These are our top 100 marketing tips for small or medium businesses: simple ideas to easily increase sales and visibility. The truth is that marketing is all about satisfying your customer needs. Use these powerful marketing tips to help understand customer needs, find ways to satisfy those needs, and better communicate your solution.
Remember, marketing should be ongoing. Commit to never letting a day go by without engaging in at least one marketing activity, no matter how small. Keep these marketing tips on hand, or check out our other
small business marketing ideas, or
these creative marketing ideas, and pull one out each time you need a little extra boost in your sales or visibility.
Maintain a tickler file of marketing tips and ideas for later use. When you have some time, or are running short of a quick marketing activity, then pick one of the marketing tips out of the file.
Publish your own blog on your industry or your specialty, following these blog marketing tips. Make sure you update it regularly (twice a week is preferable).
Publish a regular newsletter for customers and prospects. You can either send it as a hardcopy piece using direct mail, or start a more economical email marketing mailing.
Always carry business cards with you, whether you are on business or personal time. Find opportunities to engage others about your business and exchange cards. Give prospects two so they can share one if needed.
Talk to your current customers. Ask them why they hired you. Solicit suggestions for improvement. Put together a brief customer survey.
Ask former customers why they left. Ask them what might bring them back.
Do some market research to identify a new market segment (niche) that could use your product or service.
Join an e-mail list or online forum related to your profession, or attend an industry event or meetup. Ask and answer questions.
How do your customers use your product or service? Could you create a new, complementary service, technique, or product that would make yours a more end-to-end solution?
Re-evaluate your pricing strategy, and consider if you could offer a simpler/cheaper/smaller version of your product or service. Think about how you position it so as not to cannibalize sales of your higher-end version.
Offer a higher-end/more expensive version of your product or service. What features or offerings would a more advanced user/customer be looking for?
Review and update your services or product brochure. Does it have the best current positioning? Do you have more recent case studies or testimonials?
Join an association or organization related to your profession.
Get a marketing intern. It will give the intern experience and you some free/cheap marketing help. They may also bring some fresh marketing tips themselves about how to promote your business.
Hire a marketing consultant to brainstorm with and suggest other marketing tips.
Write up a testimonial or case study from a recent customer. Make sure you have the customer's approval first.
Start a marketing advisory and referral team with complementary and/or neighboring business owners. Share marketing tips and referrals. Plan joint marketing activities. Meet regularly for coffee.
Create a suggestion box for customers (either a physical one at your place of business, or on your website).
Start a referrals program to reward current customers, employees or partners for bringing in new business.
Reassess your fee structure and pricing. Does it need adjustment? Could you make it more modular? Make sure you support all the payment options your clients need: make it easy for them to pay you.
Give regular clients a discount.
Create a poster or calendar to give away to customers and prospects.
Create or update your email signature to be used for all your e-mail messages. It should include your contact details, Web site address and your tagline.
Offer discounts to members of certain clubs/ groups/organizations/websites in exchange for promotions in their publications or on their site.
Publicize your 100th customer of the year (or other notable milestone).
Sponsor a competition.
Create an annual award and publicize it.
Develop or update your brochure of services.
Produce separate business cards web pages and literature for each of your target market segments. Have value propositions, case studies, and positioning targeted to their specific needs.
Include testimonials from customers in your literature and on your website. Don't just have a "testimonials" page, but include one or two wherever they are relevant.
Test a new mailing list. If it produces results, add it to your current direct mail or email lists or replace a list that's not performing well.
Update your media list to make sure your press releases are being sent to the right media outlet and person.
Write a column for the local newspaper, local business journal, or trade publication.
Publish an article and circulate reprints.
Get public relations and media training or read a recent PR book.
Appear on a radio or TV talk show, seminar panel, or webinar.
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or trade magazine, or comment on a blog in your industry.
Add a page to your website with relevant information for your target customers. Make it SEO-friendly to bring in search engine traffic.
Update your LinkedIn, Plaxo or other social media profile.
Get a publicity photo taken and enclose with press releases, include on your website, with articles you write, etc.
Consistently review websites, blogs, newspapers and magazines for possible PR opportunities.
