Small Business Marketing Ideas: 17 Creative Marketing Tips


Your small business’ marketing spreads word about the amazing products you offer. No eyeballs means slim chances of making your initial $1,000 online.

Your customer’s attention is being diverted from one pillar to the next. Advertising costs are skyrocketing for big brands with huge marketing budgets. Let’s not forget about social media channels that change their algorithms to make small businesses reach the audience they have built.

There are many things that can be done to make your life easier. Even in busy spaces, you can still stand out. You just need a little creativity.


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This guide contains 17 marketing ideas that we have seen from brands independent of us. They are free or very cheap to reproduce.

Marketing ideas for small businesses

If your budget is small, a solid marketing strategy can be arranged. These 12 marketing ideas won’t cost a fortune.

  1. Host a social media competition
  2. Use social media to share user-generated content
  3. Produce video tutorials
  4. Get involved in the latest topics
  5. Assist other small businesses in forming partnerships
  6. Give quirky product recommendations
  7. Collect customer feedback
  8. Enter local awards
  9. Participate in local events
  10. Sell mystery boxes
  11. SEO-optimized content should be created
  12. Gift cards can be sold

1. Host a social media competition

It would be an understatement to say that social media platforms have become saturated. By 2022, some 92% companies will be using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok in order to reach their target audiences.

This is in addition to the fact that Facebook shows only posts to 5.2% of a page’s followers . You’ll quickly see why social media can be a tedious way to market small businesses.

Hosting a competition can diversify your social media marketing strategies. Research shows that people love free stuff. In exchange for engagement on social media, you can give away something free of cost (e.g. a product bundle or a trip to your headquarters). To increase reach, encourage your followers to like, comment, share, tag, and tag friends in the giveaway post.

Locafoods hosted an Instagram contest where they gave away desserts and dips. Participants needed to like the post and follow it on Instagram. If the post was shared to their stories, bonus entries were available.

Although it is true that giveaways on social media can be expensive, they are attractive. The marketing dollars that you spend to host a giveaway do not have to be excessive. The prize can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you like.

2. Use social media to share user-generated content

A smart way to market your small business on social media is to use user generated content (UGC). This 79% of shoppers believe has a significant impact on their buying decisions. It’s likely that it’s less biased and less biased than brand content. You can see the product in action.

Encourage customers to share testimonials, photos, and videos of their experiences with your products. Regular scans of your hashtag or brand name will show you which social media posts have been shared by others without you being asked.

The goal is to create a high-quality library of UGC that can be used to convince on-the-fence followers to purchase, such as this one from Andie swim. The previous customer made a TikTok clip, which Andie swim republished to Instagram.

(Remember to get permission from the original poster before you share UGC on your page.

3. Produce video tutorials

Video marketing is a popular social media platform. Look at TikTok’s success. The minute-long videos were so popular that Instagram launched its own version, called Reels, which is a photo-sharing platform.

Shopify’s online video maker allows you to create content for your business to promote it on social media. This could be:

  • Review from satisfied customers
  • The workings behind your business
  • Videos that demonstrate how to use your product
  • Livestreams hosted in collaboration with influential people in your space

Dope dog is a small business that uses this free marketing strategy. Erin Mastopietro is the founder of Dope Dog. She says that they held Instagram Live Sessions with experts from our niche. During these sessions, audience members could ask questions and also did a small interview.

“We gained exposure to the expert audience and added value to our followers as a result.”


4. Get involved in the latest topics

Trends are the driving force behind social media. Think about it. TikTok is responsible for making songs viral. Artists see record-breaking streams whenever a new dancing trend emerges. Everybody posts videos of them dancing to the same song.

How can you spot the trending topics before your business’ social media content is tagged with other people who are following them? You can spot them before everyone else does.

  • Ask your customers
  • Forum discussions are worth reading
  • Conducting a competitive assessment
  • Celebrate annual events

Partake Foods posted this tweet which replicated Spotify Unwrapped, the music platform’s annual roundup of music that a user listened too throughout the year. Partake Foods only switched the most-listened to music in favor of top-quality products in this instance.

5. Assist other small businesses in forming partnerships

If you have zero budget, here’s a great idea for marketing: Collaborate with small businesses whose target audience overlaps yours (provided that the products you sell are not competitive against theirs).

Let’s suppose you owned an online shop selling handmade crockery. You can partner with another small business owner who sells handmade vases. Lean on your audience and create a co-marketing campaign such as:

  • Hosting a webinar with someone else
  • Offer discounts to each others’ email lists
  • Social media: Shouting out to each other
  • Becoming a guest on the other’s podcast
  • Host fees for a pop-up store are split

Co-marketing has many benefits. You can support other small business owners and tap into an existing audience without paying for it.

6. Give quirky product recommendations

When they visit an ecommerce store, shoppers have many thoughts. Questions like “How do I determine if this product is right for me?” are some of the most common questions shoppers ask when they visit an ecommerce store.

You can take the hassle out of comparing products by using quirky recommendations. These recommendations don’t take much time. You don’t have to say “You viewed this, so maybe you are interested in this” for categories that catch people’s eye.

Kayleigh Toyra digital consultant recommends product recommendations for:

  • People who have everything already
  • You might consider buying gifts for yourself.
  • You may not need some things, but you might want them.

Kayleigh says that clever copy can increase sales and make it more enjoyable for new businesses to “up-sell and cross-sell in an even more fun way.”

7. Collect customer feedback

Your best friend is your existing customers. These are the customers who saw your digital marketing strategy and bought it. These people can be your starting point for new marketing ideas.

Shopify Apps such as Post Purchase Survey allow you to send customer feedback surveys to everyone who orders through your online store. Ask them what they loved about your product and how they found you.

These insights can be used to enrich your social media profiles and landing pages with customer testimonials.

Package free has, for instance, a reel of customer reviews. Anybody who is unsure whether or not to trust the retailer will be instantly reassured. This will undoubtedly improve the site’s conversion rate.


8. Register to Win Awards

It is a great way to gain credibility and get attention. Stephen Light, CMO, co-owner of Nolah Mattress explains that awards give businesses authority. This is crucial for successful marketing. You want your audience to believe that you are the best.

No matter what niche you are in, there are many awards and honors that can be found with just a little bit of digging.

This is a good place to start when researching for an award.

Stephen said that no matter what award you win, it is a cost-effective way to increase your credibility and public visibility. It can also make a huge difference in terms of ROI. They can be proudly displayed on your website to encourage conversions.

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