Running a trade and contractor business can be hard work and marketing is certainly not the easiest part. If you’re looking for creative marketing ideas for your business, you might be surprised at how simple and affordable it can be. Check out the following 99 low cost and easy to implement marketing ideas.
1. Utilize Deal Sites: Sites like Groupon are great for small business owners who want to promote their items. You can easily create deals that generate buzz for your business and bring in new customers.
2. Write Articles: Content marketing isn’t just important these days, it’s crucial. Write or purchase quality, helpful articles that relate to your business and post them on your site.
3. Look for Sponsorship Opportunities: Whether it’s putting a small sign on the back of taxi cab seats or renting space elsewhere there are many places you can find sponsorship opportunities for your logo or brand name.
4. Create an Infographic: Infographics are all the rage- and why not? They deliver great content in a simple, visually stunning format.
5. Make Predictions: Do you see an upcoming trend in your industry? Predict it publicly. When you’re right, customers will be wowed and you’ll be a trusted business in their minds.
6. Capitalize on Pop Culture: Write an article on the latest new celebrity million dollar mansion or renovations.
7. Interview an Expert: A great way to gain credibility when you’re building your name is to interview an already-trusted expert, either for an article on your site or on video.
8. Make a Top 10 List: Make a Top 10 list and add it to your site. Be creative if can be about anything related to content that your audience loves.
9. Use Slideshare: If you haven’t heard of Slideshare it’s a business-learning social media site that allows you to create slideshows and PowerPoints that are informative and offer tips, how-tos, and other types of advice and info to your customers.
10. Host a Webinar: Teach and educate others using webinars. Talk about the latest trends or colours. Help people in their buying process.
11. Create a Blog: Blogging is extremely important to business these days. Make a blog and add it to your site – then keep it up to date.
12. Guest Post: Once you’ve got a decent blog following, start guest posting on other people’s blogs to bring in new readership and customers.
13. Have an email address in your company name: Using Hotmail.com or gmail.com as your business email address looks cheap and nasty. Look for a hosted email solution that is email@example.com. We work with and recommend Google Apps as one easy solution for small business owners.
14. Write an e-Book: Write or hire an e-Book that has to do with your field and position yourself as an expert to bring in sales and customers – as well as recognition.
15. Cover a Local Event: Whatever’s going on in your local area, be sure to be there and cover it. Posting about it on your website or blog is a great way to show you’re involved in the local community, and being there offers you great networking.
16. Create a Podcast: Making a podcast is a great idea because it allows you to create informative episodes that your listeners can take everywhere. It’s a great way to build authority, gain a fan base, and keep in touch with your customers.
17. Google Adwords: Google provides a very flexible and target rich advertising procut with their paid search traffic product Google Adwords. Bid on popular keywords so that your business is shown on the front page of Google.
18. Take Your Site Mobile: If you haven’t taken your website mobile yet, you need to. People are more and more likely to be looking for products and services on their mobile devices. Be where they are. Google will also penalize you in search results if your website is not mobile friendly.
19. Host a Fundraiser for Local Schools: This is more easily done if you sell edibles, but no matter what your business is you can host a fundraiser for a local or charity schools.
20. Merge with Another Business for an Event: Do a joint sale with a non-competitor in your local area. Try to find businesses that compliment but are different from yours.
21. Business Award Competitions: Entering business award competitions can earn you credibility and badges you can put on your site. Do searches for competitions in your industry and apply away.
22. Go to the Chamber of Commerce: Your Chamber of Commerce is a great place to network, meet other businesses, get the word out about your products or services, and obtain helpful information for growing your business.
23. Get Personal: Write hand-written thank you notes or birthday cards to your customers. It makes a huge impact in today’s robotic and electronic world.
24. Create a Customer Survey: Create a customer survey for your online shoppers and in-store shoppers alike. Make sure you actually listen to the feedback. Talk about an outrageous idea, right? Your customers will thank you.
25. Create a Prolific Online Presence: Almost every area in which you can make an online presence is free – blogs, social media accounts, etc. – but it’s extremely powerful, as well. Be everywhere you’re able to.
26. Bumper Stickers and Decals –Use Them: It might seem like everybody’s doing it – but that’s just the reason you should be, too. It’s relatively inexpensive to create bumper stickers for your business at places like Vistaprint.
27. Be Your Own Billboard: Have your logo and site printed on t-shirts and other items and wear them.
28. Put Coupons in the local newspaper: It might not seem that creative, but in today’s electronic world there are those who do still use paper coupons and love reading the local newspaper.
29. Host Secret Sales: Whether you literally open your shop to your best customers when you normally aren’t open, or you host an online secret sale for people who sign up for your email list, having a secret sale is a great way to cultivate more buyer interest and make sales.
30. Ring customers for referrals: Follow up recent jobs to make sure they are happy with the job and ask if they know anyone else that could use your services.
