Tag Archives: startup

9 Simple and Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

As any entrepreneur knows, it can be very difficult getting your feet off the ground and your name out there in the early days of owning a small business. Nobody has ever heard of you before, you don’t have any past customers or testimonials, and you’ve got nobody to spread your services through word of mouth.

That’s where small business marketing strategies come in. In order to be noticed and considered by your target market, you’ll need to advertise or market your business somehow – but what actually works, and where should you start?

In this article, we’ll discuss some small business marketing ideas to jump-start your marketing strategy. Before trying any of these ideas, it’s worth sitting back and considering some marketing goals and budget. Not all the small business marketing ideas in this article are free, some cost money or time investment. Try to focus on what’s best for your business and make the best use of your marketing budget.

Online Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

It is undeniable that online marketing has taken over the world of business. According to recent research, 70–80% of consumers research a company or product online before making a purchase. That’s a huge number of people to ignore if your company doesn’t have an online presence! Here are some ideas to kick off your online marketing.

Website Blog

If your company has a website, it could benefit from the addition of a blog. A blog is a website page used to display articles, news and other useful information. For marketing, blog articles encourage customers to visit and browse your website.

For instance, if you run a home improvement business, include a series of articles with tips about how to improve and upgrade a house. Well-written content with search engine optimised keywords will show up in search engines, such as Google or Bing. If someone searches for ‘home improvement tips’ and your blog has a suitable article, they will see your link in the search engine results.

One thing that you hear a lot about in online marketing is ‘conversions’. This means, what do you want the customer to do after they have landed on your website? If, for instance, a customer looking for information on home improvement ideas lands on your website, you could add links in the article for your company’s home improvement services or perhaps encourage them to subscribe to your blog and receive emails when the next article is posted (this is great for email marketing—see below).

Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most popular forms of online marketing. As noted above, this can be combined with a website blog. Subscribed customers get updates and you can send email promotions to the subscriber list.

With email marketing, it is important not to send emails too often, otherwise you risk getting listed as spam content (or your customers will unsubscribe out of frustration). Do it right and email marketing is very powerful.

Aside from using a blog, there are several other ways to get subscribers. Many websites offer free information downloads in exchange for a subscription, or some other free offer. Most email marketing companies offer free starter accounts for up to 2,000 subscribers.

Google My Business

If your company supplies local services, Google My Business is one of the best small-business marketing ideas. Register your business and if someone in your local area searches for your business type, your listing will appear, with others, on top of the search listing.

It is possible to add useful information, such as opening hours, business information, location and pictures. It also allows customers to leave a review—the best-reviewed businesses appear at the top of the listing, which is great motivation to provide first-class services.

Facebook Adverts

Despite some of the adverse publicity that surrounds Facebook, it is still one of the best ways to advertise products online. It is relatively cheap compared to other platforms, and extremely effective.

The most powerful aspect of Facebook advertising is the huge number of users on the platform and the amount of searchable information about them. It is possible to pinpoint users and groups with specific interests or living in a particular country or city if marketing locally. For instance, as an author, marketing a new book about meditation, you could direct an advert to Facebook groups promoting spiritualism.

Internet Influencers and Social Media Advertising

Internet influencers are product promoters who have large followings on social media platforms, such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. For instance, an influencer with a popular YouTube fashion channel might promote your new fashion product to their followers.

The cost of the service will probably depend on how many followers the channel has. Some influencers might promote products in exchange for free samples, while others charge a fee. If you don’t have the budget to pay an influencer, consider starting a YouTube channel for your business as part of your social media marketing.

Create Facebook and Twitter accounts for marketing your business and create promotions to encourage customers to like your posts. If you have a website, include links to your social media accounts. As with establishing a brand, it is a long-term strategy. Remember to use your brand image on social media posts.

Brand Development Marketing Strategies

Establishing a brand is one of the most important aspects of a long-term marketing plan. A brand is something that should permeate every aspect of your business and define its identity.

Customers who associate with a particular brand will happily pay a higher price for their products. For instance, coffee sold in most high street coffee shops is of a similarly high standard, but if drunk from a cup sporting a Starbucks logo, it tastes magically better. This is how a powerful brand can influence customer perception.

