In a world led by tech giants and multi-billion advertising empires, small business advertising can be quite a challenging task, especially if one wants to compete with larger companies. Although your marketing budget might be somewhat smaller than that of bigger businesses, with the right ideas and precise strategy you can create effective business advertising campaigns regardless of your company’s size.

Back in the previous century, the task of advertising small business would be chance-dependent. You’d spread your message through newspapers, radio or other broadcasting channels hoping to get customers among the general public. A shift to online programmatic advertising opened a new way to advertise a small business, as you can now define your precise audience and target them with the right message at the right time.

It has become much easier to get professional help with advertising small business. You can instantly drive leads, sales and improve ROI. For those of you who’d like to try and start advertising your small business independently, we’d like to share some tips on how to advertise a business even if your marketing budget is tight. So, let’s discuss the best practices used in advertising for small businesses.

Tip #1: Pick the right channel and be good at it

When looking for the best way to advertise a new business, keep in mind that it is all about choosing priorities wisely. Managing dozens of media channels can be extremely tiresome for the small team, but the good news is you usually only need a couple of those to successfully advertise your business online.

The general rule is to think about your customers first - gather all the available data and try to answer the following questions:

  • Who are your customers and what are they interested in? What are they searching for and how do they do it?
  • How do they spend time online?
  • What are their favorite media channels and platforms?
  • Which problem does your product or service solve and how is it different from your competitors’?

These simple answers are essential and can give you lots of insights on how to advertise for a small business before you even start building a strategy. They will also significantly narrow down the number of potential channels to the most widely used ones among your audience. For example, B2B advertising is more effective on Twitter and LinkedIn, while B2C campaigns are better performing on Facebook or Instagram. Focusing on just a couple of channels will help you distribute resources strategically which can be a big game-changer in regards to managing your time and money.

Once you’ve picked a channel, it is much easier to master your campaigns and become an expert around the chosen platforms. With carefully planned campaigns, even a small investment can play out really well and increase your profits dramatically. Over time you’ll get to know well what works specifically for your business, thus, you’ll be able to define what is the best way to advertise.

Tip #2: Use email for business advertising

Email marketing is one of the most popular forms of advertising for businesses across many industries. This is not without a reason, as HubSpot reports that over 90% of clients prefer to hear from businesses by email. In particular, the mail is an especially great form of advertising for a business specialized in arts, entertainment, real estate, human resources, legal, and construction industries, as they receive the highest open and click-through rates compared to other verticals. 


To launch such a campaign, you’ll need a mailing list and some creativity. If you don’t have such a list yet, it is time to start building one. Try offering some value to your customers in exchange for their emails. This could include special discounts, exclusive offers or additional information. This choice mainly depends on your products’ specifics as well as your audience’s interests.

While advertising for business apply the chosen email strategy but don’t forget about the following:

  • Do not annoy your customers with too many emails - you want to keep them informed, not irritated;
  • Optimize for mobile. Almost 81% of users read email on mobile devices and you certainly don’t want to lose those.
  • Use audience segmentation and targeting solutions in advertising and email alike. Personalized emails are 75% more likely to be opened compared to non-personalized ones.

Tip #3: Invest in your visuals

The importance of visuals is hard to overestimate, as it literally defines whether your message will be delivered and understood correctly. When searching for the best form of advertising for small businesses, take a look at your creatives. A high-quality and engaging creative can sometimes convince even the most skeptical user. And if all the visuals within your advertising strategy are in line with each other, your campaign is bound to success. Let's review some of these elements in more detail:

Ad formats. Besides using good old banner ad formats, it is often a good idea to experiment with more engaging formats. The best-performing ones currently include native advertising, rich media, and video, but be sure to explore other ones as well. Preferences for different digital ad formats can vary depending on geographical region and business verticals, so advertising small business is by no means a predictable process. Nevertheless, once you’ve got a good understanding of your audience, finding the right business advertising format shouldn’t be a problem.

Brand image. As we’ve already mentioned, consistency is important. Studies show that 77% of customers stay loyal to brands, so having a clear and steady identity is a must for an established company. Make sure that you have a distinct and recognizable brand image that reflects your company’s mission. One way to achieve this is to make sure that your logo, website, creatives, and other visuals should correspond with each other. This can be accomplished by using a common topic or a specific color scheme, anything that highlights your brand among hundreds of others and at the same time underlines its integrity. A professionally looking creatives immediately hint to your customers that you take your work seriously, so your products and services must be of high-quality too, and this is exactly the message you want to send, don’t you?

