When you’re busy running a small business, it can be difficult sometimes to find time for marketing – and a lot of business owners feel that great customer service is enough. But the truth is, marketing is both effective and necessary.

If you want to attract new customers and drive repeat visits, you’ve got to build real relationships with your customers online and offline – beyond just selling them stuff. Here are five ways to market your small business more effectively.

Define Your Brand and Design a Logo

All too often, people fall into the trap of perceiving their logo as synonymous with their brand. It’s better to think of a logo as a way of communicating your brand. Your brand is the core of your business and the soul of what you’re trying to offer the world, and the logo should be a striking visual representation of that. Are you a cozy café for new moms? Or a student hangout? Or a cutting edge technology store? Take a moment to read our Small Business 101 guide and choose the three words that define your business. Once you’ve done that, reach out to businesses around you with great logos and find yourself a designer who really listens when you explain your vision.

If you’re in a rush, you can quickly and easily design a logo using templates available online, but I recommend taking the time to make it feel unique.

Build a Website and Start Content Marketing

No matter the size or type of business you run, your first step – before doing pretty much anything else – is to start the process of getting set up online. This means building a local business listing, building a website, and starting a content marketing campaign.

If you need help figuring out where to start with getting online, check out our ‘Guide to Choosing the Right Website Creation Platform‘.

If you’ve never heard of content marketing, you should download my free guide, ‘Content Marketing for Small Business

You don’t need any deep technical knowledge to make this stuff happen and it’s fairly affordable to build and maintain a web presence.

Start Event Marketing

Anyone who’s run a brick and mortar business has had that moment where they sat behind their counter, staring at their empty store, looking out the window at people walking by. Everyone goes through a bit of drought now and then and there are ways to reconnect with your community. In particular, throwing non-sales related events that get people through your door can be a great way to remind people that you exist; things like book readings/signings, yoga classes, food tastings, cooking classes, knitting circles. You’d be surprised what an impact it will have on your sales numbers.

Alternatively, find local events outside your store and go where your customers are. Things like charity fundraisers, farmer’s markets, Christmas fairs, etc.

If you can’t find a suitable event, why not organize one yourself? You will feel like part of the local community, meet people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise, raise awareness of your business, and be introduced to some potential new customers.Showcase Your Expertise

Showcase Your Expertise

If your business is built around your area of expertise, showcasing it will enable you to raise your business’s profile and attract new clients. Speaking at conferences, writing articles for websites and publications, starting your own blog, uploading informational videos, and being interviewed by the press are all ways of showcasing your expertise and promoting your business.

Get In Your Customers’ Inbox and on Their Newsfeed

We all hate getting spam via email or being inundated with ads via social media, but there’s a reason big brands spend billions of dollars on email marketing and social media marketing every single year. It works. And it can work for you too.

My colleagues, Yamarie Grullon and Hadley Deming have put together some awesome guides on Social Media Marketing and Email Marketing, respectively. They’ll teach you how to build your database and stay connected with your customers in the most respectful, fun, and effective ways possible.


If you have questions about marketing your small business, we’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

About the Author

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate, and Head of Marketing at ShopKeep point of sale’s UK headquarters. Paul uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.