Brand & Marketing Strategy

How to Find Your Marketing Spark as a Small Business Owner


Do you enjoy running your own small business but marketing is doing your head in? Whether you feel uncomfortable ‘selling yourself’ or creating Instagram Reels or starting a podcast is just not for you, marketing your small business doesn’t have to be painful! There is a way to find your marketing spark and make it fun, genuine and effective. Read on to find out how!

find your marketing spark
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What’s your purpose?

We all have a reason why we started our own small business. Money is certainly one of them and even if you’re not in it for the money, you still need to make ends meet to keep doing what you love. But if you’re reading my blog, chances are you have another, stronger motivation that keeps you going.

Maybe you provide an alternative to conventional solutions that better serves your ideal clients. You might have found a better way to solve an existing problem for your customers or even came up with a completely new solution. Either way, you do things your way and love changing things for the better for your ideal clients, those who get the most value from working with you.

It’s easy to get distracted from that motivation or purpose when trying to get the word out about your small business. That is especially hard with all the strategies, tactics and trends you absorb online on a daily basis. But keeping that original purpose in mind is what will help you change your relationship with marketing. Let’s have a look at how that works…

Burnout and frustration

There are many reasons why people get frustrated or even burned out when marketing their small business. If you don’t see results or have to resort to tactics that don’t align with your values, it’s easy to see marketing as something unachievable or a skill that you simply don’t have.

But that’s where the problem lies. Instead of seeing marketing as something that has to be done a certain way, you should see it for what it actually is: a toolbox to help you get the word out about your business.

A toolbox that you can use however you see fit. There are a few basic principles to follow, of course. For example, don’t try to attract business leaders by posting videos on TikTok. But other than that, the best marketing for your small business reflects the way you do business.

So take your purpose, your motivation that made you start your business, and apply it to that toolbox. This way you will be able to improve more people’s lives and it should also fit seamlessly into your day-to-day work as it is about your day-to-day work. And that’s also what will make marketing come more naturally to you.

What this means is that what your marketing looks and sounds like is defined by you, not the trendy marketing guru on LinkedIn.

find your marketing spark
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How do you know what’s right for you?

Let me put it to you this way. You were confident enough to create a business because you think what you do can change things for the better for your customers. How simple and powerful is that? Now, to find your marketing spark, you need to take that confidence and bring that same mindset into your marketing.

The same reason that made you start your business defines what your content looks like, what channels to use and how to use them. Your values, skills and perspective are what help you create the right marketing. And it’s also what makes it all feel more like you, more fun and less like a dreaded “add on” to your work.

find your marketing spark
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Getting marketing backwards

It’s entirely possible that the reason why you haven’t been able to find your marketing spark yet is because you have approached your strategy backwards.

Perhaps you started by looking for trending platforms. If, for example, you were developing a marketing strategy in 2019, as TikTok was really taking off, it was at the forefront of every conversation. When a platform is being discussed everywhere, it’s easy to get swept up thinking you need to be on it.

Alternatively, you might have got caught up in content trends. This could mean focusing heavily on video content as it continues to rise in popularity.

Or, maybe you even turned to your competition. Seeing what their competitors in the industry are doing can feel like shortcut to success. If, for example, you own a salon and other hairdressers are having success sharing dramatic before and afters, you might think that’s something you should be doing too.

What do all those things have in common, however? None of them start with your business and your purpose!

find your marketing spark
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What does this mean for my business?

This means that everything you do to market your business starts with embracing permission to talk about something you love, in a way that you love. So, instead of just talking to your best friend about why you started your business, you’re talking to everyone on your mailing list about it. It’s simply amplifying your core message.

Can you see how that could help you find your marketing spark?! It makes it something so achievable and exciting! Instead of scrambling to reshape your business to fit with a trending TikTok audio, you approach it with your business in the driving seat. So, which type of content will best allow you to talk excitedly about your products or services?

And honestly? The less “salesy” you can be, the better! When you find your marketing spark, you’ll be more relaxed. You won’t have to force it. And naturally, then, your ideal customers will connect with you!

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Winning over customers

And on that note, I want to touch on something I see quite often. Another way people can sideline their small business purpose is by trying to “cast a wider net”.

This could look like being more vague about services in the hopes of attracting a larger number of people. For example, maybe you offer a consulting service over video call, but you’re seeing a competitor succeed with their in-person service. Here, you might be tempted to be deliberately vague in your advertising, making it seem like you are available in person.

Then, once you’ve got the customer in the metaphorical door, you’ll explain how it actually works. The hope that the person has been so impressed by everything else they’ll be won over. It’s almost like seeing it as a “before and after marketing”. So you “do the marketing” in order to get them to the point where you can explain your business. And that just isn’t how it works.

Your marketing is a constant and it’s as unique as your small business purpose is. So don’t waste your time, or anyone elses! By shouting from the rooftops about what you actually love doing, you’ll win over the right people far sooner, and weed out the wrong ones.


Interested in reading more about this topic? Have a look at these:
Stop! What are you actually selling?!
How to Stop Feeling Stuck with your Marketing?
What Exactly IS Marketing? OR: Marketing Strategy v Marketing Tactics
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.