up a Google Business listing here. Or contact us for a free consultation, and we can help you get started optimizing your website to rank higher in Google!