No matter the industry, the key focus in business is to trade or provide a service whether you are a sole trader working locally or a director at a company that deals internationally. However, if customers aren’t purchasing your products or hiring your services then you may be in trouble, despite the quality of your business or your industry knowledge. I mean, if a product is available in a shop and no one is around to see it, does it sell?
It’s crucial then that you implement ways to attract customers and grow your business in order to stay in the game. So here are 50 creative and effective strategies you can use to market and advertise your business, products and services regardless of budget or size.
Table of Contents:
- Get Flyering
- Send Email Newsletters
- Implement an SEO Strategy
- Local Directories
- Carry out a NAP Audit + Update your GMB Page
- Launch Online Ad Campaigns
- Run PPC Ads on Facebook
- Try Out Some YouTube Ads
- Carry out Retargeting Campaigns
- Write some Original Blog Content
- Browse Job Boards
- Feature in Industry Magazines
- Use LinkedIn to Network with Potential Clients
- Write an Informative Guide
- Pick up the Phone
- Send Direct Mail
- Ask for Referrals
- Show Case-Studies
- Network Offline
- Speak at Industry Conferences
- Write an eBook
- Offer Free Trials
- Add Calls to Action
- Speed up your Site
- Consider Rebranding your Business
- PR Campaigns
- Partner with Agencies
- Implement Conversion Optimisation
- Check out your Competitors
- Use Social Media
- Organise Competitions
- Email Marketing
- Knock Door to Door
- Carry Business Cards
- Appear on Local Radio
- Apply Pricing Strategies
- Host a Webinar
- Become a Niche Specialist
- Improve the UX of your Website
- Hire a salesperson
- Introduce New Sales Channels
- Set Measurable Targets
- Give Guest Blogging a Go
- Create Visual Content
- Sponsor a Local Team
- Use an Affiliate Scheme
- White Label your Services
- Create Relevant Sales Materials
- Gain Advice from a Consultant
- Strive to be Visible
Sometimes you’ve got to take it back to basics and carry out some old school marketing strategies. Flyer distribution is a cheap and simple option for increasing sales but you must ensure the flyers have a clear message and look appealing in order to capture people’s attention and inform them about what your business is about or any relevant offers. Another key tip for flyering is to ensure the distribution is effective, they are perhaps best used in local areas to reach out to the community. When done right, flyers are a sure-fire way to increase your sales, just make sure they aren’t crumpled or stuffed through letterboxes!
Regular newsletters are an excellent way to keep in contact with your current customer base and in turn, encourage sales. The key element to an effective email newsletter campaign is relevance. You should ensure the content of the newsletters are targeting what the customers like about your business or you may run the risk of them unsubscribing or opting out of your emails. So, keep it relevant and segment your customer base and target the advertisements so that they see products and information they are interested in. This form of marketing is cheaper than direct mail, uses minimal resources and can be easily measured.
Implement an SEO Strategy
An SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy is of great importance to any business with a website and these days you may be hard-pressed to find businesses that don’t attempt to attract online customers. The internet is a competitive market but it really is where it’s at, especially if your business website is visible on search engines, ranks well for relevant keywords and is well optimised. If you have the time, resources and know-how to implement your own SEO strategy, then there is no time like the present. If not, there are plenty of SEO agencies and freelancers out there to assist you and for the increase in customer engagement or purchases, it is well worth investing.
Citation sources such as local directories are of great importance to small businesses especially as they are able to claim their business details and improve chances of ranking locally through backlinks. If your business has multiple locations that aren’t clearly identified then it can have a negative effect on any previous SEO. It is also important to have it all correct for the sake of new customers as they may come across your business and find a branch that is local to them without any confusion.
Carry out a NAP Audit + Update your GMB Page
Arguably, carrying out a NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number) audit and updating your Google My Business page is a part of a wider SEO strategy. However, even small businesses who are yet to make the move online and develop a website would benefit from these checks. It involves ensuring all NAP information about your business is consistent over a number of sources including online directories such as Yelp, HubSpot and Yellowpages. It goes without saying really that you may be missing out on customers if your contact and location information is incorrect. You should also check out your GMB page to ensure the location or locations are accurate as it may affect your chances of your business being displayed in Google’s local map packs.
