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
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 nametag or pin with your company
name and logo on it and wear it everyday, every place
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
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.
LinkedIn and connect with companies related to your
14. Start a Blog [free at
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
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
27. Hold a monthly marketing meeting with employees or
associates to discuss strategy, status and to solicit
28. Join an association or organization related to your
29. Get a marketing intern to take you on as a client;
it will give the intern experience and you some free
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
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
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
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
50. Use colored or oversized 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
56. Publicize your 500th customer of the year (or other
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
89. Join a community Blog 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 pre-printed
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
125. Build an newsletter list, and offer specials on a
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
128. Remind customers of the products and services you
provide that they aren't currently buying.
129. Extend your hours of operation.