The Top 10 Marketing Concepts You Should Know For Your Small Business
The Top 10 Marketing
Concepts You Should Know
For Your Small Business
Handling all the marketing for your small
business? Not sure where to start? We’ve
got the top 10 things to get you on the
Marketing is an
The entire marketing industry can feel
overrun with insider concepts and headspinning jargon and buzzwords.
Whether you’re a new small business just
beginning to walk the long road of customer
loyalty, or have been around a while but
want to amp up your marketing game, it can
be overwhelming and frustrating to know
where to begin your marketing efforts.
Sometimes, in the proces of learning how
to handle ROI and cost-per-clicks, the
most important marketing lessons get
So, we’ve collected the top ten
most crucial pieces of marketing
advice for you to make the
process to much easier.
Take these ideas to heart; they’re the keys to
transforming your small business brand.
The minute you dip
your toes into the
marketing world, your
brand becomes a piece
Your brand is no longer
purely about product. And
like any media, its success
depends entirely on the
emotional connections you
Think of it like a movie: No
one wants to sit through
two hours of scenes
that plod along with no
discernible plot or character
Similarly, no one wants to
engage with a brand that
doesn’t give them a reason
to care. One of the biggest
mistakes new marketers
make is assuming that an
amazing product or service
will speak for itself.
Here’s the unfortunate truth:
We’re no longer living in a
Macbooks and iPhones are
top notch, but Apple really
wins by making its audience
feel something. It’s authentic
and transparent. It’s
consistent. It’s unmistakably
Apple. To give your brand
the voice it requires to thrive,
you need to focus on the
story only you can tell. What
makes your product relatable
to customers? How will they
feel when they use it?
Whether you’re using a
clever tactic like Dos Equis’
Most Interesting Man or a
more subtle strategy like
Google Chrome’s emotionally
always react to stories that
elicit relatable feelings.
Treat your audience like close friends
and give them a reason to invest the
Copy and design are your
new best friends.
Engaging stories start with
solid brand identities, and solid
brand identities start with writers
This tends to be an understandable point
of contention for new marketers; creatives
cost money, after all, and money is usually
in short supply at the start of any venture.
Worried that their budgets can’t take the
hit, these marketers decide to do it all
themselves — and ultimately end up making
a fraction of the impact they could have
made with a little help.
Let’s illustrate this with a theoretical test.
Suppose you were in the market for a new
rug and decided to browse a few websites to
find the best option.
You’ve narrowed it down to two choices:
and a simple but
text, and a difficult
Even if both sites offered
the same rug at the same
price, most consumers would
gravitate to Website A.
It feels credible and distinct,
but the second feels
homemade and potentially
What’s more, Website A’s
punchy logo could stick
in a customer’s memory
and eventually drive repeat
That’s not to say that you
don’t understand what
makes your brand tick. Of
course you do; it’s just that
professional writers and
designers understand the
DNA of creative impact.
They know why customers
react to certain words,
images and even fonts. They
know how to spin a tagline
into this year’s buzz phrase
and turn a logo into an
instantly recognizable image.
You make the product, but
creatives make it sing. What’s
more, you don’t have to
spend millions of dollars at an
ad agency to find competent
writers and designers.
Talk to your connections, reach
out to a creative staffing
agency, or send a note to a
local art school. You’ll likely
find a few professionals willing
to help without incurring Louis
Marketing isn’t free,
but it can be cheap.
When it comes to marketing,
the old adage is truer than
ever: You have to spend
money to make money.
How much money you
spend, however, is entirely
up to you. Long gone are the
days when billboards and
television commercials were
the only games in town.
no more effective for a small
business than a perfectly
segmented YouTube ad or
impactful piece of direct
This is where the ability to
In the modern atmosphere,
think outside the box
the most result-driven pieces becomes a serious benefit:
of marketing are often the
What engaging, interruptive
least expensive to produce.
strategies can you use to get
While big-ticket items are
your name into the public
certainly glamorous, they’re fray?
Travel companies can send
destination postcards to
Real estate firms can create
a YouTube campaign
inspired by HGTV’s everpopular “House Hunters”.
Retail brands can launch
an interactive social media
campaign designed to drive
new likes and follows.
Marketing isn’t always about how
much you spend–it’s about how
creative you’re willing to be.
Social media is everything...
Social media is by far the
least expensive and most
direct way to reach
a world of potential clients.
It’s where your entire
consumer base hangs out,
shares stories and interacts
with the globe. It’s not,
however, a set-it-and-forgetit solution.
Any brand can put their
name on Twitter, Facebook
and Pinterest and hope that
someone notices; it’s how
you use the tools that really
Social media is by definition
social. To truly interrupt the
space, you have to regularly
provide content that’s
valuable, shareable and
Consider these real-world examples:
On April Fool’s Day, JetBlue offered a free
flight to anyone named April. The social
posts predictably spread like wildfire and
garnered the brand a host of new likes and
Dove enhanced its Real Beauty campaign
by posting a video of artists sketching
two pictures of one woman: The first
was based on the woman’s description
of herself and the second on a random
person’s description of her. Though the
video didn’t engage in any active selling,
users shared and re-posted it all over the
web, and it ended up becoming the most
highly watched online ad in history.