Launch Online Ad Campaigns
If you have a business website then an online advertising campaign is the way to go, if you want to reach out and attract new customers. The world spends more time online than ever before, so if you want your business to be acknowledged then you must have an online presence. Large companies, even those with an already strong and established brand reputation, will invest in online ad campaigns in order to continue brand awareness and increase the chance of online conversions. Well-planned campaigns can benefit smaller, more local businesses too especially if they are implemented to target the necessary demographics.
Run PPC Ads on Facebook
Pay-Per-Click Advertising campaigns are an extremely popular strategy for all kinds of businesses and Facebook is a great place to start in terms of PPC adverts as it is easily accessible, can be combined with Google AdWords and allows you to create a unique strategy to suit your budget and extend the reach of your business. Split testing is essential and it may also take some trial and error when it comes to targeting your audience, however, don’t be put off! Once you have it all worked out the ROI on Facebook Ads is most impressive and you can even explore remarketing strategies.
Try Out Some YouTube Ads
YouTube is another platform with a ridiculously big reach and gives businesses an opportunity to advertise to and make contact with potential customers who they may not have previously considered. It is also possible to target relevant videos by topic and keywords in order to access their audience and placement targeting allows you to choose certain YouTube pages to show your ads. So, get original and create some great video content to generate customers!
Carry out Retargeting Campaigns
Retargeting is an essential part of the marketing mix, despite being under-utilised, and can have a great impact in terms of increasing brand awareness and knowledge of your product. It is often applied to online display or PPC ads and involves using data from cookies to determine who may have clicked on a certain aspect of your website and then retargets them with specific ads based off previous interactions. It’s a great way to encourage visitors to your business website to complete any conversions and also results in high levels of engagement.
Write some Original Blog Content
Starting a blog could have massive benefits for your business and increase your customer base by through actively engaging with them through regular posts. Blogging will demonstrate to your potential customers that you are open for business and that you are knowledgeable within the industry by providing helpful and informative content. As well as attracting new customers and increasing conversions through the use of a call-to-action (CTA), your blog content will also function as an important SEO factor and help your business get noticed through organic search. Sharing your industry expertise and experience can also be rewarding and fun, so keep it relevant and get typing!
Browse Job Boards
Businesses or agencies that offer a professional B2B service can generate new clients or customers by browsing online job boards and recruitment websites to look for potential leads. An example of this would be a digital marketing agency looking at available marketing positions and then contacting the business in need. An open and honest approach could result in the business deciding to outsource the service to you rather than recruiting for an internal position. Working with other businesses and possibly their in-house teams could result in steady work and future opportunities!
Feature in Industry Magazines
Depending on your industry, there are many specialist or trade magazines that you could potentially contribute to, share your experience and earn some coverage without paying for advert space or a PR campaign. If you are able to write relevant and interesting content, ensuring it isn’t blatant self-promotion, then it is likely to be published and this will demonstrate to potential customers that you and your business are of great value to the industry. This recognition should result in increased interest from potential customers and sales.
LinkedIn is an effective social media platform for business-to-business (B2B) business owners, salespeople and professional service providers who want to network and build working relationships. This also provides you with the opportunity to access your target market and connect with millions of potential clients. All you need to do is create a professional profile that represents you and your business in the best light and begins to identify who you want to target before making a connection and building a relationship that could then move offline. This strategy isn’t based on a hard sell, it’s important to demonstrate credibility and gently advertise the added value your business offers.
Write an Informative Guide
You’ve likely spent years in your profession or industry and your knowledge and expertise should be shared! Writing a guide on a specific topic and then distributing it online across several channels is a proven way to increase traffic to your website, as long as you include a link, generate more leads and demonstrate your authority in the industry. As always, ensure your content is informative and relevant and shared on platforms where your audience will be able to find it!
Pick up the Phone
Although it may depend on the products and services you offer, telephone marketing could still be one of the most effective ways to generate customers as it allows for a direct, real-time conversation, ask questions, find out the needs of your client or customer and answer any queries. B2B calls are often received a lot better as targeting customers at home is often unappreciated. If you are going to give cold calling a go you should get prepared, remain confident and practice closing.
Send Direct Mail
It may take a while to get the formula right but direct mail remains an effective strategy for increasing sales and customer interest. First, you must be aware of who you intend to target and create a mail list before sending out your well-refined mailshot. Arguably, direct mail works best for previous customers as they have already demonstrated an interest in your business although there are strategies for identifying new people with a similar interest. You should always measure and evaluate the success of any email campaign in order to improve engagement rates in the future.
