50 Creative Marketing Ideas to Help You Grow Your Small Business
Updated October 2019
Get Creative with Your Marketing! Beat the Big Brands!
I hear this a lot; “I am a small business, and I don’t have money to waste on expensive advertising like bigger brands can.” And I can relate; I am a small business owner myself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. Our team has come up with a whole slew of creative marketing ideas for small businesses just like you!
47% of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing. Fundera
To compete on the same level but with a smaller budget, you have to market smarter and outdo the big brands. Start by brainstorming with your business partners and associates to develop outside-the-box marketing ideas that will make you rise above the digital noise. This approach produces creative marketing ideas that are tailor-made for your small business.
50 Creative Marketing Ideas
1. Be Mobile-First
This is probably the most important one of our creative marketing ideas. In 2019 mobile web traffic far surpasses desktops and laptops. And regardless of the product or service, modern consumers use a mobile device at least once on their journey of conversion. Especially mobile consumers are getting ever more sophisticated and demanding, so be sure you provide a great mobile user experience.
2. Create Fresh and Relevant Web Content
This is critical! Search engines and your human visitors expect this. Fresh and informative SEO-friendly content will engage readers, build valuable links, attract visitors and convert them into consumers.
Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising. Content Marketing Institute
3. Repurpose Existing Content
Repurposing your existing content is a great way to give it new life! Blog posts can become an e-book, a webinar recording can be turned into a subscriber-only video, a magazine article could be reprinted and distributed as a booklet. There are virtually endless possibilities.
4. Publish Articles in Trade or Local Publications
Most people think published work is more valuable than a simple blog post, and articles cost less than advertising in the same magazine. Research trade and local publications in your area and start submitting articles.
5. Try Article Marketing
Publishing online articles not only creates high quality backlinks to your small business website. It also shows your expertise, builds credibility and trust, and gets your brand noticed. Even better, it is also relatively affordable and easy to outsource.
6. Create Case Studies
Case studies may not immediately come to mind when you brainstorm creative marketing ideas. However, case studies add credibility to your small business, show the benefits you provide for your clients, and help you get more customers.
7. Add Testimonials and Reviews
Adding testimonials and customer reviews to your website is another of our creative marketing ideas. These can include online reviews on websites like Yelp, recommendations on LinkedIn, and rave comments through any channel. Create a testimonials page on your website, and feel free to scatter testimonials around your website as well!
8. Answer Relevant Questions
Help out your existing and potential clients with free advice on topics related to your products and services. You will gain their trust and will look more professional.
9. Offer Free Consultations
Free consultations are another of our creative marketing ideas. They are a great way to showcase your expertise and get more clients. Just be sure not to give everything away for free!
10. Get Found on Local Search
Local search engine optimization works perfectly for location specific business. Are you a café, car repair shop, or a beauty salon? Make sure your website is optimized for local SEO and claim your local listings.
18% of all local searches lead to a sale within one day. 72% of people who visit a physical location will choose one within 5 miles of their original location. Omnicore
11. Get Listed in Local Business Directories
Google My Business from Google and Bing Places for Business from Bing are absolutely free for local businesses. Aabaco Small Biz (formerly Yahoo Localworks) from Yahoo is a paid service allowing you to list your business in 50 directories (Yahoo Local, Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, Mapquest, etc.). Once your small business is listed take advantage of local search results, and don’t forget to ask your customers to leave reviews on your local listings.
12. Add Schema.org Markup to your Website Data
Google can show much more than your website URL in search results. Reviews, ratings, exact address – all of it can show up in search engine results if your website HTML is marked properly using the Schema.org system.
13. Set up a PPC Campaign
Many small businesses can get a free $50 voucher from Bing or Google. If you don’t reach out to us and we can get some for you! While PPC or AdWords campaigns can’t replace organic SEO they are a great way to drive immediate traffic to your website.
PPC Ads Can Boost Brand Awareness 80% Wordlead
14. Create Infographics
One of our favorite creative marketing ideas is to create branded infographics. Infographics are a fun and effective way to present complex data. Plus, they are very powerful for building external links to your website and driving traffic.
