Business marketing is not a “one and done” effort. It’s an ever-evolving, strategic effort to find which marketing methods work best for your business niche, your target market, and your budget.
What are the best small business marketing strategies?
Depends on your niche! Business marketing strategies are different for every industry and niche. What works for some small business owners won’t necessarily work for others. The key is to know who your ideal customers are, what the consumer demand is for your product or service, then try different approaches until you find what works best.
1. Polish Your Branding
Branding isn’t just the logo or color scheme, but the entire company culture. The type of business you have will dictate what is appropriate for your branding. For example, a company that sells children’s toys can afford to have a more silly logo, with bright colors and engaging characters, while a law firm would likely be more successful in having a simple, clean website.
2. Keep yourself informed
Most industries are in constant flux. If the now-defunct film company, Kodak, had paid closer attention to what was going on in the digital photography market instead of dismissing it as a fad, they might still be in business today.
3. Use AI copywriting software
Artificial Intelligence growing in impact and value for marketing. One of the biggest benefits is in the area of writing. Ai writing software, such as jasper ai, is beneficial for marketing professionals because it can help them produce high-quality content quickly and easily. You can blog your way to high SEO rankings using AI software with a simple setup and a little bit of learning.
4. Create a website
Building a website these days is easier than ever, but before you begin, whether outsourcing or DIY, take the time to understand which platform is best for your particular niche. Some platforms like WordPress give you complete control over your site but are more labor-intensive and require you to know more about web building, whereas an all-in-one site like Squarespace or Shopify can provide almost everything you need but give you less ability to customize.
5. Attend networking events
Networking events in your industry not only help keep you informed and educated, but they can also be a good source of referrals, too. If you are not yet part of a business marketing association check out your local chapter to see what they have to offer. Networking events are great for business-to-business marketers especially if the participants are all in your target market.
6. Build relationships
People work with people they like. They also refer customers to people they like and have worked with. This is especially important for business-to-business marketers.
7. Give a speech
Public speaking may be intimidating, but the benefit can be huge. People are more likely to elevate you as “the expert” and therefore be more likely to do business with you. Plus, you can arrange to have yourself photographed or videoed giving the speech, then leverage that content on your website, social media, and other promotional opportunities.
8. Create buzz
Whether you’re launching a new product or at the startup stage of your company, a good way to get people excited is to launch a teaser campaign. A teaser campaign is a powerful tool that helps grab attention and build anticipation.
9. Ask for referrals
Asking for referrals is Marketing 101, but you may be surprised at how many business owners forget to do this. Referrals can be from happy past customers, business associates who know and like you, or even prospects who haven’t converted, but follow you on YouTube, Facebook, or other platforms.
10. Give it away
Try-before-you-buy opportunities are everywhere and a good way to convert skeptical prospects. Some examples of try-before-you-buy are free trial periods offered by many software platforms, free sample tastings from various food-related shops, even Amazon has a try-before-you-buy program for some clothing products.
11. Start a blog
A well designed blog is a great tool for creating regular content and helps keep your site fresh. It helps establish you as an authority and builds trust with your audience. Additionally, Google likes fresh content, so adding new posts to your blog will help improve search rankings.
12. Offer a guarantee
Offering a guarantee is psychologically comforting when considering a purchase decision. By offering a guarantee you make it known you stand behind your product. This can be even more important to customers than the potential to get their money refunded.
13. Double-down on what works
It seems self-evident, but if something is working for you, do more of that same thing! You still want to experiment and try other things in your business market, but don’t waste your time on marketing that only works minimally when you can spend that time doing what you know already works.
14. Leverage the power of existing customers
People use “social proof” to determine whether they should or shouldn’t do something based on what other people are doing. That’s why testimonials and reviews are so powerful. If you are in the beginning stages of your business you may even want to consider free or reduced offers to gain testimonials and reviews.
15. Devise a challenge featuring your product or service
One way to market your business is by involving your customers and prospects in the evolution of a product or service. For example, get participants involved in ideas for new product features, have them name a new product, or choose their favorite new-feature idea from a list of potentials. Involving your customers in making your products or services better can lead to higher loyalty and customer satisfaction.
