Marketing for small businesses is inherently different from enterprise marketing. Whatever approach your business takes, you have to execute with limited resources in terms of time, staff, and money. A lower budget usually means smaller reach, so you often have to find creative ways to get your brand out there. We even do that here at UpCity (for instance, with our free daily newsletter and SEO report card tool). But – guess what? – creativity sucks resources too.
Rather than going it alone, we recommend that SMB marketers and business owners form a go-to list of reading material to keep your ideas and marketing strategies fresh and effective. And to make it easy for you, we’ve culled a list of the best and brightest bloggers in small business marketing.
We want this to be a living list, so if we skipped over your favorite SMB marketing resource, tell us about it in the comments! We’ve also created some tools we think you’ll find useful:
- A custom search engine – Below you’ll find a search engine input field – that search engine will only search the blogs on this list. When you’re looking for information on a small business marketing topic, this can be quite handy as you won’t have to wade through information from low quality sources.
- A Blekko Slash Tag - This functions similarly to the custom search engine and allows you to only perform searches amongst the sites on this list.
- A Custom Twitter List – This way you’ll be able to follow all of the great bloggers on this list on Twitter to see not only what they blog about, but also what other content they’re sharing and tweeting.
In no particular order, here are our favorites:
Duct Tape Marketing is headed up by marketing consultant John Jantsch, author of The Referral Engine. His blog covers “simple, effective and affordable” marketing techniques that are accessible to time- and budget-strapped SMBs. It’s a good one to follow if you want to stay on top of, and make sense of, new technologies, social media features and Google updates. Jantsch also does a weekly marketing podcast and a weekly newsletter.
3 Posts We Like from Duct Tape Marketing:
- Making Local Reviews Part of the Content Strategy
- The 7 Verbs of Commitment
- How to Reveal Fan Only Content on Facebook
Small Business Trends features news and articles by a range of small business marketing experts. As the name implies, there’s a focus on trends, from top web design trends to trends driving rural small businesses. The site also features some great, comprehensive list posts (like 50 must-have iPhone/iPad apps for SMBs).
3 Posts We Like from Small Biz Trends:
- 50 Places to Find Images for Every Small Business Need
- Is Google AdWords Too Complicated for Small Businesses?
- Selling Luxury in 2011
MarketingSherpa publishes research reports for marketers, and the MarketingSherpa blog is a source of thoughtful posts on marketing strategy (with a focus on email marketing) and insights gleaned from their research. It’s a great one to follow if you prefer high-level marketing concepts to nitty-gritty tips.
3 Posts We Like from MarketingSherpa:
- The Data vs. Creativity Debate: Is successful marketing driven by analytics or art?
- From Corporate America to Entrepreneur: Giving up steady pay for a steady say
- Email Deliverability: Getting into Gmail’s ‘Priority Inbox’
Janine Popick, the CEO of VerticalResponse, focuses on email marketing for small businesses, from writing a great subject line to making your newsletters more social. She writes new posts frequently and all of them convey passion and deep knowledge of marketing. Other topics covered include how to host your own seminar and how to take advantage of seasonal trends.
3 Posts We Like from VerticalResponse:
- 29 Ways to Collect Email Addresses for Your Business
- 5 Tips on a How to Write a Better Subject Line
- How Small Biz Can Think Big – Interview with VerticalResponse CEO, Janine Popick
This highly readable blog, run by small business owner Ken Chandler, is all about creative, low-cost ways to market, brand and grow a small business. The site has a team of authors, each with a different focus (branding, content, technology, affiliate marketing) and a helpful, informative voice.
Three Posts We Like from Small Business Branding:
- Ultimate Selection of 60 Tools for Business Owners
- Five Creative Ways to Show Customer Appreciation
- How to Run a Paperless Office
The blog of Flyte.biz, a web design and strategy firm, covers Internet marketing strategies for small businesses, with a focus on blogging, social media and design. Blogger Rich Brooks espouses that a website is pointless without a strategy for using it, and he shares lots of actionable tips and process posts like “how to post video in WordPress.”
3 Posts We Like from Flyte Blog:
OrangeSoda is a provider of online marketing solutions for small businesses, and the OrangeSoda blog delivers tips for small businesses doing SEO, PPC, local, mobile and other web marketing campaigns. The blog’s writers, including Dan Garfield, often go against the grain of what everybody else is saying (see “Google doesn’t have an innovation problem” and “Groupon’s SuperBowl ads are actually brilliant and awesome”), and they like to find analogies and marketing lessons in unexpected places (like the airport and weddings).
