100 best Ideas to Market & Grow your small Business
IDEAS: 1) Newspaper, 2) Newsletter, 3) Blog 4) Cold Call, 5) Biz Cards, 6) Mini, 7) Niche, 8) Feedback. 9) Twitter, 10) Test-imonials, 11) influential Bloggers, 12) Blog Ads, 13) link-bait Blogs, 14) Email signature, 15) Awards Ceremony, 16) Sponsor a Competition 17) a Give-Away, 18) Discounts 19) E-Brochure, 20) Mailers, 21) Column, 22 Spokesperson, 23) Press Kit, 24) Website Interaction, 25) Mobile Ads, 26) Charity Auctions, 27) Teach, 28) Guest Blog, 29) Blog comment, 30) Forums, 31) SEO, 32) Facebook, 33) Social Media, 34) Pricing, 35) Thank-You Cards, 36) Freebies, 37) Repeat Biz, 38) SM w/ Personality, 39) About page, 40) Credibility, 41) Guarantee, 42) Customer Service, 43) Networking, 44) Change Campaign, 45) Expertise, 46) Awards, 47) Referrals, 48) Prices, 49) Phone Answer, 50) Show, 51) Competition, 52) Google Local, 53) Partner-up, 54) QR Code, 55) Give-n-Receive, 56) Facebook, 57) Videos, 58) Green, 59) Groupon or LivingSocial.com 60) E-zine, 61) E-Book, 62) Online Reputation, 63) new Website, 64) Conferences, 65) Customer Relationships, 66) Protocol, 67) Name-Drop, 68) Funny 404s, 69) Controversial, 70) Podcast, 71) Univ, 72) Free Tools, 73) Charity, 74) C of C, 75) Calendar, 76) better Business Cards, 77) mo Webinars, 78) Pkg Deals, 79) consider Pd Search, 80) Commu Bds, 81) Exclusive Deals, 82) Friends & Family, 83) be Diff, 84) Sch Sports, 85) Give Aways, 86) Outstanding Biz Cds, 87) Walking Ads, 88) Mktg Lists, 89) E-Newsltrs+, 90) Meetup, 91) Videos, 92) Online Portfolios. 93) O/L Published, 94) Twitter, 95) Leads, 96) Pay-it-Fwd, 97) Branding, 98) Sell Yourself, 99) Survey, 100) Listen to Customers.
No matter what your Industry, there are always times when work is quiet. During those slower times, it’s an excellent opportunity to not only catch up on all of your admin; it’s also a unique chance to market your business.
Whether you’re just starting or you’ve been established for years, marketing plays an essential part for any business. It’s how people find out about you, and hire you to do work for them.
But with so much competition and noise our there, how can you get your business out there and attract new Customers? The following essential list should help. It contains 100 Ideas to market your business, so you’ll never have any excuse, but to make marketing a priority.
1. Get into your local Newspaper
Write a press release about anything news-worthy going on in your business. Not sure how to write one? Read these essential PR tips or pick up the phone and speak to a journalist to see if they’re interested in running something. If they are, they’ll probably write the story themselves.
2. Create a Newsletter
Publish a regular E-newsletter to your existing customer base – if you have their permission to contact them, that is. Tell people about what you’re doing and any new products or services you’ve launched. It’ll keep you on their radar and encourage repeat business.
3. Write a Blog
Blogs are great opportunities to not only extend your digital marketing strategy by creating a whole range of long-tail keywords, SEO-wise. They’re also a good chance to show off your expertise while building trust. Update your Blog weekly – with quality content, and both Google & Web visitors will respect you for it.
4. Cold call
Start each day by following up any new leads or making several cold calls. It’s always good to keep your marketing on track and investigate new opportunities that might come your way.
5. always carry Biz cards
Don’t ever leave home without your Business cards. You never know who you might meet. Make sure your Cards contain all your relevant information – including your Website address and any social media accounts you might have.
6. Offer Mini versions
Consider creating a ‘mini’ version of your product or service at a discounted rate. It will entice new or existing customers to more easily part with their cash and might even lead to long-term business relationships.
7. Find a Niche
Research and discover a niche in the market that could benefit from your product or service, then subsequently target. Find out what’s missing and what people need. Offer solutions to people’s problems.