15. Do Email Marketing
Contrary to popular belief email marketing is not dead! Email campaigns are a great way to stay in touch with your customers. Simply offer your customers an eBook, white paper or a free report in exchange for their email address. Be sure and implement these essential email marketing tips.
16. Guest Blog
Guest blogging is a great content marketing and SEO strategy that helps you get links and traffic. You give away quality content and get exposure in return. Quality backlinks coming to your website is a free bonus!
55% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. HubSpot
17. Comment on Other Blogs
Meaningful comments on other websites and blogs will get you traffic, free links, and new friends. Just remember – be meaningful and relevant. Just be sure to comment and engage on websites that serve the same industry and target audience as you.
18. Survey Your Customers
This is another often-overlooked creative marketing idea. We find that talking to your customers is the easiest way to understand what they need and what they value the most. Ask, and you shall receive (an earful!) And don’t forget to listen to what they’re saying on Twitter and Facebook for real honest market research.
19. Host Free Events
Folks love getting things for free! Give them what they want and get some free publicity by hosting a free event to showcase your business or draw attention to something in your industry. Hint: you’ll get more response if there’s food or free swag involved. Copyblogger has this great list of 109 ways to get media attention to make the most of any event.
20. Build a Referral Network
Referrals and word of mouth are the most powerful form of advertising, so build relationships with professionals and other businesses you can refer your customers to, and who can send referrals your way as well. This works even better as a partnership between businesses.
21. Create Partnerships for Co-Promotion
Several related but non-competing businesses working together on a promotion can afford bigger ad space, better prizes, and other advertising expenses. Plus, by working with other teams you can offer more comprehensive services to your clients as well.
22. Be a Communicator
Establish as many communication channels as you possible can, including but not limited to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a toll-free phone number, live chat on your website, email, and related forums and blog comments.
23. Be a People Person
Never stop networking, follow all leads, and participate in conversations wherever you find them. Don’t be afraid of the phone, Internet, email, or face-to-face meetings. If you are not a people person find someone on your team who is.
24. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
This is a classic marketing idea for small businesses because it can yield big dividends. Association with the Chamber will make your events more credible, and you can find new partners or clients, or discover opportunities to teach or speak.
25. Join Business Associations
Joining your local small business associations provides you with a lot of benefits, including local networking events, online forums, and job boards. Plus, it is a great way to make new like-minded business connections.
26. Teach a Class or Workshop
Another of our favorite creative marketing ideas is to teach a class or workshop for your customers. It’s best to organize it with businesses just like yours, who have the same target audience, but do not directly compete with you. You’ll get exposure for free.
27. Join LinkedIn Groups
It’s not just another social network. LinkedIn has great groups – whether it’s local networking or B2B marketing – your audience is there. For the biggest impact choose a few different groups in different areas and maximize your reach!
When it comes to delivering content and securing audience engagement, LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform. HubSpot
28. Answer Questions on Quora
Quora is the most popular question and answer based social network. Want to showcase your professional competence? Join Quora and answer questions as often as you can. Quora is great for targeted traffic and interested audience.
29. Join HARO
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free way to get media coverage. Register as an expert source on HARO and whenever a journalist needs a quality source for an article – you’ll get an email. Reply if interested – and who knows – maybe your business will be featured in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal.
30. Create a Giveaway
This is another one of our favorite creative marketing ideas. But please be creative! You want to give away something cool your customers want and need rather than something you don’t need. We have been very successful by giving away free websites.
31. Support a Cause
The world is a small place after all. By supporting meaningful projects, you can also get free media exposure. Usually there are also taxation benefits for charity and donations as well. Plus, just think about all that goodwill you will generate in your community!
32. Join a Forum
There are lots on niche forums out there. Whether it’s WP design or e-commerce, startup communities or small business marketing – there is a community for it. Participate in relevant discussions – your audience is out there. You’ll get free advice, traffic and links. What a deal!
33. Sponsor a Local Sports Team
Send out a press release or feature article and get your logo on the team uniforms. This makes you a valuable community member and builds brand awareness.
34. Speak at Seminars and Conferences
Especially small business seminars and conferences are frequently looking for speakers. By stepping up to the podium you will get publicity from marketing the event and from the event itself. Besides, you’ll look more professional in your customers’ eyes.
