171 Marketing Ideas For Small Business: The Complete List
This is the largest collection of marketing ideas for small business on the planet.
Because there’s too much conflicting information out there.
One “expert” says this, another “guru” says that.
It’s really easy to get lost…
So I want to make things easy for you.
That’s why I pulled together the most actionable tactics and created the BIGGEST list of small business marketing ideas online so you can pick and choose which make the most sense for your business.
Don’t worry, I’m going to keep things interesting with helpful links, visuals, quotes from influencers like Guy Kawasaki, Neil Patel and Larry Kim, plus even a few personal stories. 🙂
Let’s dive right in…
(Click any of the links below to jump to each category)
- Section 01: Marketing Basics
- Section 02: Online Marketing
- Section 03: Design
- Section 04: Getting Found
- Section 05: Content Marketing
- Section 06: Social Media
- Section 07: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Section 08: Lead Generation
- Section 09: Email Marketing
- Section 10: Sales
- Section 11: Delight Customers
- Section 12: Analytics
- Section 13: Offline Marketing
1. Valide your business idea by defining it’s product/marketing fit.
You need to start by getting REALLY clear on the solution your business delivers so you have an extensive understanding of your product and the audience it’s for. Without a product/market fit, everything else you do won’t work.
Related: Quora answers to How do you define Product-Market fit?
2. Know exactly who your customers are by developing customer personas.
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help document internalize the ideal customer you’re trying to attract.
Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is essential for content creation, product development, sales and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.
Here’s an example:
3. Borrow ideas from those who are doing it right.
One of the most obvious places to learn how to market your brand is to look to look your most successful competitors.
Reverse engineering their strategies can be highly effective when done correctly. Tools like BuiltWith give marketers insights into which tools make up their competitors websites.
While I personally like to use Pinterest to find inspiration for websites, content and more.
4. Make sure you stand out with a powerful unique value proposition (UVP).
If you’re brand is seen as a “me too”, then you won’t be able to convince people to buy from you over the competition. So even though I recommend learning from competitors, if you’re a carbon copy of them and you’re trying to attract the same audience, people will be able to tell…
Whether it’s your stellar customer service reputation, a secret sauce or defining quality of your brand, it’s important to effectively communicate that to your audience.
5. Learn your customers’ lingo by using Amazon to identify “trigger phrases”.
This little trick was introduced to me by Digital Marketer. Basically you find popular books and similar products to what you’re sell on Amazon. Next, you look at all the 5-star and 1-star reviews to identify “trigger phrases” that people are using.
A trigger phrase is any set of words that clearly describe a pain point or solution the reviewer had with a product. You can use these phrases in your marketing.
6. Start a customer “swipe file” to document their terminology.
Building on the last idea, you should save a document with all the customer terminology and trigger phrases you come across in your business. Save all this information from forums, online communities, reviews, feedback, etc. into a “swipe file” that you can refer to later at any time.
7. Learn how to grow your business with help from your suppliers and vendors.
Having a solid relationship with your vendors and suppliers has many benefits. Specifically, they have deeper insights than most about the workings of your industry.
Having worked with many other sellers, they can help you identify what’s working so you both make more sales.
8. Become more memorable by using consistent branding across all channels.
If you do not have a clear, identifiable brand that people recognize, it will be difficult to stand out and confusing for current customers.
9. Win lifelong customers when you under promise and over deliver.
Even though some might disagree, I believe one of the basic philosophies in business (and life) is that you get out, what you put in. That’s why I always like to under promise and over deliver because I know the end results will be more positive for both parties.
That what clear expectations are set on the outcome so their is no disappointment, but when you go above and beyond and exceed expectations, you’ll earn their business for life.
John the handyman charges more than most to account for unexpected expenses, then returns leftover money to customer which makes everyone happy. There’s not surprise costs and they usually get money back.
10. Stay sharp by subscribing to industry magazines and publications.
It’s critical that you follow relevant publications to stay up to date and informed.
When I started ELIV8 I had already been working with a number of businesses in the casual living industry (patio furniture, BBQs, etc.) So I regularly read the “Casual Living Magazine.” One month I noticed a lead I had been chasing for a while was interviewed in the magazine. I followed up with her and mentioned the article, a few days later we finalized the retainer!
11. Get valuable feedback with focus groups.
When I hear “focus groups” I usually laugh because of how they are depicted in TV shows like Silicon Valley. But they are an extremely effective way of getting contrastive feedback before going all in on a new venture, product or whatever.
It doesn’t even have to be that elaborate, just get a group of willing people together (who you consider your target audience) and ask them some questions. Simple as that!
12. Become a go-to expert in your field.
If you’re not an expert in your field, savvy shoppers will recognize that and choose a competitor. Expertise comes from learning, repetition and experience.
13. Move more people to action by using emotion in your advertising.
People are capable of four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised and angry/disgusted. And when combined they can create a variety of other emotions and feelings.
In an analysis of the IPA dataBANK, which contains 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content.
Remember the Budweiser commercial with the horse and puppy?
14. Use holidays as a promotional tool to reach ready to buy shoppers.
It’s no secret that Black Friday and Christmas are huge holidays for businesses. And specific holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are huge for flower shops! Prom and Homecoming are huge for suit/dress stores.
There’s many combinations of holidays that are good for certain types of business, and some big holidays that are good for everyone. The point is you need to identify those holidays and plan ahead so you know exactly how you plan to leverage that (specials, discounts, free gifts, etc.)
15. Never miss an important marketing milestone or even with a marketing calendar.
Similar to holidays, your business likely has a number of other important events and milestones that you need to have documented somewhere obvious so everyone on your team has time to prepare.
For example, a client of mine hosts BBQ cooking classes and competitions. In order for them to fill those events, they start marketing 30 days in advanced and they stay on top of it by having a calendar.
16. Get more local customers by understanding the demographics of your local sales area.
Local small businesses need to understand the demographics of their city before they choose a location.
When I was in college I delivered pizzas to make some extra cash. I remember the shop owners deciding to open a high-end version of their restaurant in one of the less privileged parts of California. The expensive, white-cloth dining just didn’t fit the needs of the local community. Sadly a months after opening (and a few hundred thousand dollars later) they closed the doors.
17. Free up your time with the help of a virtual assistant.
Like most entrepreneurs I can be a control freak because I want everything to work “perfectly”. But if your budget allows it, consider using UpWork to find a virtual assistant to take care of menial tasks like email, meeting scheduling, admin work, etc. to free up your time for more important things.
18. Never miss a beat with a bullet-proof marketing plan.
You can’t score if you don’t have a goal. It’s true in sports and true in life.
Without a plan in place that has steps towards your business goals, you’re just shooting in the dark.
