While researching this post, I came across literally dozens, if not hundreds of marketing ideas for small business. I figured another article about networking or content marketing or SEO & Google should probably not be the focus here. I run a creative business, so I wanted to come up with some marketing ideas that have a bit more zing.
If you’re a fledging serviced-based entrepreneur, doing discounted or pro-bono work for charities can help you to develop your portfolio. You could do seasonal or long-term campaigns, with a certain percentage of sales going to the charity of your choice. Over the years I’ve worked with a number of agencies, and they excel at creative branded marketing material – especially over the Christmas period.
If part of your service is providing digital files to a client, why not deliver them on a branded USB stick. When you go to networking events or other client meetings, along with your business card, you could give away a small gift.
If you’ve followed through on the idea to get some branded material created, or have some samples of the product you sell, how else can you get them out there?
That’s just a really quick selection from their site, there are loads of opportunities there!
About the AuthorCathy Facebook Twitter Google+Cathy is the engine behind Two10 Solutions, as well as the designer behind many of our projects.
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Designer Kenny Barela’s creative marketing idea was to promote himself as the best man for the job using a full-blown resume package. You’ve heard of finger painting, but how familiar are you with the concept of sole painting?
As the crowd ditched their heels, boots and running kicks, they were able to put on a pair of Pumas, dip the soles in green, blue or purple paint and make their mark on the campaign. While many of us do our democratic duty and cast votes when elections roll around in November, there are plenty more people who forfeit these rights year after year.


In this workshop, you will learn how design a digital portfolio to highlight your skills and wow potential clients or employers.
Lots I had thought of, plenty that I’ve seen put into actions, and few that made me stop and actually laugh out loud (stage a fake protest against lillies in a flower shop?
Some of them I already do, and others I have decided to implement myself, as a result of my own research, cause they just sound so good!
Using your skills or talents to help a charitable cause connects you with new people, and done properly, will provide mutual benefit for both businesses (because yes, charities are still businesses). There may be benefits in partnering with just 1 charity, or you could spread your allocation across a number of smaller ones. It’s in your interest, and the interest of the charity to spread the word about the campaign. Companies I’ve worked for have received branded wrapping paper (subtle branding obviously, no-one wants to wrap their presents in paper covered in someone’s logo), scrabble letters spelling out my name, beautifully designed desk calendars. Chances are they’ll reuse it, or have it lying around in a visible place, serving as a reminder of your business. How about finding ways to get your business featured in print media, or other journalistic contexts? They will help you with drafting press releases, introduce you to media contacts, and sniff out media and publicity opportunities for your business. Part of the deal can be that enough samples are provided to create a specific number of goodie bags, that you all then distribute through your own networks. But when crafting a successful promotion, both the creation and promotion parts start the same way: creative marketing ideas. Zulu Alpha Kilo introduced the world to this colorful pastime with a creative marketing idea the firm brought to life in its Mostro with Sole project. In the storefront window shown in the photo above, a video recounted the making of the advertisement as well as displaying paint-splattered shoes that were used to create it. Leo Burnett Canada, however, had a thought: What if voting was as easy as making excuses not to? A charity may run on a tight budget, but they still need to partner up with competent service providers.


We currently work with DCH Animal Adoptions, and in 2012 created a coffee table book of rescue animals – we did all the photography, writing and design. I think we are all well aware by now that engaging in these activities are pretty much the bare minimum in marketing for small business. If you’re a fitness trainer, for example, there may be a call-out from a journalist writing a story about your industry.
With each perfectly designed piece (resume, cover letter, t-shirt and infographic), Barela introduced himself to potential clients in a way that was creative, informative and memorable. A fun way to get the public to experience Puma’s relaunched Mostro sneakers, Zulu Alpha Kilo set up a huge paint can in Toronto’s Dundas Square and led participants to a billboard-sized vinyl canvas using sticky footprints.
All of these elements, including the fact that people put on Pumas and a paint smock in the middle of a normal workday, impressed the judges enough to secure the competition’s top title.
In the We Make Voting Easy campaign, the design firm worked with government agency Elections Ontario to streamline the voting process and eliminate unnecessary hassles. Your business gets more attention, in the process converting more sales, and as a result money is raised for the charity.
The package showed off his design skills in a professional way without eliminating the fun aspect of having a graphic design career. After reviewing the creative marketing idea with a cause, the judges readily cast their votes to elevate the campaign to the best of show spot.
I hope to see your winning entry on the opening competition spread in the September issue of HOW. By reaching out to other small businesses to contribute, you’ll be making and cementing your contacts. The judges’ comments from 2010-2012 provide insights into how these projects went from creative marketing ideas to best of show competition winners.



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