Unless your products appeal to a wide market, and you have a marketing budget to match, you’ll likely be aiming at a smaller niche. So, as an important first step, understand who your customers are. A common way of doing this is to create what they called a customer blueprint or persona. That means creating a profile of your ideal customer, the person (or business) who would buy your product.

Build a Brand – Quick Tips:

It takes time, but when done well, branding is the most powerful marketing strategy of them all. Here are some quick tips:

1) Decide on your mission statement and target audience.
2) Brand differentiation – make sure that your brand differs from the competition, make your business stand out.
3) Stay on message – promote your brand image consistently on every platform. You want customers to instantly recognise your products and marketing information.
4) Design your brand’s image – this will include a carefully designed corporate style with a logo, appropriate colours and an attractive typeface. The design and style should apply to every aspect of the business, including the website, promotional materials, and business cards.

For great design ideas, try 123Print – we carry a full range of fully customisable promotional materials.

Brand Ambassadors

Get your employees involved as brand ambassadors. For example, if your business is in retail, give your staff a discount! It’ll surprise you how many of their friends want to make use of the staff discount. It is a good way of both rewarding your employees and spreading the word about your products to their wider social sphere.

Flyer Campaign

There’s nothing wrong with good old-fashioned letterbox marketing. Flyer (leaflet) distribution may sound old-fashioned, but there’s a reason it’s been around for so long: it just plain works.

You’ve likely received flyers in your letterbox yourself. You may have thrown them away eventually, but did you at least look at the flyer first, and take a mental note of what company sent it? Of course you did. And you’d recognise that company name if you saw it again in the future, increasing your familiarity with them.

Try a simple letterbox marketing campaign in your target postcode area. Include your logo and branding all over the flyer, and an enticing offer to get people shopping with you, and you’ll spread awareness of your company at lightning speed. You can design personalised and high-quality flyers at 123Print.

Loyalty Cards

Loyalty cards are very good for marketing your business and encouraging customers to buy again. They can be as simple as a card that is stamped every time a customer purchases a cup of coffee, or other products – after a certain number of stamps, the customer gets a free cup of coffee, for example.

Alternatively, loyalty cards can be a full-blown computer system, where a customer scans a card at the cash register and is awarded redeemable loyalty points. While powerful, the computerised loyalty system is a significant investment best suited to medium and large businesses. Stamp-style loyalty cards are much more affordable, incredibly simple to set up, and still very effective – check out a huge range of customisable loyalty card designs at 123Print.

Small Business Spotlight

Small Business Spotlight – Le Massage

Here at 123Print UK we’re big fans of small business. You’re the backbone of our business and the backbone of our country. Because of this we’ve decided to dedicate part of our blog to you, giving you the chance to talk about your business and tell others how you got started and what makes you great…

Small Business Spotlight
Le Massage

This week in the 123Print UK small business spotlight is Le Massage, a business which had a less unusual start but one which I’m sure will be an inspiration to many people. Read on as we meet Ariana, the founder of the massage therapy practice, who talks us through what makes Le Massage such a fantastic small British business.

Ariana owner of Le Massage in front of a mirror

So Ariana, how did you get started with your business?

I was ready for the next stage in my career:  running my own business. Unlike the inspirational stories I read, or the people I knew, who happened to be arty, musical, sporty, or super techy, I was none of the above. I couldn’t think of any recyclable skills that I could found my business on. I knew I had to keep it simple, and capitalise on my strengths but it is not always easy to pull out of the bag what makes you unique and marketable at the same time. After a few eureka moments, and a lot of thinking out of the box, it became clear to me that my biggest asset was actually what I used to think of as my weakness: Fibromyalgia. How could I turn my chronic pain and chronic fatigue into a rewarding business venture?

My connections did not understand Fibromyalgia, a syndrome falling under the Chronic Exhaustive Conditions umbrella, such as ME and Chronic Fatigue. I found inspiration within myself. From my personal experience, massage helps with chronic exhaustive conditions. However, few massage therapists in the UK were familiar with the condition, while other specialist clinics advocating treatments for Fibromyalgia came at a price tag that was beyond my reach. My epiphany came in a roundabout way, but in essence, I decided to open a Massage Therapy practice for the treatment of Chronic Exhaustive Conditions. My niche market was obvious to me: I would target professionals and business people affected with chronic pain. My differentiators flew naturally, as they were close to my heart: availability, affordability, understanding, in convivial, non-clinical surroundings.