Without a plan you won’t have recourse when things go wrong or the motivation to persevere without a clear goal and outcome in mind.
Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan
19. Get where you want to be faster with a professional marketer and/or consultant.
Smart businesses know when to admit they need some extra help. Hiring a professional marketing consultant to help guide your strategy and implement the tactics can skyrocket your business growth by leaning on their expertise.
I might be a little biased but you should check out ELIV8 for all your marketing and consulting needs.
20. Customers ask, you answer.
Marcus Sheridan from The Sales Lion say:
21. Monitor every single brand mention online with Google Alerts.
As you manage your online presence, it’s crucial that you listen to what people are saying about you and your brand. It’s important to know if other sites are linking to you, quoting you, prompting you or complaining about you.
That’s where Google Alerts comes in handy. You can track your brand and your competitors to you can monitor all mentions so you can act accordingly.
22. If you don’t have a website, get one yesterday.
The single most important aspect of your online marketing strategy to own your own website. There’s countless good reasons to have a website…
90% of internet users browse or research products online. Plus, 50% on those people intend on purchasing a product or service.
If you’re not where your customers are looking, which today is the internet, you’ll loose out to the competition.
23. Make it easier to get found with a solid domain name (preferably with .com)
Another important aspect of your online presence is your domain name. This one can be tough because most of the “good ones” are already purchased by squatters who are waiting to sell them to the highest bidder. That’s why it might take a little creativity.
For example, my business’s full name is ELIV8 Business Strategies. But eliv8.com was not available, and the full name was too long. So we settled on www.eliv8group.com
Search engine experts will tell you that “domain authority” is the most important factor that determines search engine rankings. Purchasing a new domain means it will have ZERO domain authority, which makes it more difficult to get higher rankings. If possible, purchase a domain in your industry that was previously owned by someone else.
24. Reach more people by translating your website into multiple languages.
A report published by the renowned Instituto Cervantes research center says there are now an estimated 52.6 million people in the US who can speak the worldwide romance language, which is second only to Mexico’s 121 million.
Plus, if you live in a state the borders Mexico, chances are a large percentage of the local population speak Spanish as their native language.
25. Convert more traffic with fast loading website.
A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. (Source: KissMetrics)
How to make your site faster:
- Get a good host
- Optimize images
- Use compression
- Reduce number of active plugins
Related: Load Time Affects Google Rankings
26. Keep people coming back to you by keeping your site updated and fresh.
A site that’s not updated gradually looses value over time.
Not only do search engines love frequently updated sites, but a fresh website also:
- Incites visitors to check back often for new content and updates
- Allows you to feature company news like new products, events, etc.
- Gives you a chance to provide value that generates leads and sales
Make sure to use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress to build your site on, that way you can make changes easily and immediately. Plus, don’t just focus on keeping your blog updated, other parts of your site like the FAQs, new testimonials, new products and other main pages.
27. Get more people on your email list by using the “Upside-Down Homepage”.
The Upside-Down Homepage is a clever trick I learned from Bryan Harris at VideoFruit. Basically, the typical menu bar that you see at the top of most pages is placed at the bottom of the page.
He found that this new framework decreases bounce rates by an average of 25% (the number of people who show up and leave without doing anything else) and increases email opt-ins by an average of 300%.
Related: How To Build An Upside-Down Homepage
28. Get the sales before your competitors by answering customer inquiries as fast as possible.
It’s important that your website’s contact forms are sending customer submissions to someone who can followup with them immediately.
According to InsideSales, “50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first.” The report cites 2007 data from Dr. James Oldroyd which found “the odds of the lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.”
29. Let your audience know you care about them by responding to all online feedback (good and bad).
When a customer gives you valuable feedback online, whether it’s through an email, blog comments, Yelp review, etc, regardless of the feedback being positive or negative, you need to respond to those people.
Not only does it show them that you care about their experience, but if the conversation is publish (like on Yelp) it shows other people the same thing. Not to mention all the epic feedback you can get directly from you audience.
30. Build relationships and get more eye-balls by competing on other people’s blogs.
One of the best ways to build relationships with other influential people in your niche, as well as drive some traffic back to your own website/content, is to leave personal, thoughtful comments on blogs in your industry. Make sure you’re not spamming links, that will NEVER work.
31. Create digital version of your brochure.
Just because some people are “old-school” and prefer traditional media, that doesn’t mean they don’t go online. Give them the best of both world by creating a digital PDF of your offline brochure and put it in a relevant place on your website.
32. Develop your personal brand to become a sought-after influencer.
Like I mentioned in tip #12, you need to be an expert in your field to gain the credibility needed to get more, high-ticket customers.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Get a personal website
- Get featured in a major media outlets
- Get a column in industry publication
- Speak at industry events
33. Bring people back to your website and product pages with retargeting ads.
Visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website. Plus, retargeting ads you can lead to a 1046% increase in brand searches.
Until recent years, the only way you could communicate on an ongoing basis with your website visitors was if you got them onto your email list. But now, with the borderline creepy marketing tools out there, you can track people who viewed your website and didn’t convert and bring them back.
For example, if someone visits an opt-in landing page with an eBook download but did not convert. You can target them on other website’s like Facebook with relevant ads to remind them to opt-in and download your eBook.
Related: How Retargeting Works
34. Optimize your website and content for mobile or loose out on potential customers.
In 2014 mobile usage surpassed desktop use. And that transition happened FAST!
Ever since the first iPhone was released in 2007, smartphones and tablets have quickly paved the way for a new generation of shoppers.
That’s why it critical that you optimize your website for mobile devices, preferably with “responsive” design. Basically your website reorganizes and resizes content based on the screen size of the device your visitor is using.
Additionally, consider you mobile audience when creating content. Focus on visual, large text and simple design to get the best results.
35. Make getting in touch super simple for customers by using hyperlinks.
People who are visiting your site with a smartphone, are literally holding their telephone in their hand while looking at your site. On many occasions, they are using their phone because they have the intention of calling you.
For example, whenever I want to make reservations for a restaurant, I’ll go to the Yelp on my phone because I know I need to call someone. That why using a hyperlink like “tel:5551234567” make your phone number “tappable” so they can get in touch with a single tap.
36. Attract new people to your store with redeemable check in offers.
Apps like Yelp and FourSquare can access smartphone users’ GPS to track their location. This make a useful tool for local businesses because they can use those platforms to reward people for “checking-in” to their business.
37. Guarantee that your customers see your marketing message with text & SMS campaigns.
Combine an average SMS marketing click-through rate of 35%, with the average SMS open rate of 99%, you can see why so many brands are starting to insert links into their SMS marketing campaigns.
38. Get the point across faster by using visuals in your marketing.
The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for the brain to decode text.
Plus, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
That’s why using visuals in your marketing is the best way to help people understand what you’re selling.
