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Effective Online Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

The 2016 Marketing Trends Report found that 1 in 5 small business owners still does not yet have a online presence. Even more astounding was that less than half of small businesses use content marketing tactics like emailing content or publishing blog posts, or articles at all.  While they understand that these things are valuable online advertising tactics they tend to feel like they lack the time and most often resources to facilitate this type of endeavor. In 2016, small businesses say they’ll look to digital marketing primarily to meet goals at the top and the bottom of the customer-acquisition funnel. While we understand there are many different ideas for online advertising, the goals still vary greatly. Fifty-one percent of respondents named “driving sales” as a top goal for their digital marketing, while nearly as many (48 percent) chose “building brand awareness or conveying information.

Automated Platforms For Posting

As you might imagine many small business owners say that finding the time  to work on their online marketing (  nearly 20% )  is one of their biggest challenges, but fewer than  16 % said that using a tool to help with their marketing automation was something they planned on doing.

Kelsey Schepmann who is the Media Coordinator for Russell Johns advises small business owners to first find a social media posting tool that they are comfortable with using. “there are so many,  and they all have similar features, you might try testing one or two before “marrying one”.  Kelsey,  recommends that it is important not to feel overwhelmed with trying to do everything on every single social media forum, take some time to get comfortable and then stick with what you can handle. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter  are the most common forums that people go with as they are frequently the ones that you can cover with a social media posting tool , think about where your audience is and go there first.   When appropriate, add hashtags, this will help you to reach different , broader variety of audiences. 

She also recommends that businesses utilize LinkedIn. “Whether or not you are active on your personal page having a business page that people can follow is important. ” Kelsey’s other tips are no nonsense  and she advises you to,

Stay consistent with your brand image.  

You will also want to keep profiles images consistent between pages so that people can identify you quickly from one page to another. It may be tempting to constantly reinvent yourself to stay trendy and relevant, but often this just confuses people who have done business with you in the past and can be a less effective strategy over the long term. Being consistent builds trust and loyalty. You want to appear knowledgeable, but also objective  especially about trigger topics

Post about topics that fit with how you want to present your company culture, company values and things that will resonate well with your core audience as well as provide useful and informative content and information.   Stick to what makes sense, it’s important to provide information that your viewers will feel is valuable to them 


A call to action and creating engagement is a huge part of how effective you will be with online advertising.  You can include a call to action with in your content that let’s people know precisely how to best engage and interact with you.  Lindsey Meyer a local photographer in Tampa Bay, who has been doing her own social media marketing for several years says, “I get all of my business through referrals and social media.  I take a little bit of  time to keep up with it every day. I start by going through and “liking” other people’s pictures on Instagram every day, it doesn’t take very long  but people are more inclined to like your posts if you are liking their’s also. Be friendly and inviting and make sure to respond back promptly. Take the time to engage with other businesses on social forums, lending a little support will go a long way to your small business advertising marketing efforts. Sometimes I use #alikeforalike  that way other people who do this same kind of thing to will be able to find me and we can exchange likes and follows. It can seem like a lot of little steps but every little bit helps. ”

For Agencies social media presence can also help give an online representation of company culture and can create partnerships to help promote each other and really bring their online promotion to the next level. ” Agencies often already possess the skills generated from marketing other brands on social media. The key is transferring those skills for self promotion purposes…Likewise, numerous platforms such as Grin have sprouted up to help agencies and influencer connect.” (” Advertising ideas for )

Plan Ahead

Keep your audience informed about where you will be and how they can easily find you. Think about your online advertising campaign from several different angles.  Take some time to consider what are your year round goals. What events or sales seasons do you have coming up that you need to plan for.  Plan accordingly, schedule contests to help you prepare for a down season or to lead up to an event with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.

” I also do a lot of networking at events and other local small businesses.  I have a couple of charities that I interact with every year, this helps me get my face out there and gain more positive recognition from local faces.  I also do most of the photography for a local magazine here and Tampa called  The District Magazine this has been a really good networking opportunity for me to meet and engage other entrepreneurs in the area. It get’s my name out there as some on they can call if they ever need my services. I engage with all types of businesses.  I also make sure to post about event’s on all of my pages to broaden my audiences of who is able to see where I am going to be and when to build excitement.

Social media forums tend to limit how many people can see your posts and more times it’s shared the better.”

Keep Track

While there are a lot of online insights into small business advertising and when the best time to post might be it is also important to keep track of what works for you. Online changes so fast that it’s important to test out different strategies and keep tabs of what avenues work the best.

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