The 5 Best Marketing Channels for Small Business Owners

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The 5 Best Marketing Channels for Small Business Owners

Mar 05, 2024

Marketing is the backbone of small business. Statistics show that over 90% of small businesses fail within the first five years. Although there are a lot of contributing factors, one of the biggest ones is lack of marketing and failure to understand its importance. Most aspiring entrepreneurs believe that they’ll open a store or a website and customers will just start rolling in, but that’s far from the truth. You have to take a proactive approach to marketing to increase your visibility and likelihood of acquiring new customers. In this post, we’ll go over five important marketing channels that small businesses owners should consider when choosing where to market.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient, accessible digital marketing channels for small businesses. Email marketing generates $42 for every $1 invested, so the vast majority of successful businesses utilize it at some point. At its core, email marketing simply involves sending emails to prospects and customers to promote your business, content, and offers. The great thing about email is that it allows you to segment your audience and tailor messages directly to them. 

Here are some benefits email marketing offers small businesses:

  • Inexpensive - Email is free to set up and has very low associated costs to send and optimize campaigns.

  • Accessible - Any small business can start an email list and run campaigns, no matter their budget. 

  • Targeting - Email lists allow you to group and target customers based on preferences, demographic info, past purchases and more.

  • Metrics - Emails provide detailed analytics to see open rates, clicks, unsubscribes, etc. so you can optimize your approach.

  • Personalization - Personalizing emails allows you to include customer names, information and tailored offers to make messages relevant.

To run successful email campaigns, focus on growing a clean email list and continuously providing value to your list. Feel free to market your services, but it’s best to give more value and ask less so your list can grow more. The larger your list is, the more customers you will get each time you pitch your service. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of improving your website and content to increase visibility and rankings in search engines like Google. For small businesses, SEO is essential for driving low-cost organic traffic to your site from people searching for products or services you offer.

Here are some major benefits SEO provides:

  • Increased visibility - Higher rankings equal more visibility for your brand and content.

  • More traffic - SEO brings targeted visitors to your site looking for what you offer.

  • Low  cost - Optimizing content and pages is far less cheaper than paying per click for paid ads

  • Brand building - SEO establishes you as an authority and thought leader in your niche.Your authority only compounds over time. 

A great example of this is, a custom printing site. They’ve started to invest in SEO and it’s becoming a consistent channel to acquire leads and customers. For small businesses new to SEO, start by focusing on building your foundational site pages and at least a dozen blog posts. These posts are important in helping you get your first links and they’ll set the foundation for your future content. 

Paid Advertising 

Paid advertising involves running online ads on digital marketing channels like Google, Facebook and Instagram to reach new audiences. Some key paid advertising options for small businesses include:

  • Google Ads - Text, image and video ads shown on Google Search and Display Network.

  • Facebook and Instagram ads - Visual social media ads based on detailed targeting parameters.

  • LinkedIn ads - Paid promotions to reach the LinkedIn professional audience.

  • Amazon ads - Product ads to surface your brand on Amazon listings.

  • Paid social media ads - Promoted tweets on Twitter, sponsored ads on TikTok, etc.

Paid ads offer these benefits for small businesses:

  • Increased reach - Get your brand and offerings in front of large, relevant groups fast. 

  • Measurable - See real-time data on impressions, clicks and conversions to optimize spend.

  • Flexible - Scale up and down as needed and adjust targeting.

  • Brand awareness - Well-crafted paid ads can rapidly grow brand visibility.

Ensure your paid campaigns are laser targeted and that your ads are compelling, concise and consistent with your brand voice and visual style. Continually A/B test different ad variations and place importance on metrics like click-through rates and cost-per-click.


TikTok is the explosive short-form video platform that’s exploded in popularity in recent years. For small businesses, TikTok offers an amazing opportunity to reach a broader, younger demographic of potential new customers. Through fun, engaging TikTok videos, small businesses can drive awareness, engagement and sales.

Key benefits TikTok provides small businesses include:

  • Younger reach - Over 60% of TikTok's users are under 30, a coveted demographic.

  • Viral potential - Videos can catch on quickly and spread rapidly on TikTok. 

  • Ad costs - TikTok advertising costs are still more affordable than other major platforms.

To succeed on TikTok as a small business, focus on creating original, entertaining short videos that align with current trends and challenges. Partner with relevant TikTok influencers in your niche to collaborate and appear in content. Use hashtags intentionally to increase discovery. And importantly, interact with and follow other accounts on the platform.


As the #2 search engine globally behind only Google, YouTube presents a huge opportunity for small businesses to drive video marketing results. YouTube allows businesses to build a visual brand presence, host video tutorials and product demos, publish long-form thought leadership content and more.

Advantages of YouTube marketing include:

  • Brand awareness - YouTube is a top platform for increasing visibility and credibility.

  • SEO - Optimized video content can rank highly in YouTube and Google search results.

  • Engagement - Videos help you connect with customers more memorably and emotionally.

  • Education - YouTube lets you share product tutorials, "how-to" videos and other instructional content. This helps establish your brand and credibility. 

To build a successful YouTube presence as a small business, create a channel that is consistent with your brand style and focus. Optimize your video titles, descriptions and metadata for keyword targeting. Develop a regular content publishing schedule to keep viewers engaged. Promote your videos on other social channels to maximize views.

These marketing channels are a great way to get started in today's digital landscape. Each channel offers unique benefits and provides an important part of a complete digital marketing strategy. The keys are determining which channels align best with your business and audience, starting small to test and optimize your campaigns, and then scaling up the approaches that deliver the best ROI. With the right small business marketing mix, these channels can help take your brand to the next level online.

Meet The Author:

Jon Howe

Jon Howe

Jon is a committed freelancer and adaptable part-time writer.


The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

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