Does your business have cohesive, strategic marketing strategy? This is an opportunity for improvement for many businesses. Some businesses take a scattershot approach while others do advertising in fits and starts, if they do any at all. Having a strategic marketing system is crucial for a business’ long-term viability and continued growth, especially in periods of economic upheaval.
With all the available marketing mediums, it can be a little overwhelming. For many businesses, the integration and implementation of new marketing efforts is often best done gradually. Even when you have the resources, it can be challenging to implement change and avoid potential pitfalls.
Sometimes the hardest part is just finding the time and energy to commence a new marketing initiative. But by taking small steps, and building on forward momentum, businesses can develop the processes and systems to run their businesses more profitably.
To help visual the opportunities and get the ball rolling, here are 57 ways to market your business (broken up into different groupings and not in order of importance):
1. Offer new or repeat services to existing customers. This is often the easiest sell of all. Delight your customers and keep them coming back for more and different products or services.
2. Solicit referrals from customers. For many businesses, word-of-mouth referrals are their lifeblood. This is the cheapest and often most effective way to grow a business.
3. Post Cards/Fliers. Prime the pump for sales and build brand awareness.
4. Letters. Provide a more personal touch than your typical mailer.
5. Information Kits. People love receiving free/useful information. Make it easy for them to use your product or service with kits containing valuable information or a free sample.
6. CDs/DVDs. Often part of an informational kit. Even with these mediums being available via online formats, people still like receiving tangible products.
7. Newsletter. Keep your customers and prospects up to date with the latest and greatest from your company. You can also make it fun with trivia, event promotion, and giveaways. Reuse portions of the content used in your newsletter for your online marketing.
8. Telesales. The dreaded cold call. It doesn’t have to be dreaded. If you are prospecting by phone, make your outreach more effective by sending the prospect useful information in advance. If it is a warm lead, be sure to reference the referrer in the call.
9. Teleseminars. Can still work but having visuals tends to be more effective.
10. Telepromotions. Get the word out on promotions by phone.
11. Text Marketing. Text message marketing can be quite effective, especially with the growth of mobile phone use.
12. Fax Marketing. This was big 20 years. Still done but usage is waning.
13. Website. Your company website(s) should be one of your primary marketing hubs. Requires a visually interesting design, compelling calls to action, lead capture forms, and lots of high quality, target content to reach prospects.
14. Search Engine Marketing. Attaining high ranks in Google and other search engines for your website valuable, commercial keyword phrases organically, can win a business a lot of new customers. This is done via search engine optimization.
15. Email marketing. People like to receive email that they find useful, interesting, or entertaining. Make it easy for people to sign up for your email list. For example, the redesigned Costco website has two email sign up spots above the fold.
16. Article marketing. Use targeted content on external Websites to promote your brands.
17. Social Networks. Social networks are more about branding and continuing the customer relationship than direct sales. But this may change over time.
18. Online Ads. Google AdWords pay-per-click marketing is the most popular medium but there are many other opportunities.
19. Video. People can digest information much more quickly and be more entertained with video. YouTube is also the World’s second largest search engine.
20. Podcasts. People have different preferred ways of digesting content. Doing a podcast is similar to doing a radio show. It also allows yours users to digest yours content while doing other activities such as driving or exercising.
21. Infographics. With the rise of social networks and the mobile Web, interesting visuals are of increased importance.
22. Reports/White Papers. Show your expertise and display your products and services at the same time. Offer them for free with lead capture.
23. PowerPoint. Giving a presentation about your products or services? Why not put it online via a site such as slideshare.net.
24. Webinars. These are becoming the marketing tool of choice for many businesses with an online focus. Attendees get to learn for free but have to provide their name, email addresses, and perhaps other useful information to the business in order to attend.
25. E-book. Offer e-books for free on your website to capture leads or sell them on online booksellers.
26. Images. Use interesting, unique, fun images to market your business.
27. Apps. The use of the mobile Web is rapidly rising. Build a useful app for your customers with the side benefit of being a marketing tool.
28. QR Codes. Easy to create, QR codes bridge the print world with the mobile digital world. Make it easy for customers to find your website with a QR code.
29. Forum Marketing. If your business targets a certain niche, find online forums for that niche and interact with the forum members. This helps build relationships and makes forum members more likely to use your product or service.
30. Blog Commenting. Similar to forum marketing, engage and find blogs in your niche or local area where your customers are likely to be.
31. Online Classifieds. Use websites such as Craigslist.org to promote your product or services.
32. Online Directories. List your company with online directories. Many listings can be obtained for free.
33. Coupon or Deal-of-the-day Websites. People seek out deals. Make it easy for them to find your business. Groupon is the leader here but use with caution.
34. Newspaper. Good old print media.
35. Magazine. Good old print media with more gloss and color.
36. TV. TV used to be the a pre-eminent form of disseminating a marketing message. But this is changing.
37. Radio. Radio ads can still work very well for certain types of business. But it isn’t for everyone.
38. Yellow Pages. Another dying form of print media but can still be effective. Use call tracking to evaluate its performance.
39. Billboards. Want your business to be seen by thousands of people each day? Billboards can be a good choice.
40. Display Screens. Ever seen trivia questions at the bar or at the gym? There are advertising opportunities there.
41. Signage. Use a big, bright sign to help customers find you.
42. Other Display Advertising. Promote your brand with signage and for events.
43. Door-to-Door Sales. This can still work but you need to lay a foundation with other forms of marketing so awareness and trust is raised before initial contact.
44. Business Cards. While the digital revolution has cut into their importance slightly, having a professional business card is still a must.
45. Brochures. Provide a more complete description of your services and give clients and prospective clients something tangible to take with them and more easily remember you by.
46. Promotional Gifts. Pens, mugs, key chains, bags, bottles, shirts, and much more.
47. Books. Few things display credibility and expertise than a well-written book. Use a book as a promotional tool.
48. Contests. Who doesn’t like winning prizes? Giving away items of value can draw attention to your business and help you gain customers.
49. Workshops/Seminars. Get people interested in your products and services and display your expertise.
50. Public Speaking. Being an effective public speaker can be one of the most important marketing assets for a business.
51. Open House/In-Store Events. People love a party. Why not let it benefit your business too?
52. Client Appreciation Events. Who doesn’t want to feel appreciate and have fun at the same time. Doing fun, meaningful activities with clients can strengthen relationships and provide huge returns to the bottom-line.
53. Networking Group Meetings. What better way to connect with potential customers than by developing meaningful relationships with them?
54. Social Functions. People do business with who they know, like, and trust. By being involved in and attending clubs, sporting event, church, and even parties, you are developing relationships with new potential customers.
55. Trade Shows/Conventions. Want to target new customers and build brand awareness? Trade shows and conventions can still be quite effective. Just make sure you have a good hook and an effective way to capture lead information.
56. Sponsor a Community Event. Not only are you advertising, you are also helping the community. This also provides an opportunity to leverage the effort through your other advertising mediums, particularly Internet.
57. Scholarship Sponsorship. Goodwill and community support for those in need – youth.
Nearly half of the mediums listed above are Internet marketing related. The other great thing about online marketing is that it can be done relatively inexpensive and can be an effective tool to disseminate promotional information from your other marketing mediums.
For example, in the example of sponsoring a community event, this provides great content and positive branding that you can use for your website, social networks, and an opportunity for other websites to reference your company’s charitable actions.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Please add to the list in the comments. And as a bonus, don’t forget to send out holiday gifts and cards and for other special occasions to your clients.