How Should Small Businesses Market Themselves in 2014?

Today, many small business owners are understandably trying to do more to make themselves stand out from the crowd both in their local areas and their industries, but doing so isn't always easy. This is especially true because so many companies, both big and small, are effectively trying to do the same exact things.

That may lead many entrepreneurs to wonder exactly which strategies they can undertake to more ably connect with both current customers and clients, and those who might be interested in their enterprises' offerings going forward, according to a report from Biz2Credit. One of the best ways in which they can at least begin the process of seeing what they can do to make themselves more financially sound going forward is to draw up an overall marketing budget. Doing so will help to show exactly how much flexibility they may have in terms of the resources they can devote to such efforts, and the more money they put into them, the better off they might be. Recent polls suggest that as many as a quarter of all small businesses don't have any kind of marketing budget at all.

But that's just part of the groundwork that may have to be laid in order for small businesses to successfully connect with consumers or other companies which might be able to benefit from their products or services, the report said. Many may also have to significantly upgrade and update their websites to make them more user-friendly and engaging. This is also true when it comes to making sure their sites are presented well on mobile devices. If these two steps aren't taken, they could actually serve as a significant turnoff for people who might otherwise have been interested in the enterprises in question. When it comes to these changes, the axiom small business owners should keep in mind is that simpler is better. Fewer words, more pictures, and unbusied designs are all the hallmarks of a well-put together website.

The actual marketing itself
Once all that is done, it's important for companies to go about the actual business of trying to reach people, the report said. The way in which many are finding such success nowadays is through social media, because it's free and allows companies to be as engaging and creative as they like, while being assured that the work they put in here will help them to reach exactly the kind of people they're supposed to be targeting. This is especially true for companies that choose to actually buy ads from the social networks on which they participate, because they will be able to specify exactly the kind of user, right down to demographic data and even their physical locations, that will see the ads they create.

Those who don't want to spring for social advertising, however, can still find success on the sites as long as they're creating engaging, fun content that people might want to share, the report said. Bland announcements of new products or sales might not draw a lot of attention, but taking the time to try to tie offerings into popular online trends or the news of the day that people might be interested in viewing could help to boost visibility not only in their local areas, but in other parts of the country, or even around the world, as well.

Of course, owners will have to closely assess their budgets to make sure they can afford such steps, and might therefore want to reduce their costs for other vital things their companies need, including small business insurance. Finding more affordable general liability insurance, for instance, might help them save as much as thousands of dollars annually.