Marketing is an ever-revolving door of innovation. Every business, throughout every industry, needs to constantly tweak their marketing campaigns to keep up with current trends and stay competitive.
Know that people, such as your customers, respond well to new ideas and novel marketing approaches. To provide this stream of creativity, us business owners are always looking for new ways to cost-effectively update our marketing and branding campaigns.
Here are ten wacky – smart as a fox – ways to revolutionize your business’ marketing campaign, and start boosting sales today.
1. Collaboration is Key
Small businesses must work together in order. After all, local businesses that are in the same neighborhood are part of the same community. They have a lot in common, and often share the same customers – when businesses work together, individuals take positive notice.
Having a good rapport with fellow businesses throughout your town offers opportunities for you and for your customers. Here are some common ways that businesses can work together to help one another, even with a promotional tight budget:
- Referrals: Simply having the recommendation from another business owner is a great way to get new business. If both businesses are diligent with referrals, it is equally rewarding for both businesses. Partner with complementary, not competitive firms. Examples of such synergistic referral relationships are fitness gyms and hair salons, or coffee shops and bookstores.
- Exclusive Coupons: For businesses that have a commonality, having exclusive coupons shows you are part of the business community. Also, you will be able to track sales generated from these referrals.
Instead of simply looking out for number one, businesses with exclusive coupons take referrals a step further. That way, the businesses (such as a movie theater and restaurant) can share customers. By getting creative and knowing a little bit about your customers, business owners can get creative with their partners.
- Coordinating Events: Events can be created from nearly any occasion. From Small Business Saturday to the first weekend of the month, it can all be celebrated. In my town, which contains many bars and restaurants, there is a “First Friday” event every month with dining specials and live entertainment.
Business building events work equally well for many industries. Depending upon your type of business you can stage travel, training, networking or lecture events for your specific target customers. Family oriented businesses do especially well with fun events for kids such as carnivals and bike races.
If businesses work together to make an event happen, the celebration instantly gets more widespread. Your customers will love that you are a part of neighborly events. It shows a sense of comradery that is enduring and successful, from a marketing standpoint.
2. Connect with Customers on a Personal Level
It is no secret that a personal connection is literally losing its touch. With the progression of digital technology, connecting with customers face to face seems to be a dying trend. However, that does not mean that it has lost its effectiveness.
Ultimately, humans are social. For as much as they seem to be enamored with technology, there is still something special about personalized communication.
So, when customers come in, greet them warmly. Talk to them and if they are regulars, get to know them. A small business is still far more personal than any other type of business.
Therefore, customers want to know you both through your store and to a degree, on a personal level. This will cultivate a loyalty that will endure throughout hundreds, if not thousands of technological marketing advancements. This separates you from your cold, non-human competitor – the internet.
3. Charity Helps Everyone
When a small business makes it a point to give back to their community, it doesn’t take long for people to notice. That is the wonderful part about helping the community. It is helping neighbors and sometimes, friends. Thus, people respond well to the business who makes it a point to put their community first. This strategy has been termed, Cause Marketing.
This doesn’t have to be a large, or expensive endeavor. It can be something like donating food or a raffle basket to a charity event. It can be sponsoring a local little league team or hosting an event for a cause.
Cost-effective ways a business can show their charitable side are only limited by your imagination. This helps get people going to or talking about the business on a wide and positive scale.
4. Flash Mob Dance Success
Flash mob dances have gained popularity in the last few years and they can be a successful form of business marketing. Plus, it’s simple, inexpensive, and fun.
To do this, go to a public area on a day where there are a lot of people. Bring friends, employees, family, social media followers, loyal customers, and anyone else who wants to participate. After that, all you need is music and a choreographed dance routine.
In the middle of the crowd, randomly start dancing and having fun. People will want to know what is going on, so they will watch the show. To gain attention for your business, place a subtle sign or wear a shirt with your business on it. This will create a wacky, fun and entertaining memory, and get your business out there in a unique way.
Remember to invite your local media and video the event to post online later.
5. Host an Event for Local Creatives
Every town has artists, entertainers, or other creatives that would love an avenue to showcase their talents. Hosting events for creatives will help get their name out there and draw people to your business.
This event could be an art show, a book signing, a paint party, or even a play. Again, the amount of possible creativity is only limited to your imagination. The event can be as big or small as you want and can be as often as you want. The goal is to draw people in and tap into a target audience that you haven’t reached through other avenues.
A nearby cafe hosts art shows for local artists every month. I love going in and viewing the art while getting my favorite coffee drink. Much nicer than going to that impersonal chain coffee spot.
6. Hire Word of Mouth Reviews
Even with all the advancements in marketing campaigns, word of mouth is still successful. In fact, there is now an trade association called the Word of Mouth Marketing Association which helps businesses run ethical and effective brand awareness campaigns.
Yet, this form of advertising is often unpredictable and traditionally, it is impossible to track. If you hire your own word of mouth reviews, though, you will get some exciting and instant results.
To hire word of mouth reviews, hire someone to walk around and start conversations with people. Once the person has an ear, they work a good review of your business casually into the conversation.
Waiting for movies to get out or walking the town center during dinnertime will garner good results for a restaurant. However, this idea can be tailored to match all different industries and businesses.
7. Create a Virtual Showroom
Technology has made it extremely easy for customers to find what they are looking for. If you can make it even easier to find what they want, they will likely buy from you. That is why creating a virtual showroom is such a good marketing tool.
It takes the guessing out of your customer’s search. By having a virtual showroom, you can show your customers exactly what you have, from wherever they are.
Your virtual showroom could be as simple as a web photo gallery or an ultra-techy VR (virtual reality) experience.
8. Write a Book
As a business owner, experience has likely made you an expert in your field. You have insight into your industry that can be helpful to your customers. Therefore, if you write a book and put it in your shop and online, you can share your knowledge with the world. While the book itself likely may not bring direct income, the authority it awards you is priceless.
Having a useful book filled with industry gems that you have garnered through experience makes you an expert. Thus, it makes your customers more likely to buy from you, because of your expertise as a published author, regardless of whether you self-published your book.
9. Host a Contest
Hosting a contest, online or otherwise, is a fun way to draw attention to your business. Potential and current customers love contests. Thus, asking for attention via a contest is an easy and effective way to get it. If the contest is primarily online (especially if the prize is a gift card for your business) there’s little risk.
The cost of the prize is the only real financial burden. Compared to the amount of exposure a contest gets, that is a small price to pay for such a reward.
10. Send Thank-You Notes
Small businesses thrive on personalization. Anything you can do to personalize yourself and your business put you ahead of your competition. If you can connect with your customer better than your competitor, you win. It’s that simple.
Sending thank you notes to new customers, for attending events, or for being a loyal customer is great personalization. Especially if that note is handwritten, it shows that you appreciate your customer’s business, personally. Instead of being just another face, this shows that you care and that your business cares. In such a fast-paced world, it is amazing how much a thank you note means to a customer.
Recently I received a handwritten note from my florist, thanking me for my business. You can bet I will return to that florist when I want to buy arrangements again. Plus, I have already told two people about this nice note while I recommend this business. This smart business owner got two wins, my repeat business and word of mouth recommendations.
Of course, there will always be cornerstones of marketing that are essential for any campaign. However, it is often the different, creative and wacky marketing approaches that provide the best results. After all, if a customer views your business as imaginative, they are far more likely to remember your business. With these wacky ways to revolutionize your campaigns, creative, memorable marketing is possible, even without a substantial budget. So, put a few of these wacky ways to reinvent your marketing campaigns to work for your business today.