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A Helping HandMarketing Plan

What is the right marketing strategy for your small business?

By February 24, 2023June 5th, 2023No Comments

inbound or outbound marketing strategy - which is best for small businesses

Get it right and your company will sky-rocket

When we searched marketing strategies for small businesses, every article on Google’s first page actually talked about marketing tactics – the tools you can use – rather than the marketing strategies small businesses can use. Here’s our thoughts on how to choose the right marketing strategy for your small business.

What is a marketing strategy?

Oxford Dictionaries define a marketing strategy as “a plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service.” 

Your marketing strategy is a long-term plan of action, not something that will start working within days. 

What is in a marketing strategy?

A small business (indeed any business) marketing strategy has six key components: 

  1. The product – what are you actually selling?
  2. Target audience – who are you selling your product to? 
  3. Targets – how much do you want to sell, in unit or monetary terms and time? 
  4. Competitors – who are you competing against? 
  5. Marketing activities – what marketing are you going to do? 
  6. Measurement – what are you measuring as KPIs? 

Your marketing strategy options

At the very highest level, there are just two marketing strategies: 

1. Inbound marketing strategy

An inbound marketing strategy is designed to get your target audience to come to you – the enquiries/purchases are inbound. Whilst your marketing activity is based around the needs and wants of your target audience, you have no real control of the type of enquiries that come into your small business.  

Inbound marketing is most commonly used for high volume sales, usually low value too. 

Key components of an inbound strategy include SEO, PPC and content generation. 

2. Outbound marketing strategy

This is where you identify the specific clients you want to work with and focus on getting in and generating interest and a live sales opportunity. Most often used in high value, usually B2B, markets. Outbound marketing takes longer, from starting the strategy to signing the client. The acquisition costs will be higher too, but that will be balanced against higher contract values and lifetime value. 

Key components of an outbound marketing strategy are email, trade shows, LinkedIn and content written specifically for the target. 

Most small businesses use a combination of the two. 

How to choose the right marketing strategy for your small business

It starts with your target audience

The choice of marketing strategy starts with who your target audience(s) is/are. If the sale is: 

  • Complex 
  • Involves multiple people inputting into the buying decision 
  • Involves high levels of perceived risk  

you are most likely to use an outbound marketing strategy. One that can go right down to different marketing activities for each individual target prospect.  

If you are selling a product where: 

  • Most, if not all, of the buying decision can be made by the client prior to any active engagement with you. 
  • The purchase is straightforward, perhaps even completed online, 
  • There is a low level of perceived risk 
  • Your business plan relies on high sales volumes. 

Inbound marketing is going to be the best option for you. 

Has a purchase decision been made? 

Once a decision has been made that something is needed, people start looking. Many will ask their peers for guidance/referrals, with (almost) everyone going online to find a solution and then find a product. Inbound marketing activities, such as SEO and content will help people find a solution. Content on “how to” can help your target audience find your small business. Pay Per Click (PPC) is often used to help people find the product they need, once they have worked out what that product is.  

When you target a specific client, they may not know they need what you sell yet. The research you’ve done prior to contacting them will have shown you an opportunity, but they are likely to be educated on how your product can help them to achieve a goal or resolve a problem. You cannot do this if you want the prospect to come to you, so outbound marketing would be needed here.  

What is the cost of your product?

If you are selling a low-cost product, you need to get generate high levels of brand awareness, interest and desire. You then need a sales process that enables lots of clients to buy easily. Ecommerce is a prime example here. One to many, inbound, marketing activities such as advertising, social media and SEO will give you the opportunities and the economies of scale you need. 

High-cost products, often with big profit margins, give you the marketing budget needed for outbound marketing activities.  

What marketing skills do you have?

This is something that should NOT impact your choice of marketing strategy for your small business. If you are selling a high-cost product to a complex market, your experience of running Google Ads campaigns should not come into the equation. Whilst there is a chance that you could get some leads, there may not be the ones you want or be likely to convert into sales.

If you don’t have the marketing skills you need, you need to learn them or find someone who can help you with what you need. Of course, we can help you here. 

Inbound components within an outbound marketing strategy

Once you have made contact, or at least got your brand in front of your outbound targets, you may need to use what are normally considered inbound marketing tools to support your outbound marketing.  

People will look at your small business and your products to assess whether you can help them, and whether they believe you can deliver on your claims. 

Content marketing

Generating content isn’t just about climbing the ranks on Google (other search engines are available). It needs to prove to your target audience(s) that you know what you are talking about. They want to be confident you understand them, and your business contains the knowledge and expertise they need.


Most companies use testimonials to show what their clients think of them. Reviews, either on Google or platforms like Trustpilot are better. This is simply because you have no opportunity to change, or influence, what someone writes about you. Good volumes, regularly posted, of Google Reviews can be instrumental in helping your target audience decide you use you, instead of one of your competitors.  


Once someone has visited your website, remarketing can be an effective way to get them back to your site. If you’re not sure what remarketing is, have you ever looked at a product online, only for that product or brand to pop up all over your web browsing for the next few weeks?  That’s remarketing.

Choosing the right marketing strategy for your small business will dictate the return on investment (ROI) you’d get from your marketing budget and just how quickly you achieve your company targets. 

If you would like to discuss your marketing strategy options, call us on 020 8634 5911 or click here and we’ll call you back 

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