8. Feedback from Customers
Don’t be afraid to chat with existing customers to ask them why they picked you. And take the opportunity to ask them if you could be doing anything more to improve your services to them.
9. Use Twitter
Twitter is often referred to as the business–friendly Social Media platform, because it’s a great way to start networking online while giving your brand personality. But there’s a right & wrong way to go about tweeting, so don’t forget some basic Twitter etiquette.
10. Get Testimonials
Nothing works better for your marketing than having a genuine Testimonial from a happy Customer. If you haven’t yet added Testimonials to your Website or marketing materials, do it now! Just make sure you ask full permission first.
11. Make friends with influential Bloggers
There’s a wealth of new Blogs out there, so get researching and find some influential Bloggers to make friends with. Get them to write a review about your business, product or service, if you can.
12. Advertise on Blogs
Investigate online advertising opportunities by researching where your Target Market likes to go. Are there any Blogs that appeal to your customers? Contact the Blog owner and sponsor them in exchange for advertising space.
13. Write link-bait Blogs
Make the most of your Blog by writing posts that naturally encourage people to link to them. The more people who recommend your articles, the more traffic you’ll attract to your Blog – which means more business.
14. Email signature
Link everything up by adding links to your Blog, Website & Social Media accounts from your Email signature. Even consider adding your main marketing message or company slogan. Remind people why you’re so Gr8 !!!
15. Sponsor an Awards Ceremony
Although often an expensive option, sponsoring awards can get your business noticed. Remember, not all awards have to be expensive. There are always Niche award ceremonies that better suit your business & budget. (the other B2B)
16. Sponsor a Competition
There are often media competitions. Consider sponsoring one of them to raise your profile. You’ll not only advertise your brand and company name, but you’ll also be putting yourself in front of a much wider market.
17. Give Something Away
Got something you can offer in a competition? Newspapers & Magazines will give you free editorial space in exchange for a prize. Just be aware they’ll always want minimum prize values.
18. Discount for Ltd periods
Discounts at certain times of the year are always popular. Offer your products and/or services at a discounted rate, for example – ‘Summer Savings’ or ‘Winter Deal’. People always like a bargain !!!
19. Create an E-brochure
Hard-copy brochures can be expensive to design & print. Save your money and create a E-PDF version instead, available to download via your Website. Take the opportunity to sell yourself and explain to potential customers why they should buy from you.
20. Typical Malers Mailers
Mail-drop campaigns are simply pushing marketing leaflets through doors or sending out postcards to your existing customer database. They might be old school, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. They can still work.
21. Write a Column for your local Newspaper
Get in touch with your local to see if they’d benefit from a regular ‘ask the expert’ column, then provide regular expert features for them to publish. Don’t ask, don’t get – so pick up the phone today.
22. Become an expert Spokesperson
Journalists are always after industry experts to add a little something to their news reports. Contact your local TV, radio and newspapers to put yourself forward as a willing expert in your field. Be prepared to be available for any interviews that might pop up and do some media training, so you’re ready to go.
23. Create a Press Kit
Pull together some background information about yourself and your business, ready to send out to any journalists. Have a ‘press’ section on your Website where the media can easily find out more about you and contact you.
24. add Inter-action to your Website
People want to interact with websites, so create something that will be appealing & helpful to your audience. For example, can you add ‘live chat’ and be instantly available to answer any questions? There are some fantastic, off-the-shelf solutions you can add quickly & easily.
25. Mobile Advertising
Why not create a friendly sticker for your car and advertise your business while on the move? Don’t forget to add your Website link & phone number. To make it more fun, add a special discount code – something people can use when they call you.
26. Charity Auctions
Consider donating your product or service to a Charity Auction. A great way to network, meet potential new customers and raise your profile locally or beyond.
27. Teach your Expertise
Organise talks, classes or workshops based on your expertise. Great with social media? You’d be surprised how many people still can’t get their heads around Twitter. Teach others, and you wouldn’t believe how many could turn into customers !!!
28. Guest Blog
Find those influential Blogs or high traffic online communities and offer to contribute and/or write articles. It will not only tackle SEO; it will help you to reach a bigger audience while adding personality & expertise to your brand.
