How should I market my small business? Where should I start first? Should I join a referral group? Should I get a website? What about Social Media? Do Online Reviews really matter? What about Google Ads and Facebook? Should I advertise in local magazines? What about direct mail? The following explains how we think you should go about marketing your small business and how different types of marketing work with each other and so on… 

What Types of Marketing Should My Small Business Invest In?

We have always told our clients to market their businesses in this order…

  1. Networking – Referral Groups, Industry Groups, Business Cards, Brochures, and More.
  2. Online Organic Marketing – Websites, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Email Marketing, Online Reviews, Videos, Podcasts, and More.
  3. Advertising – Search Advertising (Google), Social Advertising (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), Print Advertising (Magazines, Direct Mail), Promotional Products, and More

We really believe that Networking and Online Organic Marketing work hand-in-hand for small businesses, but if you can only afford one… then start with Networking. The problem is that if you are Networking then the people you meet are going to want to do some research on you later. If you aren’t doing Online Organic Marketing than you may not have a good website or one at all. You may not have any of your Featured Work on your website showing what you are doing for your customers. When you Network without Online Organic Marketing you can easily be forgotten. If the people you meet were impressed with you in person and then go to your website to discover a sub-par effort and dusty social media, they may think that you aren’t worthy of their business or referrals. People will just go to the next company who gives them what they want to see for them to make a sound decision on who to work with in the future. Online Organic Marketing also will help you to stay top of mind with the people you network with as they see your email marketing, social media posts, and more.  We also realize that it’s tough to get started and that money doesn’t grow on trees but feel that if you can do both from the start, you most definitely should. After you have these working for you, then it may be time to advertise traditionally and online and we’ll get more into that later in this post.

Networking For Small Businesses

Networking is spreading the word about you and your company to those who you know so that can help spread the work about you and your company to people they know. This will keep increasing the amount of people who know about you and your company and your “network” will grow. Networking is essential for any small business and it will help your Online Organic Marketing and Advertising efforts to thrive in the future. The following are networking and small marketing opportunities that we feel work best for small businesses who need to up their Networking game…

  • Referral Groups – Join the local chamber of commerce. Join a chapter of BNI. These and other groups like them will allow you to meet the people who can refer you to the people they know. Some of them will also need your services.
  • Industry Groups – Join an industry group. These groups contain business owners of a certain industry and it make it easier to meet them and to keep up on the latest information and trends the affect that industry. Establishing yourself and helping them solve problems will bring business to you over time as you get to know the business owners who need your services. It will require effort, time, money, and patience but it’s an activity that will almost guarantee you to gain some business from your efforts.
  • Business Cards, Brochures, Sales Sheets – You need printed items to leave behind. Many times these are summaries and a way to point them to your website, featured work posts, social media posts, etc. You need a logo and all your “leave behinds” need to be professionally done but not extravagant. They need to be able to move the ball forward without costing you too much. Another tip is that many small business owners don’t really like extravagant print marketing and $1,500 suits, etc. They want to work with you to solve their problems, not buy your next beamer, watch, or over-the-top marketing piece. You need to mirror the business owners that you want to help.

Online Organic Marketing for Small Businesses

  • Website – Your website is a fundamental cost of doing business these days. Without a website, potential customers will question your company’s validity. The first thing a potential customer will do after they meet you is check you out online. They will go to your website and social media to do research. If they go to do their research and you or your company is nowhere to be found, in most cases you will not be in the running for their business. > Learn More

  • Search Engine Optimization / Blogging – SEO surgically brings the right prospects to your website, so you can start converting them into customers. Use educational and featured work posts and on-page SEO to get on the first couple pages for certain keywords and keyword phrases searched in search engines. > Learn More

  • Social Media – All educational and featured work posts should be sent to all your social media to make sure those who follow you see your offerings. You also need to add specific posts that will generate comments and shares. > Learn More
  • Email Marketing / Lead Generation – You need to send Enewsletters that share all the latest posts monthly. Many find that sending an eblast that shares their focus for that month at the beginning of each month helps give their customers a call to action. Most small businesses also agree that sending pre-made lead generation campaigns of 3+ emails to prospects and customers who show interest online, on the phone, or in person will help lead them further through their sales funnel. > Learn More
  • Online Reviews – Online Reviews prove that you are as good as you say you are. People trust them as much as if their friends were referring you. Small business owners need a system to funnel reviews their way in an easy and unobtrusive way for their customers. If you don’t have a system that asks for the reviews or doesn’t remind them for a review then you will just be leaving yourself open for any disgruntled customers to tell your story online. > Learn More

