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12 Unusual Marketing Strategies for Small Business

12 Unusual Marketing Strategies for Small Business
(Yukchong Kwan/Dreamstime)

By Tuesday, 03 April 2018 03:35 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Nowadays, with so much competition for the attention of potential customers, it’s harder than ever for a small business to break through and get noticed.

So, with that in mind, the incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs have shared their best unusual marketing strategies to help your business stand out. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.

You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. Uniquely Fun Strategy

Scavenger hunt contests achieve several marketing objectives with one campaign. Hide "Easter eggs" or objects on pages of your site or on location. Drop hints on social, email, and site content to attract traffic to your page/location. The cost of running these types of campaigns are minimal and they're fun for the designer/marketer and consumer. Digital and traditional scavenger hunts are excellent vehicles for building traffic, building brand loyalty, and increasing brand awareness.
Thanks to: Terese Kerrigan of FreightCenter.

2. Promote OTHER People

Social media is the greatest opportunity all of us have to promote OTHER people. There's a $14 billion industry in the United States alone called Public Relations (PR) where you give money to someone so they can have nice stuff said about you.

Now, we all have media available to us for free and you can be the purveyor of good news for other people. Be that person and be that organization, and win attention through promoting other people.
Thanks to: Spencer Smith of Spencer X Smith.

3. The Marketing Fix

Most businesses are pouring time/money or both into marketing and leading people to their generic website. Squeeze pages and landing pages have been around for a long time now, but most businesses still fail to see their relevance. Their purpose is to capture leads and enable the business to continue marketing to the new business lead. By failing to use this one marketing fix, businesses miss leads that bounce off of their site, never to return. Every business has value to share via an opt-in.
Thanks to: Donna Price of Compass Rose Consulting, LLC.

4. Newsletter About Our Prospects

I run a newsletter called Startup Resources on the side, where I do a weekly roundup of useful articles and tools related to running a startup. A lot of the mentioned resources are created by companies in CrankWheel's target audience. Whenever I mention a resource, I email the company founder, telling them I mentioned their resource in case they'd like to share it on social media, and by the way, I also wanted to mention CrankWheel to them, as it may be useful. This has brought lots of leads.
Thanks to: Jói Sigurdsson of CrankWheel.

5. Mouth > Fingers

I changed things up in 2018. I started talking WITH people, instead of TO them. I stopped sending out 'stuff' and started having real conversations with people, by phone and in person. So far, my quarter-over-quarter sales are up over 50%. I think people are tired of being talked to. They want to be listened to. You can't do that with automated emails and social media campaigns. Use your mouth more than your fingers and you'll be well on your way to more sales--and deeper relationships!
Thanks to: Mike Wittenstein of Storyminers.

6. Side Show Testimonial Support

A new website addition is to include "side show testimonial supports" - our term for adding a quote or a statistic from an organization that is an oversight body, membership group or category analyst. For example, we are a pharmaceutical packaging company, so on our website, we stated a statistic for the number of individuals using pharmaceuticals from Pharmaceutical Executive PE mag and linked to the article. For our website, this post implies support from PE mag and gained a backlink from them, too.
Thanks to: Ed McMasters of Flottman Company.

7. Bartering Your Skills

When I started my 2nd personal finance blog, Wallet Hacks, I would offer a trade with other bloggers. I would give them a 45-minute consultation on anything they wanted in return for mentioning my blog to their newsletter subscribers. The out of pocket cost to me was minimal and it helped jump-start visitors to my very new site. You have something of value in your head and someone may not be willing to pay out of pocket sight unseen, but they are willing to do other things, like promote you!
Thanks to: Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks.

8. Customers Want Experience

For brick and mortar businesses to compete, they need to provide experiences for their customers. We try to do this by having events at our store that fit in with our mission statement of promoting health. We've partnered with exercise studios to have demos, and offered classes in our store to help keep customers coming back and to keep Colorado Aromatics on the event calendars and in people's consciousness. It's a great marketing tool.
Thanks to: Cindy Jones of Colorado Aromatics.

9. Listening!

The most undervalued marketing tool today is listening. Everyone wants to post, snap, like, love, blog & vlog, but very few companies actually take the time to listen to their clients. Everyone is so busy looking for the elusive new client that they forget to pay attention to those who already love them. If they did, they would find a wealth of marketing opportunities- new divisions that they don't yet work with, new opportunities within the division they do, & referrals. Listening=$$$!!!
Thanks to: Ben Baker of Your Brand Marketing.

10. FREE – Always Works

Several years ago, while studying Search Engine Optimization, the most successful consultants repeatedly hosted FREE webinars. They would gift countless hours of valuable information weekly. From this practice, they garnered countless followers that eventually became customers. I was not in the knowledge selling business, so I modified this strategy and started to hold GIVEAWAYS on my eCommerce sites. Same result- in 4 months, we had thousands of social media followers and a rise in site traffic.
Thanks to: Robert Shirilla of RJ Manray - Promotional Products.

11. Old School & STILL Effective

With all the overwhelm with email these days, direct mail works like a charm. Too many people dismiss the mail because they have been misinformed. Who doesn't love getting mail that isn't a bill? Especially if you have some fun and make it lumpy mail by adding a pen, a piece of candy, aspirin, or something else to add some fun to your marketing and give the recipient a reason to be curious. It's fun! And, it doesn't have to break the bank! Fun in business! Have more of it! Add it to your mail!
Thanks to: Diane Conklin of Complete Marketing Systems.

12. Lose the Logic

To properly "Think Outside the Box", one has to let go of the brain's logic. It's been highly programmed by family, friends, media and schooling. To start heading towards marketing and public relations works never seen or done before, one has to get outside logic and reasoning. In this way, new fronts can be explored. This will separate one from competitors as they seek to copy your new-age techniques. At this point, more new ideas can be implemented to give you an advantage others can never reap.
Thanks to: Vickens Moscova of Moscova Enterprises, INC.
Carol Roth is a national media personality, "recovering" investment banker, dealmaker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation.

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The incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs have shared their best unusual marketing strategies to help your business stand out.
unusual, marketing, strategies, small business
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 03:35 PM
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