39. Increase perceived value dramatically with great deign.
I always tell my clients that design is one of the most subtle, yet obvious aspects of your marketing. When you can create content, both online and offline, that’s aesthetically pleasing and beautifully designed.
40. User sites like Fivver and UpWork to find great designers.
Even though marketers are creative, we aren’t all designers.
That why there are handy online job markets like Fivver and UpWork to find talented designers.
Need some photo touch up? Maybe a cover and 3D image for your new eBook? No problem…
41. Create premium content using PowerPoint / Keynote.
Once I learned how-to use presentation building software to create content like checklists, eBooks, infographics, spec sheets and everything in between, it changed my business forever. I was able to create beautiful content with little effort. Just some good photos, typography and layouts!
Here’s a snapshot of some things I’ve created in Keynote:
42. Use Canva to create professional graphics with zero skills.
Canva is another marketing tool I couldn’t live without. While I enjoy building my own visuals from scratch, sometimes their simply isn’t enough time. Maybe you just have no design skills at all. Enter Canva, a powerful design tool with beautiful marketing templates from social media, to email headers, etc…
43. Create brand advocates by identifying and engage your “champions”.
The cliche saying, “it’s all about who you know” is true in every aspect of life and business. That’s why it’s important for you to identify people who are willing to promote your brand.
Whether it’s a family member, fellow industry blogger, business partners, happy customers, etc. Arm them with whatever they need to spread the word about your business.
One of my favorite examples in a bar called “American Junkie” in Redondo Beach, CA. They have a large TV display dedicated to showing previous customers’ Instagram photos along with a call-to-action that tells people their photos can be featured by sharing your photo on social media. This is not only engaging, it turns their customers into social media advocates.
44. The quickest way to find local customers is to get listed in local online directories like Yelp.
Even if you don’t have a physical address. It’s crucial that your business is listed in local directories and search engines. Think about, people go to websites like Google and Yelp when they need something NOW…
Imagine your washing machine just broke and the dirty laundry is piling up. You need a local handyman ASAP! And if you have a handyman business, but if you’re not listed online in the places that people use to search (like Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, etc.) then they will never see you and they will choose a competitor.
Plus, these platforms allow you to collect positive (and negative) feedback from customers. Because these things are public, some businesses literally die or thrive because of their online reviews. (More on that later)
Related: How do I add a business to Yelp?
45. Skyrocket word of mouth by implementing a 2-sided referral campaign.
One of the best “growth hacks” I ever stumbled upon was giving someone an incentive to share your business with another person. Then, the secondary person get’s a incentive for signing up.
A classic example is “Give $20, get $20”.
This has a viral effect because new people that are referred can earn $20 more for referring another person and so on.
46. Incentivize people to tell their friends and family with invite based rewards.
Taking the 2-sided referral camping a step further, the razor company Harry’s created a way for people to unlock rewards, based on the number of people they invite. Sort of like high-school assemblies where you can win awesome prizes but getting people to sign up for magazines (hey, the public schools need money from someone).
Harry’s had rewards from basic men’s grooming products to a lifetime supply of razors. All people had to do was get their friends to sign up and that counts towards the points system.
47. Reach more of the right people by developing strategic partnerships.
Don’t try to be a lone wolf. We all need to surround our selves with people that we can create mutually beneficial relationships with. For example, if you own an interior design firm, partnering with high-end home builders and architects will ensure you have a steady stream of new projects and clients to work on.
48. Give away freebies to spark interest in your brand/products.
Why do you think grocery stores give away samples of food? They know the majority of people will try it and then buy the product, even though they never intended on buying that when they came into the store.
Similarly, giving away your product (especially to influential people in your industry) is a great way to give people a “taste” of your offerings and if it’s good enough, entice them to purchase the whole thing.
49. Use Groupon to find new customers.
Okay first things first, Groupon is not for everyone. They take a good chunk (30%-60%) of your sales at an already discounted price. That’s why it’s great for your “lost leader” or “tripwire” products/services to get your foot in the door and open the way for upsells and future purchases.
Don’t bet it all on Groupon, you’ll end up attracting discount seekers who might not want to pay when you ask for full price. It gets people into your shop, but it doesn’t keep them there.
My girlfriend and I were celebrating her birthday so I wanted to do something special. I went onto Groupon for ideas and came across a guided Jeep and wine tasting tour. This obscure, random business, thrives off of people finding them on Groupon. It’s interesting to note that when I called with questions, they quickly honored the Groupon discount, but didn’t use Groupon for the transaction so they got all the money (but you didn’t hear that from me).
50. Pay-Per-Click and Pay-Per-Conversion.
While the numbers still suggest that organic get’s far more clicks than ads, they can still be an effective channel if you have the budget and patience to implement a paid campaign. That being said, brands that don’t enough time to build a following organically, paid traffic through Google, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. is the quickest way to get eye balls on your brand.
As Larry Kim from WordStream puts it:
Here’s the 2 different kinds of ads you can buy:
- Query based (what they type into search engines)
- Contextual (demographics and behaviors)
51. Reach hundreds of thousands (even millions) of people fast by leveraging 3rd party audiences & platforms.
On average, businesses see a 6-to-1 return when they can find and engage people who already have the audience they want, then leverage that audience to build their own.
Find websites, blogs, directories, apps, etc. that already have the audience you want, like Airbnb did by creating an auto-posting option for Craig’s List. It may even be as simple as signing up for the right online communities in your niche.
Another example would be to find influential people in your niche who use your product or pay them to promote it like Uwheels did:
52. Use guest blogging to tap into huge niche audiences.
Getting your content published on popular blogs and magazines in your niche gives you instant credibility and puts you in front of your target audience.
I was fortunate enough to have been featured in Inc., Hubspot, Social Media Today and more which helps me land new leads and clients.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging
53. Press releases get your story to news outlets fast.
In the past PR was more effective because people got all their information through the major press outlets. But today everyone get’s their information online from social media, blogs, forums, etc. That doesn’t mean you can’t find success using a tool like PRWeb to get your release published.
Related: Press Release Marketing
54. News jack stories to hop into popular discussions.
Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.
Audi, Oreo, Cherrios and other brands used the power outage during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 as an opportunity to capture, entertain and engage people who were sitting around waiting for the game to start again. Check out this EPIC burn from Audi to Mercedes.
55. Get 1-to-1 referrals by simply asking when the time is right.
An obvious, but overlooked strategy for getting more customers is to simply ask happy customers, industry partners and other people for referrals.
Don’t sacrifice your personal relationship with people for the sake of a sale, but don’t be afraid to ask for a favor when the time is right…
56. Find endless press opportunities using HARO.
HARO stands for “Help A Reporter Out”
Basically you sign up and get daily emails with a list of reporters who are looking for information on any topics you’d like.
