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. Marketing your real estate business to your customers should keep you alert and in tune with the general market development in selling and in marketing practices. Surely the real estate is one of the most stable investments that a person makes in his life. If you look into the number of visitors of your web site, you will start to get a good idea of what you should keep there and what can be changed or deleted, in order to make way for the new. Although the timeline was extremely short, we thoroughly enjoyed putting together an eye-catching brochure for Stratford’s best school. According to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), there are more than 22,000 promotional item distributors and 4,800 manufacturers. Now that you’re sold on the importance of promotional items in marketing, here are some guidelines for choosing the right promotional product for your business or brand. Almost any product under the sun can be turned into a promotional item, but make sure the item you choose is connected in some way with your brand. While it may be tempting to order 5000 pencils or plastic cups emblazoned with your logo for next to nothing, think twice before placing that order.
Promotional items should have a great design and colors, but should also be unique and interesting. Along with being functional, tied to your brand, high quality and eye-catching, your promotional item needs to have maximum exposure.
About the Author: when Steven Payne isn’t reviewing in-pack promotional items, he is actively engaged in the marketing and advertising blogosphere keeping his readers up to date and informed! If you’re like a lot of small businesses, email marketing will play an important role in your promotion plan this holiday season. With email marketing you can create a series of timely messages to announce your holiday plans, remind people about important dates and deadlines, and thank people for shopping small during the holiday season. You can connect with potential customers across their different devices, and reach them in the place they are going every day — the inbox. As you start to plan your holiday email marketing, you’ll want to think of ways to make your emails stand out during this busy season. Give your audience the chance to beat the holiday rush — bring people into your store early with a holiday preview sale! Bonus tip: When hosting a sale early in the season, make sure to offer a convenient way for new customers to sign up for your email list.
If there’s an e-commerce side to your business, make sure to participate in the annual online shopping event, Cyber Monday. In addition to traditional discounts, you can also look for ways to reward people for shopping small by adding a bonus prize, like a gift card or gift certificate. Offering a gift card as a bonus can increase sales during the holiday season, and can also help introduce you to new customers in the process. You can send a general mailing to your entire list, or create separate lists for different audiences and come up with different gift ideas for all of your different audiences (gifts for moms, gifts for your husband, gifts for your grandkids, etc). Bonus tip: Constant Contact makes it easy to segment your mailing list based on interest, location, and other relevant criteria.
One of the best ways to celebrate the holidays is to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished in the previous year.
Use the holidays to say thanks to your loyal customers and give them something to look forward to in the New Year. Keep customers up-to-date about any changes in your schedule throughout the holiday season.
A successful holiday season can help you end the year on a positive note, and can also set you up for success in the New Year. With so many businesses vying for your customers’ attention during the holidays, you’ll need to come up with creative ideas to get your emails noticed. A successful holiday email promotional plan will include a mix of announcements, reminders, and thank you emails.
You can use a holiday announcement to get the word out early, and start the season off on the right foot.

You can use video to go behind the scenes and let people know how you’re preparing for the holiday season.
In addition to traditional methods like phone or email, you can also encourage people to connect with you on social media. Bonus tip: Even if you don’t have an e-commerce side to your business, you can still use social networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to showcase your different gift ideas.
Bonus Offer: Constant Contact’s holiday email templates make it easy to promote your Black Friday offer.
If you don’t have a lot going on during the holidays but have big plans for 2015, you can use the holidays to promote your upcoming activities. Were there certain projects or achievements that really stood out for your business in 2015? Hosting a holiday party is the perfect way to thank employees and customers for their continued support all year long. Put a holiday wrapping around some of your products and services to create special gift packages.
You can create packages that are unique to your different audiences, and add value without adding a discount.
With a local deal, you can create a great offer, like a $25 for $50 voucher that customers and potential customers can purchase and redeem at a later date. The holidays are a great time to make a more personal connection with the people who support your business.
Adding a personal touch to their holiday newsletter resulted in Second Bloom Design’s biggest order of the holiday season. People need all the help they can get when it comes to keeping track of important dates and deadlines during the holiday season. Help people find the perfect gift on a budget with an email that shows off some of your affordable gift ideas. If you’re a nonprofit, you can take advantage of this important day by running a fundraising campaign. Get hands-on help with Constant Contact, tailored specifically for your organization's needs.
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.
Because if you are marketing your real estate business and your clients’ properties today, the same ways as every other agent did for the last 50 years, you should better change your ways soon enough. Did you notice how the About page didn’t really get any visitors in the last month? Contrary to what many real estate professionals think, people looking for a house don’t care about you and your business, really. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. Millions of promotional items, also known as “swag”, are given out every year.  Promotional items first appeared in the early-18th century, when George Washington used small bronze pins to promote his re-election campaign in 1789. If you’re a tech company, think branded card readers, USB  mug warmers or smart phone cases.
To successfully market your brand, your promotional item has to be of some use to your consumer.
Choose smaller (or smaller quantity) high-quality items in lieu of larger (or larger quantity) low-quality items.  If you give away cheap or poorly-made promotional items, people may associate the quality of the items with the quality of your business – a huge negative from a branding perspective. You can encourage current customers to bring their friends, and even offer additional discounts for helping you spread the word about the event. Let them know you’ll be following up with more updates about holiday offers later in the season.
You can send a series of emails leading up to Cyber Monday letting people know about special discounts, and send a final reminder when the big day finally arrives. One of the easiest ways to add value is to offer free shipping leading up to the December holidays.
You can use them as the focus of your email, or add a coupon to your regularly scheduled email newsletter as an extra bonus for your readers. For a business like Sugaree’s Bakery, a sample sale lets customers experience their different recipes and share with holiday guests.
As a small business, you share a special connection with your customers and they’ll be happy to hear about all of your success.