3 Posts We Like from OrangeSoda:
- Make Your Website Mobile-Ready
- The Importance of Crawlable Site Architecture
- Active Share Plugin for WordPress
Matt McGee, who you may know and love from Search Engine Land and Sphinn, runs this blog for small businesses doing SEM on a budget. He covers both SEO and PPC, link building, local search, social media, reputation management and more. He also does regular link roundups and offers a separate RSS feed for what he considers his best posts.
3 Posts We Like from Small Business Search Marketing:
- 4 Creative Twitter Uses
- 10 Likely Elements of Google’s Local Search Algorithm
- How to Get Started with SEO
Lee Odden’s blog, an offshoot of his digital marketing agency, has been a resource on SEO and SEM, social media, content marketing, blogging and online PR since 2003. Lee and the other writers produce a steady mix of easy-to-digest list posts, interviews, and conference wrap-ups.
3 Posts We Like from TopRank:
- Ten Must-Read Tips to Start a Small Business Blog
- Lowdown on Press Release Optimization
- 7 Social Media Lessons from Mr. Miyagi
AllBusiness is a huge online resource for small businesses, with over 50 bloggers, a business library, special reports, videos, podcasts and more. The site’s Small Business Blog features insights from bloggers Rieva Lesonsky and Barry Moltz. (Check out the other blogs too, which specialize in everything from working mothers to business fraud.)
3 Posts We Like from the Small Business Blog:
- Where Your Customers Go, You Must Follow
- The Best Way to Monetize Your Blog Content
- The 20 Most Important Words in Small Business
HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform and the blog covers inbound marketing concepts including blogging, social media and SEO as well as lead generation, web analytics and other Internet marketing basics, with lots of quick, punchy lists, how-to posts and fun videos.
3 Posts We Like from HubSpot:
- Did You Graduate from Link Building High School Yet?
- 6 Non-Fluff Answers to Your Social Media Questions
- 6 Reasons Lead Nurturing Wins Over Email Blasts
Small Biz Survival specializes in strategies geared toward businesses based in small and rural towns and the unique challenges of operating in that setting. This very friendly blog covers marketing as well as economic development and tourism; it also does a regular “brag basket” post where readers can share stories.
3 Posts We Like from Small Biz Survival:
- The Narrower the Niche, the Wider the Opportunity
- Competing with Free by Adding Value
- 5 Things NOT to Do When Connecting with People on Social Networks
Mike Blumenthal’s blog offers small business owners a wealth of information on Google Maps and local SEO best practices. This blog has archives of fantastic blog posts on local search and Google Maps that will help you bolster your local SEO marketing strategies.
3 Posts We Like from Blumenthals.com:
- Google Places and Their New Rejection Algo – It’s Like 7th Grade All Over Again
- Which Reviews Sites Should You Use?
- Google Places is Now Removing Selective Reviews
The Intuit blog publishes multiple posts per day about what it takes to succeed as a small business, covering trends, social media and other online marketing tactics, green business practices, employee management, money/tax matters and more.
3 Posts We Like from Intuit:
- How to Get Selected for a Panel at South by Southwest
- Using Twitter for Small Business: 6 Questions with TweetSmarter
- 10 Free Tools For Marketing Your Business Online
Jay Ehret’s blog (tagline: “Turning Entrepreneurs into Marketers”) is billed as a “free advice column” on branding, promotion and other elements of a marketing plan. He also offers webinars and podcasts.
3 Posts We Like from the Marketing Spot:
- Pressing the Panic Button
- The Ecstasy and Agony of Facebook
- Using Google Reader to Organize and Consume Blog Feeds
OK, you know this one has been around for a long time because it was named back when “hits” were considered a valuable metric. The tagline is “search marketing specialists for small business since 1996,” and the blog is designed to help busy SMB marketers keep up with the latest news and trends in search.
3 Posts We Like from ineedhits:
- Top 10 SEO Competitor Tools
- What Is Anchor Text and Why Is It Important?
- How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews of Your Business
This blog, founded by Rajan Sodhi, is geared toward startups, entrepreneurs and SMBs and focuses on SEO, social media marketing and other online marketing tactics. The posts often cover unusual niche topics that you haven’t already read about 10 times before – see below for some great examples.
3 Posts We Like from Big Marketing for Small Business:
- How to Create Company Swag Your Customers Want to Wear
- 10 Ways to Compete Against a Dominant Brand
- The 7 Most Common Mistakes Made by Young Entrepreneurs
Another blog directed at entrepreneurs and ambitious small biz owners, Insider’s Circle has a team of authors, including Dan Kennedy, Brian Horn, and Bill Glazer, who write about what it takes to be successful in a competitive world (which is often more about mentality and attitude than any particular tool or technique).
