Fact or Fiction: Marketing Tips for Your Small Business

Fact or Fiction: Marketing Tips for Your Small BusinessIt’s no secret that marketing is essential for any type of business, no matter its size. Small business owners may be hesitant to enter the space — preconceived notions about the cost of marketing (and the effort required to keep up with it) abound. Sure, some organizations pump thousands of dollars per month into their strategies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a middle ground that fits into your budget.

In the spirit of decoding the wild world of marketing, let’s discuss what’s fact, what’s fiction, and everything in between.

Fact or Fiction: Word of Mouth Advertising is Enough

You may be tempted to build your business purely through word of mouth — and it could work for a time — but it’s not a sustainable strategy. Your business might be able to rely on this type of advertising if you live in, say, a very rural area, but even so, you won’t be able to bring in new customers unless you’re very focused on it. There are going to be a lot of people who have no way of knowing who you are and what you do unless you invest in some serious boots-on-the-ground marketing. And, if you’re focused solely on that, other areas of your business will inevitably fall by the wayside.

While word of mouth can be potent, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Small businesses need to complement it with active and proactive marketing strategies to reach new customers who might otherwise remain undiscovered.


Fact or Fiction: External Marketing is Too Expensive

Every business, regardless of its size, should engage in some form of marketing. The key lies not in being able to afford an entirely outsourced agency, but in planning and budgeting for marketing as an essential activity.

There is a wide belief that only businesses with deep pockets can afford external marketing. The truth is that there are solutions out there for every budget — determine your own. That could mean cutting corners elsewhere so that you can hire an agency, or making an effort to learn all you can on your own. There are a ton of great resources out there (check out Udemy, Coursera, or Skillshare) that you can lean on.


Fact or Fiction: The 2% Revenue Rule

Should you dedicate 2% of your revenue to your marketing strategy? Not necessarily. If you have a healthy budget then spending 2% of it on a good marketing budget would be wonderful — until next year when your revenue is down. In that case, you would be spending less money on marketing because it’s only 2% of whatever your revenue is, at a time when you should be spending more than that on bringing in more (paying) customers.

If you follow this ambiguous 2% rule, it quickly turns into a downhill slide: you’ll continue to lose money because you’re spending less in marketing.

Assess your business’s individual needs and invest in marketing based on your unique circumstances. It’s a personalized approach rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.


Fact or Fiction: You Have to Pay to Get Visibility on Facebook

Unfortunately, you do. Facebook is also a business with the aim of generating revenue. Only 2-5% of your followers see organic posts, which means that paying for placement is essential for broader reach. There is value in organic social, but businesses need to allocate funds for specific messages they want to be seen by many.

Ruling: FACT

Fact or Fiction: All Marketing Agencies are the Same

Not all businesses are created equal, and the same goes for marketing agencies. This is good news for organizations that are looking for solutions that don’t require them to go “all in” on an expensive package filled with things they don’t need.

It’s important to tailor your marketing approach to fit your unique needs. Seek out agencies or even freelancers who are willing to work with you to give you exactly what you’re looking for. Some will specialize in Facebook, others in SEO. Don’t be afraid to shop around, conduct interviews, and reflect before you decide on the solution that works for you and your business.


Marketing may seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be if you bring on the support you need. Integrate it into your budget as you would any other important operation, such as HR, IT, or bookkeeping. In the end, it’s not about how much money you spend, rather, it’s about the strategies you implement. Embrace the right ones, and you’ll flourish — ignoring the need for marketing altogether is a recipe for disaster.

If you want to learn more about marketing your business with the hopes of selling it one day, that’s where we come in. Give us a call.