29. Blog comment
Don’t under-estimate the power of commenting on Blogs. Do it everywhere you can. Just make sure you write something intelligent and worthwhile; something that will drive people to your website. It will add to your credibility.
30. Forums (not 4 ums. LoL)
No matter what your creative field, there are plenty of forums out there that you could join and start contributing to. Many people use forums to find answers. Be as helpful as possible, and you may attract more Clients. Just don’t forget to make the most of your Forum Signature by adding in links to your Website and adding in your company’s Slogan.
31. Don’t forget your SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about ensuring people find your Website – if they’re searching for your products or services. Don’t hesitate to make this a priority. Either hire an SEO firm to help, or learn about SEO yourself. Moz is an excellent place to start.
32. Create a Facebook Page
Facebook is more consumer-focused than Twitter, so only create a page if you think your business suits the medium. Post interesting updates to keep your fans hooked. Don’t spam and don’t self-broadcast. Apply a little monthly budget to advertise and ‘boost’ posts to various audiences.
33. Link your Social Media accounts
Don’t forget to provide Links from your Website to all your Social Media accounts & vice versa. Make sure everything hooks up and don’t forget to include them in all your marketing materials & literature.
34. Get your $$$ right
Do some research and check out some competitors to see what they’re charging for their products and/or services. Pretend to be a Customer to cover your tracks. Once you’ve got a good idea of what the market is priced at, get your pricing right. Still not sure? Read these tips on how much to charge for your freelance work.
35. send Thank You cards
Value your existing customers and send Thank You cards -whenever you’ve completed a job. It adds that personal touch and leads to loyalty.
36. Throw in some Freebies
Whether you’ve just delivered some product or completed some services, add in a freebie to make your Client more feel good that your appreciate their business. I firm I know sends sweets with all of its deliveries a small, but effective & sweet idea !!!
37. Reward repeat Business
Want more work from an existing Clients? Reward them with your loyalty strategy. How you reward them is up to you. Perhaps you could offer a special discount. Whatever you choose, encourage loyalty by being loyal in return to them – to help them grow their biz.
38. add Personality to your SM accounts
People don’t want to talk to Logos; they want to talk to people. Add a photo of a real person to your Social Media profiles and don’t always brag about your own business. Instead, keep it real and don’t be afraid to show the ‘real you’.
39. always have an ‘About’ page on your Website
People want to know who they’re dealing with before doing business with them. Make sure your website has a decent ‘About’ page, describing who you are, your skills & experience + your core business values. Remember, your Website should build trust and an About page helps do that.
40. Invest in Credibility
Nothing sells a business more than credibility. To get more for your own company, invest in schemes and accreditations that will demonstrate to potential clients how credible you are.
41. Offer a Guarantee
If you think your products and/or services are worthy of a 100% guarantee or ‘your money back’, then Guarantee them !!! Offer to refund people – if they’re not fully satisfied with you. You certainly run the risk of some people abusing this offer, but this may outweigh the benefits of attracting more customers.
42. Have excellent Customer Service
Nothing beats referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, so keep your existing Clients extremely happy by offering superb Customer Service. Work that extra bit harder, and you’ll reap the rewards long-term.
43. Go to traditional Networking events
Not all networking events are stuffy, irrelevant or boring. There are many out there that could benefit your business. You need to find the right ones. Go online, ask around and book yourself into as many networking events as possible. Go armed with business cards, a warm smile and no high expectations, then you wont be dis-appointed.
44. start a Change Campaign
Is something bothering you about your industry? Why not launch a campaign to raise awareness of the issue & fight to get it right? You could even offer something from your own business to help resolve it. Create a Press Release and get local media involved. Fight for what you believe in, and you’ll spark people’s interest & impression of you.
45. Give your Expertise away
You’ve been running your own business for some time now, and you’ll have learnt plenty along the way. You might not know it, but your experience is incredibly valuable to others. Share your trade secrets by posting to your Website. Don’t be afraid to tell people how you’ll help their business. Yes, some might steal your tricks, but most won’t have the time and would prefer to call in you – as an expert.
