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25 Creative Marketing Ideas for Any Business in 2018

The CMO Survey reports an 11 percent increase in the marketing budgets for United States businesses in 2017. As more businesses recognize the value of a solid marketing strategy to their bottom line, the marketing landscape has turned into a complex network of ideas and approaches that can sometimes overwhelm.

To make sure that you’re able to maximize your marketing budget, we asked experts to share their experience in turning your usual marketing strategies into creative ideas that convert.

Here are 25 of the top creative marketing ideas that can be used for any business as shared by the pros.


Tori Shanks - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

1. Start a Holiday-themed Giveaway on Facebook

Tori Shanks, Director of Content and SEO Marketing, Nu expression

During the 2018 holidays, we worked with an e-commerce client who sells cookies, cakes and other goodies. We decided to run a contest to increase the engagement with the brand and sales. However, their brand was Southern, warm and family-oriented. So, rather than posting a contest through social media where they are sent to a page to fill out a form, we implemented chatbots on Facebook. We set up Facebook ads and posted each day to promote the contest. Each day we associated a word or term with the chatbot so that when a new user saw the contest post, they could enter by simply commenting with this trigger word or phrase.

Once they commented, they were then sent a message through Facebook messenger. They were asked a couple questions about their favorite treats, provided their email address and Boom! — they were entered to win 12 days of prizes! All orchestrated by automated chatbots! This allowed our client to continue to communicate with people who entered after the contest ended and also made the experience more enjoyable and personable for the end-user.


Adrian Fields - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

2. Provide Your Services for Free to Charitable Causes

Adrian Fields, Co-founder, SmartFund

I am the co-founder and visionary of a fundraising system that helps nonprofits and small businesses at the same time. To market this program, we have started a charity that manages social media for nonprofits in exchange allowing us to raise money for them using our fundraising system and give small businesses heavily discounted social media management in exchange for becoming a partner.


Karen Kat Ellis - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

3. Focus Your Marketing and Branding Efforts on Your Product’s Unique Features

Karen Kat Ellis, Founder, Social Sweet Spot

I was hired to market a startup home improvement company for Georgia and surrounding states. The company was selling replacement bathrooms, replacement windows and gutter covers. Home improvement is a highly competitive, repetitive market with little to no innovation in the last 20 years. I determined from market research that the best way to do this was to promote the products as green alternatives to the competition’s products.

I pulled all the products together with explanations of how they were environmentally-friendly — the bathrooms and windows were kept clean chemical-free while the gutter covers filtered water for rain harvesting. The branding at shows included big bold backdrops of nature with the products sitting in front creating an organic feel, and the show giveaways included branded bottles of spring water.


Payman Taei - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

4. Create a Unique Approach for Offering Trial Periods

Payman Taei, Founder, Visme

The idea of a free trial period is nothing special but, instead, we modified how we use the terminology and attract decision makers by offering it as an exclusive complimentary premium version of our tool. We reached out to various stakeholders and bloggers and offered it with a small note that says: “We don’t want anything in return. If you like what you see, can you also share with your community?” The results have grown to hundreds of articles and reviews and reached audiences we could have never reached with advertising.


Werner G Krebs - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

5. Repurpose Your Popular Traditional Social Media Content Into Other Formats

Werner G. Krebs, Ph.D., CEO, Acculation

Initially, we’d start with the staid, generic, traditional marketing idea of writing boring blog articles and, using data and algorithms, turn it into a much more creative, cross-media concept. We’d lay down a few storylines, write blog articles and post a compelling, related photo or series of photos to Instagram. The most popular images would get turned (by algorithm) into glitch art and then, potentially, converted into video. Alternatively, images might be turned into 3D printable objects available for purchase, or even loaded into a virtual reality game where they could be made available as virtual in-game items for sale or converted back into images, such as virtual reality fashion modeling of a model wearing a data science visualization.


