12 Amazing and Different Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

How can a local business win new customers in a noisy market place?

Promoting a business on a busy street

photo credit: Kimba Howard / Flickr

Anyone who has ever run their own small business understands how difficult it can be to get attention after that initial grand opening.

Marketing comes in so many forms and any business owner who wants to stay ahead of the competition needs to have a campaign that keeps them in the minds of their potential customers.

How can a local business drive attention to their store without breaking the bank?

Read on for 12 amazing marketing ideas that will help put you on the map and stamp you firmly in your customers’ memory:

1) Funny / Strange Top 10 List

You might create this on a Facebook page, a blog post, a series of Tweets, or even take out a large ad in the newspaper. Make a list that is funny, weird, and really brings attention to your business in an entertaining way.

For example:

Reason 3 to buy a grill: you don’t want to let tofu win.

Reason 4 to buy a grill: Dude, have you watched your football team recently? You’d rather be grilling!

This is just one example of how a unique list, a different take on conventional marketing, can have a major effect to help bring in the attention your business needs.

2) Unique Viral-Worthy Video

If you’re even a little bit tech savvy, why not make a unique, viral-worthy YouTube video?

This can be shared on Facebook and other social media networks.

It can be an intentionally hilarious parody video, someone showing off a skill, a montage music video showing the best of your business.

The video’s content, tone, and style all depends on what your business focuses on.

Find a note that’s right for you and strikes a chord with others and see how the attention can really explode.

3) StumbleUpon Advertising

This is only for those tech-savvy local businesses looking for more national attention or a wider net, but among social media advertising, StumbleUpon continues to have a reputation for driving a lot of traffic for advertisers at a ridiculously low price.

As seen on StumbleUpon

photo credit: Fugitive247 / Flickr

This won’t be the right choice for everyone, but it is an intriguing option for heavily online based businesses that don’t mind shipping products nationally and can use broad exposure beyond a local area. And, there are targeting options available too.

4) Create a Facebook Event

What better way to connect locally than creating a major event and advertising it on Facebook?

You can invite friends, encourage them to invite friends, and even post it at any local community Facebook page that supports all local businesses.

You can even include a small Facebook ad campaign with it that targets people in surrounding towns to raise overall awareness of your business.

Of course you need a great event that is worth inviting people to, but the Facebook marketing can flood you with potential customers.

5) Create Online Contests

This is an oldie but a goodie.

Create online contests via social media, email marketing, PPC, or a combination of all three.

You will collect people’s emails, get them together for a seminar that helps you sell your product or service (after offering them value, of course), or even just have a highly publicized contest where you get people hoping for an amazing prize via raffle drawing.

It’s a little more expensive but do one for online and one for off-line for maximum effect.

Just don’t forget to collect those emails and connect with people excited for the contest – these could be your future customers.

6) Create a “Scene”

Does anyone get more attention than the child in a store throwing a hissy fit?

There’s a reason that “The National Enquirer” continues to sell while many other magazines fail.

When in doubt, just create a scene.

Flash mob

photo credit: Sheila Dee / Flickr

This could be someone just yelling corny jokes, or it could be an obvious gimmick like a bank with a giant piggy bank, a bakery making a pie the size of a VW Beetle, or why not go for the good old fashioned “Step Right Up” smooth talking carnival man?

They’re loud, they get attention, and now seem a novelty in modern times but it creates a scene that brings people in and in a world with increasingly short attention spans that’s definitely worth something.

Don’t underestimate the power of creating a scene (within reason, of course).

7) Local Cross Promotion

Why not work with other businesses in the area to cross promote one another?

Their common customers find out about you and vice-versa. Everyone gains more customers from related businesses, everyone gets more foot traffic.

Some stores that aren’t even traditionally in your business might have an idea for a partnership that works perfectly.

For example, if you own an auto-repair shop, connect with the local spa owner across the street and work together to create exclusive coupons and flyers to invite customers to get a spa-treatment while they wait for the car to be fixed.

Take a look and see if you and your neighbors can all help each other out.

8) Learn Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is all about the creative to get people showing up.

Maybe one very early morning you and friends bring colorful chalk ten blocks from your store and begin pointing arrows towards your store with “Follow me” written in different color chalk.

On sidewalks, on pavement, some fliers to keep the encouragement up, creating a funnel from every direction.

Take a look at Fiverr.com and the sheer number of people willing to put up 100 fliers in colleges, coffee houses, neighborhoods, and other locations.

Do you have a sewer grate by your storefront? Add a spatula and chalk write “Need a grill? We’ve got you covered for summer.” Think creative, get attention, and go from there!

9) Free Class or Demonstration

One of the most effective classes or demonstrations I ever saw was a local hand crafted pipe and smoking shop that held a big outdoor glass blowing demonstration every April 20th.

Multiple artists would blow glass designs for everyone to see, sell their amazing crafts, and pizza and music would create a big enough scene to pull everyone in the area around to see what was going on.

There would be hundreds of people throughout the day, many of whom commented they didn’t even know the store existed, before buying a glass piece.

Think about how you can do the same.

10) Bring on the Artists!

Do you have wall space, fence space, big canvases?

Invite artists to create a mural or create some work for you.

Give them leeway and see what they come up with. An eye-catching piece of art on the wall can pull in foot traffic in and of itself.

11) Coupon Books

This is another oldie but goodie. Coupon books work online and off, and this can even work for service.

A lawyer will pay $10 cash when you come in for a free consultation on a legal matter.

Sounds weird, but one client from a hundred of those coupons makes that an incredibly inexpensive way to generate leads.

It works for chiropractors, works for people selling goods, just adapt the coupons as your business sees fit to get the most out of them.

12) Art & Media Contests

Maybe you like the idea of doing something creative, but that’s just not your cup of tea.

Why not make it a contest?

Encourage people to make a commercial, a meme, an advertisement for your company.

Have a big prize for the winner and show off your favorites. This could give you amazing ideas that you would never even think of!

In Conclusion

There you go, 12 ideas to help get foot traffic jump started.

Whether it starts online and directs people in your direction via websites and social media or causing a great scene to get the attention of everyone in the area, you should have found some ideas here that you can use to get a lot of excitement built up all at a price that won’t break your budget.

Want to learn more?

Register your FREE seat for my next online marketing (SEO) webinar: bitly.com/seotrafficwebinar

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