Ask for Referrals
You may feel a little awkward but there is no issue with politely asking previous clients for referrals as opposed to waiting around for your phone to ring. It’s an important aspect of business, if you have done a great job for somebody why not ask them if there is anybody else, they know who could benefit from your services? It’s a really organic way to generate customers and most people will be more than happy to spread the word to their friends and family, providing the service was good of course, they just need a little nudge!
If you are finding it difficult to attract new customers or clients it may be that you need to be more conscious in terms of showing potential customers the value of your business. Case studies are a great way to achieve this as a well-written case study will give an insight into previous successful ventures or transactions. You should include what challenges were faced, what approach your business came with and the measurable results in order to give prospective customers an opportunity to see what it is like to work with you and how you can help their business.
You may feel like you’re doing all you can in terms of networking but business owners, especially those who only trade online, can sometimes neglect offline networking. Industry conferences and meetups are a space for you to chat and mingle with industry insiders and potential clients. It’s a great way to stay in the loop in terms of the industry and can often be a source of inspiration, especially for freelancers. If you aren’t aware of any relevant communities in your area check out meetup.com and let the networking begin.
Speak at Industry Conferences
Speaking publicly isn’t for everybody and attending conferences can be beneficial too, but if you’re feeling brave then you really should give it a go. Reach out to industry-relevant conferences and pitch some original topics. It’s a great opportunity to make contacts in the industry, increase brand awareness, share your experience and knowledge and demonstrate your skills to an engaged audience.
Write an eBook
Writing an eBook is another way in which you can share information and experience on an industry topic in order to increase traffic or attract new customers. Try to think of helpful content so that prospective clients or customers will benefit from your expertise and even add value to their business. It is possible to sell your eBook from your website but you may want to consider offering it for free to visitors in exchange for their email or signing up to a newsletter. This would help you to create a list of potential clients and future work.
Offer Free Trials
Offering a free trial of your product or service is a fantastic way to attract new customers regardless of your business size or how well-known your products are, people rarely turn down free stuff! IT can also result in some valuable feedback in terms of reviews and testimonials. However, you must pay attention to the value of your products and services and communicate this clearly in order to transform the people who agree to the free trial into paying customers. If the products and service are of high quality and fairly priced, then you are likely to generate future, loyal customers by offering a little something.
Add Calls to Action
In order to get the most out of your strategies, you need to ensure that every piece of marketing from your website pages, flyers, blog posts and social media profiles include a call-to-action (CTA). A CTA will let potential customers know how they are able to engage with your products or services and guide them through that journey often resulting in the intended conversions. Examples of effective CTAs can be anything from ‘sign up to our newsletter’, to ‘give us a call today’, they can be as simple as ‘continue’ or ‘find out more’ or use a creative phrase original to your business.
Speed up your Site
The speed and performance of your business website can have a profound effect on your online conversion rate. Potential customers are likely to bounce back from your landing page if your loading time is considered slow, this could corrupt all other marketing efforts if the users are unable to gain information from your site or complete their purchase. It is often something that is overlooked by business owners but there are free and advanced tools such as Google’s PageSpeed that are able to figure out what may be causing the site speed issues and offer suggestions to fix it.
Consider Rebranding your Business
If you are struggling to acquire new customers it may be time to give your brand a little shake-up. It could be that the market has moved on and your logo could do with updating in order to compete and appeal to customers, or maybe it’s time for a new website and a new, exciting marketing strategy? Good branding is vital as it influences people’s perception of your business, it can also get you recognised and encourages customers through a legitimate identity. A strong brand can also result in some great word of mouth referrals!
If you have big news to share regarding your business then it can be massively beneficial to gain coverage from newspapers, magazines and online news platforms. This strategy is possible for both local, national and international companies who want to let people know what they have been up to which results in increased brand awareness and therefore more customers. These days it isn’t always necessary for you to require a PR agent in order to feature, often a good social media post can go viral and catch media interest or you can use a number of free platforms to share your stories with relevant journalists and publications.
Partner with Agencies
If you currently provide a service and are looking for ways to generate new clients then you may want to consider partnering with an agency. Many agencies will pass on work for many reasons like their current workload is too big or the budget is too low and they will often refer the client elsewhere. Reaching out and establishing the partnership could potentially result in a great working relationship and a steady, stream of new clients.
