How to create a marketing strategy for small businesses

Whether your business advertises through local flyer campaigns or online content, you need a good marketing strategy to grow your business.

Discover how to create a marketing strategy for your small business that’s focused, effective and measurable in this guide by Countingup. We’ll discuss: 

  • How to keep your marketing focused
  • How to plan a marketing campaign
  • Marketing tools to use
  • How Countingup can help

We want to empower new business owners, whether they’re sole traders or limited company directors. Find out how your business can use simple but effective marketing to expand successfully and sustainably.

How to keep your marketing focused

A common framework for focused marketing is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. 

These criteria make sure your marketing goals are reachable and your success is measurable. From any success you gain, you can develop further ideas for more growth. Similarly, where you miss targets or goals, you can adapt your methods to learn what works best for your business.

Without this kind of system in place, your marketing efforts can be disorganised, ineffective and successful attempts may not be replicable. Here are three examples of SMART marketing to help you understand:

It’s worth noting ‘A’ and ‘R’ can sometimes vary according to ‘SMART’ definitions in other marketing guides: meaning ‘actionable’ and ‘relevant’ respectively. These are similarly important elements to keep in mind for your marketing. 

If it’s more useful, you can consider them as part of the initial ‘Specific’ objective:

Specific goals are:
• Well defined (specific)
• Useful in the future (actionable)
• Connected to your business (relevant)

How to make a marketing campaign

Making a marketing campaign means translating the objectives and methods you’ve outlined in the SMART framework into shareable messages and materials for your customers to come across. When deciding the goals of your business, tailor your marketing campaign to meet them. For example, a campaign to increase your brand’s awareness will be different from one that prioritises increased sales.

Start your business’ campaign by spreading the objective you want to achieve across a proposed timeline: each campaign phase should have a focus or theme fitting the greater objective. Phases can be as short as a day or as long as a week or month. 

For example, if you want to increase your sales, your marketing campaign can have stages showcasing different valuable selling points of your product or service. From here, you could create billboard advertising, flyers or online content communicating these aspects effectively and clearly, and include a way for customers to find out more information or contact you. 

Even if you’re communicating a specific element of your product or service (or you’re running a marketing campaign over a short timeframe), consider making a number of different advert versions. Running the same advert repeatedly quickly becomes ineffective as customers respond better to novelty and variety. Finally, experiment and test different phrases for your marketing messages – finding a catchy or memorable phrase can make your marketing campaign more effective.

Marketing tools to use

Marketing campaigns can be conducted simply and cheaply if you use the right tools. 

Using your smartphone and any social media accounts your business has, you can post photos and videos for customers to view. Using the paid promotion tools available, your posts and business adverts can circulate to wider audiences and customers who fit your target demographics. Find out more in our article How to Use Social Media for Business.

Software like Canva, Microsoft Publisher or Word, and Adobe are available to elevate your marketing and help it appear more professional. If you’re not familiar with these tools or how to use them, you can achieve a similar level of production quality using freelance designers or marketing consultants. They can work with you to provide a core set of marketing tools you can use in the future. 

For example, a freelance graphic designer can provide some branded poster or image designs that you can ‘fill in’ with content across your campaign. This way, everything looks consistently branded, but you can run the campaign more flexibly by deciding the content later on if you need to.

For whichever marketing campaign you choose to run, keep in mind that effective communication is the most important goal. Flashy videos or national billboards can still be poor marketing strategies if they’re unclear or disorganised. Effective marketing campaigns prioritise how well the audience understands the advert, not the budget available. 

How Countingup can help

Well-developed and effective marketing campaigns take time and consideration to make. However, too often, time is lost to other projects. While we can’t market your business for you, we can take care of your financial admin. 

The Countingup app automates financial admin for business owners, so that you can stay focused on effective advertising and building sales. The business current account and accounting software in one app allows thousands of businesses across the UK to save time and understand their finances quicker and easier. 

With Countingup’s automated invoicing tools and handy receipt capture, you can be confident that your financial records are accurate. And with real-time profit and loss data, you’ll be able to instantly understand where your marketing efforts are beginning to pay off. 

Gain complete confidence in your books and save time with the Countingup app.

Find out more here and sign up for free today.

Related Resources

Read more