46. enter Awards
Put your business forward for Awards – whenever you can. Winning awards is great free publicity for your business, and you can show off your trophies on your website. It adds further to your credibility.
47. set up a Referral Program
Got lots of suppliers, vendors, or partners you regularly work with? Set up a Referral program that thanks them for any referrals they send your way. The reward could be anything from a percentage of the work’s value to a $$$ shopping voucher.
48. Raise your Prices
Increasing prices will give a perception that you’re a more ‘premium’ provider. It will help you to win higher-value work – while putting off those low-end clients that always seem to cause the most hassle.
49. program your Answering Message
Outside office hours, make sure your phone has a good Answering Message (ie, most importantly, make sure your Answering Message sells your company well. “We’re not available now, but please leave a message or check out our website and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible”.
50. Book a Trade Show
Booths at relevant Trade Shows are an expensive option, without a doubt. But if you’ve got something to sell and you want to raise your profile, shows can often be one of the best marketing opportunities for your business. Make sure your stand is beautifully decorated + appealing and has plenty of marketing materials, business cards and Brochures – ready to hand out. Don’t do it on your own either – take a colleague or friend and remember to write down the details of everyone you meet – to make sure you contact them after the show.
51. Ignore the Competition
Only consider the competition when compiling your marketing strategy. Don’t become overly obsessed with them and always follow what they’re doing. Because what they’re doing isn’t necessarily right for you. Concentrate on your own business and have confidence in yourself.
52. Use Google
People search for products and service providers via Google, so make sure your business is listed. It’s free and will certainly help with your Search Engine marketing.
Hook your business up with another – to attract more customers. If you have products or services that could complete each other will help you both win more business.
54. Get a QR Code
QR codes are a recent marketing tool that everyone’s talking about. QR is short for ‘Quick Response’, and they are simple bar codes that allow people with Smart-Phones to quickly access a website by scanning them. Get one for your own business and put them on all marketing materials.
55. Give. then Receive
Make friends with some of your competition and local suppliers, then recommend them to Clients. If you give, you’ll probably get something in return. “Because what goes around, comes around”. And there’s always plenty of work to go around.
56. Use Facebook Ads
Facebook advertising is good – particularly if you’re after targeted demographics. You can select the region, gender, age & even relationship status of people you’d like to target, then create a campaign just for them. What’s more, you can measure and evaluate your investment, so you know what does and doesn’t work for next time.
57. create Videos
Multi-media content is incredibly popular and helps to make your Website more engaging. Create ‘how to’ videos or even show people your team and your workspace. Videos help to build that essential trust. And when people trust you, they’ll want to do business with you.
58. Go Green
We’re all concerned about the environment these days so that it won’t do you – or the environment – any harm to go green. Go to town on your eco credentials and put an ethical policy in place. Show people that you care about the world by ensuring you have corporate Social Responsibility.
59. Groupon or LivingSocial.com
Deal of the Day websites are becoming increasingly popular. Sites like Groupon & LivingSocial feature discounted Gift Certificates that are usable at local or national firms. As a registered user, you get sent a whole load of deals relevant to your local area. From your company’s point of view, you can contact these websites to give some of your products and/or services away. They’re a cost-effective way of getting your brand more noticed.
60. Write an E-zine
Why not start an Online Magazine E-Zine or Bog about something you’re passionate about – relating to your own business or Hobby. Sharing commentary, industry news and things that interest you will act as a great Online Marketing tool as well as showing a different side to your company’s personality.
61. Launch a Free E-book
Good digital marketing is all about creating valuable things that naturally go viral. Get others to brag about your business by creating something free & helpful. A free E-book, for example, can do just that. Put together a well-written guide that includes all sorts of tips & tricks. But make sure it’s interesting & shareable.
62. Monitor your Online Reputation
Public relations is about managing & enhancing your reputation. And part of that lies in effectively monitoring what people are saying about you online. Manage your reputation by tracking the conversation and responding to anything accordingly.
