My Top 50 (51) Small Business Marketing Strategies

As we enter December, now is a great time for reflection. What worked well this past year? What did not work so well this past year? If you are looking to take your marketing up a notch in 2012, below are the top 50 (now 51 as I forgot to include a powerful new phenomenon … Daily Deals promotions in my original list) marketing strategies that I have used to grow my client’s businesses over the past eight years. Obviously some are better suited for consumer and retail businesses and some are better suited for business to business companies. Top 50 Marketing Strategies:

  1. Auto Responders – Part of an email marketing campaign, these are a series of informational emails that automatically send on a predetermined basis.
  2. Barter Exchanges – Yes, the pigs for the chicken’s method are still alive and kicking but now it is a little more sophisticated with networks like IMS (International Monetary System) that help you exchange goods and services.
  3. Billboards – If you have a simple message, this can be an effective method for exposure.
  4. Blogging – You are reading one right now, blogs can be an excellent way to educate your prospects and customers.
  5. BNI (Formal Networking) – This is an excellent way to develop a sales force without investing in one. Most networking groups have between 20 and 35 members and will help you generate leads.
  6. Brochures – Every business needs a well-crafted brochure to explain their products and services.
  7. Business Cards – One of the most overlooked forms of advertising, your business card needs to be high quality, a concise ad for your business. Don’t be afraid to use the back.
  8. Business Signage – If you have a retail location, your signage is the best way to attract attention off of the street.
  9. Buy a Mailing List – Once you understand your ideal customer target, buy a mailing list of customers that fit your profile, and start marketing to them immediately.
  10. Catalog – If you sell your own or distribute products, you need an electronic and printed catalog that will act as a silent salesman with your customers when you are not there.
  11. Cold Calling – I have met very few people who enjoy cold calling but if you have not invested in other marketing to warm up a database, the brute force of calling can be effective.
  12. Coupon Magazines and Mailings – If you have a consumer business, coupon magazines, and direct mailing companies offer a targeted, cost-effective method of reaching your prospects.
  13. Daily Deals Promotions – These are daily coupons delivered to a database of prospective customers such as Groupon, Living Social, and locally here in Rochester, Roc’n Deals. Daily Deals are great trail generation vehicles for Restaurants, Spas, Specialty Medical Professional, Auto Repair Businesses, and ant other business that has a customer base that returns frequently.
  14. Direct Mail – One of the best ways to build your opt-in email database is through direct mail. Direct mail is also an excellent way to warm up your database for telemarketing.
  15. eBay – No longer just for dumping unwanted items, eBay has become a powerful electronic marketing tool.
  16. EBook – If you want to become known as an expert in your field, write an eBook, or even a bound book and start building trust with your prospects.
  17. Email Marketing – Unfortunately abused by spammers, email marketing is a cost-effective method of communicating with your prospects. Build an opt-in list, provide valuable content, and get moving towards prosperity.
  18. Email Signature – Make sure you sign off with a marketing message and all of your contact information to make it easy for your customers to call you.
  19. Fax Blast – Talk about a blast from the past, fax blasts work great for announcing promotions.
  20. Flyers – Many of my clients who have household services such as landscaping, painting, roofing, and replacement windows have had great success hiring a high school or college student to go door to door and hand out flyers.
  21. Guarantee – One of the best ways to reduce your prospect’s risk is through a guarantee.
  22. Industry Newsletter – An extremely concentrated targeting vehicle, the only people reading these newsletters are people in that given industry.
  23. Joint Venture – Find other non-competing businesses that are targeting the same prospects and join forces to reduce the marketing expense.
  24. Key Word Advertising – Closely related to pay per click, spend some time with an expert, and identify the short- and long-tail keywords that your prospects are most likely to respond to.
  25. Magazine Advertising – If your prospects are magazine readers, this is also a very effective method, as long as you have a well-crafted advertisement.
  26. Network Marketing – Amway built a multi-billion dollar business on the strength of network marketing.
  27. Newspaper Advertising – While readership has declined over the last 10 years, newspaper advertising can still be an effective strategy.
  28. Open House – What better way to introduce the prospect to what you have to offer than inviting them in for a little wining, dining, and selling?
  29. Packaging – I spent the first 17 years of my career with Bausch & Lomb so I know a little about the billboard effect of good packaging for retail products. If you have a retail product it is imperative that your packaging catches the attention of the shopper.
  30. Pay Per Click Advertising – Highly targeted ad words generate specific advertisements based on the prospect’s search word. You do not pay for the ad until the prospect clicks on the ad.
  31. Post Card Marketing – Another form of direct mail, Post Cards offer a fantastic billboard to capture the prospect’s attention.
  32. Promotional Gifts – Pens, mousepads, flash drives, and note pads with your name, number, and website are all designed to have your information available when your prospect needs it.
  33. Public Relations – Most businesses do not use PR as they should. PR is a cost-effective way to establish you as the go-to person in your community for your industry.
  34. Public Speaking – Learn how to communicate and take every opportunity to get in front of your prospects to build your brand awareness.
  35. Radio – If you can segment your customers based on demographics, radio can be a highly targeted method of reaching your top prospects.
  36. Referrals – One of the most cost-effective and highest converting marketing methods, referrals need to be cultivated with a methodical approach.
  37. Refrigerator Magnets – A specialized promotional gift, magnets are a fantastic form of advertising to households.
  38. S. E. O. – Search Engine Optimization is the opposite of pay per click advertising. SEO helps the organic ranking of your website so that you will be on the first page or two where your prospects can find your business.
  39. SalesForce – Direct selling is still the best approach if you hire, provide proper incentive, and manage your sales force properly and you have a product that sells enough volume to justify the expense. Depending on the gross margin of your product or service, your sales force expense should be no more than 15% of your revenue.
  40. Sales Letter – Yet another form of direct mail, a sales letter follows a specific format that: attracts Attention with a headline, stirs up Interest, generates Desire, and gets the prospect to take Action.
  41. Social Networking – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other forms of networking have become the rage. Consumer products and restaurants do well with Facebook while B2B businesses tend to fair better with LinkedIn.
  42. Squeeze Page – Often referred to as a landing page, squeezes pages are linked to online advertising and are designed to get the prospect to take action.
  43. Strategic Alliances – A partner that will allow you to communicate with their customer list because they value your product or service and your relationship.
  44. Telemarketing – Especially effective for B2B, telemarketing can be a highly effective way to generate leads. If you have a B2C business make sure you understand your local and national do not call regulations.
  45. Television Advertising – If your product has broad appeal, television advertising can be a highly effective lead generation vehicle. It will also boost the effectiveness of your other advertising vehicles.
  46. Trade Journal – If you have a very specific customer base in a small industry, trade journal advertising can offer you a highly targeted lead generation method.
  47. Trade Shows – Also very effective for concentrated markets, trade shows can be highly effective if you go into the show with very specific objectives and an aggressive plan of action.
  48. Vehicle Signage – Billboard advertising can be expensive so why not turn your car, truck, or cube van into a billboard?
  49. Webinar – Another form of public speaking, the webinar takes advantage of technology and allows you to reach a vast audience over the internet.
  50. White Paper – One of the best free offers that you can give away to collect email addresses is a white paper that is highly educational and targeted to your best prospects.
  51. Yellow Page Advertising – While a good deal of information searches occur via the internet today, yellow page advertising is still an effective form of advertising for many businesses. What’s more, most of the yellow page vendors offer email versions that are highly ranked with the search engines.

Well, there you have it. I encourage you to review this list, circle the strategies you are already using, cross out the strategies that are not working, and highlight 5 new strategies to test and measure in 2012. If you would like to learn how you can have access to an entire 52-week e-learning marketing system with done-for-you marketing templates for less than a “Grande Skinny Latte” a day, contact me at the link below.

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