Customers will be thankful for the reminder, and will be more likely to fit you into their holiday shopping plans.
Look for opportunities to offer discounts and special offers to get people to schedule services or sign up for appointments in advance.
Boston-based burrito restaurant Boloco, uses humor to make a lasting impression, while also promoting their holiday special. For some businesses it may be an annual holiday sale or event, or it could be a new line of products for the holidays. Consider creating a special board of gift ideas on Pinterest and promoting it to your email list. As a small business, you can create a special Black Friday offer and take advantage of the rush around the holiday shopping weekend. You can come up with a list of last-minute gift ideas and promote them in the days leading up to the December holidays. This can be especially effective later in the season when people are looking to pick up last-minute gifts. NYC, showing their different successes allows them to tell their story and motivate supporters, donors, and volunteers. After all, they are the backbone of your business and you want them to know just how much you care. This is a great way to generate new revenue during the holiday season, and can help bring new customers into your store.
Email is one of the most reliable tools you can use to notify your audience about any important deadlines. This is a great way to bring people into your store so that you can show off all the other great products you have to offer.
Boston-based burger restaurant Tasty Burger, created a fun “12 Days of Ugly Sweater” contest, and encouraged people to share their best photos on social media. You can donate a portion of your sales, or come up with different ways that encourage people to interact with your business and donate. You'll also have access to personal coaching and resources to get you real business results. 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.
People are relying on the Internet to decide which properties are worth seeing and which agents are worth working with. It is more about finding out what the needs of those people are and doing your best to fulfill them.
Magnet clips, pizza cutters or tape measures might be the perfect fit for a real estate business. Ink pens tend to stick around in offices, and refrigerator magnets with helpful information in addition to your branding (such as a directory of local numbers associated with your industry.) If you have the budget, think about a bigger item that’s used frequently, like an umbrella or high-quality tote.
You can encourage people to shop online or provide details so that customers can call to place an order. Saying thanks can humanize your business and help build the trust you need to build customer relationships. Show off the personal touch your business offers, and encourage people to “beat the crowds” by shopping small.
This is a great way to engage your audience and have some fun during this busy time of year.
Your business gets more attention, in the process converting more sales, and as a result money is raised for the charity.
In order to make people trust and respect you, you need to be offering them something that they are looking for, and more.
If you think that people looking for a house in a certain neighborhood would appreciate having more specific information regarding that community, on our website, add a new page to it! Compared to other forms of advertising, 20 percent said they made a purchase after receiving a promotional item whereas only 4 percent said they purchased after viewing an ad online! Eye-catching and unique promotional products are more likely to stick around and be shown off, which increases the prominence of your brand – and the likelihood other customers will see it.
Fragile or glass items can break easily, and seasonal items may only be used a short amount of time.  Also stay away from extremely personal promotional items. By reaching out to other small businesses to contribute, you’ll be making and cementing your contacts. Choosing a product that reflects your industry can help your customers connect with your brand. The goal of using promotional items to market your brand is so that each piece can be seen — and that won’t happen if your promotional item is tucked away in a cabinet or drawer! This starts with useful content for your target, an easy to use search tool and a user-friendly website.

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