Implement Conversion Optimisation
A low number of online conversions may mean that potential customers are not being taken on the correct purchase or enquiry journeys when visiting your website. In order to increase conversions and therefore customers, you need to focus on the different types of users that visit your site and guide them accordingly from awareness stage to receiving information, evaluating options and then committing to purchase. Essentially, you need to show visitors what your business offers as they may not find it on their own!
Check out your Competitors
The truth is business is a competitive environment, and although there is enough room for everybody, it is always wise to keep an eye on your competitors and their strategies. We don’t advise you worry too much about others campaigns etc but if you are able to pinpoint what they are doing effectively then it may work for your business too, although you should aim to crank it up a gear! Depending on your business you may also want to check out their client demographics, after all, it’s a free market!
Social Media is impossible to ignore when it comes to marketing strategies in 2019, everybody and their nan are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc so it is vital that you and your business make the most of it. Increase your online presence by joining several platforms and establishing a content publishing schedule in order to remain relevant and interact with your customers. It’s a great tool for chasing up conversions, any previous enquiries and being able to respond to queries as well as attracting new customers through increased brand awareness.
When it comes to attracting new customers, good old-fashioned competition can have great results. Competitions may involve your products as prizes and these days they are often implemented on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and users can ‘like’ or ‘share’ your page to be in with a chance to win. Although effective, these types of competition are a little bit played out now and you should strive to create a competition that really engages potential customers and create a buzz around your brand.
Email marketing remains an effective marketing channel that, when done correctly, will have a direct impact on attracting new customers and targeting people who have previously shown interest in your business, this is called remarketing. When embarking on an email marketing campaign you must ensure you use a catchy subject title, provide your potential customers with context as to why you are contacting them and follow up any replies.
Knock Door to Door
There is a stigma around doorstep salespeople but, as a direct channel, door to door marketing can be very effective. It’s a legal technique as long as you follow the guidelines regarding the practice, you should also have a clear idea of your target audience, the location you plan to work in and set goals that are measurable. Door to Door creates an opportunity for you to demonstrate your products, answer any questions from customers and have a direct interaction, the campaign doesn’t need to be limited to residential homes either you may want to approach businesses. However, depending on your business and products, you may prefer to knock on in order to leave a business card and introduce your business to the community rather than pushing for a sale!
Carry Business Cards
As we’ve previously mentioned, sometimes the old school marketing techniques cannot be beaten! Business cards are a great way to make contact, although it’s important you get them right as they can often be the first impression of your business. The best business cards are of a great quality card, think of that classic scene in American Psycho, and have a creative design representative of your brand. Once you’ve had them made, carry them at all times and hand them out to any potential customers!
Appear on Local Radio
Small business owners should consider going live on the airwaves at their local radio as a way to spread the word about any new products, ventures, upcoming events or to share knowledge on your area of expertise and therefore generate new customers. Contact your local or community radio station for an interview opportunity and remember to prepare, speak clearly and mention your location and contact details. It’s not always ideal to wait for attention around your business, self-promotion is key.
Apply Pricing Strategies
The price of your products and services is of great importance to your business in terms of profit and for your customers too as they expect a valuable product for what they have purchased. Competition and changes in the economy and spending trends can all influence the price of your products and in order to attract customers, you should implement a well-planned strategy that will attract or retain customers. Bundle pricing is one example that may prove effective as it involves selling multiple products together for a cheaper price in order to attract customers.
Host a Webinar
If you’re looking for a creative way to attract new clients, close more sales or gain more customers then hosting a webinar may be an option for your business. It’s essentially an online seminar where a speaker and facilitator present a topic to an audience and answer any questions. It’s a fantastic way to generate potential leads and future customers as sharing information and advice add value to your business.
Become a Niche Specialist
Offering a wide range of products to suit many different types of people is no longer the best strategy for many businesses and, especially with the advancement of search engines, it is often more beneficial to become a niche specialist and target a certain segment of the market. It can attract more customers as you may be viewed as an authority and a specialist source. This can result in an increase in sales as you offer a level of expertise that non-specialist businesses do not.
