Marketing for a Small Business: The Balance Between Science and Art


Any book or course on Marketing will go through the ins and outs of how Nike, Starbucks and Apple catapulted from seemingly unknowns to having consumers become ambassadors who are essentially walking, talking advertisements for their company.

However, there are also new, small companies who work within stricter budgets, less caution tape and more freedom; we are the creative problem solvers who don’t have an endless amount of money to hear pitches from top ad agencies on social media campaigns and Pay-per-click ads to promote the brand. Many small businesses may see marketing as a brick wall or a hurdle that presents itself with no clear answers. Marketing is not a science and there is no equation that will result in a right answer, but what many small businesses are beginning to realize is that marketing is not just an important component to their success, but how to turn their passion into reality.

Picasso once said "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

I like to think that there are more artists in plain view than many realize. In my opinion, anything done with passion is an art. Business owners, some of the most passionate people I have encountered, are artists. They live, breathe, and eat their products, services, and craft. The challenge is turning that passion into a marketable reality that others can easily benefit from.

Here are a few marketing tips for small businesses just starting out:

Know Why You Are In Business

So many business owners don’t have a clear mission for their business. They have a mindset of, “If I build it, they will come.” But that is not reality. The mission or goal can’t simply be “sell more software this quarter than last.”

Know what type of solution your product or service offers and build on it. Why is your product something that is a must have? Does it solve a problem, is it a novelty? Know your limitations. Write down what your goal, mission, and vision for your company are and with time reflect, learn, tweak. Your marketing has to keep up with your business and remain current and applicable.

Know Your Company Culture

Always be aware of the people you hire because they are part of your brand. This is even more important in smaller companies because, chances are, the people you hire will have a more integral part in your business and more responsibility and duties than in big businesses where every division may be more closed off or niche.

Build Relationships

It is a lot less expensive to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. One of the benefits of operating as a small business is that you can cater and focus more on the customer than a bigger business. Be personal, get to know your clients and if you’re lucky, you will get something every business strives for: loyalty.

Be Social

Technology is such an indispensable part of people’s lives. It is not going anywhere and it is important to learn how your clients communicate and engage. Every business should have a social platform that is updated regularly. Do not make a Facebook profile for your business and have it sit without any activity for long durations of time. Engage with potential clients. It’s easy, free, and with a little time and dedication, can be a great investment.


Craft an Elevator Pitch

You should be marketing all the time. The average attention span of an adult is six to eight seconds; that’s all the time you get to grab someone’s attention. From there you have a minute to engage and sell them on your product or service. Your elevator pitch is the first thing they hear about your business, so make it worth it.

Learn SEO

Know how Google queries operate and craft your website copy to their guidelines using meta tags and titles properly on your site. Keywords are incredibly important to include in your webpage and the Google algorithm is always evolving and changing, but knowing basic SEO will be an incredible return on investment for your small business.

Brand Yourself

If someone were to ask you, “What defines your brand?” What would your response be? Is it your logo, your website, your catchy name, your company culture? What makes your business your business?

Answer: It’s all of those things and more. It’s the feeling someone gets from their initial conversation with your salesperson, the typeface your emails are written in, your company colors and everything inbetween. It’s what makes you stand out from your competitors. It’s beyond crucial that you have a clear and consistent brand image that is shared throughout departments and marketing collaterals. Have a methodology, create templates, know your strengths, and use them to the best of their abilities.

As I said earlier, marketing is not a mathematical equation. If one strategy worked for one business, it will not necessarily work for another. Marketing is a balance between science and art, it’s about the passion, time, and effort in your tactics. Be an artist, a creative thinker and never feel limited in what you can do.