Customer Experience, Marketing Channels

Customer-Focused Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Customer-Focused Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Marketing can be annoying and pushy – picture tactics like unsolicited emails and repetitive TV ads. But it doesn’t have to be. If you think about your customers first, your marketing will be much more well-received by your target audience. And that’s where my top 5 customer-focused marketing ideas come in!

Just think about it: You’re in business because you want to provide something useful and valuable to your customers. And happy customers become repeat customers and recommend your small business to their friends and family. So it makes sense that your marketing focuses on your customers, too.

I’ve already described what marketing with a customer focus is and how you can implement it for your small business. And if you’re not sure where to start, check out my favourite customer-focused marketing ideas below.

1. Give them a choice

photo by stanciuc from Getty Images via Canva Pro

People hate being sold to when the product or service isn’t relevant to them. Or when the style or frequency of the marketing isn’t what they want. So, give your customers a choice.

Let them decide how they’d like to be marketed to, so you can provide them with the relevant information and encourage them to engage with your brand.

For example, include a section in your newsletter sign-up form which allows people to choose how often they want to receive emails from you, and which topics they’re most interested in.

With GDPR in force, it’s really important to let customers know how and why you’ll be contacting them – giving them a choice helps to make things even more transparent.

Read more about GDPR and what it means for your small business.

2. Provide value

Customer-focused marketing ideas aren’t all about selling products. Generating brand awareness, creating a community and providing value for your customers is key here too. Rather than constantly talking about your products, why not give something back and provide a valuable resource for customers?

I think Facebook Groups are great for this. You can create a community where like-minded people can have a conversation, help each other and discuss topics related to your industry. Make sure the community is related to your small business but also allows people to talk about wider issues.

For example, if you’re a company that makes bike helmets, you could create a bike safety community. This fits in well with your products and target audience. But also shows that you care about your customers and want to help them – even if they haven’t purchased from you yet.

If Facebook isn’t your thing, writing a blog is another way to provide this value for your customers – check out this post where I outline how to start one for your small business!

3. Prevent problems

photo by Bojan89 from Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

Another idea which I think works well as part of a customer-focused marketing plan is to be able to prevent problems before they crop up.

Obviously, it’s impossible to foresee every problem that might occur. But have a think about the main challenges your customers might have. Be able to offer a solution to these key challenges before they happen, so customers know you are putting their needs first.

For example, the Christmas shopping period is always busy. Offer your customers different options which will allow them to avoid the rush and get exactly what they want.

If you’re a retail shop, offer a pre-ordering service so customers can reserve products and collect them at a convenient time. If you’re a beauty salon, why not open bookings early for existing customers so they can make sure they get an appointment? This not only helps prevent potential problems but also makes existing customers feel special and valued.

4. Anticipate their needs

To come up with great customer-focused marketing ideas, you need to think like a customer. What exactly are they looking for? What do they want? What would make their life easier?

Anticipate what the customer needs, and be able to provide this for them. You may even want to collaborate with other businesses to go above and beyond what your competitors can offer.

If you’re an estate agent, your customer needs a new home. But they also need information about the area, recommendations for local businesses and helpful advice. Rather than just fulfilling the customer’s basic needs, consider all these additional needs too.

Put together a “newly-moved-in package” with information about businesses and social activities in the area. Add vouchers for neighbourhood restaurants or takeaways, and numbers for local handymen and cleaners. Trust me, the customer will appreciate the extra thought you’ve put in. And they’ll be more likely to use your services again or recommend you to a friend.

Take anticipating their needs to the next level – check out this post with my top tips on reaching your customers earlier in their journey!

5. Listen to them

Photo by natasaadzic from Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

Above all, you need to listen to your customers. If you listen to what they’re saying, it’ll make your job much easier. Shape your customer-focused marketing ideas around what your customers actually want.

You can even use their thoughts, feelings and words as part of your marketing. Take a look at customer reviews you’re getting and think about the way people are describing your products or services.

Use their own words for your marketing – just make sure you adopt the language or structure to avoid sounding like a robot!

Listening to what your customers like about your company (and then using this as part of your marketing copy) will help you attract more similar customers.

This is part 3 of a series of posts about how to avoid annoying people with your marketing. Find out what customer-focused marketing is & how you can implement it in your small business marketing strategy!


To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Identify a Target Market for Your Small Business
7 Steps to Improve Your Customer Experience
Ideal Clients: How to Define & Attract them to Your Small Business
Meet the Underdogs: 10 Underrated Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses



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.