As a fellow small business owner, I know first-hand both the importance and the challenge of effective marketing. When I started my digital agency over 10 years ago, I made every marketing mistake out there - no defined customer avatar, lackluster website, no analytics tracking, spray-and-pray tactics that wasted money. I learned through lots of trial and error.

Now fortunate to support other entrepreneurs on their growth journey, I want to shorten your learning curve to start driving more qualified traffic and revenue sooner. This blog shares the exact strategies and tools I leverage to create results for clients across industries and at various stages.

Whether just starting out or looking to scale, I hope you find this a helpful, actionable resource. Please reach out with any other questions - happy to help fellow biz owners in any way I can!

Start With Understanding Your Target Customer

Create a detailed customer avatar document with demographics, values, pain points and behaviors of your ideal client. Refer back regularly to sharpen messaging.
Conduct informal customer interviews to validate your assumptions and gain additional insights.
Identifying and understanding your target customer and market segments -  MaRS Startup Toolkit

Before executing any marketing tactics, you need clarity on whom you're trying to reach. Many small business owners skip this step and take a spray-and-pray approach, wasting time and money.

Customer Avatar Worksheet, Target Customer Market Template, Client Profile,  Persona, Ideal Target Audience, Small Business Marketing Planner - Etsy UK  | Marketing planner, Target customer, Small business marketing

Build a fictional “customer avatar” - be specific. Details like:

  • Demographics: age, gender, location, income level, education level, family status
  • Values, priorities, pain points
  • Where they spend their time online and offline
  • What motivates a purchase decision

This exercise focuses your messaging and guides your marketing channel selection.

For example, a boutique catering startup would target different avatar customer segments than a tradesman. The caterer may focus marketing efforts on local Facebook community groups and wedding publications while the tradesman connects with potential customers on NextDoor and Google Ads.

Optimize Your Website As The Hub

Use a tool like Pingdom or GTMetrix to test current website load speed. Identify fixes for over 2 sec.
Review top site pages and optimize content for SEO including meta descriptions and headers. Prioritize pages with most organic traffic.
Add a popup or sticky bottom CTA to drive email newsletter sign ups. Offer a content upgrade for increased conversion.

Your website is often the first touchpoint in your sales process. Is yours converting visitors into leads and customers?

Consider focusing on these areas:

Load Speed

Site speed impacts visitor engagement and SEO. Use free tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to analyze load time and GTmetrix to identify optimizations.

I aim for websites under 3 seconds load time on mobile devices. Slow sites lead to high exit rates.

Site Performance: Understanding PageSpeed Insights | Help Center |


Well-written pages focused on what visitors are searching for helps search engines understand your offering. Install Google Analytics to uncover popular topics.

Calls-To-Action (CTAs)

CTAs guide visitors to take action, whether signing up for a newsletter, scheduling a call, downloading an offer, making a purchase or more. Place relevant CTAs strategically throughout sites and keep language clear.

Contact Information

Make it easy for visitors to contact you by listing phone numbers, live chat widgets, contact forms and/or scheduling links prominently.

4 Solid Reasons Why Your Small Business Website Should Be Mobile-Friendly

Mobile Responsiveness

With increasing mobile internet usage, ensure your site provides a streamlined experience for phones and tablets, not just desktops. Mobile visitors expect fast load times and easily tap-able navigation.

By improving your website foundation with a customer-focused mindset, you better convert new visitors from various marketing channels into further sales pipeline.

Expand Your Reach Through Content Creation

Brainstorm 5 blog post ideas around questions your target customers are asking. Prioritize topics with solid search volume.
Download Later app to easily plan and schedule social media content across platforms.
Film short 1-2 min videos on your phone to share across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Short form video performs exceedingly well.

Consistent content creation brings new visitors from search engines and social platforms. What topics would captivate your target customers?

Ideas for Small Business | Content Ideas | Small business marketing, Small  business instagram, Small business social media

Popular formats include:

  • Blog posts - In-depth articles to demonstrate thought leadership and answer customer questions. Promote new posts on social media and email lists. Install plugins to auto share on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Videos - Demo products, create tutorials, showcase client testimonials, and more creative formats. Promote on YouTube, embed in website pages, natively share to Facebook/Instagram. Live video streaming continues to gain popularity.
  • Podcasts - Audio content expands reach. Repurpose from filming video interviews or record dedicated episodes. Promote across various podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, etc.
  • Infographics / Visual assets - Creative images and graphics to visualize insights grab attention in social feeds. Ensure images are properly sized for various platforms.
  • Webinars / virtual events - Host interactive sessions focused on highly relevant topics to attract and engage your audience. Record to generate follow-up content.