16. Offer coupons
Coupons can be a smart strategy for small business marketing and a good way to introduce prospective customers to your business. Depending on your niche there are many ways to do this. It could be through a neighborhood newspaper, an online offer, or a flier given away at a trade show.
17. Place a paid ad
Organic marketing (meaning not paid) is great when you can get it, and if you’re lucky, or clever, or some other fortunate happenstance you can get it often. But if you’re not getting organic SEO, leads, or sales consider placing a paid ad.
18. Collect emails
Emails are a direct line of communication to customers. Having a client’s email, with permission, allows you to advertise, notify customers about sales and promotions, and provide valuable information such as special events.
19. Use a CRM
If your business market involves staying in touch with customers (which most business markets do) you need to have a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). CRMs help companies manage their relationships and interactions with customers. CRM software makes it easy to store data on your past, present, and potential future customers so you can improve your business sales and marketing.
20. Have a memorable logo
Memorable logos that are simple yet effective can help elevate your brand. Though it may be tempting to DIY your logo or hire the cheapest online designer, investing in a professional logo is well worth the money.
21. Identify your buyer persona
A buyer persona is a customer profile that outlines the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your ideal customer. This data can be used to create more effective marketing messages by placing yourself in the shoes of your target customer.
22. Maximize social media marketing
Social media is a crucial component of modern marketing. Most of your audience is already spending a good amount of time on social media. You can’t wait for customers to come to you; you have to engage with your target market in the place they already are.
23. Let others market for you
Word-of-mouth marketing is an effective way for businesses to let their reputation precede them by leveraging the recommendations of current happy customers. Some ways of encouraging word-of-mouth marketing are by creating referral programs, encouraging user-generated content, and offering incentives.
24. Rank higher on the internet with better SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing technique that helps search engines find your website via keywords and optimizes your site to rank the highest when someone searches for those keywords. Two of the best SEO tools on the market are SEMrush and Surfer. The better your company’s SEO the higher it will rank on the search engine results page.
25. Optimize your website for mobile
Mobile websites have become a critical part of online marketing. If your site works well on desktop but is cumbersome and ineffective on mobile you are almost certainly losing sales.
26. Be prepared with an elevator pitch
When someone asks “what does your company do?” are you prepared with a concise, clear answer, or do you bumble around giving a long, wordy, or technical answer? The clearer and more concise you are, the better the communication will be and the more confident you will feel.
27. Leverage your community
Do your family, friends, and other connections all know what you do? In many business models people who already know you and like you will be some of your biggest sources of referrals. The next time an acquaintance asks you about your business, have that elevator pitch handy!
28. Use video frequently
One of the most common methods for reaching consumers at scale is through video advertising. Videos can be used on social media channels, on your business website, email marketing campaigns, and more, plus a majority of consumers say they would rather watch a video than read text on a webpage.
29. Collaborate with others in your niche
Collaborating with other businesses can bring you more customers and exposure for your brand. You can collaborate through shared events or simply by referring customers to each other when it makes sense to do so, for example, to cover a service you don’t offer and vice-versa.
30. Continuously create content
Blog posts, videos, eBooks, infographics, and articles are all examples of content created by companies to get a message across or sell a product. There are many excellent content tools on the market to help make content creation easier and faster.
31. Manage your Yelp presence
Yelp can help your business reach more people who are searching for what you have to offer. New customers can use Yelp to find coupons, discounts, and other incentives. Business owners also can respond to reviews and connect with their customers.
32. Use social media for customer service
An easy, efficient, and personalized way to keep customers happy is to interact with them on social media. Reply to comments on posts and check your message in-boxes for customer comments, questions, and complaints.
33. Create an Email marketing campaign
Email marketing can be very effective at growing your business, especially for small businesses that might not have the resources or budget for other types of promotional efforts. An email marketing campaign is a planned combination of individual email messages that are customized, sent out systematically, and include a call to action (CTA).
34. Build a sales funnel
A sales funnel is a process that outlines all of the steps your potential customer takes before making a purchase. It can be broken down into stages, starting with simple awareness of your product or service, moving on to interest and desire, then towards eventual engagement, and ultimately making a purchase.
35. Capture leads on a landing page
Landing pages can be used to collect email addresses, which can then be used for marketing purposes. Even if someone doesn’t end up buying anything from you immediately, you can sell them later on down the road through an email marketing campaign.