  • Videos – 75% of executives watch work related videos at least once a week. This statistic tells most small business owners all they need to know about video. Create a video or video series and you can engage with busy executives who are specifically looking for solutions to their problems. Executives aren’t going to surrender an hour to hear your presentation but they’ll give you 60 seconds or less to try to catch their attention. This 60 seconds could get you a meeting or close them right there and then! > Learn More


Advertising for Small Businesses

Once you get a handle on on both networking and organic marketing then you have the option to go after keywords you are having a tough time placing for with organic marketing using Google Ads. You can retarget those who are visiting your site or taking some type of action on your website on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Then you would have all 3 major types of marketing building and feeding off of one another. Once you have established your Internet Presence and you are going for the more non-reachable fruit, Google Ads can be a great strategy. With the right budget, Google Ads and Social Media Advertising / Retargeting will increase the results of both your ads and your Internet Presence. Just make sure you have a professional to manage your advertising program or you will be wasting money due to your inexperience. The small management fee is worth it every time.

A Professional Ad Manager Can Help You…

  • Increase Your Conversions – The reason you are advertising is to increase your sales/leads.
  • Decreasing Your Cost Per Click – Reviewing your current campaign and finding ways for you to pay less per click.
  • Increase Your Click Through Rate (CTR) – Low CTR’s are due to incorrect targeting, poorly written ads, and irrelevant ads.
  • Increase Your Quality Score – Analyzing your campaign to find why your QS is so low for certain keywords and finding ways to increase them.
  • Decrease Your Cost Per Conversion – A main goal is for you to pay less for each sale/lead over time.

Types of Advertising…

  • Search Advertising (Google) – Google is the 800 pound gorilla in search and everybody knows it. If you want to show up in search, you had better work on your organic marketing to place on the right pages. Google ads are a great choice when you need to show up quick in search results or when you trying to get leads in a saturated industry, like attorneys or landscapers. Your customers are using Google everyday so if you manage a restaurant that deals with the pubic or are a business-to-business services company who wants to reach the highest levels of management with their ads, you want to be on Google’s first couple pages for particular keyword searches.
  • Social Advertising (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
    • Facebook is important because they have over 2 billion active users and they spend several hours per week or more on it. Your customers are on Facebook no matter if you manage a restaurant that deals with the pubic or a business-to-business services company who wants to reach the highest levels of management with their ads. The cost per thousand (CPM) impressions on Facebook is somewhere between $5-10, which makes it a very inexpensive advertising platform.
    • Instagram has 800+ million monthly users. The photo/video-centric platform is one of the most used mobile platforms throughout the world. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, businesses who advertise through Instagram will have access to the most robust advertising targeting system on the Internet. 75% of Instagram users take action on ads that they see on their news feed and over 1/3 of Instagram users have used Instagram to purchase a product online.
    • LinkedIn has 550+ million users and they are a more professional and educated audience then some of the other platforms. LinkedIn is the best platform for advertising to decision makers and high-level executives. You are allowed to target by occupation, job title, location and many more features. You are also able to advertise to recent website visitors, as well as email contacts that are in your database. 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to market their business in some capacity.

  • Print Advertising (Magazines, Direct Mail) – Print advertising still has value for small businesses but the strategy of it has changed a bit. We advice customer to use print advertising that leads people to your online marketing. Once they are on your online marketing, it is far less expensive to get your marketing messages to them. Print advertising is also really good and promoting your brand and getting first time trials. Door hangers, postcards, and micro-local magazines are some of our favorites.
  • Promotional Products – There are thousands of unique, quality promotional products out their to put your logo on. The main reason for these logo’d items if to say thank you to current customers and to stay top-of-mind with prospects. The best promotional products are those that are used very frequently by your prospects and customers like pens, tumblers, water bottles, pizza cutters, phone chargers, mouse pads, tote bags, hats, shirts and on and on. You need to work with a company who can selected specific promotional products that have a track record for producing great branding results and repeat use from those who use them.

Main Street Marketing can help your small business cut through today’s online marketing clutter and bring your company more leads from it’s online marketing efforts!

Contact us (859-904-8035) today to get started!


Since 2006, Main Street Marketing has been creating Internet Presence Solutions for small businesses mainly in the Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky area. Main Street Marketing uses internet marketingsearch engine optimizationsocial medialead generation, and video to create a true Internet Presence for its clients. When integrated correctly, this core group of services provide results together that none of the services could provide on their own or in phases.
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