You’re a busy entrepreneur, so, what’s the best use of your time? Where should you focus your energy? Sometimes, with all the information and advice out there—and all of your great ideas—it’s hard to know what to do next.

But, marketing should be your priority in taking business action. It’s the thing that brings in the money and the thing that keeps your business going. All other tasks in your business can orbit around your marketing efforts…once they’re successful.

Here are the top 10 ways to kick your business goals into high gear– the top 10 marketing ideas for small businesses.

Just a quick tip before you read on: Come up with a company marketing strategy with some marketing goals before you start. That way, you can keep track of your progress, understand if you’re reaching your targets… and feel good when you reach your thousandth customer or reach your goals.

Also, be sure to have a well-defined marketing message and closing line that’s aligned with your business core values. That means knowing how to describe your business, its services, and what makes it different. Be prepared for tough questions like “What makes you different?” or “Can you promise me profits?”

10. Talk Your Way to the Top with Public Speaking

Contact local groups and meet ups that might be interested in hearing about your business. Then, come up with a compelling story that leads the audience to understanding the value of your product. Tailor your value-based message to the audience at the event. Think about why they’re at the event and what they’re looking to gain from it. Actually, it’s best to not even talk about your product. If you’re being introduced, get your host to mention what you do and sell.

Some examples of groups you can contact include entrepreneur conferences, networking groups, Toastmasters, or local businesses that have information evenings.

At the end of the event, meet and greet with the audience, being sure to keep and use their contact information.

9. Build the List that Builds Your Business

Create a valuable product that you can give away in exchange for contact information. Most entrepreneurs have the company marketing strategy of giving away an email series of action steps, an eBook, an instructional video series, or a free ticket to your business event. It’s best to deliver the most value possible. And don’t forget to communicate your company core values. Strive for content that will impress people so much that they have to work with you.

Then, drive traffic to your site, making sure that your “opt-in” form is clearly visible, eye-catching, and near the top of the page.  Once you have a list of contacts, you can provide them with helpful advice that gradually leads to marketing offers from your business.

8. Get Your Referral Wagon Going

This marketing idea is useful no matter what your company marketing strategy is! 

When you give things away for free or meet people in the community, how will you get them interested in your business? Have a plan for showing them the great values and benefits your business has to offer. 

First of all, no one’s going to buy anything from a stranger, especially not if it’s expensive. So start small and cheap and work your way up.

I’ve been marketed to in this exact way…and it works! 

Recently, I’ve been furnishing my apartment. I’m a conscientious buyer because I look for good prices and good quality. So, when a new furniture store opened near my house I was curious. I had seen it before in other neighborhoods and I’d been in to check it out once of twice. I didn’t buy anything the first 3 times I went in, but I did take a free catalogue that they had at the front of the store. 

After browsing through the catalogue one day, I decided I liked the style of the store. So, I went in to buy a pillowcase. I ended up buying a pillow, a case, and a duvet cover, and putting myself on the mailing list.

Now, I get emails from this store regularly. And, because I’ve gotten so many compliments on my pillow, I’m considering buying some bigger furniture from them.

This is a classic buying funnel. Your free content or discussions show your audience your personality and your business’s core values. From there, they can try out your services with a cheap one-time purchase…say, a short eBook. Then, they might learn a lot and wonder how much they can benefit from more of your product or service. So they buy a mid-range product. This pattern continues until they invest in your most exclusive services.  

7. Share Your Knowledge Far & Wide—Online

To get online traction, write some valuable blogs. 

The best way to guest post on other blogs is to write articles related to an article that’s on someone else’s site. Give your business’s spin on the article and make it relevant and useful to the audience you’re writing for. 

Then, send a quick friendly email to the author of the blog, saying that you like their information and that you have a related article their audience might find useful, if they’re is interested. 

Another marketing idea for blogs is to submit them to social bookmarking sites like Reddit,, and Google Reader. These sites have large reader bases. And, like everything, your articles will generate business if they provide value to your audience.

6. Optimize Your Content for the Online World

It doesn’t help to write amazing content if no one can find it. That’s why it’s important to use the words and phrases people are actively searching for. When you use the words your customers are using, they feel like you are talking directly to them—answering their personal needs and responding to their questions.

To get started, log on to Google Adwords, and use the Keyword Tool under the “Tools and Analysis” tab. From there, take the suggestions that Google offers under the “keyword ideas” tab. And try to use phrases that get about 10,000 to 30,000 searches. You can use them about 3 to 4 times on each of your pages or blogs.

Soon you’ll be reaching more of your customers just by using the words they’re searching for on Google.