36. Create a frequent-buyer program
Creating a frequent-buyer program for your business can help maximize customer value and engagement. Customers who feel valued tend to not only return, but also encourage friends and family to try out your business.
37. Try pay-per-click advertising
PPC advertising is an online advertising model where advertisers pay for the placement of advertisements in a website’s search results and/or within its content. This type of marketing can be incredibly cost-effective for online businesses, but also somewhat risky because it costs money to serve an ad even if no business occurs.
38. Do targeted advertising
Targeted advertising works on social media platforms and search engines by helping advertisers find their target audience through the use of algorithms. Advertisers can choose the geographical location, demographic information, interests, behaviors, and other specifics.
39. Encourage happy customers to give testimonials
Smart business marketers know how important testimonials are for the consumer market they serve. Testimonials act as social proof of the worthiness of your business. If you want potential customers to trust you, it is very effective to be able to demonstrate that other people trusted you, too.
40. Co-market events with another company
Co-marketing is the practice of two or more businesses working together to gain maximum exposure. Co-marketing can be beneficial for both parties by increasing brand awareness, building credibility, adding variety to content, and increasing referral traffic. For example, Company A offers a product that Company B needs. By teaming up to offer a deal or discount exclusively to each other’s customers, the business marketers help each of their companies increase exposure and sales.
41. Test and pivot
One of the most important things for businesses to do is A/B testing. This process tests out changes to your website, marketing strategies, or other sales and marketing efforts. These can be anything from colors, layout, and wording to entire campaign strategies.
42. Start a YouTube channel
A YouTube channel enables businesses to connect with customers, give them more information about products and services, and engage those customers by having an open dialogue about the company’s products and services.
43. Be clear about your unique selling proposition (USP)
A USP is a statement that helps customers understand the differences between your product and those of your competition. It describes why customers should buy from you and not from the other guys.
44. Use tools that make content creation easier
There are hundreds of content creation tools available, but you only need a few depending on your business. Your content creation arsenal might include tools for photo manipulation, infographics creation, video editing, and writing assistance.
45. Use answerthepublic.com
AnswerThePublic.com is an online service that allows business marketers to enter a keyword or phrase, then it quickly cranks out the most popular phrases and questions people are asking around that keyword.
46. Create a business card with impact
A business card that’s done well has staying power. Your cards don’t have to be expensive but you also don’t want them to look cheap. A clean layout, sturdy paper, and quality printing are important.
47. Use promotional products
Adding promotional items to your marketing mix can be handy, especially for consumer markets. Promotional items are tangible goods used to increase brand recognition among business customers. They allow a brand to connect with consumers by engaging their senses and are often utilitarian as well.
48. Attend trade shows
Attending trade shows as an attendee or an exhibitor is a great opportunity to network with existing clients and potential customers. Virtually all business markets have trade shows. As a business marketer or small business owner, you can learn about the state of your industry, new trends, and opportunities.
49. Attend professional conferences
While both trade shows and professional conferences can provide opportunities to network and do some marketing, the audiences at trade shows are usually looking for new products and services while those attending business conferences are usually professionals looking for information to help them better run their businesses.
50. Plan a business workshop
A workshop is a great way for businesses to boost their public image and improve customer relations. By hosting a workshop, business owners can share knowledge in an area of expertise, while teaching their target audience something valuable or interesting.
51. Create a print brochure
Printed brochures can be mailed, used on location, or handed out at events. They build more trust, can be passed from person to person, and have a residual marketing effect.
52. Join your local Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is a strong advocate for local business. They give added value through seminars, education, and training, helping you grow your business.
53. Hang out where your target market does
Hanging out where your target market is, such as industry events and relevant social media sites, allows you to build relationships with customers and prospects, enabling you to build trust before delivering your marketing message.
54. Advertise in publications your target market reads
Advertising can be expensive. Don’t waste your money advertising in a publication that isn’t specifically aimed at your exact target market.
55. Use your car for advertising
Advertising your business with a car wrap or even a simple window decal can promote brand awareness to potential customers and increase the likelihood of being noticed by local consumers.
