This is not “just” the usual rehash of ideas you’ve heard a thousand times.

This is a somewhat curated list of effective advertising techniques which small business owners have told me is working for their small businesses, for various types of small businesses, as well as what’s working for my own.

This list of where to advertise your business is based on real stories from real small business owners.

Different forms of advertising work better (based on the feedback I’ve received) for different types of businesses.


Two owners of restaurants have told me that Yelp is the absolute best source of customers.

One is in Mountain View, CA the other is in Austin, TX.

Mortgage Broker

One mortgage broker (in Austin, TX) told me his best source is referrals from existing clients. Bear in mind he’s been in business for 35 years and has built up an extensive book of business.

Another (in Los Gatos, CA) told me his best source is Facebook ads, but that Google ads do NOT work for him. He has done some work to increase the online visibility of his website and he does get some leads from organic search traffic, but Facebook ads is his clear winner.

Small Business Video Production

This is a local company in Austin. Their primary source currently is referral groups such as BNI, Chamber groups, etc. They are however now focusing on Inbound Marketing and we’ll see how they progress.

Functional Medicine Doctor

A combination of leads from the website, referrals from existing patients, and participating in networking groups.

Wedding and Event Planner

A combination of leads from the website and referrals from prior wedding parties.

Custom Cutting Boards

A combination of leads from the website and craft shows.

Family Practice Doctor

Referrals from insurance companies as well as participation in vegan groups (this doctor promotes the value of a plant based diet).

SEO Services

Ironically their #1 source of leads is prospecting on LinkedIn.

Merchant Services

Believe it or not, door to door prospecting. Their sales process is to walk in, mention they can MAYBE save the business money on their merchant services and to ask for a copy of last months bills.

When they can not save the business money they let them know, and of course when they can the definitely let them know.

Startup Events

This is an organization in the Bay Area and their exclusive marketing is and They don’t even have a website.

Coworking Facility

They use and to host workshops which attract people, some of whom become members.

Inbound Marketing University (my business)

What’s working is a combination of Inbound Marketing (people who find the website via organic search) and LinkedIn prospecting,.


There is not one form of marketing or advertising that works best universally across every business. What works great for one business is terrible for another.

While I’ve seen Inbound Marketing transform businesses, even businesses where it works fantastically well do not abandon all other forms of marketing and advertising.

Where to advertise your small business depends on many factors, the most important of which is to understand where your prospects look for options, and to make sure your visible there.

When Your Prospects Look on Google…

You need to show up in organic search. Learn what it takes.

SEO Needs Link Building


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