Jonathan Jenkins - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

6. Get Really Proficient at the Services That Lead to More Work

Jonathan Jenkins, Lead SEO Consultant & Founder, Lofty Rankings

In our case, the obvious starting point for any ongoing marketing campaign is a detailed audit of the existing website and marketing efforts. Don’t fall into the temptation of giving this away for free. Instead, refine your process and come up with something really actionable and valuable. Making your audit a paid service whittles out the long-shot potential clients who are very willing to sign up for something free but very unlikely to try anything paid. Also, the type of low-quality free audit you could realistically churn out with ease is unlikely to actually win any business, whereas an exhaustive, actionable audit provides ample evidence that:

  • You are an expert
  • There’s plenty to get to work on

You’ll resent every second spent on the free audit because you’ll know the eventual sale is unlikely. On the other hand, if you provide an excellent paid audit, even if the client doesn’t engage your services, you’ll both come out on top. You’ve been paid and they’ve got an actionable list of site improvements to work on.


Jeremy Ryan Slate - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

7. Get Creative with How You Share Content That Features You

Jeremy Ryan Slate, CEO & Co-founder, Command Your Brand Media

So what I’ve managed to do is take smaller press features and use them to create more attention. Most people get featured in a piece of press and just post the link, saying “Wow, I was featured in XXX publication.” That doesn’t work — first off because platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn do not like links, so they drive them down in ranking. So, step one is to use an image or video, it grabs attention and ranks much higher. The second thing to do is to write a story, the first line of which is something emotional, then a short narrative that has something in it for the reader; I’ve seen it work with simple press release, podcasts and even smaller newspaper features. Press isn’t about just getting it, but it’s about what you do with it — something I tell my clients every day.


Shawn Patel - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

8. Capitalize on Recent Marketing Successes Through Multimedia

Shaan Patel, Founder & CEO, Prep Expert

When deciding how to follow up our successful appearance on ‘Shark Tank,’ I felt that multimedia was the way to continue pushing forward. With this basic idea in mind, we filmed our free weekly webinar video, which has become the cornerstone of our content marketing strategy. By driving as many backlinks and targeted ad spends to this webinar, which shares SAT and ACT test strategies that students can use immediately, we created a focused funnel that has driven our brand recognition and sales revenue further through the roof. This funnel has allowed us to measure the temperature of consumer interest from season to season, create direct dialogue with potential sales leads through comment moderation and capture data for further remarketing.

Overall, the pivot into content marketing through multimedia has increased our overall user engagement while reducing ad spends, leading to a fantastic ROI [return on investment] in the past year since launch.


Brittany EB Hardy - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

9. Focus on Long-term Campaigns Like Email Newsletter Subscriptions

Brittany Hardy, Owner, Empty Desk Solutions

To illustrate the evolution of a marketing ‘idea’ that we turned into a more creative campaign, we can share our ‘weekly marketing tips’ series. We knew our audience already and what type of information they wanted — step one! The basic idea was (and still is) to provide small marketing tips to our small business audience via social media and our blog. But, then, we got to thinking, ‘How can we capture the attention of our audience for a longer period of time?’ and ‘Could we deliver this in a more convenient way for our target audience?’ After much brainstorming among our team, we decided that we would embark on a little journey to use this idea to build an email list that we can nurture over time.

We put it out there to subscribe to get our ‘Free weekly marketing tips series’ and, once someone signs up, they automatically start receiving one email per week with a marketing tip. Some are shorter tidbits of information and others are longer, in-depth articles we’ve written. But, the bottom line for us is that once we took our ‘idea’ to a campaign process, we started building more meaningful online connections. These connections are now in our sales funnel and have exponentially more value than a ‘like’ on a Facebook post.


David Mercer - marketing ideas - Tips from the pros

10. Track the Performance of Competitor’s Products on Amazon to Know What Marketing Strategy Works for Them

David Mercer, Founder, SME Pals

Tracking the sales of products on a platform like Amazon is a fairly well-known strategy for small business retailers to source products. But, there’s a much more creative way to use them as a method of spying on competitors marketing campaigns in order to find out what is working for them. Monitor the sales performance of competing products, receive alerts when those products experience surges in sales and then discover the marketing and promotions that drove those sales. In this way, marketers can build up a playbook of strategies that are known to work for similar products and services, thereby focusing and streamlining their efforts to increase ROI.


Read the rest of the expert tips here: https://fitsmallbusiness.com/creative-marketing-ideas/