56. Advertise on TV
Advertising on TV may seem expensive but you might be surprised. Morning shows, for example, rely heavily on new and interesting content. While the TV advertising business model is usually “pay for play” there are still many opportunities to be featured at a discount or even for free if production is short on content or if your company or offer is particularly timely or interesting.
57. Be a guest on a podcast or start one yourself
Being a guest on a podcast, or having one yourself, allows you to share your expertise with listeners. Podcasts give you a chance to build trust and credibility with potential future customers.
58. Be a guest columnist for a publication
The benefits of writing a guest column for a publication include gaining visibility, expanding your network, increasing your credibility, and building name recognition.
59. Test other social media platforms
If you predominately use Facebook or Instagram for your social media posts, try branching out to other platforms like Twitter, Tiktok, Reddit, YouTube, or others. You don’t need to be on all of them—some won’t even make sense for your niche—but the point is to explore each of them then stick with the ones that work best.
60. Create a LinkedIn profile and business page
LinkedIn is a good place for businesses to connect online and network with professionals in their industry. A company’s business page has space to post updates, videos, blog posts, and events. This can be an incredibly valuable tool for marketing purposes.
61. Set up Google Analytics on your website
With Google Analytics installed, you will be able to see how long people stay on your site and where they come from. You can also track the progress of your marketing campaigns through a dashboard that provides information about how many times a page was viewed and what links visitors were referred from.
62. Connect with influencers
Businesses can benefit from using influencers by engaging someone who is already a fan of the brand and its products. Many consumers tend to form a positive opinion about a product simply because it is being endorsed by an influencer.
63. Create a business marketing calendar
A marketing calendar is a written plan and schedule for your business marketing strategy. Typically done in quarterly increments, a business marketing calendar can help you stay on track with your marketing goals but can be adjusted as marketing activities or campaigns are added.
64. Create bulk posts then schedule for later
To streamline your time on social media consider creating several posts at once and schedule them to auto-post at timely intervals.
65. Get listed in applicable online directories
By registering with online directories such as Bing, Yelp, Angie’s List, and others, businesses can gain additional exposure and traffic to their websites leading to increased sales.
66. Use local search marketing
Local search marketing is beneficial because it helps businesses easily become known to everyone in their community. Local searches lead to business pages that are ranked in local directories, helping people find information about businesses in their city without having to go to the websites of every store they’re interested in.
67. Track your online reputation
Your business should have a proactive plan in place to monitor your online presence, particularly what is being said about you. If you don’t, you could find yourself being controlled by the opinions of others rather than controlling them yourself.
68. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO connects journalists with experts who are available for interviews. The experts—or in this case business owners— share their expertise with the reporter, and the reporter provides the expert with valuable media exposure.
69. Use a sidewalk sign
Sidewalk signs are great ways of advertising your business. They can be used to let people know about upcoming sales, new items in the store, events, etc. They are also good for temporary business marketing ideas or contests.
70. Send video messages in an email
Video messages in email campaigns offer a personal and fun way to connect with customers and can help grow your business. They are also a nice way to introduce yourself to new customers. Videos are much more likely to get your customers’ attention than just another email in their inbox.
71. Create an opt-in “gift” to grow your email list
When you’re asking people to give up their email addresses, consider gifting them with something that’s also useful. For example, a free report, checklist, ebook, or some other helpful resource.
72. Start a free monthly email newsletter
Monthly email newsletters are a great way to keep your customers up-to-date on your latest products, services, and promotions.
73. Perfect your email signature
Whether connecting with customers or reaching out to potential new ones, the quality of your email signature matters when establishing your professional image and brand messaging. Along with your business website and phone number, you may also want to include your business social media platforms.
74. Offer a free webinar
Webinars are great for increasing sales revenue and providing an overview of your products/services to new leads. By offering a free webinar, you allow yourself the chance to add more value on top of what is already being offered while also giving online attendees more face time with you and your brand.
75. Record videos to help sell products
A marketing video is ideal for virtually any company. For example, if your company sells a product a two-minute tutorial on how to use the product, or a behind the scene view of how a product is made can engage the consumer and help them understand the product better.
76. Use an email service to manage your email list
There are several services to manage your business email lists such as Aweber, MailChimp, and iContact. These services help centralize your email list and provide a clear and concise way to manage your contacts. They also have features that allow you to segment your list, schedule emails, and automate follow-ups.
