1. Ensure that your contents are high quality. If you can create it yourself, all the better. Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting someone on your team to crank out some articles for your blog. Try top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc. I shared a bunch of creative content marketing ideas here, and Elisa recently rewrote the rules of content marketing for small businesses.
2. Create Instructional Videos. Video content is really valuable, and while it can cost big bucks to get professional YouTube videos produced, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot yourself or hiring a film student
3. harness the power of social. Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. Add Instagram in there too if your business is image-oriented.
4. Infographics. Infographics are insanely powerful marketing tools. They’re visual eye candy, they’re easy to digest, and people love to share them, so they’re a great way to drive up referral traffic and links. Hiring a designer to make you an A+ infographic can hit your wallet hard, but you can make your own on the cheap if you don’t mind a bit of a challenge.
5. Encourage customers to help with referral. Offer existing customers a free product, free month of service, or some other reward for referring new customers. Remember, word-of-mouth is powerful stuff, so friends telling friends about your business is incredibly valuable.
6. Industry Partnerships. Team up with a business related to your industry (but not a direct competitor) for a joint project. This can be done locally offline through some kind of special event, or online with a webinar or promotional giveaway.
7. Win Business Awards. Most industries have business awards you can win, providing you with an online badge you can place on your website. Badges like these can boost credibility, and as a result, increase sales.
Local marketing can often be less expensive than massive online campaigns. Your reach is smaller, but if your business is regional, there’s no better (or cheaper) way to build your business.
8. Awesome Business Cards. Get yourself some snazzy business cards, then give them to every person you lay eyes on. Every handshake should come with a business card. The more people who find out about your business, the better – even if it’s just a quick glance at a business card.
9. Host an Event or Class. Plan an event or class to host, then print out flyers and post them on community bulletin boards (libraries, coffee shops, local colleges and adult ed centers). While most community bulletin boards won’t let you post business advertisements, they’re often more than happy to post a flyer promoting an educational event or class.
10. Email Marketing. Email marketing is a great way to get new visitors engaged with your business, as well as maintain relationships with your existing customers.
Get new website visitors to sign up for your newsletter by offering a bonus content piece for subscribing (e.g. get your free ebook detailing how to make a homemade pizza when you sign up for our First Slice newsletter). Slowly nurture your subscribers via email until they are ready to become paying customers. Start your email campaigns with a free email marketing service like MailChimp.
11. Car Magnets for the Company Car. Slap a magnetic sign on your company car to build brand awareness as you drive around town (just be sure to obey traffic laws). Bumper stickers and window decals work as well!
12. Join in on Local Contests. Consider donating a product or service of yours as a prize in a local contest or event.