63. new Website design
If your Website isn’t cutting it anymore, consider having a design overhaul. Although Web design isn’t the most important aspect of creating a Website – it often gives the first impression. If people are bouncing straight off your Website, it might be that something is putting them off. Get some feedback with research – before you take the plunge to try to create a website that’s more appealing to your Target Audience. (ie, ask your Clients)
64. go to Conferences
There’s always something interesting going on. From geeky tech conferences to helpful seminars & talks. Make a point of attending at least one useful event per month and go armed with plenty of business cards.
65. Nurture your Client relationships
Always prioritize and make your existing Customer feel special. Make them feel like they’re your most important customer and bend over backwards to keep them happy. Keep the communication channels open and never be afraid to pick up the phone or arrange meetings with the slightest excuse or just drop in.
66. Perfect your Protocol
When you answer your phone, always say your company name and who’s speaking. When you send an Email, always make sure your email signature contains your company name & Logo. Be polite and friendly at all times because you never know who might be calling. Get these basics right, and you’ll strengthen your brand and your reputation.
67. Name-drop Online
When you write a Blog or Tweet about something, consider dropping a few names to attract their attention. They might return the favour by mentioning you on their Website or Twitter profiles. If writing a Blog, provide a hyperlink back to a popular article online, and you could see traffic come back your way. Harvard University did this with my own business, Boomerang – and it drove lots of relevant traffic.
68. Create a funny 404 Page
404 pages are those Web pages that tell your visitors that the ‘page they were looking for can not be found’. Make your own 404 Page funny, and it could turn viral as people talk about it and share it with their friends.
69. Be Controversial
Want to drive people crazy? No, to your Website? Yes. Be controversial and write about topics that will generate links, discussions & comments. Pick on well-loved brands & people. Nothing encourages inter-action more, than sparking a reaction.
70. Contact local Univ’s
If you want to build effective, local relationships, why not contact your local University to offer yourself as a speaker. Universities often have strong links with the business community, and you never know who you might impress or meet.
71. Start a Podcast
Podcasts are in fashion again. And they’re not too difficult to get started either. We’d recommend investing in a decent microphone, some headphones and an editing software kit – and then publishing your recordings on things like SoundCloud. Just don’t forget to promote them.
72. Offer free Tools
Is there something you can offer for free via your Website? Have you found low-cost Tools that help you in your work? Maybe you could offer them for “free” it they let you do a Proto for them. “Free” Tools can go viral and lead to lots of Web traffic – if they’re good & helpful.
73. Do something for Charity
Get involved with a local Charity and raise money for them. Think of something to do that’s very unusual that might attract the attention of the local media. Brag about your achievements via your Social Media accounts and/or Website. People will not only hear about your fantastic efforts and potentially want to hire you – you’ll also be giving back to the community.
74. Join your Chamber of Commerce
They might have been around forever, but your local Chamber of Commerce can offer some valuable help. Join up so you can network with other local business owners.
75. Give away a Calendar
Design and print a special calendar with your Business name. Contact Info & Website on it. Send it out to your existing Customers, give it away to Prospects & at Trade Shows. They’ll hopefully display them in their shops or businesses, which makes fantastic free advertising for you + keeping you on their mind.
76. better Business Cards
People often overlook Business Cards and only print their contact details on one side. Make use of any blank space by adding your motto or more details about your products and/or services.
77. Host monthly Webinars
Web-based seminars – if you can host them – are a great way to interact with clients. They can show off your expertise and turn those who watch them into paying customers. There are many online services you can use out there, like GoToWebinar.
78. offer Package Deals
Why not offer two services within one discounted package? For instance, if you’re a manufacturer – you could offer free Design assist. If needed, you can hire outsourced support and ensure the package you offer is priced at such a rate that it covers everyone’s costs – while still making a profit.
79. consider Paid Search
Google AdWords is a great tool to use if your Website is new and your SEO efforts haven’t yet paid off. It’s also a great way to ensure your SEO campaign is going along the right path – as you can track relevant keywords. But beware, paid search can often be an expensive marketing route. You’ll want to focus on ‘organic’ long-term.
80. Use Community boards
There are physical community Corkboards everywhere – at your local supermarket and pharmacy – even your local library. Put up your fliers because it’s cheap and easy. Just make sure you get permission.
81. Exclusive Deals
Make good use of your Customer database and send out regular (ie, monthly or quarterly) marketing campaigns, offering some exclusive deal. Make your deals timely by tapping into different seasons of the year. It will encourage more business from existing clients.
