10 Creative Marketing Ideas to Build Your Business

AllBusiness Publication

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When entrepreneurs are first starting out, they usually are not thinking of “rocking the boat” when it comes to marketing. Yet a very creative promotion can work wonders for a new business, generating a positive buzz that will get it noticed. 

To find out which approaches work best, we asked 10 entrepreneurs from YEC Next and Young Entrepreneur Council this question:

Q: What is one out-of-the-box promotion that worked wonders for your fledgling business? 

1. Speed dating with potential customers

I would set up in a WeWork conference room for a day and let people book 20 to 30 minute time slots with me. Founders would come in for free and get growth advice from our growth team (me) on how to scale their business. My main goal was to get out of the office and talk to potential customers. This method doesn’t scale, but by doing it we formed some great relationships with people. —Jim HuffmanGrowthHit

2. Performance guarantees

When we first started out, a great way to get our foot in the door was to offer various performance guarantees that we felt we could, and should, be able to meet or exceed. This de-risked the choice for our clients, and it’s something we still offer to ensure our clients meet their demand generation targets. —Brandon PindulicOpGen Media

3. Get a little outrageous

We made a list of 50 of our perfect target clients. We then worked out a deal with a local pizza place to deliver free pizza to all of them. Out of each pizza, we had the shop remove one slice and replace it with a small printed graphic that was in the shape of a slice. It said: “Looking to grow your company? We are the missing piece. Give us a call.” —Frank BravataMarketing Rebellion

4. Radio interviews

By giving radio interviews, you get exposure, and potential customers get to know you and will remember you. Contact radio stations to promote your business and let them know you have expertise in a particular area and are available to provide a local angle whenever necessary. This is something I personally did in the early stages of Aligned Signs. It is still a good practice for free publicity. —Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

5. Public speaking

One of the best lead generation methods is public speaking—it’s inexpensive and very effective! Sharing knowledge is a great way to provide value and position yourself as an expert. Every time I present, I have multiple people approach me afterward who are interested in learning more about my services. We’ve closed many deals this way. —Zack HanebrinkHookLead

6. Alignment with trade associations

One of the best things we did was to strategically align ourselves with several respected trade associations by offering our services in exchange for being considered their marketing partner. By first proving our worth, we built a strong endorsement from them to their respected members within the organization. That opened the door to high-quality companies looking for a vetted marketing partner. Remember, most associations are non-profits that have limited resources but do great things for their communities, so they are always interested in expert help. —Matt BardenIndustrial Marketing

7. Third-party guest posting

In the world of digital marketing, this is nothing new. But for other businesses that aren’t so content-centered, the last thing they want to think about for a quick promotion is creating content for relevant websites or blogs within their industry. Start with the most influential sites and pitch blog ideas to them that discuss unique solutions to their readers’ problems, while not being self-promoting. —Ron LiebackContentMender

8. Tell your story

If people don’t know you’re up and running, they can’t hire you. Get the word out to your entire network, however is best for you to communicate (email, social media, in person, phone, mail, etc.). When you’re first starting out, you have the novelty of newness that people will pay attention to. Tell your story about who you are serving, what problems you solve, and why you decided to start. —Todd GiannattasioTresnic Media

9. Be very specific

Be laser specific and identify your most ideal 100 clients. Think of the companies or people you’d love to work with most and to whom you can provide great value, too. From there, I’d build a very specific outbound campaign to reach them, demonstrate value, and have a call to action to hop on the phone. Before this CTA, I’d work hard to establish rapport and trust. Think in terms of “What makes me different and how can I give before getting?” This campaign might look like: Email 1, Mail 1, Call 1, Email 2, Contact Us form, etc. —Zach BurkesPredictable Profits

10. Offer add-ons

Since we sell travel experiences, we offered promotions of free side trips, tours, and adventures to incentivize customers to take action there and then, rather than get lost among our competitors. We still do this to this day. As it’s a promotion of a product within the same space as us, we get industry rates and we can find “add-ons” that sound interesting and are cool that don’t necessarily cost as much as they sound. We found this makes a big difference to customers who are often seeking more and more value for their money. This is something many companies and industries could do with partners they already work with: Buy X today and get a free Y. —Jürgen HimmelmannThe Global Work & Travel Co.