3 Posts We Like from Insider’s Circle:
- The Most Important Sentence
- Google is SLAPPING Hard Lately…Here’s The Why and How to Fix It
- 4 Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
Entrepreneur.com’s blog offers smart, professional advice for startups and small business owners on topics like sales and marketing, Facebook and hiring. Also a good source for financial and tax tips.
3 Posts We Like from The Daily Dose:
- Why Customers Unsubscribe, Unlike and Unfollow You
- 10 Tips for Working Trade Shows
- How Two Small Businesses Made Their Marketing Pop
Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing, writes this clever blog full of “unusually useful ideas for smart marketers.” The posts are often tiny – as in less than a hundred words – but contain great nuggets of marketing insight.
3 Posts We Like from Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That:
- First Impressions Matter
- Give Your Fans a Way to Show Their Love
- The Wrong Way to Handle a Negative Review
Jim Connolly publishes a new post near-daily with marketing ideas for SMBs and tips on copywriting, advertising, networking, Twitter, professional development and other small business musts.
3 Posts We Like from Jim’s Marketing Blog:
- 3 steps to increase your fees and attract legions of high quality clients
- 92 reasons to invest in your business blog
- Marketing copywriting: The power of reasons
Updated daily by author Caroline Melberg, Small Business Mavericks consists of quick posts that usually address a question that might be asked by a small business owner/marketer (such as “Is link buying necessary?”), so if your mind tends to work this way, this is a good choice for you.
3 Posts We Like from Small Business Mavericks:
- Content Farms: Did Google Go Far Enough?
- What Are You Doing with Abandoned Shopping Carts?
- More Updates Means More Traffic
Marketing veteran Drew McLellan was named one of the “10 bloggers that every entrepreneur should read” by the Wall Street Journal – not a bad endorsement! His blog covers branding, creativity, social media and other strategic marketing topics.
3 Posts We Like from the Marketing Minute:
- How to create an iPhone or Droid app for your business
- Marketing math: how do you measure success?
- What sells better — the future or the past?
This blog from a Hawaii-based Internet marketing firm covers the basics for small businesses (including restaurants and other hospitality industries), with DIY tips for acing SEO, local search, social media and blogging with limited resources. Author Michelle Harrington does a great job of explain why you should adopt certain tactics, not just how.
3 Posts We Like from Emagine:
- Using Your Domain-Based Email with Gmail
- Add Video to Your Marketing Strategy
- Thinking About Paid Search?
“The Zest” is the marketing blog of Jaffy Designs, offering “fresh, practical and simple” advice for SMBs. Writer Jason Amunwa writes engaging posts with lots of personality on topics like customer loyalty and product innovation.
3 Posts We Like from The Zest:
- How to Build Buzz Before Your Product Is Ready
- Small Business SEO: Quick & Dirty Tips for Non-Coders
- Why Marketing Small Businesses Doesn’t Just Mean Spending Less
crowdSPRING offers custom design and copywriting services to small businesses and entrepreneurs, and the blog does regular link roundups of interesting articles on SMB marketing, social media, web design and other topics of relevance for small biz teams, in addition to original posts and small business spotlights.
3 Posts We Like from crowdSPRING:
- 5 things that suck (about hiring new employees) and 10 things companies can do about it
- Saying “No” to Customers Can Save Your Company
- Lean Marketing: Public Relations strategies for small businesses and startups
This is an aggregator blog of small business articles from around the web, as well as original content, with categories including marketing, entrepreneurship, operations and technology. The site also features a forum for small business ideas.
3 Posts We Like from Small Business Brief:
- Direct Mail Is a Viable Option for Marketing to Small Businesses
- 9 Advantages of Keeping Up to Date with your Customers
- Top 10 Accounting Myths Busted!
David Mihm specializes in web design and local SEO, and his blog, Mihmorandum, is a good resource for small businesses trying to rank on the first page for localized Google searches – and keep up with Google’s frequent changes to these pages.
3 Posts We Like from Mihmorandum:
- The Ten Commandments of Online Marketing for Small & Local Businesses
- Hotpot vs Yelp vs Facebook
- Local vs Traditional SEO: Why Citation Is the New Link
Another blog with a focus on local search, Andrew Shotland’s Local SEO Guide covers local search topics including ranking factors, local search engine submission, geotargeting, mobile SEO and Yelp, as well as general SEO strategies for SMBs.
3 Posts We Like from Local SEO Guide:
- Google Places Needs Some Pest Control
- Local Search Ranking Factors 2010
- How to Track Mobile Visitors in Google Analytics
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Categories: SMB Marketing Tips