Marketing tips for Creative Small Businesses, from Hannah Isted

In the first of the Bristol Market ‘Tips for Creative Small Businesses’ series, Hannah Isted gives some useful AND useable advice for marketing and promoting your small business. Have a read!

Hannah Isted is the owner of HI Communications. She helps small business owners to enjoy promoting their business with quick and simple marketing advice.

Hannah Isted of HI Communications, an outdoor shot of Hannah by a magnolia bush in full flower..

Marketing Tips for Creative Small Business Owners

As small business owners, we wear so many different hats. 

Accountant, content creator, website designer, maker and manager. The list goes on. 

It can feel overwhelming to try and juggle each of them every single day. 

But the good news is that there is something that can be done to take the pressure off. You can either outsource and find someone that can help (a good accountant is worth their weight in gold, literally!) or learn how to do the work quickly and effectively yourself. 

Luckily, I think marketing is something that can be taught and learnt. 

I’ve worked with hundreds of small business owners over the last 6 years. Even though the tools have changed and we’ve had to adapt to use stories, reels and TikTok, the foundations have stayed the same. Here are a few simple tips for businesses which will help you improve your marketing today. 

I share lots of marketing advice and support over on my Instagram page, so click here to give me a follow!

Make sure you’re selling

When we’ve shared a post on social media we’ll often put a tick next to ‘marketing’ on our to-do list. 

But does that post/email/video really sell your products and services? Or is it just explaining what you do without giving your audience an idea of what to do next. Selling can feel scary and intimidating for some of us, but it doesn’t need to. 

Sharing and selling can be the same thing, but often they are very different. 

Next time you’re writing your content think to yourself, would this encourage a potential customer to buy? Is the next step obvious? Does it lead them to click a button on your email or find the link in your bio to visit your website? 

Tell us how we can buy from you and give us a little nudge in the right direction. People are busy, we need all the help we can get! 

Say the same thing in a different way

One of the most common things I hear from small business owners is that they’re worried they keep saying the same thing and their audience will get bored. 

When it comes to promoting your business, repetition is a good thing

We want to be so well known for what we do that when someone asks a friend 

‘Do you know anyone that does….?’ they automatically think of you. 

The trick with repetition is to learn how to say the same thing in a different way. 

Your message might be – ‘Here are the prints I have for sale’ and if you shared the same picture each day maybe your audience would start to get bored. 

Instead, you could do live videos, reels, share customer images, host a workshop, attend an event, or create a quiz or a poll asking what your audience wants to see. 

The message stays the same but you keep your audience engaged and have a better chance of reaching new people by trying different tools in your toolbox. 

Another way to be repetitive in your business is by repeating the content, literally!  

Recycle your content

This is one of the quickest ways to promote what you do and save time without constantly having to create new content. 

  • Look back at some of the posts you’ve already written, the blogs you’ve shared and the videos you’ve created. How could they be used for something else? 
  • This blog post could become individual posts on social media. 
  • Your videos could become reels or TikToks. 
  • You might have shared a great post last year that still feels relevant, and you just need to change the image. 

Make things easier for yourself, not harder. We already have enough to do to run our businesses without feeling the pressure to be constantly creating. 

Most of us can hardly remember what we posted yesterday let alone what another business posted last year. Give yourself a break and make sure you squeeze the juice out of that content you’re creating! 

Experiment in your business

  • Has your engagement on social media dropped? 
  • Is the Instagram algorithm messing with your views? 
  • Are fewer and fewer people seeing your content? 

Now is the time to try something new and experiment in your business. If no one is seeing it anyway, does it really matter if things go wrong? 

Most of us have something we’ve always wanted to do but never felt brave enough to try. It could be going live on Instagram, hosting an event, creating a special offer or service, designing a digital product or even creating a reel for the first time. 

If what you usually do isn’t working, try something different and monitor the results. Experiment in your business and you could stumble across the thing that really works to improve your marketing. 

Look at what’s working well – but make it feel like you

If you want to try experimenting but have no idea where to start, look around at what’s working well. 

We never want to copy, but we can look at the types of content and methods that are working and see how we can incorporate them to make them feel like our own business. 

  • You could look on the Explore page on Instagram to see the types of posts which are doing well and being shared most frequently. 
  • You could listen to videos from other businesses that are sharing their advice and what’s working well for them. 

There are so many business owners generously sharing their knowledge and what’s working right now. Listen, take it on board and adapt it for your own business. 

Who, what, when, how, where, WHY?

If in doubt, go back to the beginning. 

When my clients are struggling to create anything we always go back to the beginning with their content and start with these questions. 

  • Who – Who is it for? Who does it help? Who are you to offer it? 
  • What – What actually is it? What do you get? What does it do? 
  • When – When is it available? When would you use it? 
  • How – How does it work? How can you get it? 
  • Where – Where are you based? Where is your shop? Where can we buy your stuff? 
  • Why – Why should we buy it? Why does it solve a problem we have (even if that problem is that we want to treat ourselves to something nice!) 

When you are a small business owner it’s a rollercoaster ride, but I like to remind myself that I ‘get to’ talk about my business. It isn’t a chore, it’s something that I enjoy because I know that what I do will help others. 

Promote your business this summer with The Best 90 Days Ever

Hannah Isted of HI Communications at her desk, smiling up at the camera.

If you would like daily marketing support and more tips like these, come and join us in my 3-month membership The Best 90 Days Ever

Every day you’ll receive a tip, task or challenge to help you promote your small business for less than 10 minutes a day. 

We have a fantastic group that is always there to offer advice or support and we also run weekly online co-working sessions, challenges, business hot seats and competitions to help make marketing fun again. 

It’s just over £10 a month and we’d love for you to join us!

Click here to find out more

course flyer for 'The Best 90 Days Ever' - daily marketing prompts, accountability, support and a community for 3 months for just £34.99. We start on 1st July and you can sign up now on my website .

Click here to visit Hannah’s website.

Click here to visit Hannah’s Instagram.


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