The benefits include getting published, quoted, build links, etc.
57. Guerrilla marketing: creativity over money. street art, walk the malls, etc.
Regardless of your feelings on Justin Beiber, the kid is a super star on levels not seen since Micheal Jackson. Yes, he’s crazy talented, but more interestingly he (and his record label) are highly creative marketers. They added removable graffiti to busy sidewalks promoting his upcoming album. They did end up getting in trouble, but you can guarantee tens of thousands of people walking those streets saw that and many probably kept that date in mind.
The main point of guerrilla marketing is that the activities are done exclusively on the streets or other public places, such as shopping centers, parks or beaches with maximum people access so as to attract a bigger audience at ZERO cost.
When I asked Neil Patel what his single favorite marketing strategy was, here’s what he told me:
That’s right, you can use content to convert website traffic into customers for free!
Let’s see how…
58. Stay consistent with a content editorial.
If you’re struggling to stay consistent with your content creation then you need an editorial. Basically a content editorial is a calendar of upcoming content that you plan to publish. Not only does it help keep you on track, you never run out of ideas for things to write because it’s already planned out.
59. Save time and create content faster by auditing and repurposing what you already have.
One of the first things we do when we work with a new client is do a detailed audit of all their on and offline content to see what can be immediately repurposed. If you’ve already spent the time and resources to create videos, images, presentations, copy, etc. then you need to use pieces of that to create new content more efficiently.
Related: 11 Genius Ways to Repurpose Content
60. Use “value terms” to significantly increase perceived value.
Dramatically increase your opt-in rates by using “value terms” to increase the perceived value of your offers and persuade readers to take action.
For example: free download, featured, limited time, advanced, special offer, secrets, exclusive, access.
61. Move customers through your sales process faster by creating content mapped to your unique buyer journey.
Most people read online that they need to make valuable content, so that’s exactly what they do. Unfortunately, that’s what everyone is doing. Instead, you need to create content for each unique stage of your buyer journey.
For a cold prospect to become a customer they will need to travel through the three stages of the “Buyer Journey”… Awareness, Evaluation, Decision.
A cold prospect cannot evaluate your solution until they are first aware of the problem AND your solution. And conversion is impossible until the prospect has first evaluated the possible courses of action.
To move a prospect through a marketing funnel, they will need content designed to satisfy their needs at each of the three stages.
62. Create value for years to come by creating “evergreen” content for prospects & customers.
According to WordStream Evergreen content is SEO content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers.
Evergreen content has (virtually) no expiration date and ideally will retain its value over the long-term. Updating and adding to the content overtime is another great way to keep to value rolling.
63. Create eBooks and checklists to convert website visitors.
Blogging is great, but if you want to increase leads, then you need to give readers more value. One of the easiest ways to do that is to taken written content (just like your blog) and putting into a PDF eBook or checklist.
I personally use Keynote (PowerPoint for Macs) to create all my eBooks and checklist. I even created an entire product called the “Lead Magnet Library” dedicated to that!
64. Do a webinar to attract a highly-targeted audience and keep the undivided attention.
Savvy marketers will tell you that webinars are the best way to turn cold PPC traffic into sales. Webinars allow you to build rapport and credibility quickly with viewers and provide tremendous value.
Even better, when you use tools like WebinarJam, you can set up webinar one time and let it run at any frequency you’d like so you can continuously generate leads from just one webinar!
65. Create highly engaging, impactful content with videos.
Video is arguably the most engaging form of content. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth? (Unless you have a script of course!) You don’t need to create anything elaborate, that’s because social media has revolutionized the way online users communicate with each other, with short, concise content trumping longer forms of content.
Instructional videos on websites like YouTube also get millions of views.
Don’t forget customer geared videos!
Check out the ReelSEO Blog for more on video: Video Marketing Tips, Trends, Strategy & Best Practices
66. Use infographics visualize complex ideas and impress readers.
I have a personal passion for infographics, if you’ve ever read the ELIV8 blog, you know we publish a lot of infographics. Not only to I really enjoy creating them, they generate a huge amount on social shares, engagement and even a few big clients. Infographics are visual representations of complex ideas…
67. Save time writing by do a podcast instead.
Not every business would benefit from a podcast. It’s a bit like talk radio and a lot of people listen in their cars. Now who knows if self-driving cars will reduce the amount of podcasts because people will be doing other things, but for now they are a great way to stay top of mind and provide value. The best part? They are incredibly easy to produce! All you need to do is talk and record it.
68. Create value over a set period of time with an email course.
Email courses are great ways to provide value over a set amount of time. Plus, since they are expecting the emails, open and click-though rates are usually extremely high. That means they are a great place to gently pitch relevant products and services as you already have their undivided attention.
69. Help people understand your business in 30 seconds or less with an “explainer video”.
Using videos on landing pages can increase conversion rates by 86% because they keep visitors around longer and help them understand what you do in just a few seconds.
Even though they are typically used for software businesses, they are great for businesses of all kinds.
70. Be in right places online by signing up on all relevant social sites.
Don’t be fooled, not every social network is for every business. The only ones I’d argue are a requirement is Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Twitter isn’t a necessity, but it’s openness and the ability to engage with anyone makes it a very useful outreach platform. But depending on your audience, platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Houzz, Mass Roots, etc. are sites you can’t ignore. Smart hunters go to the watering hole, not the desert…
71. Remember that social is about relationships not transactions.
While social can be an effective channel for driving sales, you should prioritize relationship building and enhancing the customer experience over sales. Your goal is to get followers, turn those followers into leads, then customers.
72. Get vanity URLs for your profiles for easy identification and search engine benefits.
A vanity URL attaches your brand’s name directly to your profile link, instead of an ugly, long code that’s automatically created. So instead of “Facebook.com/business1234A5H382” you get “Facebook.com/YourBrand”
That way when someone searches for your brand, all your profiles populate the 1st page:
73. Use Twitter effectively to create immediate ROI.
Mike Kawula from Social Quant says:
- First get more Twitter followers who are relevant to your business and are interested in what your share. Make sure that you’re sharing good content each hour that drives your Twitter followers back to your website or causes your followers to want to share your content with their audience, further exposing your brand.
- Next make sure to be actively listening either on Twitter natively or with a great tool like Mention, around topics that you want to be part of the discussion. For example if you’re a local dog walking business, listen to discussions of people talking about walking their dog in your local area or if you’re a national online retailer listen for discussions about your competition or around your niche. Social listening is highly effective on Twitter and can drive immediate business for almost any type of entrepreneur.
- Lastly, make sure that you’re organizing your new Twitter followers into lists. Create Prospect lists (keep those private), customer lists, media lists and engage with those people on those lists.
