As a small business owner, you’re probably really great at your craft. You’re a baker who makes amazing cinnamon rolls. Or you’re a designer who can knock out an ebook without breaking a sweat. Or you’re an influencer who slays at social media.
But if you’re like most small business owners, when it comes to running and growing your business, you’re probably making things up as you go along.
That’s pretty common.
It’s called the E-Myth Principle: “the mistaken belief that most businesses are started by people with tangible business skills, when in fact most are started by ‘technicians’ who know nothing about running a business.”
But it’s also a waste of time waiting until you “know everything” about running a business or earn some fancy business degree.
Sometimes, you’ve got to learn as you go. There’s nothing wrong with that.
To help you improve your marketing (arguably one of the most important elements of building a successful small business), we’ve compiled a list of top marketing tips from pro-level marketers below.
These quick pieces of advice from experts (who are as good at marketing as you are at baking, or designing, or Instagramming) have graciously offered their top tips for succeeding at small business marketing this year.
Let’s see what they have to say:
Chelsea Baldwin: “Have a Solid Attention-Getting Message”
Chelsea Baldwin is a powerhouse marketing copywriter and entrepreneur. Her business Copy Power helps businesses develop powerful sales-driven copywriting.
“My #1 tip is to make sure you have a solid, attention-getting message.
“This doesn’t mean being click-bait-y, but you do HAVE to stand out online to even have a sliver of hope that someone will pay attention to you. People see thousands of messages online each day, but remember less than 20.
When you have solid copy in your marketing and on your website that gets and keeps attention, your chances of being remembered go up significantly, and you can more effectively build your base of future clients.”Chelsea Baldwin
Ryan Robinson: “Invest in actually talking to real customers”
Ryan Robinson is a professional marketer, blogger, podcaster, and (recovering) side project addict that teaches 500,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and grow a profitable side business at ryrob.com.
“One of the most underrated ways to garner insights about who your target customers are (and thus strengthen your ability to effectively market to them), is meeting up with your customers—or would be customers who are on your email list, reading your blog or responding to social media ads.
“Whether meeting up in-person, over the phone or via Zoom, getting out of the office and meeting real customers, is a powerful way to get to know your audience on a much deeper level than usual.
You can find your target customers in places like conventions, seminars, local hobby groups, meetups and anywhere else enthusiasts for your industry get together.
“Strike up conversations, network and find out what really motivates them. Then, you can get back to the office and start translating your insights into actionable marketing campaigns that meet their needs on a more intimate level—and you’ll be that much more successful in showing your audience that you really understand them.”Ryan Robinson
Preston Lee: “It’s not enough to make content anymore—you have to be great at it.”
Preston Lee has been a marketer all his life (from the first time he won an advertising contest in 3rd grade) and has built several successful businesses. Now, he and his team help freelancers get more clients by becoming better marketers and building their businesses the right way.
“Ten years ago (maybe even more) everyone was talking about content. ‘You have to create content.’ or ‘You should have a blog.’
Well, in today’s marketing landscape, it’s not enough to just make content anymore. Your content has to be the absolute best in order to make a meaningful impact on your business.
Sure, it’ll always be easier to write a half-hearted blog post or phone in the copy for your Facebook ad, or post that ‘just okay’ picture to your Instagram account because you feel like you have to.
Instead, take the road less traveled and make every single piece of content you publish WORTH publishing. The time and energy you invest will come back to you in spades in the form of attention and sales.
Soon you’ll be spinning your wheel less and crushing your sales goals more often.”Preston Lee
Clay Mosley: “Double down on marketing all together”
Clay Mosley is a marketing expert and the founder of Dripify, The #1 online marketing training platform for service-based entrepreneurs. Clay and his team help entrepreneurs take control of their marketing and get real results. Everything they teach is 100% proven with positive ROI results.
“My #1 tip for 2021 is to double down on marketing altogether. That means effort and budget.
I believe that a lot of businesses will still be living in fear [following Covid] and will cut budgets, including their marketing budget. This is an opportunity for others to double down.
I think consumer spending is going to substantially increase to play “catch up” as a result of reduced spending during Covid.”Clay Mosley
Bobby Macey: “Video is a must for 2021”
Bobby Macey is a social media expert and the founder of Macey Media, a content marketing agency creating impactful content at scale for their clients.
“If you aren’t taking video seriously, you ought to. According to Social Media Week, viewers claim they retain 95% of a message when obtained via video.