77. Run a contest
Running business marketing contests is an excellent way to attract attention and increase the awareness of your brand. The more creative and fun you make the contest, the more people will be interested in participating.
78. Start an affiliate program
Grow your customer base by offering customers a commission or other benefits in exchange for referring other potential customers. Popular affiliate management software includes Rewardful, Tapfiliate, Post Affiliate Pro, and WP Affiliate Manager.
79. Give referrals to others
When you refer business to other professionals they are likely to reciprocate. For example, if you own a graphic design business and refer clients to a print shop, the print shop will be more likely to refer business to you as well.
80. Volunteer for a charity event
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and network with potential business contacts. It creates community goodwill and is a great way to show your employees that you are an employer who cares about more than just money.
82. Setup Google My Business free listing
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool to help you manage your local business information across Google, like Search and Maps. The tool makes it quick and simple to update hours of operation, contact info, and other details of your business.
82. Sponsor a local sports team
Sponsorship offers a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. The majority of Americans would prefer to patronize local businesses, and seeing your name as you take on an active and supportive role in the community can be a boon for your business.
83. Use holidays for promotions
Holidays provide an opportunity to market your business from the most obvious holidays to lesser-known obscure holidays such as National Pet Day (Apr 11) or National Olive Day (Jun 1). There are literally holidays for every day of the year!
84. Send birthday cards to customers
A birthday card just might be the right tool to boost your business. Birthday cards feel more personal than Christmas cards or other holiday mass mailings. They’re a great opportunity for you to show appreciation for your customers as people, not just purchasers.
85. Donate branded prizes for local fundraisers
Donating a branded prize for a local fundraiser benefits both the fundraiser as well as your business. The fund-raising organization gets a free item, while your business gets exposure, goodwill benefits, and the opportunity to make a difference in your local community.
86. Repurpose content
Repurposing your business marketing content can be a smart way to stretch your marketing dollars. For example, you can take an ebook you’ve written and turn it into a slide presentation for your website, or you can transform an audio interview with one of your experts into written Q&A blog posts.
87. Self-publish a book
Self-publishing a book is a great way to establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry and build a following of loyal fans. It also allows you to spread your message far and wide, without having restrictions placed on you by the editor or publisher.
88. Submit press releases
Press releases are a useful and often underrated business marketing tool, especially for companies that don’t have a big budget. Press releases reach potential customers who might not be familiar with the business or brand and can boost traffic, sales and revenue by increasing awareness of what’s new with the company.
89. Tell an engaging story
Business Marketing is all about communicating the benefits of your products or service to help build customer demand. Thus, it isn’t surprising that one of the most popular ways to communicate those benefits is through stories. People are wired to love stories—they are memorable, emotional, and can sway purchasing decisions.
90. Hire a marketing consultant
Many entrepreneurs are reluctant to consult with an outside marketing expert, believing they have all the answers or that it’s too expensive. But from a time/cost perspective, it may make more sense to hire a marketing consultant to do what they do best so that you can focus on what you do best.
91. Hire a public relations professional
A public relations professional can help a business grow its market by writing press releases, keeping a lookout for opportunities for further promotions, and creating relationships with people in the news.
92. Join a marketing mastermind
A business marketing mastermind is a group of marketers or business owners who work together to share knowledge and learn from each other. When dealing with a problem or struggling for ideas, a mastermind group can provide a fresh perspective and offer new ideas you may not have considered. Find a business marketing association in your area to see if they have a marketing mastermind, or consider starting your own.
93. Hire a professional copywriter
A professional copywriter is more expensive than using an ai copywriter, but they, too, can help a business market its products and services more effectively by reducing the time needed to create business marketing content. They also have the training and skills needed to create content that will resonate with customers, keep them engaged, and encourage them to take specific actions.
94. Hire an intern or virtual assistant
If you find yourself struggling to keep up with social media updates or other basic tasks, outsourcing could be the answer you’ve been looking for. An intern or virtual assistant can take simple tasks off your plate and free you to do more revenue-producing activities.
95. Use tools to automate some tasks
Automation apps and tools are a great way for businesses to save time and complete more tasks. For example, reminding people about an abandoned shopping cart, scheduling social media posts, or saving leads from your website.
