Marc Bovenzi has over 10 years of business skills in marketing, advertising, sales, and business development. He has worked in the software, Web3, crypto, gaming, retail, and language industries. In his free time, he is building his personal brand and chills on tropical islands.
Running out of marketing ideas for your small business?
Don’t let unsuccessful marketing efforts in the past get you down.
As a small business owner, you’re most likely doing everything by yourself at first until you are profitable enough to have a full marketing team.
It’s not easy to compete against companies with bigger marketing budgets and human resources.
Learn unique marketing tactics that will make you look like a star business owner without much marketing skill, even on a smaller marketing budget.
Now let’s dive into seven unique marketing ideas for small businesses that you might not have considered yet.
Small business marketing idea #1
Search Engine Optimization [SEO]
If done correctly, SEO is an ongoing source of free traffic after an initial investment of your time and/or money. It’s kind of like a snowball rolling down a hill, allowing your business to grow bigger and faster as momentum builds.
Start with keyword research by finding medium-difficulty keywords to rank for and low-authority websites on the first page of Google.
Then, put together a content calendar focused on content and link building, following these guidelines:
- Publish one article per week that your core audience likes to read about, i.e., how-to articles.
- Publish one article per week geared towards the content "link creators" like to share on their websites, i.e., listicles and statistics-based articles. This will boost your domain authority, resulting in a higher page rank and more traffic.
- Write one guest post per week for sites that publish related content.
Articles should become the base for other types of marketing content such as social media posts. Don’t forget to add video, PDF, image galleries, and audio to make articles more interactive and keep people on your site longer.
Pay attention to the latest Google search ranking updates such as Google MUM when developing your overall SEO strategy.
Voice search is a digital marketing trend that should be prioritized since a huge amount of people are using voice search with smart speakers and search engines nowadays.
Remember that people search differently when typing than when speaking. For example:
I searched for (typed): car repair shops near me.
Spoken: Where is the nearest car repair shop in this city?
Voice search optimization (VSO) is all about matching user intent and improving the user experience, so it will benefit SEO too.
According to Neil Patel, the six core VSO strategies are:
- Optimize for local search.
- Create conversationally concise content.
- Use structured data.
- Claim a Google My Business listing.
- Be mobile-friendly.
- Answer FAQ questions in the article's content.
Small business marketing idea #2
Email marketing is another cost-effective way to stay in touch with potential customers and current customers.
Don’t take shortcuts by purchasing email lists because it’s a high risk to your sender's reputation.
Instead, offer exclusive discounts and other club-like perks to gain more opt-in email subscribers.
A unique marketing tactic you can use is to run referral marketing campaigns with existing customers. People trust word-of-mouth recommendations from their friends and family, so why not take advantage of this fact?
Just be sure to offer a reward to those that refer the most new customers, i.e., make it a competitive game with different levels of prizes.
Small business marketing idea #3
It's incredible to consider how few small businesses currently have an affiliate program. If they do, the business typically includes a difficult-to-find link in the website's footer.
An affiliate program should be properly marketed and supported since affiliates essentially become your marketing and sales team for free.
Affiliates can promote your products and services to their blog readers, social media followers, email subscribers, and podcast listeners. If you allow it, affiliates can run their own paid ads too.
Here are four ideas on how to find and attract affiliate marketers:
- Provide a high commission (30% or more -- lifetime recurring)
- Make the affiliate program highly visible everywhere.
- Network with bloggers, and influencers who can promote to their audience
- Invite current customers
Small business marketing idea #4
According to Wyzowl, 96% of people surveyed in 2023 prefer to watch explainer videos to learn more about a product or service. And a whopping 87% said they purchased after watching an explainer video.
A great way to take advantage of this trend with explainer videos is to make one that stands out from the rest. It should be entertaining and memorable, rather than a snooze fest.
Reach thousands of people with the new explainer video by running YouTube ads. Generally, you'll get the most bang for your buck with long-form videos.
Before you run any ads, though, make sure to include a solid description and a call to action. Add a landing page specific to the video topic that collects emails or a tracking method to remarket to visitors too.
Small business marketing idea #5
It’s easier than ever to create audio content with automated podcast creation, AI voice tools, and an array of podcast publishing services to choose from.
However, it takes a lot of time to build up a sizable podcast audience, so it’s advantageous to also make guest appearances on other related podcasts to gain popularity sooner.
The main goal is to show that you’re an authority on certain topics and can possibly help someone without selling them on air.
Ask the channel to add a backlink to your site in the podcast description because it will help with search rankings and website visits in general.
Small business marketing idea #6
Instant Message (IM) Marketing
Small businesses should do IM marketing because right now it’s less cluttered with ads. It’s your chance to stand out with meaningful, personalized messages that show you understand their needs.
IMs work especially well for timely messages that could be easily missed on email or social media channels.
Instead of sending the typical sales and promotional IMs, try sending stories.
A heartfelt, engaging story can be sent in 5 different messages (1 per day) to create mini cliffhangers. In the last message, you could tell how your product or service improved the customer’s life.
Small business marketing idea #7
Virtual and Augmented Reality Marketing
It’s no longer sci-fi.
Virtual and augmented reality are changing the way small businesses can market to their customers.
It’s very likely your competition hasn’t created a small business marketing strategy regarding this, so now’s your chance to stand out by being the trendy one.
Depending on what you’re offering, you can use a "try before you buy" marketing technique. It doesn’t have to be solely clothes; it could be virtually anything.
Another idea is to use AR-enhanced business cards, which open up many new possibilities. A person can scan the card and get access to a one-of-a-kind AR experience, video, audio content, or even mini-games.
There are many ways to approach marketing a small business, so it’s best to master only one or two of these online marketing strategies.
Consider what type of media your target audience likes to consume (audio, video, or text) and what type of content you’re most comfortable producing.
Once you’ve chosen them, the important thing is to commit to making it work and don’t give up. As the French said, "Rome wasn’t built in a day”, meaning it takes time to make great things.