19 Creative Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Sep 22, 2020 | Blog, Marketing

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Just when you thought the hard work was done, along comes another huge challenge! You have successfully launched your small business, which is amazing. But now comes the super tricky part. You have to market your business.

This process of marketing your small business can be extremely confusing, not to mention overwhelming. There is a plethora of marketing options, tools, and advice available, that the whole thing can just make you want to bury your head under a pillow.

Well, don’t!

Why Is Marketing So Important To My Business?

It’s simple – the whole point of marketing is to get the word out about your business. Its job is to build awareness around your brand, attract an audience, and turn them into consumers. In a small business, this can be a little more challenging, as you might have fewer resources than bigger competitors.


We are here to help guide you through the maze by sharing some creative marketing ideas for your business.

Having a strong online presence is vital to a successful business – whatever its size. The majority of people learn about companies online more than any other medium, so it is important to make your presence known.

As a business owner, digital marketing is a brilliant way to track your ROI, as well as optimise your products or your brand. A great marketing plan will provide you with content and structure as you grow. If cost is a factor for you, then don’t worry. Not all marketing tools and tactics will break the bank. There are many free marketing ideas you can implement into your plan if you are worried about outgoings.

We will be looking at this as we delve into our creative marketing ideas for 2021.

So what are you waiting for? Your ideal customer is online right now searching for something that you can offer. You don’t want to miss out on their search.

new marketing ideas

Check out our creative marketing ideas that you can get started with

Our list of 19 creative marketing ideas is perfect for upping your game and making your business stand out.
Simple Yet Effective Creative Marketing Ideas For Your Business

1 – Social media

This might seem like an obvious choice, but there are so many small businesses that are not utilizing the plethora of social media platforms, and their amazing functionalities, available.

However, this doesn’t mean use every social media platform out there. Just because they are all available, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are all right for you and your business. Do a little research, see where your customers hang out and see what feels comfortable for you. You can then implement these into a social media plan.

You could even use each platform in a different way. For example, Twitter is great as a customer service tool, and Instagram is a brilliant way to share beautiful imagery and give a behind the scenes look to your business.

2 – Customer referrals

Word of mouth marketing is a great little tool for small businesses and one you shouldn’t overlook. A customer referral scheme is a perfect way to utilize this tool.

It is also very simple. You can offer an existing customer an incentive to refer a friend. A little freebie in the shape of a discount off their next order, free delivery, a free download, or even a sample product. Everyone loves a freebie, and by giving potentials something they want, you can get something your business needs – emails for your database.

marketing ideas

3 – Start a blog

A blog should be a vital aspect of your content marketing strategy, as it is one of the most cost-effective options for small businesses

When done right, a good blog will help boost your SEO, it can convert readers into consumers and drive more visitors to your website. They help establish your authority in your industry by creating trust and confidence in your brand, as well as being a great engagement and sales tool.

If you are going to create a blog, remember to post consistently with high-quality articles. You can get even more tips and tricks for successful blogging here.

4 – Run a free clinic or webinar

Remember how we said that we all love a freebie? Well, this is a way to offer a freebie while establishing your expertise.

A free clinic or webinar will entice your customers with an offer they can’t refuse! They are a great way to help potential customers or other businesses get to know you and your brand. Offer a topic that will be valuable to your ideal customer, and give them useful and relevant information that will lead them to your services.

This small business marketing idea can take place in the form of a Facebook or Instagram live, or even a pre-recording. Take comments from your audience and give insight into your business.

new business marketing ideas

5 – Consider guest posting

Guest posting is a fairly simple yet effective creative marketing idea. You will need to do your research on websites that both accept guest posts and contribute guest posts. This way, you can write posts for other sites and feature guest writers on your site.

Remember to always read the guidelines for the particular site you pitch to, and adhere to them in your copy. Your author’s bio is where you can link to your business, so keep the content of your post useful, engaging, and non-salesy!

Guest posts have the power to introduce your business to a whole new audience, so it is worth looking into.

6 – Create a press release

Why not add PR under your list of skills? Research how to create a press release, and write one up about your business, a product, or even yourself. The point of a press release is to inform members of the press about something newsworthy, in the hope that they will write about it online or in print.

Remember to keep it interesting, informative, and even entertaining. Great imagery will also go a long way, so keep those design skills in mind. If you don’t have access to a media database, then lookup press release distribution tools. There are a number available, and some of them are even free!

7 – Run a customer loyalty programme

Yes, it is very important to gain new customers, but your current customer is equally, if not more, important.

This is why a customer loyalty programme can be so beneficial, as it shows your customers how much their business is appreciated. Much like those cute little cards you get in coffee shops, where you get a stamp for every coffee you buy – eventually leading to a free cup – consider doing an online version.

You can get really creative with this idea, and think up cool ways to entice your customers to come back. Maybe a free gift on their birthday, 10% off their next order, a free product for every 5 orders. There are loads of great options.

8 – Develop a pop-up

Pop-ups don’t need to be annoying little things you immediately click off. If the pop-up offers your customer something valuable, then they can be an incredibly useful and inexpensive marketing tool.

