5 Creative Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

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Have you been feeling discouraged with your recent marketing campaigns? You’ve tried everything you’re ‘supposed’ to do, but nothing has moved the needle?

It might be time to get a bit creative.

Consumers today are bombarded with the same old stuff. So in a world of noise, it can be hard to poke your head out from the crowd, especially if you’re a small business owner with limited time and a tight budget.

But there are plenty of fresh ways to creatively market your small business, and we’re sharing a few of our favorites with you today.

#1: Run a contest

Raise your hand if you don’t love winning free stuff? (There should be no hands raised).

Running a contest or sweepstakes is one of the best creative marketing ideas out there. These get people excited. It taps into psychology and lets you collect lots of data on the people who enter.

Plus it’s an easy way to get a viral word out of mouth campaign going, especially if your target audience is in your local area.

When it comes to the giveaway, it doesn’t have to be over the top. It should connect with your business and still appeal to customers. You can run them any time of the year or tie them in with special events.

#2: Jump on Instagram

Instagram is emerging as the favorite social media app of many. The numbers prove it out. Instagram has over 500 million active daily users and 400 million people checking out Instagram stories every day.

So that’s a fertile advertising ground. Now if you think that because your business doesn’t feature food or travel you’re out of luck, you’re wrong. There is a ton of potential on Instagram for small brands.

Ramit Sethi Instagram creative marketing ideas

Author and Growth Lab owner Ramit Sethi uses his Instagram account to host a “60 Second Show” where he answers common questions from viewers.

You can use Instagram to create contests, share quotes, create stories of what’s going on behind the scenes, answer commonly asked questions, and update product information. And those are just a few examples.

#3. Give back to the community

Consumers today love it when businesses genuinely care about people and the community. It works on the business end too; your brand can do good work and build a connection with the people in your area.

So consider how your business can get involved. There are a couple of ways you can approach this:

  • Provide volunteers for a local event
  • Offer special discounts for members of the military or teachers
  • Host free workshops or classes

None of these will break the bank, but they will help start building a culture of doing good in your office and get the attention of potential customers in your community.

#4: Create mailers

Remember back in the olden days (the early 90s??) when you didn’t get bombarded with emails but instead got all sorts of flyers and cards mailed to your home.

Seems quaint, doesn’t it?

Well, since everything old becomes new again, this retro marketing technique is gaining traction. In addition to a good email marketing campaign, try a direct mailing campaign too.

And you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get started. Use free design tools to help create your graphics and start mailing. Sporadically popping up in your customer’s mailboxes with fun mailers can be a great way to re-engage.

#5: Partner with micro-influencers

You’ve probably heard of influencer marketing. It’s where a brand partners with an influencer in a niche or field to help drive a message to their target market.

You can probably think of one well-known family that built their empire as brand influencers.

Small businesses are taking that concept and shrinking it to micro-influencers. These are people with much smaller, but more targeted, followings that are typically more engaged. No Kardashians necessary.


As you can see from the graphic above, micro-influencers can get results.

These micro-influencers can be from your local community or focus on a niche within a niche in your industry. Connect with them and explore the potential of reaching a small but dedicated crowd to help drive some social buzz for your brand.

Ready to get Creative with Your Marketing?

These five ideas are just the start. Sit down, have a brainstorm session and see what you can come up with by thinking a little bit out of the box. More often than not, the smallest tweaks can drive great results.

And, don’t forget a straightforward way for small businesses to tap into creativity is to use interactive content. Polls, quizzes, maps, and infographics are easy to create and drive engagement.