Submit tip articles to newsletters, online article sites, and newspapers.
Create a press kit and keep its contents current. Make it available on your website.
Ask your clients to come back again. Ask them how you could make their experience with your product or service better.
Write up a FAQ for your website, or set up a email system to easily respond to customer inquiries.
Record a memorable message or tip of the day on your outgoing answering machine or voice mail message, and/or include it in your email signature or blog.
Ask customers what you can do to help them.
Take clients out to a ball game, show, or another special event - just send them two tickets with a note.
Hold a seminar at your office or other location for clients and prospects, or host an online webinar.
Send handwritten thank you notes.
Send birthday cards and appropriate seasonal greetings.
Photocopy interesting articles and send them or email a link to clients and prospects with a hand-written FYI note and your business card.
Send a book of interest or other appropriate business gift to a client with a handwritten note.
Create an area on your Web site specifically for your customers.
Join a Chamber of Commerce or other organization.
Join or organize a breakfast club with other professionals (not in your field) to discuss business and network referrals, and share marketing tips.
Mail a brochure to members of organizations to which you belong.
Serve on a city board or commission, or a subcommittee of a professional organization.
Hold an open house.
Send letters to attendees after you attend a conference or give a talk.
Identify the peak seasons for your business and focus your advertising then.
Get a memorable and search-engine friendly domain name (eg, www.your-product-value.com) and point it to your site, or do the same with your phone number (eg, 1-800-MYPRODUCT).
Promote your business jointly with other professionals via cooperative email or direct mail.
Advertise in a specialty online directory or in the Yellow Pages.
Write an ad in another language to reach the non-English-speaking market. Place the ad in a publication that market reads, such as a Hispanic newspaper or website.
Mail bumps - photos, samples, and other innovative items to your prospect list. (A bump is anything that makes the mailing envelope bulge.)
Consider placing ads in your newspaper's classified section or in Craigslist online.
Code your ads and discount coupons and keep records of results.
Improve your building signage and directional signs inside and out.
Invest in a neon sign to make your office or storefront window visible at night.
Create a new or improved company logo or recolor the traditional logo.
Get a booth at a fair/trade show attended by your target market.
Sponsor or host an event or at your business or other location in cooperation with a local non-profit organization. Talk about how the organization helped you.
Give a speech or volunteer for a career day at a high school or university.
Teach a class or seminar at a local college or adult education center or online.
Sponsor an Adopt-a-Road area in your community to keep roads litter-free. People that pass by the area will see your name on the sign announcing your sponsorship.
Volunteer your time to a charity or non-profit organization.
Donate your product or service to a charity auction.
Appear on a panel or give a talk at a professional seminar.
Write a How To pamphlet or article for publishing.
Produce a How To video and distribute it online (eg, Youtube).
Follow up on your direct mailings, email messages, and broadcast faxes with a friendly telephone call.
Reduce response/turnaround time. Make reordering easy - use reminders. Provide preaddressed envelopes if it is done through the mail.
Display product and service samples at your office and other business locations who are willing to display them (eg, doctor's office, retail locations, local deli, etc).
Remind customers of the other products and services you provide that they aren't currently buying.
Publish a book.
Give your sales literature to your lawyer, accountant, printer, banker, temp agency, office supply salesperson, advertising agency, etc. (Leverage a free sales force!)
Follow up regularly with former clients to try and reactivate them.
Attend a marketing seminar or read a current marketing book.
Find a new marketing newsletter or other publication and subscribe, or sign up to an online marketing forum.
Find a new market research study about your profession, industry, product, target market groups, etc. and read it.
Collect competitors' literature and advertising. Pick one and read it as if you were a customer. What is compelling? What is not? How does it compare to yours?
Give discounts for cash or up-front payment.
Offer financing or installment plans.
Create a friendly bumper sticker for your car.
Create a personal nametag or pin with your company name and logo on it and wear it at events, meetings… any time you are in a public place of business. You could do the same with using pens.
Follow these marketing tips regularly, and try to work on at least one of them every day (some of these marketing tips will take more than one day to implement, of course). You will soon see a boost in your sales and visibility.