Marketing is one of the most crucial elements of growing any business, whether it’s established or brand new, big or small. Without effective marketing campaigns, all of your hard work goes to waste. You could spend years trying to get seen, struggling to make sales, and feeling frustrated. Many entrepreneurs even give up.
For bigger businesses or those with more money to spend, marketing is often one of the first jobs that they consider outsourcing to the experts. This is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment, and one that can grow your audience, build trust and drive sales enormously.
Unfortunately, however, for many newer or smaller businesses, this isn’t an option. They are forced to use their own skills and learn as much as they can, or to rely on the talent already in their company.
The good news is, with the tremendous growth of social media and internet usage, it’s easier than ever to market your brand. Digital marketing allows you to reach a far wider audience, find your people and build your brand, without spending vast amounts of money.
The better news is, it doesn’t have to be boring. Effective marketing isn’t all about writing content for your website or hitting those social media share buttons. There are some more creative and fun ways that you can boost your business. Here’s a look at some of the best.
Get Out into the Community
Most modern marketing methods, and certainly lower budget methods, focus on digital marketing and online campaigns. While these can be exceptionally useful, there is still value to marketing in the real world and getting off the computer. Some of the most fun marketing methods are actually out in your local community.
Work with Local Businesses
If your business sells to or works with the local community, working with other companies can be a great idea. Attend, or start, regional networking events, get to know other business owners and look for ways that you can collaborate. Even if it’s just supporting each other online, and meeting to share ideas, it could be useful.
If you’d like to get more creative with your marketing, what about commissioning a mural? Find a talented local artist to paint your logo or an image that is personal to your business, on the side of your building.
Hit the Streets
Chalk drawings on the footpaths might not last very long, but they will certainly get noticed. Pick an area with passing footfall, or close to your premises, and draw quirky pictures or quotes on the sidewalk.
Flyers and Posters
Flyers and posters might seem old-fashioned, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still be fruitful. Flyers and even business cards can work well, as they are something tangible that people can walk away with. They don’t need to make a brilliant first impression or communicate information quickly. The recipient can take them away to process later.
Sponsoring events and working with charities on their events and fundraisers is a brilliant way to both get your name out there and also to build a reputation as a caring brand.
Have Fun with Clothing
Clothing is made to be seen. It’s probably safe to say that unless you are a clothing brand, or have a trendy logo, people are unlikely to buy clothing with your name on. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t wear them, and so advertize your business, if you give them away for free. Have t-shirts printed and put socks in goodie bags at tradeshows and conferences. Click here to look at some cool options.
Think Outside the Box with Sponsorships
When you think about sponsoring someone, as a brand, you might think of well-known brands on the front of sports shirts or at stadiums. But, many groups, businesses, companies and community spaces are seeking sponsorship to help them to make money, especially in the current climate. Think of sponsorships that could benefit your business, even if they aren’t closely related to what you do, and reach out to local teams, charities, events and community spaces with a pitch.
Host a Contest
Social media dominates many of our lives. We’re continually checking feeds, updating photos and videos, and checking in with our favorite brands and celebrities. Chances are, your audience is online a lot, and they are looking for creative and fun ways to spend their time.
So, give them something to do, that also gets you extra shares and attention. Host a photo or video contest, asking your followers to share photos or videos around a theme or their favorite images of your products. Offer the winner a small freebie to increase entries, and don’t forget to engage.
Attend Trade Shows
Trade Shows are both a great way to increase your audience and sell yourself, and to meet other businesses and suppliers who could be useful to you. Be creative with your stall, advertising your best products or services, and using props and banners to grab attention. Give away cool goodies, such as those socks, or stationary, and wrap them in a tote bag for some easy advertising, and make sure you are ready to answer any questions that anyone might have for you.
Content marketing with a blog, either separately, or one your website, is a great way to gain traffic from search engines and reach a significant audience. But, it’s often the more controversial posts and opinions that get noticed. Obviously, this is a risk, and you may alienate some people, but your true fans are likely to share your ideas, and it will certainly get people talking about, and so googling your business.
Most businesses and entrepreneurs will need to experiment to find the marketing methods that work for them. Your audience might not respond to everything on this list, and some things will undoubtedly be more effective than others. Don’t be scared to try new things and remember to give campaigns and ideas a chance before giving up on them and moving on to the next.