31. Create Calendars: Everyone loves getting a nice calendar at the end of the year as a thank you.
32. Utilize YouTube: You should create your own YouTube channel and host weekly episodes that are how-to videos asking your most common asked questions, or examples of your work.
33. Have a Creative Number: Whether it’s local or toll free create a memorable number for your business, having a creative number is one of the oldest creative marketing ideas in the book. And it works!
34. Update Your Signage: Your place of business or vehicles should have adequate signage that is visually appealing, clean, and easy to read. If you don’t, update it. If you have a fleet of cars make sure their signage is consistent.
35. Give a Speech: Find a career day or speak at a local school about the power and possibility of owning your own business to inspire your area’s youth.
36. Get a Yellow Pages Ad: Yes, really. It might seem old school, but it might just be right for your target market.
37. Create a Loyalty Program: Customers love to be rewarded for shopping, making loyalty programs one of the most addictive creative marketing ideas in use.
38. Answer your phone: Simple really as most people won’t leave a voicemail.
39. Think Like a Customer: This is your number one most powerful tool in marketing. Walk into your shop as though you were a customer and ask yourself why you’d want to be there – then do it.
40. Use Your Surroundings: What types of objects surround your business that you could use to advertise on or with? Get creative!
41. Make Instructional Videos: Anything you know how to do you can teach, and anything you can teach you can make an instructional video for.
42. Get on Wurble: Showcase your portfolio and network with other Trade professionals on Wurble.com.au
43. Use LinkedIn: Use Linkedin to form partnerships and JV opportunities.
44. Recycle Old Content: Is that once-popular blog post fizzling? Reuse the content in a new and creative way. Videos, social media graphics, editorial for a industry publication, customer newsletter, sales automation – the list goes on.
45. Have a Customer Referral Program: It’s a great way to bring in new customers and reward those you already have for recommending you.
46. Have a Business Card Draw: This not only helps you connect with customers but spreads your business name to other businesses, which is great networking.
47. Give Away Useful Promotional Items: Lapel pins aren’t really going to win you customers. Ink pens, on the other hand, will likely be used often, keeping your business name in your customer’s mind.
48. Use Your Products to Advertise: Try to find creative ways to use your products to advertise sales. For instance, if you make jewelry use hand-stamped letter necklaces that say “Mother’s Day Sale” as the image for your sale.
49. Drop Business Cards Everywhere: Always ask if it’s in another place of business, but go where your customers are and leave your card. One dental office put a basket of free, branded floss in the restroom of a steak restaurant. Genius!
50. Ask for Testimonials: Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to brag about you. Testimonials are more powerful and easier to get than you might imagine.
51. Get on Google Maps: It might not seem like one of the most creative marketing ideas, but it is – especially since so many businesses overlook it. Make sure your place of business can be found on Google Maps and shows up in local search.
52. And Have a Google+ Page: Google+ used to be the newcomer to social media, but it can be a powerful marketing tool and helps with your SEO.
53. Join Meet up: Then host some Meet ups in your local area that have to do with your business. Meet up is also great for finding other creative marketing ideas.
54. Leverage current events: Make large events applicable to your small business. Capitalizing on national events like the Football Grand Finals to get interest.
55. Have a phone script. Know exactly what information you need to get from the customer to give them the right advice from the start. Also helps to see if they are the right customer for you before you waste too much time.
56. Use Behavioral Psychology to Your Advantage: A lot of research has been done in the realm of how people behave and why – especially when it comes to shopping. Do a little research and use it when you market.
57. Create Hashtags for Your #AwesomeSale: Are you hosting a sale? Create a hashtag to go along with it. It will help your deal spread across social media and keep you relevant.
58. Borrow Window Space: Ask the local post office, bookstore, or other business if you can post a branded sign in their store window to cultivate local small business sales.
59. Donate your time to Charity: Donating your skills is a great way for you and your staff to feel good and help others. It’s also a great way to market your services.
60. Let Customers Choose the Charity: Another way to give back is to offer your customers the option of having a certain percentage of their sale go to one of a few selected charities.
61. Teach Your Employees About Customer Service: Customer service is the one area that will make or break your business – don’t skimp here.
62. Get a Logo and Brand Everything: Don’t underestimate the importance of a logo. Make it small and clear enough that you can brand absolutely everything with it – from your door to your packaging.
63. Express Your Personality: Don’t try to be like anyone else when it comes to your small business. Be you and let your customers know who that is. They’ll appreciate your genuine nature.
64. Network, Network, Network: Get out meet people. Don’t just go once go many times to start to develop long term business relationships.
65. Join a local BNI Chapter: BNI is an international networking organization that has a structured and formal referral networking process – a very powerful way to build referrals for trades and contracting businesses.
66. Facebook videos: Video on Facebook is very popular at the moment and easy to upload directly from your phone to Facebook to entertain and educate your community.
67. Helpful marketing: Sometimes, helping other non-competitors penetrate the market will in turn, help you discover new niches and target populations that can boost your presence and sales.