74. Use Reddit and forums to find highly-engaged people looking for answers to their problems.
Reddit and forums are sleeping giants amongst an endless stream of “selfie” social networks. Basically Reddit is made up of a bunch of “sub-reddits” on just about every category and topic you can imagine, while forums come in all shapes and sizes on every topic you can think of. Reddit and forums are far less about popularity and followers and is more about sharing and talking about interesting content.
Avoid spamming links!
Related: The Marketer’s Guide To Reddit
75. Use Facebook live video.
It was not surprise that when I asked Guy Kawasaki for an epic small business marketing strategy, he shared a great one:
If you’ve got a verified Facebook page, then you can tap into the power of live streaming. It’s the most personal way to engage your audience aside from being in the same room.
76. Amplify your professional network on LinkedIn.
If you’re not familiar with LinkedIn, it’s the largest business networking site in the world. People’s mindsets shift when they log into LinkedIn compared to Facebook, Twitter, etc. They mean business!
It’s the perfect place to showcase your portfolio, skills, testimonials and much more with it’s useful tools. I like to think of it as a living resume. I often notice that leads look at my LinkedIn profile a few times during the pitch to check my professional background.
77. Join groups to find like-minded people and potential customers.
Like Reddit, platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ have thriving niche communities with millions of targeted people to engage with…
78. Use “Mention” to track social media mentions of your brand.
Mention is a super helpful app that’s similar to Google Alerts in that you can track mentions of your brand across different social media sites.
79. Use Pinterest to find epic ideas and inspiration.
Pinterest is a goldmine of inspiration, ideas and awe-inspiring content. It’s the first place I go when I am looking for some creative inspiration to jumpstart marketing projects.
80. Get more followers by following your competitors’ social media fans.
A clever way to generate highly-targeted followers quickly, is to follow your competitors’ followers. A percentage of them will follow you back, then you unfollow the people who don’t follow you back. The tool CrowdFire is the perfect solution for social media espionage. Some people have even figured out how to automate large parts of the process.
81. Answer peoples’ questions on Quora and other Q&A sites.
The beauty of the internet is it’s ability to connect people who have questions, with people who have answers. Everything from practical life advice to hypothetical conspiracy theories. I always take a grain of salt with every opinion I read online, but when you can provide legitimate answers and help to people with questions, they will choose you to fix their problems.
One of my clients who is an interior designer spends time on Houzz in the “Design Dilemma” section where she can answer interior design questions. She says the more often she does that, the more often the phone rings.
82. Save time with social media automation tools.
Here’s another great guest submission from Chris Makara:
83. Get more social shares by finding influencers who shared similar content to yours.
People are always looking for great content to share with their followers. Make their job easier by identifying the people in your niche who share content similar to yours, then send a simple outreach email asking if they’d like to see it.
84. Get in front of people faster by purchasing ads.
We are living during a special time, marketers can target our ideal audience with little to no effort using all the data social networks like Facebook has collected about us.
Think about, you literally “Like” things on Facebook which tells them what you’re interested in. Using that information you find highly specific groups of people and deliver relevant ads.
Other platforms like LinkedIn and Pinterest are worth experimenting with as well.
85. Find more people like your customers by using custom and “look alike” audiences on Facebook’s ad platform.
There are a number of advanced Facebook ad features that are worth noting. You can upload a list of emails of phone numbers and Facebook will match those to profiles so you can ID people on your lists. Plus, you can install a “Pixel” on your site that tracks what people do outside of Facebook so you can send them ads based on pages they viewed (even if they didn’t opt-in).
Finally, you can create a “look alike” audience in which Facebook takes a custom audience and finds other people on Facebook who are very similar, then allows you to show them ads too.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
86. Supercharge your online presence by knowing the basics of SEO.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. When you properly optimize your site and content for search engines, you’ll increase your rankings and get more traffic.
Search engine optimization isn’t that complicated but people like to make it complicated.
Essentially, you want to optimize your online profiles, website and content so that more people looking for businesses like yours, find you first.
SEO will help you position your website properly to be found at critical points in the buying process when people need your what you offer.
This involves a combination of keyword research, content/page optimization, user experience, backlinks and continuous tracking/measuring.
87. Open floodgates of free traffic by getting 1st page rankings.
First page rankings are important because data shows most people never go past it… I mean think about it, how often do you go past the first page of results on Google? I’m betting it’s not very often.
There are many different types of first pages rankings. But the easiest way to get on the first page, is to use Google Places. Here’s how…
If you own a local business, getting on the first page of Google for relevant keywords is not that hard. You just need to make sure you’ve signed up for Google Places and optimized your profile. That way when people in your area type in things like “plumbers” or “barbershop” or whatever it is you do, your business comes up first in the “local” results.
But that strategy isn’t scalable. If you want to increase your website traffic without buying ads, then you need to create content around relevant, high-volume keywords your customers search for online. That way when some searches things like “how to repair a broken sink” or “best men’s hairstyles” (from the examples above) then your content comes up. That’s a little bit easier said than done.
Here’s an example of a post I did that outranks Inc and Forbes for the highly competitive keyword “leadership list“.
88. Create a list of relevant keywords to understand what people are searching for.
Another big win for marketers has been Google’s introduction of the “Keyword Planner” which lets you see exactly how many people search for specific phrases, how difficult it is to get on the 1st page for that keyword as well as how much commercial intent there is behind a keyword.
Basically you need to identify specific words and phrases your customers use when shopping and searching for content online. Then you work those keywords into your website pages and content. There’s a specific art to this that deserves it’s own post. But here’s a great guide with more info…
89. Give away so much value with blogging that people feel sorry for not giving you money.
Businesses that blog receive 77% more traffic and 97% more links to their site than those that do not. That’s because blogging creates value and credibility that attracts your ideal audience.
Blogging is one of the single best ways to get more free traffic to your website. But most people just blog about whatever they think people want to read about. That’s a recipe for disaster…
Instead, each blog post should be centered around a specific keyword or phrase you want to rank on the first page of Google for. For example, if you own a skin care company, then you’d want to create blog posts around keywords like these:
90. Use a “Skyscraper Post” to jump to the first page of Google.
One of my favorite ways to achieve first page rankings for myself and clients is to create a “Skyscraper Post“. This is a type of blog post popularized by Brian Dean at Backlinko.
The basic idea is you identify content that ranks on the first page for a keyword you’re targeting. Then you create a piece of content that blows everything on the first page out of the water.
Your content should be:
- Longer and more in-depth
- Better designed
- More up to date
- Have more visuals like videos, photos, charts and screenshots
91. Get higher ranking for product pages with authority sculpting.
Authority sculpting is a clever trick you can use to transfer the authority of one page to another. It works great for ecommerce businesses who want to get their product pages ranked higher and even for local businesses to rank their product/category pages.