Improve the UX of your Website
Your business website needs to leave a good impression on visitors, especially those who are checking you out for the first time, in order to increase conversions and attract more customers. UX design focuses on the user experience when visiting your website. There are a number of changes and improvements you can make including using customer surveys, testing, ensuring it is responsive and using calls to action to guide visitors to engage with your website and become customers.
Hire a salesperson
A large number of small businesses will, unfortunately, fail in the first few years due to lack of sales, regardless of the quality of product or service. It may be worth considering hiring a salesperson to specialise in attracting customers in conversation and closing sales, although creating this position should be heavily considered as timing is key with a start-up business. There are plenty of benefits to working with salespeople such as the increased chance of converting warm leads, however, your other marketing campaigns will remain vital and should run parallel.
Introduce New Sales Channels
It may sound obvious, but the more sales channels your business uses then the more potential customers they are likely to reach. It’s important to first establish what sales channels will benefit your business and which work together in reaching your intended audience. Channels to consider include face to face sales although it may prove expensive, using distributors, internet sales in order to reach a wider market or you may wish to take your business overseas!
Set Measurable Targets
If you plan to achieve your overall goal of generating customers and growing your business then you first need to know what that success looks like. That’s why implementing measurable targets is a crucial aspect to all areas of marketing and having a clear vision is very important when it comes to figuring out if your campaigns are having an impact or not. If you want to increase website traffic, for example, ask yourself questions such as by how much? Or what’s the time-frame. This focus is guaranteed to have a positive effect on your results.
Give Guest Blogging a Go
As well as posting on your own business blog, you should also give guest blogging a go as it is a great way to increase brand awareness and people who read the post on another site may then give yours a visit or consider buying your products. It’s also an organic way of establishing backlinks to your website which can increase your sense of authority on a subject and can better your ranking position on search engines.
Create Visual Content
Visual content such as infographics, great images and videos are proven to be very to users visiting your site and can be an effective way to attract and retain an audience of potential customers. They are a fast way to get information across, can be more memorable than blocks of text and often gain higher levels of engagement on social media platforms. If you are looking for ways to improve and update your business website or socials then it’s time to get creative with your message and use visual content to connect with your audience.
Sponsor a Local Team
Businesses often sponsor teams in exchange for increased brand awareness and smaller, local businesses can make the most of this opportunity too. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and will benefit your business in terms of generating customers and encouraging brand loyalty as well as giving back to the community. Sponsorship isn’t exclusive to sports teams either, you could also enquire with local events or causes.
Use an Affiliate Scheme
You may consider using an affiliate scheme or programme to assist in marketing your business and generate more customers. It’s may be a good idea if you run an e-commerce business as affiliate websites will share a link to your website and increase your sales. It can prove cost-effective too as you only pay when a commission is due on any products sold that came directly from the scheme. It is therefore vital to track the customers and make the most of the additional traffic through retargeting.
White Label your Services
If you run a small business and plan to generate customers, increase sales, compete in a wider arena and essentially grow your business then using white label services may be a fantastic option. If you are struggling with any skill or labour shortages, outsourcing white label services may be what you need in order to appear more attractive to customers and to keep you in the game. This can also work two ways, you may want to white label your own services for the use of a more well-established company.
Create Relevant Sales Materials
Your brand’s sales materials include any tools you use to steer your customers in the right direction toward purchasing your using your service and can include your website, brochure, presentations and portfolio. If your materials are not necessarily relevant or prove ineffective then they may do more harm than good in terms of bringing customers in and increasing sales. It’s important then to evaluate your materials and ensure they offer a clear message, can be supported by data, are consistent with your brand and are attractive to potential customers.
Gain Advice from a Consultant
Knowledge is power and sometimes the best strategy is to gain insight and advice from someone who has experience in the industry. Many professionals move into consultancy and offer their know-how to others. The first contact is often free before you pay for courses or regular meetings and phone calls so you may need to consider how cost-effective the sessions are. However, if you are looking to grow and generate more customers then advice from a consultant could be invaluable and will give you the opportunity to ask specific questions regarding your strategies.
Strive to be Visible
As previously mentioned, visibility is very necessary in order for your business to succeed. Potential customers need to be able to find you online and advertising or outreach is vital for brand awareness in order for sales to occur. However, this idea of visibility is important in a physical sense too rather than solely online if your business has an exact location or store. Ensure you are recognised on Google Maps, offer your customers directions to your store and have clear signage. If not, you may be missing out on potential customers!