There are 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S. alone. each of these businesses are competing for attention in their communities and online. With so much chatter out there, how is a business to compete?
One way to stand out is to use some out-of-the-box marketing ideas to promote your products and services. These promotional ideas will help you create brand awareness and generate customer loyalty.
Don’t Forget About Your Local Community
The internet is a great place to promote your business, but sometimes we can spend so much time and energy trying to create an online following that we forget about our local community.
Even if your business is online, there is still a need to connect locally.
- Some of your audience can be found in your own community.
- Local people will often be willing to help promote your work.
- Any networking is good for getting you noticed.
- Taking the time to get involved with your local community is always a good thing.
You don’t want to forget about your roots while you chase your dreams. You never know when someone in your own backyard may be looking for exactly whatever product or service you offer.
Whether you are a local entity, or you are primarily an online business, you can take advantage of the creative marketing ideas available for promoting small businesses offline.
Offline Marketing Ideas
What are some of the ways you can promote your business without using the internet? This is where you can let your creativity shine.
- Offer branded materials with purchases, as prizes for contests, or with gift baskets for local charity events.
What is it that your business offers? Think about what products are related to your market and create materials with your logo and business info to give out.
What kind of materials can you create? Anything you think will connect with your market.
- Picture frames
- Coffee mugs or water bottles
Anything that someone can connect to your niche can be used here. Get creative with how you get your name out there.
Sponsor Local Events
You can create brand recognition and generate good-will in your community by sponsoring local events. Most events have different sponsorship levels, so you can choose the option that fits your budget. Depending on how much money you provide, you can get listed in different printed materials or online promotions.
You can also get recognition with signs or as part of speeches at the event. Local events you can sponsor include
- Junior-High and high-school sports
- School or community plays
- Local dinners and awards events
- Community fairs
- Non-profit fundraisers
Check out what events are upcoming in your community and find opportunities that meet your budget.
Host a Community Event
Another way to create community good-will while promoting your business is to host an event yourself. You can host a networking event, a recognition banquet, or a fun community event. Get creative with the idea.
Determine a theme that fits with your business goals, and find other local businesses to join in. Since you’re hosting the event, you can get your branding material into the promotions. This doesn’t have to cost a lot either if you get the whole community involved.
Even if your business is primarily online you can host events. You can do presentations or networking events online, working with other online businesses.
Provide Discounts to Specific Groups
If you take the time to understand your customers, you can get an idea of what demographics you attract. This can help you create discounts for specific group demographics.
Think about what types of groups your community caters to. Do you have a large military presence, or are you in a college town? Maybe your business caters to moms or dads.
Decide which groups you want to attract and provide discounts to these groups. You can run ads in the newspaper or on social media sites to attract these groups.
Get to Know Local Reporters
Many communities have a local newspaper, and they’re always looking for material to print. If you want to keep your business coverage favorable, get to know the reporters at your local paper.
Talk to them at local events so they remember who you are. This makes them more likely to run your press releases and other printed material.
If you have a small paper, you can even offer a weekly or monthly feature article to help fill space. This offers another way to stay in the public eye without always doing promotions.
Attend Local Networking Events
You don’t have to promote or sponsor an event to participate. Just showing up can help you create recognition. If you attend local events, especially networking events, you get the chance to meet people one-on-one.
Take time to have conversations at these events. Not everything is about advertising. Get to know people in your industry or related to your industry. Get to know the people who can benefit from your business offerings.
You can attend online events as well for networking opportunities. Get to know your community. And, let them get to know you.
Enter Your Business for Industry Awards
One way to build your authority and recognition is to win industry awards. The thing is, you can’t win if your business isn’t entered for the awards.
Research industry awards relevant to your business and find out how to enter. You can enter for local, state, and national awards.
Online Marketing Ideas
You can get creative with your online marketing just as well as offline. You have many platforms open to you to show your creativity online.
Get Your Customers Involved
Loyal customers are great outlets to help you promote your business. If you provide a fun way for them to help you create online content, they’re more than willing to join in.
An easy way to do this is by creating social media contests. You have many options for contests.
- Photo contests
- Video contests
- Caption contests
- Votes and polls
If you’re promoting a product, have customers tag you in fun photos featuring the product. You can offer a fun prize for the most creative photo. Have them get involved even more by voting on their favorites.
This works for video and caption contests too. Have them submit their best ideas and have all your followers vote on the best one. Make sure you use ideas that highlight your company to create brand awareness.
Bonus, you can use these contests to do a little customer research. You can get insight into their interests and tailor future content using the data you collect.
Create your own branding hashtags to promote your business. You can use these hashtags with social media contests to generate interest. You can also encourage customers to use these hashtags to share reviews of your products and services.
Hashtags are also great for creating chats on Twitter. Use a hashtag to encourage customers to join you for a Q&A. You can invite other industry experts to participate as you generate interest.
Make sure your hashtags are easy to use. This means keep it simple and less-than-wordy. Also, make sure you don’t have accidental issues with your hashtags.
Pay attention to the wording. Make sure you don’t accidentally create a hashtag related to something you don’t want to get involved with.
Make a Game Out of Reviews
Social proof is your best friend for your business. 70% of consumers look at online reviews before deciding to purchase a product. They pay more attention to reviews from friends and family.
92% of people trust reviews from friends and family. This makes social media reviews a useful tool to promote your business.
To encourage customers to leave reviews, make a game out of it. You can offer a point system for reviews. You can even offer customer loyalty discounts based on the points.
You can offer points for more than just reviews. Offer points for purchases, for engagement, for bringing a friend. The point system is up to you.
You want your content to educate customers and leads about your business. You also want it to grab attention and engage readers. Think about mixing up your content occasionally to add a little fun or shock value.
Consider creating content on a controversial issue that relates to your industry. This doesn’t mean kicking up a controversy to grab attention. You can answer questions or offer your interpretation of controversial issues though.
If you have a creative streak, think about creating comics or animations to go with your content. You can use this to make fun of the unusual aspects of your industry. Or, you can use these options to make a boring issue more fun.
Make the Most of Your Success
Don’t get shy about your accomplishments. If you have a major success, let people know about it.
Did you win an industry award? Let people know about it on social media.
Did you have an exceptional month? Talk about it.
Let people know what you’re doing and why they should trust your business. Don’t become a narcissist, but don’t ignore your success either.
Creating a Stand-Out Business
Whether you’re promoting yourself online or offline, you want to create a lasting impression. Out-of-the-box marketing ideas will help your business stand out.
For more tips to create a stand-out home-based business, check out more entrepreneur and freelance resources.