These are two winning
campaigns based on
interruptive strategies, but
even a well-timed series of
posts can make a splash in
the social space.
images of your company at
work. Ask a question about
something relevant to your
As long as the posts are
curious, authentic and tightly
focused on your brand
image — in other words,
don’t share those Grumpy
Cat photos unless you’ve
created a brand-related spin
on them — anything goes.
This isn’t a passing fad.
Over the past several years, the marketing
world has seen an undeniable increase in
the number of consumers who interact with
media exclusively from their smartphones.
As cell phones get smarter and people get
busier, mobile will become the single best
place to capture a customer’s attention.
In addition to optimizing your
content for mobile viewing, consider
(very carefully and with a LOT of
research) the possibility of adding
a useful, engaging app to your
brand’s marketing plan. The retail
loyalty benefits are incredible here;
not only will you position yourself
as an expert in a specific field, but
you’ll also give customers a reason
to interact with your brand on a daily
basis. But be absolutely sure your
app is stellar, or you’ll just sit in the
app store unused and not generating
If your app somehow makes life
easier for users — or gives them a
chuckle — it’s worth its weight in
gold. The social posts
predictably spread like wildfire and
garnered the brand a host of new
likes and follows.
Outdoor outfitters REI
launched Snow Report to
keep users abreast of the
Walgreens created an app
that allows customers to
order refills by scanning
their current pill bottles.
Heineken hedged their
bets on a quirky concept
that simulates the sound
of clinking bottles when
you tap two smartphones
Before you can talk to a
customer, you have to know
who he or she is.
It’s easy to assume that you’re reaching your target
base, but brands often find that their products
extend well beyond the intended market.
To create content that’s both
memorable and engaging, you have to
understand who you’re reaching and
what those customers want.
Upscale retailer Anthropologie does this
with aplomb; through years of careful
watching, they know that their female base
loves vintage-inspired items with a worldly
flair, so they create catalogs, images and
in-store displays that resonate with those
When you’re just starting, however, it can be
tough to gauge your audience. Social media
and focus groups are fantastic methods
for learning more, and surveys attached
to an exclusive offer combine information
gathering with customer retention. It’s like
Mom used to say: You’ll never know until
The customers you keep
are just as important as the
ones you get.
New marketers are often so focused
on snaring new customers that they
forget the importance of keeping the
old ones engaged.
This comes back to the
problem; the assumption is
that once you’ve convinced
a buyer of your product’s
worth, he or she will return
with little to no prompting.
Unfortunately, that’s not the
case. Just as you had to give
that new customer a reason
to engage, you have to give
the old customer a reason
to stick around. Bounceback
offers and loyalty programs
are among the best ways
to accomplish this; the
former gives your customer
a tangible benefit to visiting
again and the latter provides
an ongoing reward for
However, a simple buy-ten-get-onefree coupon won’t always cut it when it
comes to loyalty programs.
Your audience’s excitement level is directly
proportional to the uniqueness of the offer. The
Starbucks Gold Card is a spectacular example;
everyone from infrequent coffee drinkers to cynical,
dyed-in-the-wool marketing pros lined up for one of
these gorgeous cards. They weren’t just buying the
product — they were buying into the club.
DON’T SETTLE FOR
Get a Fortune 500 quality
loyalty program today:
If you’re not testing, you’re
running in the dark.
Anyone can launch a
marketing campaign and
hope that it performs to
par, but seasoned marketers
know that testing your
concepts is crucial to
getting the most finely
Before you cascade your
campaign to the market
at large, consider running
a smaller, localized launch
to see how it plays. Are
customers engaging with
you? Are your messages
cutting through the clamor?
If the launch doesn’t perform
as expected, take a long look
at what’s missing the mark
before you go full scale.
It’s even possible to measure
engagement with deals
and discounts. Promotional
codes can provide incredible
insight on which types of
offers get the most action,
and that allows you to create
future deals that focus on
your customers’ preferences.
Even email messages aren’t
immune to the tactic.
Segment your sends into two
creative concepts, and watch
which one snags the highest
Good strategies don’t
happen in a vacuum.
You know what they say: Imitation is the
highest form of flattery. While you don’t
want to steal another brand’s campaigns
piece for piece, the best marketers know
that inspiration is crucial to creative
thinking. Spend some time analyzing the
strategies of your favorite brands. What
makes them exciting? Where are they most
impactful? How are they using social media
and mobile? You might even find some
inspiration in vintage advertising books.
Anything that sparks
an idea is fair game.
Similarly, some of the most effective
concepts come from unlikely sources. Talk
to your kids, chat up your mail carrier, or
pick your accountant’s brain. Listening well
is the first step to doing well.
Many new businesses assume that all marketing, no
matter how creative, is purely about selling, but the
reality is this: It all starts and ends with fun!
After all, if you’re not engaged with your
work, your customers won’t be either.
Approach everything you do with a sense of curiosity and
playfulness, and you’ll find that the results are infinitely more
approachable than if you’d stuck to the rote, standard route.
Geico’s humor is in the spirit of fun. So are Red Bull’s stunts and
BMW’s irreverent taglines. Each of these brands translates the ideas
into real results, but they’d be nothing without the obvious passion
of their campaigns.
Strive for that, and you’ll never
experience a dull moment.
For more ways to improve your marketing
and retain more loyal customers, head to
our FiveStars small business blog: