100 Business Marketing Ideas
Over 100 business marketing and promotion ideas for a home business or gift basket business.
Not all of the marketing and promotion ideas listed below will apply to your specific business configuration, but you can always modify or adapt, to work for your situation.
Here are inexpensive Marketing and Promotion inexpensive Ideas to Advertise your New Business . . .
General Business Marketing Ideas:
1. Never let a day pass without engaging in at least one marketing activity.
2. Determine a percentage of gross income to spend annually on marketing.
3. Set specific marketing goals every year; review and adjust quarterly.
4. Maintain a tickler file of ideas for later use.
5. Carry business cards with you (all day, every day). Give 2-3 to everyone you encounter that day.
6. Create a personal name tag or pin with your company name and logo on it and wear it everyday, every place you go.
Business Target Market:
7. Stay alert to trends that might impact your target market, product or promotion strategy.
8. Read market research studies about your profession, industry, product, target market groups, etc.
9. Collect competitors’ ads and literature; study them for information about strategy, product features and benefits, etc.
10. Ask clients why they buy from you and solicit suggestions for improvement.
11. Ask former clients why they left you.
12. Identify a new market.
13. Join LinkedIn and connect with companies related to your profession.
14. Start a Blog [free at Blogger or WordPress.org].
Business Product Development:
15. Create a new service, technique or product.
16. Offer a simpler/cheaper/smaller version of your (or another existing) product or service.
17. Offer a fancier/more expensive/faster/bigger version of your (or another existing) product or service.
18. Update your services.
Education, Resources and Information:
19. Establish a marketing and public relations advisory and referral team composed of your colleagues and/or neighboring business owners to share ideas and referrals and to discuss community issues. Meet quarterly for breakfast.
20. Create a suggestion box for employees and customers.
21. Attend a marketing seminar.
22. Read a marketing book.
23. Sign-up for a business marketing class at a local community college.
24. Search for and join marketing and advertising blogs and learn from those with experience.
25. Search the internet for marketing professionals, and gather info from as many sites as you can.
26. Train your staff, clients and colleagues to promote referrals.
27. Hold a monthly marketing meeting with employees or associates to discuss strategy, status and to solicit marketing ideas.
28. Join an association or organization related to your profession.
29. Get a marketing intern to take you on as a client; it will give the intern experience and you some free marketing help.
30. Maintain a consultant card file for finding designers, writers and other marketing professionals.
31. Hire a marketing consultant to brainstorm with.
32. Take a “creative journey” to another progressive city or country to observe and learn from marketing techniques used there.
Pricing and Payment:
33. Analyze your fee structure; look for areas requiring modifications or adjustments.
34. Establish a credit card payment option for customers.
35. Give regular customers a discount.
36. Learn to barter; offer discounts to members of certain clubs/professional groups/organizations in exchange for promotions in their publications.
37. Give “quick pay” or cash discounts.
38. Offer business accounts net 30 on payment. (Bill them every 30 days. If they pay you upon product pick-up/delivery, offer a 2% to 5% discount).
39. Publish a newsletter for customers and prospects. (It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.)
40. Develop a brochure of services.
41. Include a postage-paid survey card with your brochures and other company literature. Include check-off boxes or other items that will involve the reader and provide valuable feedback to you.
42. Remember, business cards aren’t working for you if they’re in the box. Pass them out. Give prospects three business cards and brochures – one to keep and several to pass along.
43. Produce separate business cards/sales literature for each of your target market segments (e.g. government and commercial, and/or business and consumer).
44. Create a poster or calendar to give away to customers and prospects.
45. Print a slogan and/or one-sentence description of your business on letterhead, fax cover sheets and invoices.
46. Develop a website on the Internet.
47. Create a ‘signature file’ to be used for all your email messages. It should contain contact details including your Web site address and key information about your company that will make the reader want to contact you.
48. Include ‘testimonials’ from customers in your brochure, and on your website.
49. Test a new mailing list. If it produces results, add it to your current direct mail lists or consider replacing a list that’s not performing up to expectations.
50. Use colored or over-sized envelopes for your direct mailings. Or send direct mail in plain kraft paper envelopes to pique recipients’ curiosity.
51. Announce free or special offers in your direct response pieces. (Direct responses may be direct mail, broadcast fax, or email messages.) Include the offer in the beginning of the message and also on the outside of the envelope for direct mail.
52. Update your media list often so that press releases are sent to the right media outlet and person.
53. Write a column for the local newspaper, local business journal or trade publication.
54. Publish an article and circulate reprints.
55. Send timely and newsworthy press releases as often as needed.
56. Publicize your 500th customer of the year (or other notable milestone).
57. Create an annual award and publicize it as an outstanding employee of the year.
58. Get public relations and media training or read up on it.
59. Appear on a radio or TV talk show.
60. Create your own TV program on your industry or your specialty. Market the show to your local cable station or public broadcasting station as a regular program. Or, see if you can air your show on an open access cable channel.
61. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or to a trade magazine editor.
