Just like creating a website, coming up with solid marketing ideas are key components of any successful business. For instance, you might offer great products at the lowest prices, or provide the best customer service, but the ability to attract new customers boils down to how you deliver your brand’s message.
Coming up with creative marketing ideas in order to build an integrated marketing plan and marketing strategy are what give you a competitive edge. To make the most of your brainstorming session, you’ll need to come prepared, which is why we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best marketing ideas for small businesses.
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Content marketing ideas
7. Create memes
01. Write engaging blog posts
When you add a blog to your website and constantly update it with fresh material, you are offering value to your audience. First, a blog provides interesting content that engages readers. This also helps build your brand’s authority. Second, blog posts are an excellent place to use targeted keywords and improve your site’s SEO, bringing in more organic traffic to your business.
Pro tip: Add your brand's logo to your blog. If you don't have one, you can use a logo maker for your niche (for example, if you're in the sports industry, you can use a Sports Logo Maker).
02. Start a podcast
Podcasts are extremely popular these days. You’ll be able to tap into this marketing trend by producing your own branded podcast. You can discuss issues related to your industry or interview interesting people in your field.
03. Create infographics
Well crafted infographics are highly engaging. You can tell an entire story and prove a point with just one image. It might take some effort to craft a stunning infographic, but when you nail it, you’ll have a great piece of content to share. Create your own infographics using graphic design tools or even on PowerPoint.
04. Produce videos
Videos are another great piece of visual content you can share on social media and post on your site. And the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating videos. You can produce videos to promote new products, improve brand recognition and drive traffic to a landing page.
Don’t shy away from letting your creativity shine through. Just remember to consider what your goals are.
05. Create tutorials
If you’re in retail, making tutorials for your products is the perfect marketing tool. Like blog posts, tutorials help establish your website as a knowledge center, helping customers make informed decisions. They promote trust and provide a sense of accountability.
Additionally, product tutorials help bring organic traffic to your website by using relevant keywords to improve search engine rankings.
06. Write product reviews
Product reviews offer the same benefits as tutorials, but are much easier to make. Simply write honest reviews of products you sell and detail the pros and cons of each one. Product reviews can also improve your site’s SEO and your brand’s reputation.
07. Create memes
Nothing travels around the web faster than a witty meme. Plus, making people laugh is a surefire way to get them to remember you and maybe even make them want to do business with you. After all, it's well-known in the psychology of selling that tapping into peoples' emotions is essential for getting them to pull out their wallets.
Your memes can be related to your industry or simply provide funny commentary on life. But make sure they represent your brand values. Otherwise they can backfire and cause harm to your brand.
08. Publish case studies and white papers
Case studies and white papers are the mark of a serious and professional business. If you want to show off your expertise to potential customers, then look no further. This is a great way to tackle complex subjects that your customers find interesting or may not be fully educated on and want to learn more about.
Social media marketing ideas
11. Live stream
16. Ask for feedback
09. Write compelling posts
While you shouldn’t rely on posts alone to generate buzz on social media, they’re often the easiest and fastest way to engage with your customers. Crafting great copy for posts is also one of the basics of social media marketing. Posts are an incredibly simple way to communicate with your audience and promote your business.
10. Give an inside look
Use social media stories, like on Instagram, to show followers what day- to-day life looks like for your business. If you can make life look great, people will definitely be interested in learning more and might want to experience a piece of it themselves. You can sprinkle more “traditional” marketing content in between to make the most of your reach.
11. Live stream
Many social media platforms promote live streams more heavily than other forms of content, so it might be time you took advantage of this benefit, too.
You can go live and do anything that will get a positive response from customers. For example, you might want to talk about products and services in a way that followers will enjoy watching. As always, make sure your live streams are in line with your brand’s identity.
12. Use hashtags wisely
Hashtags differ from platform to platform. On Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are critical to gaining exposure, especially if you don’t have a large following yet.
Use hashtags relevant to your business to increase your posts’ visibility and reach. If you don’t know which to use, you can take a look at your competitors’ profiles to find some inspiration.
13. Create your own hashtags
Branded hashtags help set you apart from the competition and create a virtual space where your brand sets the tone. So don’t just use whichever hashtags are popular in your industry. Take initiative and start your own branded hashtags. Eventually people will catch on and use them for themselves.
14. Set up challenges
Creating challenges for social media is a great and low budget marketing idea that can gain a lot of exposure for your business.
Your challenges don’t have to be complicated. They could be as simple as taking a picture or saying something recorded. That said, they should be funny, thought-provoking, or somehow hip and trendy, to get people to participate and share.
15. Open a community group
Building a community around your brand promotes a loyal customer base and can give you a method to communicate with them directly.
You can start your own online community by opening a dedicated Facebook group or create a forum for our website.
16. Ask for feedback
Social media is all about generating engagement. One of the best ways to do so is by asking your audience questions. You can ask them anything you want in the form of a poll or post, depending on the social media platform.
Asking the right questions can also help steer your business in a direction that suits your customers, so it’s a win-win.
17. Promote on social media
To really make the most of your social media marketing, you’ll need followers. Don’t be afraid to push your social media handles on your website or within the content you produce.
Sometimes a simple logo or link is enough to get people to find your brand and hit the follow button. Or you can use QR codes to get people engaging fast.
18. Collaborate with other brands
One of the best ways to quickly increase your exposure is by working with another brand on a collaborative marketing effort. If both brands have a decent following, and an overlapping target audience, you can potentially double your exposure overnight.
19. Comment on people’s content
A good way to increase your social media reach, and promote your business, is by publicly interacting with other people and brands. You can comment on and share content by others in order to get their followers to notice your brand.