Mobile advertising. Whether we are talking about your website, ad creatives, logo, email newsletter or any other form of advertising - it must be optimized for mobile. Negative mobile experience can distance you from potential customers, which is proved by numbers - 52% of people won’t even engage with the company because of this. On the other side, US mobile ad spend is estimated to reach around $121.5 billion by 2021, so now is a perfect time to start advertising business with mobile formats.

Tip #4: The best way to advertise is through your website

You might have noticed that so far we’ve mostly discussed how to advertise small businesses by launching campaigns on outside channels. But now it’s time to ask yourself “how can I advertise my business apart from those ways?” The answer is simple - build a website.

There are plenty of reasons why having a professional website is essential (especially for small business advertising), but perhaps one of the most important among them is that your website is practically your face in the online world.

With this asset, you can inform any visitor at any time about your company, your products, and services, how to get them and why your mission is important. Moreover, you can use it as another channel to advertise a small business. Having a website provides you with lots of new opportunities, one of which is content marketing. How does it work? Let's explore the initial steps:

1. First things first - start with creating a website. There are many templates and even content management systems (CMS) that allow you to build a website and customize it to your needs. Some of them are oriented at beginners, others are more advanced, so you can choose one depending on your skill and resources. Another important point is that most of them are outrageously inexpensive and even free, so you don't have to spend tons of money, instead, you can invest in website design and content instead.

2. Once there is a website, it is time to generate content. Here are some tips:

  • Tell your clients about the problems you solve, educate them on your products, share tips about your industry - the more value will you provide by your website, the more chances that people would actually return to you.
  • Another nice practice is to ask your clients for help — user-generated content is reported to be 50% more trusted among millennials and 35% more memorable.
  • Involve your co-workers into the process - let them share stories and pictures about how their work is going, so that interested clients could see the process from backstage.
  • Monitor your competitor’s marketing efforts — this kind of analysis can give you lots of valuable insights on how to advertise small business and what practices to avoid.
  • Consider hiring a freelancer or a marketing agency, if you don’t feel like creating a website on your own.

3. Optimize your website for search engines. The best way to advertise new business is to, first of all, make it visible. Your content can only bring value if someone actually finds it, so be sure search engines are familiar with your website. There are plenty of tools and plugins around the web to help with this, many of them even built-in to the CMS platforms. You can also hire a freelancer to perform search engine optimization and increase the visibility of your website. Finally, don’t forget about mobile - your SEO efforts won’t make much sense if mobile users will only find that your website is impossible to navigate.

4. Add call-to-action to your posts, so that your website works not only as a source of information but also as a powerful tool for sales and conversions. You can also engage users to subscribe to your newsletter which is a good starting point for building your email marketing strategy.

Tip #5: Targeting is the key to advertising a small business

Finally, don’t forget about targeting and retargeting. Whether you are aiming to advertise through emails, banners or social media - targeting is the key. Who are your customers and what are they searching for? You should be able not only to answer these questions but also to make use of these answers. Create buyer personas to make the process more intuitive. Consider factors like geographical location, age and gender, interests, online behavior, and even hobbies — all of these are important data when it comes to understanding your customers. The more knowledge you gather, the more precise will be your targeting.

Once you’ve got the segmentation, develop specific messages for each group of your customers. Those who are interested in just one of your products are likely to skip an ad about other services, so the more precise and personalized your messages are — the higher will be the success rate of your marketing efforts.

Finally, remember that the best way to advertise is to choose the best platform for your business advertising. Make sure that it supports ad formats you are going to use, offers you to reach your target audience and provides you with the necessary range of targeting options.

SmartyAds DSP offers a wide variety of formats from native advertising to display advertising and video ad formats. Our solution provides high-quality traffic from all over the world and the platform is easy to use even for a beginner. Moreover, our newest update enabled plenty of new targeting and retargeting options with laser-like precision to make sure every potential customer gets your message.

Sign up at SmartyAds DSP and scale your business within months, not years!

Written by
Irina Kovalenko, CMO of SmartyAds
March 2020