82. Friends & Family
Don’t forget to use all your contacts to help get your name out there. Give friends and family some of your business cards and ask them to help promote you. If you need to, offer them a little reward.
83. Do Something Different
Research your Target Market and analyse your Cmpetition. Is there anything you could be doing differently? Offer something out of the ordinary to make yourself stand out.
84. Sponsor Sch Sports team
A straightforward way to raise your profile is to sponsor a local school Sports team. You’ll find that every season, the players will need a new ball, net, etcet. You can have your company name Printed on their kits in exchange for buying them for the school. Get in touch with the Pricipal to see how you can get involved.
85. Give Something Away
Why not run a unique competition, giving your products and/or services away to one lucky winner? Competitions are viral and always popular. They’ll also help to advertise your business !!!
86. Outstanding Biz cards
Don’t waste a perfect opportunity to make your business memorable! Get a business card design that makes you stand out and keeps you in people’s minds.
87. a waking, no walking Ad
Get some T-shirts printed with your company Logo & Web address. Give them to Employees, Customer, give away at Trade Shows. They’ll wear them whenever there’ out & about. Cleaver “free” moving Ads get attention.
88. Buy Marketing lists
Many services give you access to lists of potential customers, all ready for you to target with your campaigns. Although sometimes $$$, these lists can prove invaluable. Type ‘mailing lists’ into Google to find something relevant for you.
89. Advertise on others E-newsletters
Know of a popular E-zine that sends out regular updates to its subscribers? There’ll undoubtedly have advertising opportunities – so do some investigation and set up a campaign to take advantage of this targeted marketing.
90. Organise a Meetup
If you’re struggling to network or meet new people, why not start your event or own Meetup.com group? You can find members with similar interests on your Network & have monthly meetings to share info.
91. share Video testimonials or interviews
Create testimonial Videos to put on your Website to show off your happy customer’s comments. Nothing markets your business or builds credibility more than a satisfied Customers.
92. Online Portfolios
A tip for the more visual creatives amongst you. Get your work listed on as many Online Portfolio sites as possible. Behance & Carbonmade are just a couple. The more you put yourself out there, the better.
93. Online Publish
There are so many creative Blogs & O/L Zines with many opportunities to get your work published. Send out the best of your work and include lots of information about yourself. From Creative Boom, Pikaland The Creator’s Project etc. Get yourself out there and approach as many O/L publications as possible.
94. Make Twitter lists
Twitter lists are a great way to attract the attention of influential Twitter people who might return the favour and list you. Like all social media, be generous and build valuable relationships on Twitter to help get your name in front of the right people.
95. Follow up on Leads
Never forget to follow up with any new people you meet. Develop relationships and keep your company fresh in their minds. Whether you talk to people at an event or over the phone, always follow up and try to turn that lead into a sale.
96. Pay it Forward
The whole ‘Pay it Forward’ culture means you should be willing to give away some of your expertise for free as it could lead to paid work in future. For example, if you come across someone who has a problem – resolve it for free. Or when you’re at a networking event, introduce people who may be able to do business together. By being selfless & caring, people will remember you for it.
97. Build a strong Brand
Consider your branding and re-assess it. Is it strong enough? Does it convey the right marketing message? If it’s not up to your expectations, consider refreshing your whole look & feel. Be bold, stand out and ensure your brand stands for your whole company culture & core values.
98. always “Sell yourself“
No matter where you go or who you speak to – always be “selling yourself“. You’re the main rep of your business, so get out there and sell it. Always keep your company values in mind and share them whenever you can.
99. Create a Survey
Use something like SurveyMonkey to create a Survey for your customers and encourage participation by giving something away. Once you’ve collected the results, you can turn your Research into a newsworthy press release (PR), or you can put the data to good old marketing use and improve your business offering overall.
100. Last, but not least, listen to your Customers
Your customers will give you the most helpful insight into how you can improve your business and win more work. Listen to their feedback and modify old or put new systems in place to ensure your company Thrives & Survives !!!
Comments: if I missed any Idears, let me know !!!
from CreativeBoom 2/23 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz.
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