Place one on your homepage or a landing page, and create an offer for new customers that will entice them to continue their buying journey with you. A simple discount, free delivery, or a free download can be all that stands between a lurker and a purchaser.

9 – Run a Competition

Who doesn’t love a competition? There is something so deliciously enticing about entering a free competition, even if the prize isn’t that amazing. Competitions are a great way to gather potential customer data, such as emails, as well as spreading the name and credentials of your business.

Here is where you can really utilize your social media, by running your competition on one of your platforms. Use the competition to grow your audience by making the rules to like, comment, and share your post. A very easy (and cheap) way to build your audience.

creative marketing ideas

10 – Team Up With Another Relevant Brand and Run A Contest Together

As with idea # 9, why not team up with a complimentary brand or business and run a contest together? If you both market the content on your individual accounts, then you will be introduced to a whole new audience. Win-win for both of you.

Again, include like, commenting, sharing, and liking the other brand’s page, part of the rules. The work and prize will be split, but the reward definitely won’t be.

11 – Team up with an Influencer

There are so many influencers on social media, that it is hard to keep track of them. However, that is a good thing, as this idea involves teaming up with an influencer who is relevant to your market.

And we guarantee that there are plenty of them to approach.

Research an influencer who your ideal customer follows and reach out to them to see if they would be interested in working together. There are a lot of rules that they need to follow in order to be transparent with their followers, but even so, teaming up with an influencer can do amazing things for your brand.

12 – Create a customer of the month promo

This is another fun and creative way to reward customers while boosting your online presence.

Either through email marketing or social media (or why not both?) develop a customer of the month campaign where customers can nominate themselves, or a friend, to be your customer of the month. Set rules for the criteria and offer an incentive such as a feature on your social media, and maybe a free gift. The prize doesn’t have to be huge – just enticing. This is supposed to be a cost-effective way to gain customer loyalty, emails for your database, or followers on social media.

13 – Produce a free download

A free download is a good option if your business is service-related. Create something valuable, such as hints and tips related to your industry, a useful tool, a video containing interesting data, an ebook or guide book – you get the idea.

The key is to make it interesting, relevant and above all useful to your target customer. Offer the download in exchange for their email address, and you are on your way to creating an awesome database.

14 – Get your SEO up to scratch

If you are unfamiliar with SEO in 2020, then now is the time to learn about this invaluable skill. SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a fancy way of saying; making your website look good for Google and easy to navigate for your customer! Having your content formatted in a search engine friendly way will help drive traffic to your website. This is an important marketing strategy for small businesses.

Your content, however well written, won’t ever be seen if it isn’t optimised for web. You don’t have to pay a professional to help you with this if money is tight. Just do some homework and make a few key tweaks and changes to get the most out of your website. It’s worth it.

15 – Research keyword opportunities

This goes hand in hand with our previous marketing idea. Keywords are imperative to a successful 2020 SEO plan for your small business. These are the words that your ideal customer is actually searching the web for right now.

It is an extension of buyer persona research. Find the best keywords that relate to your specific buyer persona, and then use a keyword tool (there are lots of good free ones) to find the perfect keywords. Then all you have to do is feed the words and phrases into your website content. Easy!

creative marketing ideas

16 – Optimise your website for mobile

The majority of web searches are done on our mobiles, so making sure your website is optimised for mobile should be a key factor in your marketing plan.

It needs to look clean, clear, and be easy to navigate. Google also rewards websites and give them higher rankings if they have a mobile optimised site. If cost is a factor, then look into a CMS that offers mobile optimised templates.

17 – Consider social media ads

Most social media sites offer affordable advertising options, that will also help target your posts to your key customers and audience.

It might be worth experimenting with this creative marketing idea, to see if you can reach your ideal customers. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram all allow brands to advertise, so it is just a case of seeing which would work best for you.

18 – Use customer reviews for content

We love this idea as it uses your customer’s very own words to tell potential customers why you are so great. It doesn’t even count as bragging, as the words belong to your customer.

Encourage your customers or clients to leave a review on your website or social media, for a chance for their words to be published. You could even offer an extra incentive of a small discount off their next order if they leave a review. If a prospect sees someone they know on social media, raving about a manicure they got from your salon, they might be more likely to go.

You can then use their testimonial in social media posts, blog posts, even as a feature on your product’s landing page. There are loads of options, and you are not limited to using them just once, so make sure you implement them into your content marketing plan.

19 – Register your Google Business Page

You can also create a Facebook business page and Yelp, which is amazing for customers to leave reviews and testimonials. Having high Yelp reviews can help your ranking online and your search ranking, so don’t underestimate the power of these essential yet creative marketing tools.

We hope these creative marketing ideas for your small business have got your creative juices flowing. Why not pop over to The School of Marketing Facebook page and let us know in the comments for this post if you will be implementing any of these ideas into your marketing strategy.

Julie Hall

Hey there, I’m Julie.  I’m the founder of The School of Marketing where we help small business owners with their marketing. I also have my own site at Julie Hall Online, where I help experts and coaches to grow their business with online courses and products.


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