Lead magnet marketing ideas
21. Run competitions
20. Give away freebies
Nothing beats a giveaway. Everyone loves free stuff and it’s a great way to get potential customers to give you a little information in return. You can offer free products or services with each purchase, sign-ups to your website or mailing list.
21. Run competitions
Take free swag to a new level by increasing the stakes and turning it into a competition on social media. Keep in mind that if you're only going to give out a limited number of prizes, they should be worth people’s time.
22. Offer limited-time discounts
Discounts are another tried and true method for any retailer or service provider. Limited-time offers won’t just promote business in the moment. You can offer a changing deal, every week or month, maintaining people’s interest over time.
23. Create limited edition products
People love unique products. You can channel that passion into your own products by manufacturing short runs of limited edition products or “drops.” Limited runs create a sense of scarcity and can really drive customers to want to lay their hands on the product.
Client communication marketing ideas
26. Host an event
27. Design a webinar
28. Use testimonials
24. Use your mailing list
Start building an email list that includes existing clients and/or potential customers. That way, you’ll have a large mailing list that you’ll be able to market to directly.
Send out newsletters, let people know about upcoming sales, announce new products and delivery possibilities. Email marketing is the most direct form of communication with your customers. Don’t be afraid to use it, but don’t abuse it either.
25. Write press releases
In marketing, everything is an opportunity to create a buzz. If you have any news you want to share regarding your business, write a press release.
You can send press releases to media outlets like magazines, radio stations, online publications, or even to a dedicated mailing list.
26. Host an event
For a brand, hosting an event is liking having a birthday. You gather all of your business partners and clientele in one place, physical or online, and communicate with them directly at the same time.
Events are an excellent way to maintain relationships and tighten ties with the people that matter to your business. And it’s all about marketing yourself.
27. Design a webinar
Webinars are online events in which you present and discuss important topics with potential customers, distributors, investors, or any group of people you want to share your knowledge and expertise with.
For brands that deal in technical or cutting edge fields, webinars can help form bonds with important players in the industry.
28. Use testimonials
People can be wary of purchasing products from a business they’re unfamiliar with. Often, a simple testimonial from a satisfied customer will be enough to help them make the decision to trust your brand.
Asking for client feedback also helps improve your business reputation and gain customer’s trust that you have their best interest in mind.
Collaborate with other brands
29. Create joint products
If you want to create a buzz around a new product, collaborate on it with another brand and manufacture something truly unique. That’s because people love it when two brands they admire put out a product together. Issue some limited editions and you’ll have a highly marketable product.
30. Work with local businesses
Investing in local markets can go a long way in gaining new customers and establishing your business in a specific place. You can instantly market your brand to a local crowd by collaborating with another well-known local business. It’s alway a good idea to join forces in any form, be it a product, content for social media, or a special offer.
How about marketing your brand to a specific group of people via sponsorship offers? Sponsoring means you provide financing in return for advertisement. You can literally sponsor anything, like an event, a sports team or individual. Think of how you can most effectively reach your target audience.
32. Write guest posts
Spread the word about your business by providing content to other brands. You can write articles for magazines who are willing to publish it, or offer other businesses to write guest posts for them. Reach out to brands who can provide guest writing for your outlets in return.
Paid advertising ideas
33. Place ads online
33. Place ads online
Gaining organic traffic is important, but it’s not always enough to grow your business at the rate you want.
If you can afford it, don’t hesitate to take out ads wherever it can help you reach potential customers. Many websites operate on an ad revenue model, so there’s no shortage of places to advertise.
34. Partner up with influencers
If you’re looking for a less traditional way to spend your marketing dollars, you can use social media influencers to push your products.
With influencer marketing, you need to find individuals that have a large following of people who may find interest in your business. Contact them and strike a deal. You can offer payment, or sponsorship of some kind, in return for product placements or endorsements.
35. Advertise on billboards
Physical marketing may seem old school but for many local businesses, it is still their bread and butter. If your business operates in a local area, and can gain from non targeted marketing, you may want to invest in some real life ads in strategic places.
General marketing ideas
38. Get seasonal
36. Perfect your elevator pitch
This may seem obvious to some, but it’s extremely important to perfect your elevator pitch. A pitch isn’t just for investors. It’s the way you present your business to the world, from customers to partners.
Being able to explain what your business does and summarize it in just a few sentences may be the most effective marketing tool in your possession.
37. Use guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing is less of a marketing idea and more of a state of mind. These are creative, out of the box, and most importantly, cost-effective, marketing stunts.
Take the example of the giant footprints on the Santa Monica beach, promoting the King Kong 360 3D movie. It didn’t take much, but the message was loud and clear.
38. Get seasonal
Everything is a marketing opportunity. Don’t waste opportunities by letting seasonal events go by without a custom marketing strategy. It’s not just about holiday marketing tactics. Any major event can be used as a marketing opportunity, from elections to the superbowl.
39. Simplify your marketing funnel
A marketing funnel is a representation of every step a customer goes through before the purchase. It charts their way from an initial point of contact, such as an ad, all the way to closing the deal. Thus, understanding your marketing funnel is crucial to making smart marketing decisions.
And simplifying your funnel can help generate more sales. The fewer steps customers need to make, the better.
40. Automate your marketing
There are endless marketing ideas for small businesses. But your time isn’t limitless. Fortunately, you can use marketing automation to take care of various tasks.
Automate emails, social media message replies, and more, to free up time to think of new ways to market your business. Check out our guide on marketing automation software to learn more.