Start with simple opportunities like explainer videos or FAQs and turn them into one or multiple videos. Video will help you connect with your customers on an entirely new level.
Even if you don’t want to be in front of the camera, there are myriad ways to still tell your story, showcase your product, or provide value about your services via video.
Oh, and don’t tell me it’s too expensive, we live in a world where Fiverr and Canva can help you create videos for next to nothing… or you can work with a company like mine that specializes in brand storytelling.
The options are endless, but the principle remains — you need video in 2021!”Bobby Macey
Morgan Nield: “Keep it Simple!”
Morgan Nield is a six-figure Etsy seller turned marketing and business coach who helps her clients turn their part-time hustle into a full-time dream (WITHOUT the full-time hours).
“Keeping it simple is the fastest way to grow your business (and, likewise, your revenue!).
Instead of trying to do #allthethings #allatonce, become known for that ONE thing that you sell to that ONE type of customer on that ONE marketing channel– and build your entire business around that simple business model.
Perfect that ONE product. Connect with that ONE customer type. Master that ONE marketing platform.
Stay laser-focused on keeping things simple and your sales will flourish. Add too much, too soon to your business and you’ll hit the burnout fan before you make that first sale (and confuse your customers along the way).
Diversifying your business before you’re ready is THE most detrimental (+ costly!) business decision you can make– so start simple and stay focused in those early days and beyond– your business (and your bank account!) will thank you.”Morgan Nield
Eduard Klein: “Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of marketing tools”
Eduard Klein is a certified Digital Growth Marketer and Entrepreneur with a global mindset, who spends his time blogging and driving traffic for his businesses and his clients.
“Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of marketing tools and channels. You need to focus and concentrate on the channels that work for you.
Learn from startup growth hackers that built million-dollar companies out of small budgets. Do rapid experimentation with a small budget and test incrementally if there’s demand for your product or service. This is how you identify the most efficient way of growing your business without overspending”-Eduard Klein
Vikas Kalwani: Perform & Track Experiments
Vikas Kalwani is a marketing consultant at the VC fund, 500 Startups and manages partnerships at uSERP where he and his team help their clients scale organic traffic through SEO & digital PR.
“As a small business, your most valuable resource is time and money. Spend your resources wisely on activities that generate results.
To identify these activities, perform experiments. Note that the result of the experiment should be measurable, and should have one variable parameter to further optimize the result.”Vikas Kalwani
Erkki Muuga: Experiment with Webinars
Erkki is a professional marketer and founder of WebinarSoftware where he helps entrepreneurs generate sales by tapping into the power of webinars.
“With so much noise going on nowadays, it’s harder than ever to stand out from the sea of blogs, social media posts and apps. Attention is becoming such a fleeting and scarce resource, that companies and brands are bending over backwards and paying large sums to get just a slice of user attention.
One proven way to engage your visitors, prospects and users is by hosting webinars and offering upfront value. Hosting an industry-specific webinar attracts professionals from the same industry. They are most probably facing the same type of problem that your webinar is about. Hence, they come to you with a problem at mind already.
If you can prove yourself as an authority during a webinar session, and you can establish a trustworthy connection with your live audience, it becomes a lot easier to suggest a solution.
That solution can be your service, software or course. Engage with your visitors and users, offer upfront value and naturally suggest your solution, without appearing pushy.”-Erkki Muuga
Alicja Olko: Leverage Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Alicja Olko works on the marketing team for ReferralCandy where she specializes in partnerships, link-building, on-page and off-page SEO and content marketing.
“Your existing clients are your biggest marketing asset. They can market your product, spreading a good word about it, advertising it basically for free.
It’s called the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Personal recommendations are one of the strongest forces driving sales for online businesses, especially considering the speed with which they can be shared via social media.”-Alicja Olko
Cya Nam: “Incorporate Influencer marketing”
Cya Nam works on the marketing team at SocialPros, where they help you get more Instagram followers and drive organic engagement and traffic on your Instagram account.
“Make sure to incorporate Influencer Marketing into your digital marketing strategy. Working with influencers and using them to market your services and products is the most organic and effective method of generating traffic, leads, and sales.”-Cya Nam
Next: Take action!
Of course, it’s not enough to simply read this advice from these marketing veterans. You have to put it into practice.
So start with something simple. One gem of an idea you’ve had as you’ve reviewed this list. And start small to test it out. Keep experimenting, tracking, learning and improving.
Over time, you’ll become a better marketer, build your customer base, and grow your sales!