For example, we’ve got a patio furniture retailer as a client, over time we built up the content on their blog to help us rank for relevant keywords. We also included links back to their relevant product pages. The results?
They rank on the first page for the super competitive keyword “luxury patio furniture” and they don’t even sell online! But it get’s them custom orders from across the country!
92. Create your own awards with “award bait”.
Another great strategy that I learned from Brian Dean was a type of called content “award bait”. It’s perfect for building backlinks if you’re just starting out.
The idea is that you identify the top 50-100 bloggers in your niche, then create a blog post announcing the winners of your award.
Next, you need to create (or hire someone to create) a visually appealing award badge that winners can display on their site.
Finally, you reach out to your “winners” then give them the award badge and a link back to your post. Not everyone will post it, but the ones that do will link to your site.
93. Increase click through rates to your content with “power words”.
Google has a number of different factors that affect ranking, but a big one is click-through rates. Basically, if more people click on your link, you get higher rankings.
That’s why you need to make your page names more exiting with power words like “30% off”, or “lowest price online” to entice people to click on your link over the competition.
94. Make sure your blog and website are on the same domain.
A simple way to increase the authority and rankings of your website and blog it to have them on the same domain.
That means the URL is either “blog.yourdomain.com/article” or “yourdomain.com/blog/article”
95. Grow your email list by collecting peoples’ information anyway you can.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, but you need to collect customer information both on and offline anyway you can. Luckily, there are tons of handy tools for increase conversions on your website, none better (or more affordable) than OptIn Monster.
Offline is a little tricker… Sometime you can put a sign up sheet near checkout, or offer customers to have their receipt emailed to them through your POS. Maybe you’re hosting an event and people drop their business cards into a bowl for a raffle drawing.
The point is that the size of your email list directly impacts your ability to convert more customers.
96. Get more leads by creating lead magnets.
A lead magnet is essentially an irresistible bribe that you give to prospects in exchange for their contact information.
In fact, Premium content offers like eBooks and email courses generate 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
Face it, your boring “subscribe to our email list” offer isn’t converting anyone. Instead you should be giving away a premium piece of content around a problem your target audience had, then collecting everyone’s email who wants to read it.
When you create a lead magnet around your audiences problems, you know the people who opt-in are the right fit for your product or service.
97. Direct people exactly where you want them to go with calls-to-action (CTAs).
A call-to-action is a like a road sign in your marketing. It tells people what to do and what they get for doing it.
The whole point of your website is to turn visitors into leads and sales right? But if your visitors show up to your site and don’t know what to do next then you’ve already lost them. That’s why it crucial that you use visually appealing CTAs with enticing copy that tells people exactly where you want them to go.
98. Maximize conversions by using 2-step opt-ins on your site.
A 2-step opt-in replaces a traditional opt-in form with a button. When a user clicks on the button a smaller window pops up asking for their contact information. On most landing pages, the form is right on the page. But with a 2-step opt-in (even though there’s an extra step) has been shown to boost conversions by as much as 785%.
Why? Because is gives visitors the impression that you are giving, not taking. Then once they click the button, they are already primed and ready to access the resource so they decide to just enter their email.
99. Get leads from your videos by creating gated videos in Wistia.
Wistia is a great video hosting platform similar to YouTube, but with much more business-friendly features.
One of those features is to create “gated videos”. What that means is you get to decide at what timestamp you’d like visitors to have to enter an email to continue watching.
This is a great way to tease content and build excitement before asking for their email.
100. Use custom “Thank You” pages.
My friend Emil Shour (who’s a kick ass marketer, see his Backlinko case study) says you shouldn’t waste your thank you page:
101. For people who are too busy, make posts available to download.
There’s far too many discretions online for people to focus on one thing for too long. That’s why it’s a good idea to offer your blog posts in a PDF for people to download and read later.
102. Get more leads from your top pages with “content upgrades”.
The idea behind the “content upgrade” is that you give away a resource that was unique to each blog post.
The resource should include relevant bonus material not found in the post.
It’s the classic, “But wait, there’s more.”
It’s perfect because people have already shown interest in your content, by giving them more of exactly what they came to your site for, is a surefire way to increase conversions.
You should start with your top viewed posts and work backwards. Plus, on all future content, plan to create a content upgrade as well.
103. Convert people right before they are about to leave your website with exit intent pop-up forms.
Some people are hesitant to use pop-up forms on their site because they think it’s tacky or bothersome. But, they work like a charm to collect visitor emails (as long as the offer is right).
To take that a step further, there are tools that allow you to trigger the popup right as a person is about to leave your page.
Like the content upgrade, these work best when the offer is relevant to the page they are on. So for example if it’s an ecommerce product page, offer a “first-time customer discount” to people who show up but try to leave without buying.
104. Use SumoMe.com to grow and convert website traffic.
When I asked Noah Kagan for input on this post, he was kind enough to point out 2 awesome features of SumoMe…
Noah told me that he recommends “Welcome Mat” and “Click Triggers” to start getting results the fastest.
105. Host an online contest/giveaway to get in front of a lot of people at one time.
Online contests are a powerful way for new businesses to collect a large number of emails quickly. But the key is that your giveaway is relevant to your product or service. No free iPads…
That’s because if it’s not relevant, you’ll attract freebie seekers who have zero interest in your offers.
A simple combination of the right prize, attractive visuals, easy opt-ins and the right promotion strategy.
106. Convert contest entries by sending consolation prizes.
Of course the majority of people will not win your online giveaway, that’s why it’s a smart idea to send a “consolation prize” in the form of a discount or limited-time offer for participating in the contest.
This is a great way to turn contest entrants into paying customers. Especially if you were able to attract the right audience to your contest.
107. Add hundreds, even thousands of people to your email list with 1-click opt-ins for 3rd party audiences.
1-click opt-ins are used when partnering with someone else to promote their content or products and for other people to promote your content or products.
If you have someone who’s willing to share your content with their email lists, you can use a 1-click opt-in link in the email that instantly captures their email when they click on it.
According to Bryan Harris at Video Fruit, it’s the most effective list building strategy ever.
108. Generate and use social proof in your marketing to earn instant trust.
Using customer reviews as social proof can increase marketing effectiveness by 54% because 88% of people trust reviews by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
Studies show that 70% of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchase. Asking customers for reviews at the right time, will create brand advocates that attracts new people.
What kind of social proof:
- Number of customers, users, followers, etc.
- 3rd-party/expert reviews
- Media outlets featured in
109. Identify and connect with influencers in your niche to expand your reach.
Influencer marketing has been shown to produce a 6-to-1 return when used effectively. Connecting with social media influences, popular YouTube users, bloggers and celebrity give you access to a large number of eager-to-buy people.