Wiki Definition: Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure).

What are some challenges you faced in starting and growing your business? 

I was short on time and resources. I was working full-time in an all consuming job. As a single mum, family commitments were huge, and – I was not a Massage Therapist!

My motivation to change my lifestyle and improve my well being were so powerful, that I embraced these many challenges. I retrained as a Massage Therapist by choosing an intensive course. It was tough but the intensity kept the pressure on and helped me focus on the end goal. Even before I passed (with a Distinction), I took the gamble to signing a lease on a therapy room in one of the most prestigious addresses in London. Once I was committed, there was no going back, and that pulled me through the last few weeks of arrowing revisions. The well-being business centre I set my sights on was simply too wonderful a space to miss. I loved the therapy room from the moment I walked in: it felt like it had my name on it.

Massage addresses the symptoms, but with chronic exhaustive conditions, it helps longer term if we can work on the underlying causes, and thus I embarked on qualifying as a well-being coach, with more massage courses in between. Choosing to take on further training presented more financial challenges. I invested my website budget into well-being coaching training instead.

By prioritising professional development over marketing, I was in the absurd situation of not having a website up and running by the time I opened my practice.

The next hurdle was to get my practice on the map and get clients through the door. Everyone likes a giveaway, and (nearly) everyone loves massage. I offered promotional massages to targeted champions who would recommend me. The challenge here was that it could be a double-edged sword, and many therapists would disapprove of giving massages for free. I am lucky enough that my skills can be demonstrated over one session. I had the confidence that my skills were the best recommendation for my service. I had experience in building client relationships in a non-salesy way, and so I opted for this route as it felt right for me.

I had a web page on the well-being business centre site where my therapy room is, but I needed a website of my own. In between massage appointments, I built my own website. As soon as my website was up and running, came the first recommendations through. My champions left reviews on the Testimonials page, but also as comments on the home page, which I hadn’t expected…

Ariana taking a massage

What has been the proudest moment for you in your growth as a business?

My business is still very new but I already have three milestones that spring to mind.
In chronological order:

  1. The wow factor of my therapy room as clients come in
  2. Communicating that my website was up and running
  3. Getting recognition through client Testimonials

La Massage Customer Review
What methods of online marketing have you found successful?

I am still exploring various channels of online marketing, to find the avenues that are right for me and my target audience. I created a Facebook page for Le Massage, and a Twitter account @FibroWellbeing.
My assumption is that Linkedin and Youtube will be a more natural fit, so that will be my next focus.
I have an advert in the online UK Fibromyalgia newsletter to target my niche market: chronic pain.
Many clients look online for reputable massage therapists. For this reason, I am registered with the CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council), and the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists); featuring on the websites of governing and accrediting bodies demonstrates that I meet the professional standards backed up by the Government for my industry and that I am fully insured to practice.

I released an online press release to mark the launch of my practice, which loops in with my website, Facebook page and Twitter account. I am planning more newsroom campaigns to engage my clients through stories.
I have a promotional event in The Lanes of Mayfair, an online business directory. Here I am aiming at business through local businesses.

As a business in the making, I am sharing the journey real time with other new entrepreneurs. This is where I feel that most of the support and spotlight are needed. Watch this space as I report back to base on the success of my various campaigns in a few weeks time.


What other marketing materials do you use to promote your business?

I had some lovely business cards made on 123print. I spent a huge amount of time creating two different templates to target clients from different angles, one aimed a professionals, the other emphasizing chronic exhaustive conditions. I am running small batches of 50 cards to check effectiveness. I am constantly improving the design and content, and trialling new batches at networking events for example.

Once my branding and logo are ready, I will get leaflets and gift vouchers done as well in time for Christmas.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?

Ask for critical input, take feedback constructively, but do not let your spirits be dampened.
Don’t let yourself be held back. Surround yourself with positive people with entrepreneurial minds who will support and inspire you.

Both your motivation and your circumstances will shape your determination to start your business and this combination is unique to you.

