When you run a small business, you wear a lot of hats — and it can feel like a deep personal blow when your marketing doesn’t seem to be working.
Maybe you’ve set up your Instagram posts, e-mailed your list, attended three local networking events this week, provided amazing customer service… but you still have that feeling of “Is any of this really working? What more could I even do?!”
You’re not alone. When the crickets set in and make you question your promotion strategies, here are four unique ideas to rejuvenate your marketing, shake up your energy, and revive your flow of customers again:
1. Be more YOU.
Most entrepreneurs started our small businesses because, in one way or another, we hated being boxed in by someone one else’s rules.
But after we’ve been running our business, wearing all of these hats, managing operations, greeting everyone with a smile… that feeling of freely being ourselves and making our rules sometimes falls to the wayside.
Gary Vaynerchuk, although admittedly no longer a small business owner, often shares tidbits with his audience about his love of the New York Jets. These anecdotes about his love for a football team have very little to do with the products he sells, but they make him seem more real, human, and relatable to his audience.
Ask yourself: How can I make marketing feel more like me? Is there any piece of my business where I’m trying too hard to look “professional”? How can I infuse more of my true personality into my messaging?
2. Celebrate interesting holidays.
We all know about Black Friday specials and back-to-school sales … but did you know that September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Do you have World Turtle Day marked on your calendar for May 23rd?
NationalDayCalendar.com lists over 1,500 quirky and obscure holidays, and browsing through their list can spark creative ideas about eccentric events, sales, and social media posts that tie your business with these holidays.
3. Go to networking events, but not to get clients.
Most small business owners go for networking events to make connections, get more clients, and eventually scale their business. This can be really frustrating, or it can be really fun. It’s up to you and your goal!
When people go to an event and focus on how they’re going to sell their product, they feel pressured to make that sale and are not focused on long-term goals. Nobody likes to be sold to, and you run the risk of either leaving a bad impression or being quickly forgotten by the people you meet.
Here’s the key: don’t go to a networking event to sell. Networking events are for making connections. You get to meet a lot of people at once, but after you leave the event you should follow up and schedule a coffee/tea meetup to get to know that person on a more in-depth level. That is the key. You can follow up, you can make friends who then become your referral partners… it’s all about AFTER an event and who you stay in touch with ?
For more tips on how network like a pro, check out this article.
4. Try an unexpected (and low risk) collaboration!
What other businesses or organizations exist in your area that are completely different from yours? Think way outside the box — restaurants, artists, toy stores, fashion designers, travel agencies, auto repair shops, or any other businesses that have nearly nothing in common with yours.
Now may be the time to widen your network, reach out to one of these businesses, and pitch a creative collaboration. You could contact a local pet photographer and offer to set up a pop-up holiday photo experience for dogs in your space — complete with Santa. Or maybe offer a local tattoo artist the chance to design a product, and then throw a joint launch party to celebrate.
By collaborating with an unexpected partner, you increase your visibility to a brand new audience and expand your opportunities for word-of-mouth referrals. Here are some examples of retailers successfully collaborating with diverse partners to achieve greater brand recognition.
Have you tried any of these out-of-the-box ideas to promote your brand? Did we leave a strategy off this list that was highly effective for you? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
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