Does Your Web Business Face One Of These Common Problems?

Forbes Publication

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It’s important to do what you love, or at least to find a way to derive pleasure from whatever it is you do to earn a living. But at the end of the day, if your business isn’t making ends meet, you’ve got a problem. A lot of people come to me for business advice and, most of the time, the problem lies in one of three areas: marketing, messaging and traffic.

Here, we’ll discuss common problems in these three areas and how to fix them.

Marketing Problems

• Leads and traffic: This could be a quality problem. If your content isn’t drawing clicks, you need to step up your game. Start by conducting research to find out what your audience wants.

• Insufficient return on investment (ROI): If your marketing efforts aren’t paying for themselves, you have a problem. If meeting your financial needs isn’t the problem, consider curtailing your spending. Otherwise, finding alternate hosting options or new partners might be called for.

• Budgeting: If you’ve nailed down exactly what you need to be spending on marketing, but you just can’t draw away enough funds from other assets to pay for it, something needs to be adjusted. Like ROI problems, you can try making money-saving changes. But better marketing is probably the real solution in the long run. Try turning your attention to your messaging efforts. We’ll discuss this more below.

Website management: Most companies have a website because it’s necessary to do business. If managing your web site is too time-consuming or isn’t your cup of tea, you could go with a full-service hosting provider. They sometimes have prefab site templates you can use. Another solution is to hire a web development professional. This doesn’t have to be terribly expensive, and you can ask a developer to deliver a product that’s designed to be easy to maintain by a novice user.

Messaging Problems

• Inconsistent or insufficient branding: Major brands discovered long ago that the purpose of branding is to make people feel that your brand is a person, a simple and consistent person who’s behavior is trustworthy and predictable. Think of Walt Disney. Disney has a very consistent branding profile. People know what to expect from Disney. It could be that your brand messaging does not communicate a simple, attractive and consistent brand image. If that’s the case, create a “branding bible” for your company. Another solution is to have all your content and marketing done by the same person.

• Failure to communicate your value proposition: If your audience doesn’t know what makes you special, then they might as well go to the next company that has a similar product or service. Make sure your messaging and branding clearly explain why you are different. It may be that you’re less expensive, offer better quality or superior service, and so on.

• Content quality issues: These days, your content should not consist only of advertisements. You need to give your audience information that they want or need. If your content does not entertain or educate, it’s not doing its job and it won’t draw clicks.

Traffic Problems

If your website isn’t drawing traffic, that’s a problem. If it’s not due to one of the problems mentioned above, then the fix might be pretty straightforward.

• Search engine optimization (SEO): If you’ve spent more than a minute looking into advertising online, you’ve heard of SEO. SEO is about researching terms that are proven to attract clicks to merchants in your industry. SEO is a full-time job. If you’re new to it, consider contacting the professionals.

• Too little or stagnant content: If your blog isn’t active enough, Google might give you a low search rank. Advertisers don’t like having their ads on inactive sites, so make sure you update your blog at least once a week. I recommend that posts be at least 750 words in length.

• Been to Quora?: Quora is still a great place to answer questions for people seeking advice from experts. Whatever your profession is, you’re sure to know many things about it that outsiders aren’t privy to. Congratulations, that means you’re an expert. By answering questions relevant to your industry, you’re advertising your expertise to a new audience. Quora isn’t the only Q&A site, but it’s a good place to start.

At the end of the day, as long as you’re plugging away at these common problem areas, you’ll make progress. Just put in a full day’s work and stay under budget — you’ll be A-okay.

Original Post: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/10/02/does-your-web-business-face-one-of-these-common-problems/#687ef269387e