96. Partner with another company to cross-promote each other
Businesses often partner up for their mutual benefit. For example, if two businesses are both located in the same neighborhood, they may decide to offer discounts or free items to the other one’s customers. This idea of cross-promotion benefits both businesses because it allows them to spread their brand awareness and gain more clientele without having to increase their advertising budget.
97. Create a business mascot to help promote your brand
A business marketing mascot is a character that works to connect with an audience on a more personal level to promote a product or service. Good examples of this are the Geico gecko and Wendy from Wendy’s. Both characters have been successful in raising brand awareness and increasing sales for their respective companies.
98. Invest in branded, wearable items
Wearing clothing that is emblazoned with your company logo or business name can act as a subtle endorsement for your business. They can also act as conversation starters, then as people ask what the emblem means, you can direct them to your website or store.
99. Teach a free class for your target audience
Teaching a free class or providing an educational video allows your business to share tips and advice with your target audience, increasing the likelihood of them becoming paid customers, while also positioning you as an expert in your field.
100. Become a storyteller
If you want to help your business grow, learn how to tell good stories. Interesting or humorous anecdotal stories relating to your business help your audience connect with you and are more memorable than data and features.
101. Sign up for online training to expand your business marketing skills
With the abundance of low-cost marketing training available online, business owners today can easily verse themselves in the specific areas they want to hone in on. LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Skillshare, and YouTube are all examples of free or low-cost online learning platforms.
102. Send out a customer satisfaction survey
Customer satisfaction surveys can help businesses fine-tune their marketing strategy by collecting feedback from customers about their experiences with a company. A business can also gauge how effective its business marketing activities have been by comparing customer satisfaction before and after the implementation of a new strategy.
103. Publish distributed content
Content distribution can help businesses expand their market by reaching more readers who may be interested in their product or service. Content distribution can also help you to gain backlinks and traffic to your website which can result in increased sales conversions.
104. Include infographics in your business marketing
An infographic is a piece of content that helps your customers understand the value of your product or service, what makes it different from others, and why they should work with you. Infographics can be created using vector-based programs like Adobe Illustrator or Canva.
105. Engage in one-to-one marketing
One-to-one marketing (also known as personalized marketing) is a method of business marketing that attempts to make the message more relevant and personal by using information about the customer, such as previous purchases or geographic location, to provide greater relevance and thereby increase the chance of sales conversion.
106. Take a stand on a controversial industry topic
Taking a stand on controversial industry topics can oftentimes be beneficial for business. People are drawn to companies that they know have strong convictions, ethics, and values. For example, if an organization is vocal about seeking to reduce its environmental impact, consumers are likely to take note.
107. Try your hand at guerilla marketing
Guerilla marketing is a form of business marketing defined by its unconventional and often risky nature. It pulls in consumers with an unexpected message or dare that provokes them to buy into the idea or product/service being sold.
108. Hold business card drawings
This tried-but-true contest format is a great way to gather contact information and emails from your customers.
109. Apply for business awards
The more business awards you apply for, the better your chance of winning at least one of them. And when you win an award, not only will it give your company exposure, but it can also improve your credibility when dealing with new and existing customers.
110. Encourage user-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content is a business marketing strategy that encourages customers to create and share their content about a brand or product. This content can take the form of pictures on the customer’s or company’s social media pages, as well as blog posts, written reviews, and other experience-sharing methods.
111. Be a helpful contributor in social media groups
Social media has changed business marketing drastically in the past decade, and its become almost mandatory in order to reach customers and clients effectively. By becoming a helpful contributor to relevant online groups—for example, offering helpful input and feedback—the group members will regard you as an industry expert and perhaps someone they’d want to work with.
112. Be a connecter
Stay aware of opportunities to connect people in your business network to each other. You may not get benefits right away but you will build up your reputation as a valuable person to have in one’s network and may even get a reciprocal introduction later that results in increased sales or other benefits.
113. Use your Instagram or Facebook profile to market your business
Many people use their personal social media pages as an additional business marketing tool for their business. By using your social media profile banners to point people to your business’s social pages, you can further increase awareness about your business and connect with potential clients.
