When you’re running a small business, you have to wear a lot of hats. You’re the accountant, the salesperson, and the decorator/designer. And you’re also the marketer.

So how do you know what kind of marketing channels are best for your business?

Below we have some recommendations on how to go about choosing the best marketing platforms for your business.

Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth (WOM) marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing, and it’s still one of the most effective. WOM campaigns are incredibly powerful because they involve a consumer recommending a product to their friends and family.

A way to incentivize WOM is by leveraging a referral program.

The referral program is a marketing strategy that incentivizes customers to refer friends and family members by rewarding them with discounts and special offers.


  • Word of mouth marketing is a great way to build brand loyalty and awareness.
  • It’s a natural, organic way to reach your target audience.
  • It’s the most cost effective form of advertising.


  • It takes time
  • You don’t get direct control over who hears your message or how they hear it (unless you pay for advertising). You need to be careful not to burn bridges with your customers.
  • Word of mouth marketing can be hard to measure.
  • It’s unpredictable. You don’t know how strong your message will be received or how many people will hear it.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a way for you to create engaging, useful content that helps people solve problems and fill their needs, and which in turn can create leads and sales.

It’s not just about blogging. It can be anything from a quick how-to video to an in-depth case study or explainer video. The key is that it has to be something that your customers want to read, watch, or listen to—something they’ll get value from.

Your content/blog will most likely be housed on your own website. If you do not have an existing website, learn how you can set one up here. We also recommend doing some guest blogging on other websites to reach new audiences.


  • You have a lot more control over your message (rather than WOM).
  • Helps you keep existing customers engaged with your business and encourages them to purchase more products and services from you.
  • Increases your visibility in search engines (i.e. Google). 
  • Helps you position yourself as an expert in the field which in turn helps you generate leads if the viewer finds the content valuable. 


  • Creating quality content can take time (and time is money!). It’s important to plan ahead before you start writing so that you don’t burn out before reaching your goals!
  • If you don’t have an established audience already or if you’re just starting out in business (or both!), then it might take some time before anyone sees any results from this kind of marketing.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a way for companies to advertise their products and services on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s important to have a presence on these sites because they’re where people spend most of their time online. They’re also the main platforms where people share information with each other.

Learn more about how to use social media and choose which platform is right for your business by reading: Connect with the Decorators & Designers Association (DDA) of Canada! – A Beginner’s Guide To Using Social Media


  • It’s free (unless you’re purchasing ads).
  • It can be a great way to connect with your audience and build brand awareness.
  • You can easily measure the effectiveness of your content, so you can quickly see what’s working and what isn’t.
  • You can engage with customers on a more personal level.
  • You can get feedback from customers on how to improve their experience.


  • If you have not used social media before it is a learning curve (all platforms are different as well).
  • It takes time—you have to create content, schedule it in advance, and make sure you’re posting at the right times for the right people.
  • It’s hard to get noticed in the sea of noise that is social media. There are so many posts out there, it’s easy for yours to get lost in the crowd! It takes lots of creativity and dedication to stand out from the crowd and get noticed by your target audience.
  • You’re always on duty! If someone has an issue with your product or service while they’re at home on their couch, they can reach out directly through social media—and expect a response right away!

Event Marketing

Event marketing is a great way to get your brand in front of new customers. You can use events to build relationships with your existing customers, as well as attract new customers who may not know about your company. You can host your own event or attend an event that’s relevant to the industry you’re in.


  • Event marketing is a great way to reach new audiences, build your brand, and cultivate loyalty.
  • You can use event marketing to drive sales. For example, you could offer discounts or exclusive deals at an event.
  • Attending an event gives you the chance to meet potential clients and develop relationships with them in person, which is more effective than email or phone calls alone.
  • Events are a fun way to get people excited about your business! 


  • Event marketing can be expensive, especially if you do not have the right tools and experience for it. You need to make sure that the event you are hosting (or are attending) will attract the right kind of audience for your business, otherwise it will not be worth the cost.
  • The success of an event depends heavily on the execution—if your event falls flat, it could damage your brand’s reputation and hurt sales moving forward.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the process of sending emails to a list of people with the goal of getting them to take an action that benefits your business. This can be anything from asking them to click a link in your email, or buy a product. We recommend using MailChimp as your email marketing software.


  • Email marketing is personalized and targeted—if you know exactly who you want to reach with your message, then this is the best way to do it.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive. Compared to other forms of online advertising like AdWords or Facebook ads, email marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to get your message out there. 
  • Sending out an email newsletter on a regular basis lets you keep your customers up-to-date on new products or services, upcoming events, promotions/discounts—anything that might be relevant for them.


  • It’s easy for people to opt out of receiving your emails—they just have to click on the unsubscribe button at the bottom of each email they get from you.
  • There’s a high level of competition for your audience’s attention and the need for careful planning as well as ongoing maintenance.
  • If you don’t have permission from your subscribers, you could get into trouble with spam laws. Read more here.

Influencer Marketing 

Influencers are individuals who have a large following on social media, and they are typically paid to endorse products and services. By using influencers, brands can reach a wide audience, while also building trust among those they’re attempting to sell their product to.


  • You’ll reach new audiences and grow your following.
  • It’s a great way to build trust with your customers as your products/services are being endorsed by a credible source.
  • It has a high return on investment (ROI) compared with other forms of advertising because it’s much more targeted than traditional advertising.


  • There’s no guarantee that influencer marketing will work for your brand. Some influencer campaigns don’t result in increased sales or revenue.
  • You need to know who you’re targeting and how they’ll benefit from working with you before choosing an influencer. If they don’t align with your company’s values or goals, it won’t be worth the investment.
  • It’s expensive! Getting an influencer involved with your brand can make the price tag go up quickly—especially if they’re well-known! You might want to think about starting small and working your way up from there.

There are many different tools you can use to market your small business, including event marketing, social media, and email newsletters.

The best way to determine what type of marketing is right for your business is by testing different types of marketing and seeing which ones work best for you.

Written by the DDA National Office