35. Enter Business Award Competitions
These days there are competitions for just about any business category. Enter one or more of them. If you win, you get a badge on your website and a lot more sales. Even if you don’t win, you can still get lots of publicity if you place high enough and broadcast your participation.
36. Create an Affiliate or Customer Loyalty Program
By doing so you will create a funnel for future purchases and referrals. For little or no money, you get more sales and brand ambassadors.
81% of marketers and 84% of publishers leverage the power of affiliate marketing. Web Market Support
37. Send Handwritten Notes
Remember past and current clients, valued partners, vendors in your referral network, connections who have helped you, or anyone else you can think of with a handwritten note. This is a low-cost and unique marketing idea for small business, and it really stands out and gets noticed!
38. Educate Your Customers
Another of our creative marketing ideas is to educate your customers. Keep reminding them of the benefits of using your product or service, new developments in your industry, or anything else that benefits your consumers. Blogging and podcasts are an excellent way to get your message across.
39. Donate to Charities
This is a one of the lesser-used creative marketing ideas, but it works very well! Send out press releases for each organization and/or time you donate. Alternatively, you can donate a specific percentage of all sales to a certain organization or cause and make customers feel like they’re doing a good turn by purchasing from you.
40. Use Swag
Imprint your brand logo on hats, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and anything else you can think of. Your loyal customers will be happy to wear them and share them, and they will become free brand promoters. Give them for free to employees, partners, stakeholders and investors, charities you donate to, and other contacts to display.
41. Celebrate your Business Anniversary
This is a fun way to market your small business. Maybe have an open house or special sale and be sure to invite the media! Use the opportunity to deliver a special message to your clients.
42. Say “Happy Birthday” to Your Clients
Making your customers feel extra special has to be one of our favorite creative marketing ideas. Wish your clients a happy birthday and have a discount or a special offer ready to give as a gift. It works! Extra points for anything involving espresso and chocolate cake!
43. Share Product Samples
If you sell a product, consider offering free samples. You will attract responsive and receptive consumers who are a good fit for your business.
44. Offer Great Customer Service
It takes very little to great customers with a friendly smile and asking how you can be of help. Delight your customers and they will delight you with more business.
45. Be Helpful
Strive to help people. The more you give – the more you get. Think win-win, do your best to help people around you.
46. Be Different
Another of our creative marketing ideas is to be different. That works really well for us. Any small business can get more leads as the only major player. Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Then head in the opposite direction!
47. Be Everywhere
Small business marketing is a little like fishing. The more baited hooks you have in the water the more fish you will catch. Of course, you need to be active on social media. But also having an active blog, YouTube channel, and podcast on iTunes in addition to social media makes you better known and credible. Expand beyond your website to get more traffic and leads.
48. Ask for Referrals
Don’t be shy. Ask your existing customers for referrals. Many will be happy to oblige. The best time to ask is right after you complete a successful project or make a big sale. Something to do with striking the iron while it is hot!
49. Exceed Expectations
Reputation is everything these days. By exceeding your customer expectations and walking that extra mile – you’ll drive more business and create value.
50. Create Value
The last, but in many ways most important of our creative marketing ideas is to always create value for your customers. Invest your time and energy in building a great product that creates lasting benefits for your consumers. If you manage do that your product will sell itself.
Applying Creative Marketing Ideas
As you can see from our 50 creative marketing ideas there are all kinds of things that you can do to market your small business in new and fun ways. And I certainly don’t want you to try every last one of them. At least not today!
Take a look and see what kind of strategies you can add to your small business marketing. I always recommend starting with the low hanging fruit. Maybe it is time to join your local Chamber of Commerce or business networking group. Or perhaps you have been thinking about hosting an event at your business. I am sure there is something in these 50 creative marketing ideas that appeals to you.
47% of small business owners run marketing entirely on their own. Fundera
But one thing is certain. You must market your small business if you want it to succeed. If you don’t your small business will stagnate, and eventually die. So why not use our creative marketing ideas and get a head start on your competition? We are here to help!
Do You Have Your Own Creative Marketing Ideas?
Are you a small business and do your own marketing? Perhaps you have tried some of our creative marketing ideas yourself, or came up with some of your own? Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And help your audience become better small business marketers by sharing our creative marketing ideas with them!
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