When I first started this blog I had no connections or relationships with bloggers so I did an expert roundup and got over 30 responses from people like Guy Kawasaki, Dan Rockwell, Marshall Goldsmith and more.
110. Get the recognition you deserve by applying for industry awards.
Another great way to receive more recognition and attention from your target audience is to apply for and preferably get nominated and win, relevant industry awards. That goes a long way in convincing people to do business with you.
There’s a winery in Temecula, CA that my girlfriend and I like to visit. In their tasting room they proudly display their hundreds of awards and accolades for wine competitions that they’ve won. Not only is it impressive, but it makes people want to buy their wine, not just taste it.
111. Conduct original data/research.
If you want to be viewed as an expert in your field, conducting original research is one of quickest ways to get instant credibility. Getting real numbers to back a theory gives you indisputable and valuable information that other people will quote and link to.
112. Reach ready-to-buy shoppers by getting reviewed by 3rd party experts, blogger, etc.
Not only does this strategy get a large number of eye-balls on your product/service at one time but it also gives you powerful promotional tools that convert more people who visit your product pages in the future.
In fact, Ezra Firestone and SmartMarketer says that 3rd party videos are a primary reason the product pages on his eCom website’s convert so well.
113. Maximize word of mouth by making it easy for customers to share their story.
Back in tip #42 I talked about a restaurant called American Junkie that used a large TV over their bar specifically to promote and share it’s Instagram feed that customers could be featured on by uploading their photo and adding a hashtag. The point is, they were making it incredibly easy for their customers to spread the word about their business through social media, all for free!
114. Get customers to create content for you by encourage user generated content (UGC).
I keep going back to the example above because this restaurant was doing it so well. They mounted TV said:
“Upload a photo to Instagram with #AmericanJunkie and get your photo up here!”
With no effort other than putting the TV up there, they are encouraging every single person who walks through their door to create content (UGC) for them, then share that with their friends and family who say, “Hm, that looks like fun, I should eat there sometime too.”
All it takes is a little nudge, but it gets you content created and shared directly by your customers.
115. Earn shoppers trust with a website rating, review tool.
Customer reviews are 12x more trusted than descriptions from sellers. Which is why you need to use tools like BazaarVoice and GIGYA to allow customers to rate specific products, services and content (both digital and physical) on your website for other people to see.
Basically, it’s like Amazon’s reviews, but on your own website. In fact, websites with a ratings/review tool convert 63% more customers than those without one.
116. Use real numbers in your copy to captivate readers.
Social proof means that people will copy others’ actions, even if it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s a bit like a “herd mentality” and can be incredibly effective in terms of getting new customers to give your business a try.
117. Get more testimonials by following up with happy customers to ask for reviews.
There’s a fine line between asking for a review too late and asking too early. It all depends on the sales cycle and your customers. It’s up to you to decide when is the appropriate time and if you can automate it, that’s even better.
If you’re a brick and mortar store, focus on getting Yelp and Google reviews, eCommerce businesses should get (and show) product reviews and service businesses should get their’s on LinkedIn. That way you can use the testimonial in other places and it’s enhancing your online presence.
118. Create an eye-catching email signature.
One of the things people see most often from you is your emails. That makes your personal business emails the perfect place to attract more leads and customers. Plus, adding a headshot makes your emails even more memorable and feel more personal.
Here’s an example from a fellow blogger Chris Makara. Even though we’ve never met it feels like I know him because of the headshot and links to all of his social media accounts.
119. Build mutually beneficial relationships with readers by sending a balance of value and promotional emails.
If you’re just beating your prospects over the head with constant “BUY NOW” messages, not only will you annoy the hell out of them, but you’ll loose their trust and likely their business. That’s why you need to balance both promotional emails and emails that provide value through content.
For example, a client I work with sends 18 automated emails with valuable content to every new lead that opts-in on their website. Then, every other month, they run a promotion for their subscribers. The last promotional email they sent made then $15,000 in 2 days. Not too shabby right?
120. Send monthly newsletters for old school readers.
Look, some people are just old school. Yes, they like hearing about your latest content and offers, but they have been conditioned and used to getting their content is a newsletter.
It’s informative, timely and maybe even a little dated, but you need to ask your self who your target audience is and how they prefer to receive news updates.
121. Save time and make more money by automating lead nurturing campaigns.
Businesses that can successfully automate their lead nurturing process with targeted messages, see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in just 6-9 months. There’s no right or wrong email sequence as long as you’re giving away value before asking for something in return.
If fact, if you can give your audience so much value that they feel bad for not giving you money, then automate that value via email, you’ll see a significant increase in your sales-ready leads and customers.
122. Get valuable feedback and boost backend sales with automated post-purchase email series.
Similar to automating your lead nurturing campaigns, when you create an engaging post-purchase email sequence, you can extract valuable information, increase customer lifetime value and amplify word of mouth.
My favorite example is a beauty company called BOOM by Cindy Joseph. They have about 15 automated emails they send every customer after a purchase.
First they build excitement for the purchase, then they build rapport with content, then they ask for feedback, a testimonial and user-generated content, then finally they increase sales by showing you similar products and asking you to restock your last purchase when it runs out.
123. Send emails reminding people to restock on your product.
Different products have different lifespans. Some cologne can last for years, while BBQ charcoal might only last a long weekend. Depending on what you’re selling, you need to determine the consumption rate of your product and send timely reminders to customers so they remember to buy more when they run out. For example, I bought some cologne on Amazon a few years ago, right about as I was running out, they suggested that I buy more. A little creepy, but super effective.
124. Find out the best time to send emails by measuring open and click through rates.
Like product consumption-rates, every business’s audience likes to consume and read content at different times. Home and garden articles are read more on the weekend, while business content is consumed mid-week. The best way to figure out when your audience is most engaged, is to test open and click through rates on your emails by sending them at different times.
For my business, we get the best open rates when we send emails Tuesday morning. What’s yours?
125. Find prospects by cold emailing (the right way).
Randomly emailing people with a sales pitch won’t get you very far. Instead, identify people’s interested based on their online actions, whether that’s businesses they’ve reviewed or content they’ve shared and commented on. Once you identify those people, you reach out with a personalized pitch and provide a huge amount value. Here’s a great article by VideoFruit that details this strategy a bit more.
- My girlfriend recently started a full-time job as a Veterinarian but still wanted to be involved in an “Uber” for vets startup. Since they didn’t have any customers in our city I suggested she use Yelp to identify local people who’ve reviewed mobile groomers. Those people have already shown interest in mobile pet services and have the disposable income to afford a mobile vet service.
- An interior designer client of mine was looking for creative ways to find new customers. I suggested finding high-end realtors in the area to check for recent online reviewers to see if any might be a good candidate for her interior design services.
