Successfully marketing a small business in 2021 can be overwhelming, confusing, and feel like more of a gamble than it should be.

The Challenge of Marketing A Small Business in 2021 is Real

As a fellow small business owner myself, I get the same emails and see the same ads many of you do.

I get told by the “experts” that if I want to grow my business:

  • I have do be doing pay-per-click advertising like Google Ads.
  • I have to be doing social media marketing.
  • I better focus on my SEO and rank in first place on Google.
  • I have to write regular blog articles and promote them to drive traffic to my site.
  • I have to grow an email list and have email marketing campaigns.

The problem is; I have a lot to do to run my business – and I’m not sure I have time to do all of those things.

And when it comes to all of those marketing things, where do I start? Which one should I do first? Can I do one and not the others? Can I only do two?

Ugh! And, not only all of that, but figuring out how to target all that marketing so I’m not wasting money marketing to people who will NEVER buy from me is even more confusing.

Our New Approach To Marketing Our Small Business in 2021

In 2021 and beyond, my approach to marketing my small business is going to be different. And, different is good. Or, as Mike Michalowicz says, “Different is Better”.

In 2019 I started a different approach to marketing and the results have been great for my business. Then, in 2020 I learned the “Different is Better” (DIB) method from Mike Michalowicz. These two lessons combined are a powerhouse of marketing. And, I think the same can be true for marketing your small business in 2021 and beyond.

Mike Michalowicz Explaining Different Is Better for Small Business Marketing


2 New Ways to Look At Small Business Marketing in 2021.


The first idea I refer to as Gatekeeper Marketing.

In traditional marketing, the Gatekeeper is someone in the way of marketers trying to reach the decision-maker at a business or organization.

I use the term differently.

To me, gatekeeper marketing is identifying the people who will give you access to your ideal clients.

I haven’t consulted with enough clients yet to be able to say that this will work for everyone’s business. But, it will work for many of them.

Here’s an example idea I pitched to a client of ours and then I’ll share how we do gatekeeper marketing for our web design business.

I have a client that sells Pet Supplies. Recently, they asked me about SEO marketing. Sure, we can do that. But it’s going to be more expensive for this client than others because they are going up against power brands like Pet Smart, Walmart, and Amazon.

A Gatekeeper Marketing Pitch to a Client of Ours

  1. Identify and contact 20 puppy trainers.
  2. Offer to provide them each with gift boxes for their next “graduating” class.
    In the box include only items sold on your website.
  3. With the gift box include a gift certificate or coupon code with a link to a VANITY url. Something like On that page, have a quick video of my you saying “First, congratulations on working with Pete and his team to have your puppy trained. Like Pete, we love your pet without even meeting them. So we only have safe and quality products made here in the USA to help your dog thrive. Etc, etc, etc.”.

Now, imagine you just trained your dog. You get some treats and a toy your puppy loves. You visit the site, see a video of a small business owner calling out your local puppy trainer by name. CONNECTION!!!!! There is a good chance you are going to buy.

And here’s the thing, if my client does an amazing customer nurture campaign, you are going to buy from them over and over.

Here is how we are using this approach.

We have a brand that only builds websites for people who sell promotional products.

So here’s what we do.

  1. We give these people free websites.
  2. They, in turn, have to promote and sell website and online marketing services to their clients.
  3. We get to build all these websites.

Now, we didn’t create that idea. It’s what’s known as “white-labeling” in my industry.

And it’s amazing. We have a sales force selling websites to people they already are doing business with.


The second marketing approach could be combined with the first. This is leveraging what Mike Michalowicz teaches as DIB.

Here is how I have leveraged Different is Better marketing with clients and for myself.

Here’s an example of an idea we pitched for an artist who wants to get their work into more galleries.

  1. Identify 20 Galleries.
  2. Send each gallery a used paintbrush.
  3. With the brush include a note with a link to a custom VANITY URL using the Gallery name, or better yet, the Gallery owner’s name.
  4. On that vanity landing page, include a short video standing in front of the painting you used the brush to paint. Use the Gallery or Gallery owner’s name and share with them the quick story behind the painting. Include a way to reach you and I would skip the email. Go for the text message.

Now, in this situation, the lifetime earning potential from a Gallery can be in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. So taking four hours once a month to shoot videos is totally worth the return on investment.

Here’s a DIB marketing idea we are ramping up to use in our small business in 2021.

We are launching a new line of SEO Packages. So, here is how we plan to target our marketing.

  1. Identify 20 businesses we can help that are making at least $250,000 per year.
  2. Mail the business owner or manager a small magnifying glass with a note. The note will say something like, “It shouldn’t be hard for you and your ideal customer to find each other. We can help you get targeted traffic to your website. In fact, I made a personal video just for you. Go to for a personal 60 second video for you.”
  3. Create a personalized video and VANITY URL. On it, we will have a video that of me holding a larger magnifying glass saying, “Hey Jerry, thanks for checking out this video. You know, just because I can hold a pair of scissors doesn’t mean I should actually cut my own hair. It takes someone with training to do it right. Digital Marketing is the same way. Just because someone can type on a computer doesn’t mean they can get top-notch results from online marketing. I’d like the chance to hear your growth goals for your business and explore which of our digital marketing packages can help you get there. Send me a text now, and we can schedule a time to talk. – Eric

For me, if I send out 10 of those a month and average a 20% close rate that’s at least $3,000 in new recurring revenue per month. Or, $36,000 per month in new recurring revenue by February 2022. That’s $433,000 in revenue increase for 2022. I’ll take that growth year after year.

There you go. That’s my approach to small business marketing for 2021.

  • Gatekeeper Marketing
  • Targeted Offline Marketing Using Vanity URL’s

Now, for a limited time, I’m offering to create a program like one of these for all current clients of In Transit Studios at 50% off the regular price of $1,500.

And, the next five new clients to In Transit get this same price. After that, it’s $1,500.