62. Take an editor to lunch.
63. Get a publicity photo taken and enclose with press releases.
64. Consistently review newspapers and magazines for possible PR opportunities.
65. Submit ‘tip’ articles to newsletters and newspapers.
66. Conduct industry research and develop a press release or article to announce an important discovery in your field.
67. Create a press kit and keep its contents current.
Customer Service and Customer Relations:
68. Ask your clients to come back again.
69. Return phone calls promptly.
70. Set up a fax-on-demand or email system to easily respond to customer inquiries.
71. Use an answering machine or voicemail system to catch after-hours phone calls. Include basic information in your outgoing message such a business hours, location, etc.
72. Record a memorable message or ‘tip of the day’ on your outgoing answering machine or voice mail message.
73. Ask clients what you can do to help them.
74. Take clients out to lunch, a show or another special event, or send them two tickets with a note.
75. Hold a seminar at your office for clients and prospects.
76. Send handwritten thank-you notes.
77. Send birthday cards and appropriate seasonal greetings, and be consistent.
78. Photocopy interesting articles and send them to clients and prospects with a hand-written ‘FYI’ note and your business card.
79. Send a book of interest or other appropriate business gift to a client with a handwritten note.
80. Create an area on your website specifically for your customers.
81. Redecorate your office or location where you meet with your clients.
Networking and Word of Mouth:
82. Join a Chamber of Commerce or other organization.
83. Join or organize a breakfast club with other professionals (not in your field) to discuss business and network referrals.
84. Mail a brochure to members of organizations to which you belong.
85. Serve on a city board or commission.
86. Host a holiday party.
87. Hold an open house.
88. Send letters to attendees after you attend a conference.
89. Join a community Blogs on the Internet.
90. Advertise during peak seasons for your business.
91. Get a memorable phone number, such as ‘1-888-WIDGETS ‘, can be part of your business branding.
92. Obtain a memorable Domain Name and email address and include them on all marketing materials.
93. Provide Rolodex cards or phone stickers preprinted with your business contact information.
94. Promote your business jointly with other area businesses via co-op direct mail.
95. Advertise in a specialty directory or in the traditional or online version of the Yellow Pages.
96. Write an ad in another language to reach a non-English-speaking market. Place the ad in a publication that market reads, such as a Hispanic newspaper.
97. Distribute advertising specialty products such as pens, mouse pads or mugs.
98. Mail ‘bumps’, samples or other innovative items to your prospect list. (A bump is simply anything that makes the mailing envelope bulge and makes the recipient curious about what’s in the envelope.)
99. Create a direct mail list of ‘hot prospects.’
100. Consider ad tactics such as bus backs, billboards and popular website advertising.
101. Project a message on the sidewalk in front of your place of business using a light directed through words etched in a glass window.
102. Consider placing ads in your newspaper’s classified section.
103. Consider a vanity automobile license plate with your company name.
104. Create a friendly bumper sticker for your car.
105. Code your ads and keep records of results.
106. Improve your building signage and directional signs inside and out.
107. Invest in a neon sign to make your office or storefront window visible at night.
108. Create a new or improved company logo or “recolor” the traditional logo.
109. Sponsor and promote a contest or sweepstakes.
Special Events and Outreach:
110. Get a booth at a fair/trade show attended by your target market.
111. Sponsor or host a special event or open house at your business location in cooperation with a local non-profit organization, such as a women’s business center. Describe how the organization helped you.
112. Give a speech or volunteer for a career day at a high school.
113. Teach a class or seminar at a local college or adult education center.
114. Sponsor an ‘Adopt-a-Road’ area in your community to keep roads litter-free. People that pass by the area will see your name on the sign announcing your sponsorship.
115. Hold a drawing every month with the winner receiving one of your $40 to $50 Gift Baskets. Your customers can leave their card or name, address and phone number, in a large basket or glass bowl, displayed on a small table in your shop. If home-based, randomly choose a corporate customer each month.
116. Donate your product or service to a charity auction.
117. Appear on a panel at a professional seminar.
118. Have a quarterly open house and let customers sample products. (Many suppliers will give samples at no cost to you.
119. Donate your Gift Baskets or product to local church/school/organization auctions.
120. During the holiday season, sponsor a raffle. Mail coupons to established customers and clients and hand out additional coupons at your store. (Good way to add to your mailing list)
121. Start every day with two cold calls.
122. Read newspapers, business journals and trade publications for new business openings and for personnel appointment and promotion announcements made by companies. Send your business literature to appropriate individuals and firms.
123. Give your sales literature to your lawyer, accountant, printer, banker, temp agency, office supply salesperson, advertising agency, etc. (Expand your sales force for free.)
124. Put your fax number on order forms for easy submission.
125. Build an newsletter list, and offer specials on a regular basis.
126. Follow up on your direct mailings, email messages and broadcast faxes with a friendly telephone call.
127. Call and/or send mail to former clients to try to reactivate them.
128. Remind customers of the products and services you provide that they aren’t currently buying.
129. Extend your hours of operation.