The more content you publish, the more opportunities to attract your ideal customers. Use analytics to double down on top-performing areas and continuously experiment with new types of content.

Email Marketing Works When Done Right

Segment your email list based on attributes like client type, frequency, purchase history etc. Send segmented sequences instead of bulk blasts.
Keep graphics simple and text short in emails optimized for mobile. Ensure clear easy CTA buttons to drive clicks.
Send email broadcasts on both Tuesday and Thursday mornings to test for performance variances. Iterate from there.

Email marketing remains one of the highest converting digital channels available to businesses. Use an email service provider (ESP) like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or ConvertKit to send and track campaign performance.

Focus on:

  • List segmentation - Separate out customer groups (e.g. current, repeat, one-time, prospects, inquiries, etc.) to personalize messaging and offers. New subscribers may receive a different welcome flow than existing customers.
  • Value-driven series - Move contacts through sequences focused on delivering value at each stage vs purely salesy promotion. For a hair salon - tips for maintaining styles between appointments before later promoting new service launches.
  • Mobile optimization - Ensure emails look great on mobile as well over 60% are opened on mobile devices. Easy to click buttons, large fonts, effective subject lines.
  • Timing optimization - When is your audience most likely to open emails? Use data to determine the best day/time to send based on open and click rates.

Install tracking pixels to monitor email campaign effectiveness across your website and tie revenues back to campaigns driving conversions. Continue iterating and improving performance.

25 Strategies To Improve Customer Loyalty

Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates

Create short SMS-based surveys to gather quick feedback on recent customer interactions
Develop referral cards for happy customers to share discounts with friends/family easily
Respond publicly to positive online reviews thanking the customer and highlighting your team
Customer loyalty: A guide to types and strategies

Happy customers willing to organically rave about your business to friends or online are invaluable for credibility. Prioritize customer experience across touchpoints:

Wow service delivery with attention to detail that exceeds expectations

Easy sales process removing friction with online booking/payments

Effective follow-ups via email/text guiding customers to re-engage

Feedback collection through surveys and reviews to uncover areas of improvement

Loyalty incentives via referral codes, special offers, early access, VIP treatment

By delighting customers, you turn them into a trustworthy voice to attract new business on your behalf.

Explore Paid Advertising Options

Once you build marketing momentum, paid advertising amplifies your reach and targets customers more accurately.

Popular platforms include:

  • Google Ads - ads across Google Search, YouTube, Gmail Promotions, and their wide network aligned to search queries
  • Facebook / Instagram - highly visual feeds to promote your brand creatively to very specific demographics and interests
  • LinkedIn - professional user base to highlight B2B expertise
  • Native advertising - ads seamlessly blended into online publications reading like articles vs disruptive display units
  • Programmatic display/mobile - relevant visual ads served across top-performing websites/apps accessible through advertising exchanges
  • Streaming audio ads- audio ads on Spotify, podcasts and more to reach engaged listeners
  • Connected TV - video ads on smart TV streaming channels and devices
Paid Advertising 101: A Beginner's Guide
Source: SEMRush

Start small testing a platform that aligns best to your goals before scaling budget. Install thorough campaign tracking to calculate return on ad spend accurately.

The Tools I Rely On Daily

To build effective marketing machines and automate redundant tasks, I utilize software platforms across categories:

Category Top Tools
Email Marketing Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ConvertKit
Website Analytics Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager
Social Media Management Buffer, Hootsuite
Graphic Design Canva, Design Wizard
Client CRM & Project Management Honeybook,
Contracts PandaDoc
Video Hosting & Editing Wistia, Descript

Always Be Testing

With so many potential marketing tactics and channels today, regularly test new approaches while tracking performance diligently.

Not every small business needs an active presence on every social media platform or to tap the latest digital advertising innovations. Play where your audience already spends their time online.

Stay nimble adjusting efforts towards highest traction areas while pausing lower performing programs to focus budget and energy wisely.

Through a strategic, omnichannel approach rooted in a clear customer perspective, today's small businesses absolutely can effectively market themselves amid competition. Let me know if you have any other questions!