My best advice would be to remember my three Fs “Fear of Failure is Futile”.


Here at 123Print UK, we also want to provide real, useful information from the mouths of people who’ve created great businesses and transfer that information to people who will one day want to make a great business themselves. If you want to star in our small business spotlight then please contact us via our Facebook Page or comment below and we’ll get in touch.

Imagine Index Business Cards

Small Business Spotlight – Imagine Index

Small Business Spotlight @ 123Print UK
Here at 123Print UK we’re big fans of small business. You’re the backbone of our business and the backbone of our country. Because of this we’ve decided to dedicate part of our blog to you, giving you the chance to talk about your business and tell others how you got started and what makes you great…

Imagine Index

Imagine Index
This week in the 123Print UK small business spotlight is Imagine Index, a North West start-up who offer high quality Wedding Videography and Photography. Read on as we meet Daniel, the man behind the unique and personal Videography, who talks us through what makes Imagine Index such a fantastic small British business.

So Daniel, how did you get started with your business?

Imagine Index was established early this year. The company was formed when two of us got together and suggested we put our skills gained at university to a good use. Three of the four members are all from a media background which really helps the business, we are all technically and creatively ready for anything that is thrown at us. What really helps Imagine Index is the strong bond the team have and being so local.

Wedding Video Edit

What are some challenges you faced in starting and growing your business?

Being a new start up business, we have come across many challenges. Perhaps the main challenge for Imagine Index was sourcing our first paid job, however with the team’s persistence; we overcame this problem by adapting our marketing approach. We now attend wedding fayres around the North West and meet Bride and Grooms to be, on a personal level. We have found this is the most effective way to get our name out there.

Imagine Index Team at a Wedding Fayre

What has been the proudest moment for you in your growth as a business?

Being Wedding Videographers means we get to meet a great range of people and businesses. Our proudest moment as a company was perhaps filming a wedding in Chorley at Astley Hall. The Bride and Groom were superb and we managed to truly work as a team and make a fantastic wedding video. The end result made the couple very emotional and this meant we had done our job properly. Reading the testimonial from the newlyweds truly meant a lot to us, and really motivated us for our next job.

“I highly recommend the wedding video service. The whole team were wonderful, so professional and caring throughout the whole day, from the service to the last dance. The end result was emotional ranging from tears to laughter and every moment was captured beautifully. It really does allow you to relive those special moments and I’m so thrilled. Thank You guys, you were brilliant.” – Mr & Mrs Milligan

(Milligan Wedding Highlights)

Various images from Imagine Index

What methods of online marketing have you found successful?

Social Media plays a huge part in Imagine Index. All Crew members are active on different social sites to truly spread the word of Imagine Index. I look after Twitter and post on Facebook a lot; we also have a wedding blog on Tumblr and take pictures for Instagram whilst we are doing our job. The explosion of social media has truly helped us to keep in contact with not only any clients we have but local business as well. We also have a website which holds all the information we have as a company and shows everyone exactly what we do and what we offer. The most successful method of online marketing for us, is the business hours on twitter, we interact with so many local business and it makes us feel like we are part of an online community.

Youtube also plays a huge part in our business as we can share videos with clients and businesses, it gives a real impression of what we do and what people can expect from us.

FacebookTwitter – WebsiteTumblrYoutube

What other marketing materials do you use to promote your business?

Whilst we are at the wedding fayres, we have a great amount of promotional material, both digital and physical. We actually bought our business cards from 123 print and many clients have commented on the quality of the cards, we are also very happy with them. We also use other physical forms of advertisements including flyers and posters. We also have a digital portfolio on an iPad to show potential clients exactly what we do and the high quality of videos they can expect from us.

Imagine Index Business Cards
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?

Like I mentioned before, Imagine Index is still fairly new and we still have a long way to go. We would say go for it! It may feel like there are too many challenges to face and success may take its time. But it is important to remember with dedication and motivation you can really move your business forward. We feel social media is defiantly a way to get your business heard and known off and social media shouldn’t be ignored. Starting a business may feel like climbing up a mountain but if you are always moving and being productive, you will be slowly moving up the mountain and making your business more sustainable.

Just go for it and follow your dreams, being passionate about what you do really does make a world of difference in your business.