When you’re just starting out, you probably think you’re “just stuck with the basics.” 

Compared to bigger brands, your small side hustle can’t afford huge marketing campaigns yet, let alone huge billboards, commercials, or big-time celebrities. 

But that’s okay. You don’t need a big marketing budget to stand out. Even with just these 4 basic marketing essentials, you can create content that makes an impact and grows your business. 

The question is: How? 

Let’s break it down, shall we? 

1. A Marketing Plan

Basic marketing essential number 1 is a good marketing plan. 

Why you need it: 

—– It helps identify your goals, milestones, and possible challenges.

—– A good marketing plan helps determine the baby steps you need to take to get started & what to do next.

—– It helps you align your action steps with your purpose.

—– It helps you stay on track to reach your goals & prevents wasting time & money.

How to use it to stand out:

As a small business, your marketing plan doesn’t have to be overly complicated. But there are a few things you can do to maximize its benefits: 

Make it specific: Setting broad goals only gives you a general idea of what you want. Clear, specific goals make it easier to identify the actions you need to take to reach them and provide you with tangible milestones. “Reach 100 followers & post 2x a week” is better than “Grow Instagram account & be consistent” because it’s more specific/clear.

Track your progress: “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” Regularly tracking your progress helps you identify what you need to improve, what’s working, and what you need to do to improve your marketing.

Woman tracking business progress, another marketing essential.

Make it visible: When you’re always reminded about your goals, it’s easier to stay focused on them. Turn your marketing plan into a vision board or have your progress tracker displayed somewhere in your office.

Consult an expert about it: Sometimes, the best way to improve something is to ask for help. We can help you review your marketing plan, determine the right goals for your business, identify your next steps, and even help you implement your marketing plan.

2. Branding

Big companies often have a strong brand identity. You’ll recognize them just by their logo, font, tagline, or even just a picture of a building’s interior or a particular product.

Sadly, branding is another basic marketing essential that most businesses overlook or don’t take seriously during their startup years. 

Here are a few reasons why branding is fundamental, even for a new business: 

Why you need it:

—– Branding sets you apart and makes you memorable.

—– It helps establish credibility even at an early stage.

—– Clear branding helps you clarify who you are as a business and gives you an identity.

—– It helps your business to resonate with the right people & attract them to your business.

How to stand out with branding:

Be consistent: The last thing you want to do is to confuse your customers. Or worse, copy another business. When you develop a brand that resonates with your audience & your business, stick to it as much as you can in every way you can. If you’re inconsistent about who you are as a business, it’s going to be harder to cultivate a loyal community around your unstable identity. 

However, there are certain times when rethinking your brand is appropriate. Learn more about rebranding & when it’s okay to do it on our previous blog post.

Be intentional: As much as you can, make sure that every element of your branding is intentional and aligns with your business. A lot of new entrepreneurs pick random taglines, logos, imagery & other elements when developing their brand and end up with branding assets that don’t seem to connect to their actual business. 

Being intentional with your branding makes your identity clear, clever, & captivating. 

Having clear, intentional branding is also a marketing essential.

Embrace & practice it: Branding does not just involve design elements. It also includes your values, mission & vision, and the experience you want to create for your customers every time they work with you. So if you introduce your brand as a friendly, reliable, & eco-friendly shop, make sure you embody that through your products, services, messaging, customer service, etc. 

Get help: Sometimes, you may know what your brand identity is, but you’re not sure how to communicate and implement it throughout your business. 

Getting help from a professional can help you develop strong branding from the start without the hassle and in less time. 

3. Business website

Yep, having a business website is an absolute basic marketing essential. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one with a lot of buttons, links, and pages. 

You can still stand out with a one-page website.

Why you need it:

—– You’ll secure your own space on the internet.

—– You’ll establish credibility & professionalism.

—– You can have control over your platform rather than submitting to a third-party website’s rules & issues. 

—– You can implement a wide range of content— from short text & images to long-form videos, long-form texts, and online stores. 

How to stand out with a website:

Implement your branding: Don’t make your customers think they’ve visited the wrong website. Make sure your website matches the imagery in your social media, physical shop, etc. 

Leverage links: Use your other platforms to direct people to your website. And in turn, direct people to your other platforms from your website. It’s also smart to include your web address or a QR code in your shop or on your products for even easier access. 

Use proper SEO: Search engine optimization allows you to appear on search engine results like Google when people look up certain keywords. If your website is properly optimized for search engines, it can be a powerful marketing tool.

Man designing SEO strategies on a notebook.

Captivate your audience: Use design elements and powerful copy that align with your branding to captivate your website viewers and compel them to follow your call to action. Images are a great way to do this, and we recommend displaying actual pictures of you and your products.

Make it mobile-friendly: According to SWEOR, “57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.” Make sure that your website doesn’t look weird or responds properly when accessed via phone.

Optimize user experience: Have you ever bounced from a website because it won’t load quickly or is hard to navigate? So has everybody else. 

Your fancy design & clever copywriting won’t matter if your website takes forever to load and navigate.

4. Social media

Of all the basic marketing essentials, social media is probably the most obvious. No matter how big or small your business is, a strong social media presence can help you grow in many ways. 

Why you need it:

—– It makes your business easily accessible.

—– It cultivates a community around your brand. 

—– Your business can reach millions of people all over the world. 

—– It helps you learn about your competitors and audience. 

How to stand out with social media:

Be consistent: You can’t expect to develop your presence on social media when you’re barely there. Find out which days and times your audience is most likely to be online and make sure to post regularly.

Focus on one platform at a time: You don’t need to be on all the social platforms to grow your business. In fact, it’s easier to grow your social media presence when all your efforts and time are focused on one particular platform. Pick the right one for your business and focus on that for now.

Engage with people: Simply posting alone is not the only way to grow your social media presence. Engaging with other people is just as important, especially when you’re starting out. Take some time to like other people’s content, reply to their comments, and share other valuable posts too.

Be relatable & approachable: You want your posts to resonate with the right people. So show them you care and let them get to know you and your business.

Don’t be afraid to share behind the scenes, your thoughts on relevant topics, valuable tips that help you, and more.

Use social media tools: You don’t have to manually publish every time, you know? You can use social media scheduling features within the social platforms, photo and video editing apps, and other tools to help make your social media conquering easier.

Create a content plan and calendar: It’s easier to be consistent when you’ve got a plan and a lineup of content made in advance. With a content plan, you can also align your content with your goals for a particular period of time and achieve it within your deadline.

Get help: Figuring out social media can be overwhelming when you have a hundred other things to do. If you’re having trouble staying consistent, creating content, and even managing your engagements, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

These basic marketing essentials may not seem like much on the surface. But when they’re optimized and tailored to your needs and goals, they can be powerful tools to grow your business and help you stand out. 

The Biz Spa has helped various businesses master these marketing essentials and maximize their benefits. We can help you too! Schedule a free marketing consultation with us or learn more about our services here.