68. Join Forums: Primarily used for sharing information, finding the right forum that talks about your industry will immediately put you in the loop with experts and beginners. They are the people who can help grow your business the best. You can share what you know and learn new things at the same time.
69. Host DIY Workshops: Show them how to do easy jobs around the home that will help to position you are an expert in your industry. Plus when they stuffed it up you will be top of mind to fix it!
70. Email signature: A blank space at the end of a thank-you email is the best turn-off for your clients. Add a little flavor to your emails that gives a personal touch. Seeing a well thought-of signature means that you really care about image and professionalism. And that’s a good image for any business owner.
71. Real estate partnerships: Team up with the people who deal with the most difficult yet most rewarding clients: people who buy property. Real estate partnerships will open up your social and marketing circles to new people who are ready to invest heavily on new things. You might just be one of these new things these clients are looking for.
72. Joint Venture: Team up with another business that shares the same target audience as you.
73. Promote company milestones: One of the best ways to earn the trust of new prospects is to show them what your company has accomplished over the years. Try to show them a pattern of excellence and dedication to work that has been proven by a history of success.
74. Charity Fundraiser: Show the public that you’re not just in it for the money. Although you won’t be making any profits through a fundraiser, the exposure and the positive PR you’ll be getting from such a venture will outweigh the lost profits any day.
75. Prizes at school fetes: It may not be as costly as you think to provide prizes at certain schools. Remember that your prizes get shown to parents when the kids get home. These are the people you want to reach.
76. Flyer drops in streets where you are working. Spend 10 minutes walking up and down the street dropping flyers into letterboxes in houses where you work. Even be brave and knock on some doors to introduce yourself.
77. Fridge magnets: Who doesn’t love a good magnet to pin crayon drawings and bills on the fridge? Have a bunch of handy fridge magnets ready as giveaways to customers and your phone number will be easy for them to find. It’s a good way to imprint your name into their memory.
78. On Time guarantee: Guarantee to be on-time and offer a cashback if you are late. That will get people talking.
79. Facebook Ads: Try Facebook ads for targeted ads in your local community to relevant interest groups. A very powerful marketing tool from just $10 per day.
80. Seasonal or monthly newsletter: Stay in touch with your customers with an email newsletter that showcases helpful educational information, industry trends, news and specials.
81. Email auto-responders: Get automated and send out tailored automate emails to your customers and email subscribers. Build relationships while you sleep!
82. Follow up quotes: Something that all trades people should do and don’t is to follow up your quotes. Ring your customers to ensure they received the quote and answer any questions they may have.
83. Send reminders for reoccurring/maintenance works Have a system where you can send a letter, email or call customers once they are due for more work.
84. Houzz: This online community of interior designers and home-owners is one of the best places to showcase your talents to potential customers.
85. List your business with lead generation sites. Try home service sites like Craig’s List (USA) or Hi-pages, One Flare or Service Seeking (AU) to get leads delivered direct to your email inbox or SMS.
86. Send gifts to suppliers & referrals: Build lasting relationships and send thank you gifts to key suppliers and referral partners. Try and make the gift personal.
87. Local newspaper ad: People still read the papers. This is still a powerful piece of media that most online marketers have overlooked. It may be slightly costly, but you’re guaranteed a good number of readers any day.
88. Send a Christmas gift: Christmas as a good time to touch based with your customers with a nice personalized Christmas card, special offer or yearly calendar.
89. Put a sign on your home fence: Remember that your own house is an under-utilised piece of marketing real estate. Get a nice professionally designed sign that can stand tall and proud on your own property. It’s free advertising, after all.
90. Put your card on community notice boards: Pop your business card on your local community notice boards often found in shopping centres and supermarkets. You just never know who is reading them!
91. Place your card at your suppliers: Market through your business partners. These people aren’t just your associates. They could serve as portals to other business connections that are just waiting to be discovered. Leaving your cards with them will connect you to the other people they do business with.
92. Know how to update your website: It is important to keep your website up to date so make sure you or your staff learn the basics for updating your website content
93. Attend a Seminar: Get education as well as networking with other small business owners. You’ll learn more about your industry and meet other people who share the same passions that you do. It’s two birds with one stone!
94. Picture That: Add pictures to everything. Text is important, but visuals are just as important in capturing your audience and bringing in customers.
95. Sponsor a local sports team: Support local sporting community projects to concrete your commitment to the local area.
96. Host Instagram Photo Contest: Hosting an Instagram photo contest is a great way to promote publicity for your product and increase customer engagement – two things you really want and need for success.
97. Stalk Your Competitors: On social media, that is. Make sure you’re up-to-date on what your competitors are doing. Your competitors are talking – you should be at least listening. Don’t get too caught up in comparing though.
99. Pin Images: Get on Pinterest and be active there. Take pictures of your jobs, designs and creations, and make sure your customers can share on Pinterest from your site. Especially important for home renovation industries.
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