114. Use stealth tactics to gain customers
When Airbnb launched, they reached out to potential customers using email campaigns that targeted individuals who posted home-swap opportunities on Craigslist. The stealth strategy? From the outside, the emails appeared to be from another friendly Craigslist user informing them about the site. This type of covert approach is risky, but for Airbnb, it paid off well.
115. Create a photo contest
A photo contest can be a great way to generate inbound traffic and gain visibility on social media. Photos are among the most engaging types of content. The contest can be structured however you’d like, but the important thing is this: encouraging people to submit photos related to your brand is an excellent way to get more eyeballs on your products or services, create buzz, and engage your followers.
116. Try video contests too
Like photo contests, video contests are a great way to encourage user-generated content amongst your social media followers. With videos you’re more likely to get enjoyable, engaging content since creating a video requires more thought and effort. If the contest is structured to allow this, you can re-purpose the submitted videos for your other marketing efforts as well.
117. Study your competition for good ideas
Using your competitor’s business marketing tactics as inspiration for your own is a great way to get ideas and experiment with similar strategies. The book “steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon suggests that nothing is original, so embrace learning through the work of others, then remix and execute the strategy as your own.
118. Print stickers and give them away
Stickers are an inexpensive and creative way to get more exposure for your brand. You can create stickers as giveaways, as part of a promotion or event, or for social media contests. Sticker Mule is a popular site for all types of stickers.
119. Develop an electronic media kit
A media kit is used to inform the press and other marketers about your business. Media kits typically include information such as key messages, company background, descriptions of services, availability for interviews, photos, and graphics.
120. Start your business as invite-only
It’s human nature to want what you can’t have, and invite-only businesses play upon this natural tendency. By making your business invite-only, at least in the initial startup phase, you can attract loyal customers and create buzz at the same time. This marketing tactic works for business-to-business marketing as well as business-to-consumer.
121. Take advantage of popular hashtags
Hashtags allow companies to connect with other social media users. They also allow for easier communication and sharing between groups and individuals, and help users find a particular thing they are looking for. A hashtag involves using the # symbol with a word or phrase following it. For example, popular hashtags for a graphic design company might be #logodesigner, or #nycgraphicdesigner, etc.
122. Grow your follower base using paid ads
A paid ad campaign that focuses on gaining followers is a great way to build up your target audience. When building the ad you can segment the target based on demographics, interests, and specific actions people have taken, ensuring that you reach only those who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
123. Create and send branded notecards
Sending personalized, hand-written notes to customers can be beneficial for business owners because it shows you care enough to take the time and effort to do so. It is often said that people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.
124. Test the market using Kickstarter
A Kickstarter campaign is a good way to test whether people would be interested in your product or service. There is no cost involved in creating a Kickstarter campaign, and the platform is easy to use. Kickstarter campaigns allow you to test different versions of your product or service offering, as well.
125. Use crowd-sourcing platforms
Crowd-sourcing websites like Utest, Charodix, and Innocentive are becoming increasingly popular. Crowd-sourcing is a way of asking for input, either tangible or theoretical, from the general public or uniquely qualified participants, typically on a new business, product, or service.
126. Use SEO software tools to spy on your competition
SEO software makes it incredibly easy to spy on your competition and learn how they’re doing their website SEO. You just type any website into one of these tools and voila! You’ll instantly see which keywords the site is ranking for, the backlinks pointing to it, plus other useful information. SEMrush, Ahrefs, and SurferSEO are good examples of powerful SEO analytical tools.
127. Interview experts to learn more
Interviewing experts is a good way to learn and build your network. If you sell a product, for example, you would want to know all you can about manufacturing, distribution, and inventory control. Business-to-business marketing fields like this have experts who would love to answer your questions in hope of acquiring a new customer.
What to consider when defining your business marketing:
- Are you doing business-to-business marketing (B2B) or business-to-consumer marketing? (B2C) Each requires a different approach.
- How much is your budget?
- What marketing programs and marketing tools are likely to give the most return on investment?
- What are your marketing strengths? An email marketing strategy is much different than direct mail, for example.
The variety of ways in which a business owner or marketer can attract potential customers is unlimited. Good business marketing is part science, part art, and a lot of creativity! The key is finding opportunities that work best for your business while also being sustainable in the long run.