Marketing Know-how

9 Key Marketing Definitions for Small Businesses


When starting your own business, marketing is central to grow your customer base and increase brand awareness among your target market. So let’s have a look at the 9 key marketing definitions for small businesses and how you can use them to grow your business!

Before we begin, this post is breaking down terminology definitions within the marketing world specifically. I also have a blogpost covering twelve different design and marketing job definitions – if you’re looking to hire someone in the industry but aren’t sure who does what, check it out!

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

1. Marketing

First things first in this list of marketing definitions for small businesses: Marketing your small business is about building relationships with your target audience. It’s based on offering a product or service they want or need.

It also includes everything you do to get potential buyers to know, like and trust you. The main goal is to create sales, repeat business as well as referrals so that your small business operates at a profit.

2. Marketing strategy

Your strategy is the backbone of your marketing if not of your whole business. It defines your USP, your ideal customer and your goals.

Establishing your small business marketing strategy is like giving yourself a compass to guide you through your day-to-day marketing. It’s what you base every marketing decision on.

Read more about how to establish a marketing strategy for your small business.

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3. Marketing plan

Another important entry on this list of marketing definitions for small businesses is your marketing plan. After deciding on your strategy, it’s time to think about how you are going to implement it. Your marketing plan is all about the tactics you are going to use to attract new business.

It’s also where you define how you want to encourage repeat business and referrals from existing customers. If your strategy is your compass, your marketing plan is your roadmap.

Looking for more ideas when it comes to encouraging repeat business? I’ve got you covered – check out this post.

4. Brand

Your brand is all about how you want to present your company in order to appeal to your ideal customer. And that includes a lot more than a logo, fonts and a colour scheme.

It’s about who you are, what you stand for and what kind of values you want to represent. Think about what kind of people you want to do business with and what beliefs you share with them. This will help you gain their trust and loyalty and ultimately their business.

I wrote an entire post on how I created a strong brand, which you might find useful in building your own!

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5. USP

In order to attract new customers, you have to be visible in your market. A unique selling proposition (or USP) helps you do exactly that and even more, it helps you stand out and set yourself apart from your competition.

It is closely linked with your brand and your values and helps you carve out a niche for yourself and your small business. And it should definitely be on every list of marketing definitions for small businesses

6. Marketing channels

Marketing offers a whole range of ways to promote your small business: Advertising is one option, event marketing or social media marketing another.

These so-called marketing channels help you get your message across and promote your products or services. More importantly, they include everything you do to attract new business and to retain it, so count your customer service among it as well.

Choosing the right channels is hugely important – you can read more about this here.

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7. Monitoring

In order to achieve the goals you have set in your strategy, you have to monitor and control your marketing activities. It might seem an odd one for a list of marketing definitions for small businesses. But it helps you keep an eye on the costs and success of your marketing campaigns.

It’s also a great way to see what works and what doesn’t for your future marketing. You just need to make sure all your campaigns are tracked and to allocate new orders to the relevant marketing activity.

I have a whole post dedicated to learning from the your past marketing – you can check it out here!

8. ROI

Always keep in mind that marketing means spending money and very rarely pays for itself in the short term. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a look what you get for your money in return.

Return-on-investment (or ROI) means calculating if your marketing campaigns were profitable or not. Let’s say for example you spent £100 on a campaign that sold 10 products for £10 each with a profit margin of 25%. Depending if you are focussing on your turnover or profit, you have an ROI of 0 or -0.75.

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9. Call-to-action

Last but not least among the key marketing definitions for small businesses, is something called a call-to-action (or CTA). This is a copywriting term based on the psychological principle that telling people what you want them to do will make it more likely for them to actually do it.

It really is what is says on the tin – a call for the person to take action on your post or advert. Asking them to take that next step and presenting them with the opportunity to do it there and then. Eliminating any need for them to come to the decision later and go hunting for the link themselves!

So always include a ‘click here’ or ‘book now’ in your marketing communications and make it as easy for them to do so as possible.


If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
What’s the Difference Between Marketing, Sales & Business Development?
A Checklist for Your Successful Marketing Campaign Launch
How to Tackle the Biggest Marketing Challenges for Small Business
Small Business Brand: What Is It, Why Do I Need One & How Do I Get One?

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.