- If you’re selling physical products you could use Pinterest to see which people and saved (pinned) similar products and reach out to those people as they’ve already shown interest in similar products.
126. Get people who are on the fence back to your online store with cart abandonment emails.
A recent study showed that 67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes a sale. That implies that your sales numbers may only be one third of what they could potentially be! One of the most effective ways to recover lost customers after they abandon their carts is to use an abandoned cart email which is sent to people who have added products to their cart but failed to check out.
It’s remarkably effective as a sales recovery tactic. According to SaleCycle, nearly half of all abandoned cart emails are opened and over a third of clicks lead to purchases back on site. That means if you’re selling online, there’s no excuse for not having a cart abandonment email.
127. Get more sales by understanding the basics of selling.
The saying goes, “people don’t buy products and services, they buy solutions to their problems.”
That means selling is more about listening to your customers needs and finding them the right solution.
Plus, knowing your UVP and why people buy from you is key to closing any deal.
Lastly, people like buying from people they like. That’s why you should focus more on the relationship and less on the transaction.
128. Create a coupon or discount offer.
People love saving money. That’s why a simple way to get new people in the door is to offer them a coupon or special. You need to be careful to use this strategy in moderation as you might end up only attracting freebie seekers who will not come back if they have to pay full price.
There’s countless options for promoting your coupons. From local school fundraiser cards to emailing new subscribers and one-time offer.
129. Increase number of new customers by splintering off a “tripwire” offer.
Another great way to increase the number of new customers you get is to create a “tripwire” offer. Basically, a tripwire is a low-cost, irresistible offer that changes the relationship with leads to customer. The goal of a Tripwire is to get as many customers as possible (not just revenue) because it’s far more likely they will do business with you again.
The best way to create a high-converting Tripwire for your business is to repackage parts of your core offer in a way that delivers value but also “teases” what else is in store if someone chooses to buy more.
There’s a good reason why GoDaddy sells domains for 99 cents and Dominos sells pizza for $5. Because they know they’ll be able to upsell you and get you to come back for more.
130. Offer free “test drives” to show, not tell prospects.
High-ticket items almost always require more research on the buyer’s part. That’s the exact reason car companies let people test drive before they purchase. They want you to get the whole experience to make a more educated decision.
In the same way, you need to offer prospects some kind of “test drive” which can be a free consultation, quick done-for-you service, free tool or anything else you can think of that let’s them experience your products and get actionable information to inform their decision.
131. Make it easy for customers to say yes by creating sales content.
Content isn’t just for brand awareness. In fact, 61% of people say they are more likely to buy from a company that delivers content. By creating product videos, sales decks, case studies, product demos, spec sheets, FAQs, sales proposals, etc. you’ll make it easier for customers to make a purchasing decision.
132. Use a CRM tool to track leads.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool can increase revenue by 41% per sales personwhen used to track and nurture leads.
Here’s a free one by Hubspot: Free CRM Software for Small Business – HubSpot CRM
133. Know which leads are hot and which are cold by scoring them.
Some CRM tools allow you to “score” leads by adding points to their profile based on their actions and characteristics.
This isn’t right for everyone, it all depends on how much information you collect about leads as well as the volume of leads you get. Either way, it will help you prioritize and segment parts of your email list that are the most engaged and most likely to buy.
134. Better align marketing and sales with a service-level-agreement (SLA).
A service-level-agreement puts your marketing and sales teams on the same page by setting expectations for the number of leads and quality of leads that marketing with send sales, and then how frequently the sales team will engage those leads. It keeps everyone more accountable at attaches tangible numbers to your business goals, not just vague ones like “get more sales”.
135. Use profit maximizers to increase purchase size and purchase frequency.
Upsells, cross-sells, down sells, bundles, high-ticket items and memberships are all ways to increase customer transaction value and lifetime value.
Here’s one of my favorite examples:
Merkur sells their standalone razor for $20.49. But if you buy a Merkur Gift Set, it also comes with a stand, brush, bowl and soap. That costs $69.34. That’s $48.85 more than a standalone razor!
You think it costs Merkur anywhere close to $48.85 for those extras? Not a chance…
136. Call warm-leads on the phone to convert them into customers.
Even though I’m sociable and love being around people, for the longest time, I couldn’t stand the thought of doing business on the phone. Maybe I was afraid no one would take me seriously, maybe it’s because it felt far to impersonal to make any real impact, but I was paralyzed.
But, after forcing myself to take more initiative and call people on the phone, I had a realization. It’s far more effective than email or messaging.
I know from personal experience that it’s easy to hide behind your email and social media, but 1-on-1 conversations are so much more powerful and effective for closing sales.
137. Take note of client’s personal preferences and needs.
Personalization is quickly becoming the most profitable way to increase sales online. Even if you don’t have fancy product recommendation software like Amazon, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t document your top customers preferences and needs. That way, when you have something you know they’ll love, they will be ready to buy.
For example, I consulted for a few different boutique women’s clothing stores and one thing they all had in common was their ability to call certain customers based on new items they got in, then close the sale that day because they knew exactly what that customer likes and will buy.
138. Create and sell premium products (digital or physical) and courseware.
Almost everything is business required that we trade time for dollars, even if you’re self-employed. That’s why creating “passive income” has become so wildly popular. But that phrase sounds like it’s easy… It’s not.
But if you can create a useful digital product like an app, course, templates, tool, etc. then you can stop trading time for dollars. It allows you to create something over a few weeks or months, then sell it for years to come.
There are far too many examples to list, but if this is something you’re considering, stick with digital products as it’s far easier to deliver the product as you scale without worrying about inventory, shipping, returns, etc.
139. Sell affiliate products to make passive income.
You don’t have to run a website that get’s millions of hits to sell affiliate products and services, even as a small business there are plenty of complimentary businesses in your community that would happily pay a commission for referring new customers, you just need to get a little creative.
There are also online marketplaces like ClickBank that have high-commisison affiliate products and services in a wide array of industries.
140. Optimize your check out pages to increase sales.
According to SamCart, optimizing your checkout page can 4X your sales. As you learned, most people abandon your checkout process. Having a checkout page which includes all the right ingredients can make all the difference.
141. Add a 1-click upsell to maximize each customers’ purchase.
If you’ve ever been to a big box retailer you’ll notice that they all have an assortment of low-cost products in the checkout lines. You didn’t come to their store with the intention of buying any of that stuff, but often it compliments your purchase and many people end up adding something to their cart.
A 1-click upsell is the same exact idea, but online. Right after someone has made a purchase, before showing them the order confirmation page, you show them an additional product that they can add to their order in 1-click. This is highly effective because they are already in a “buy” mindset and as the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot.
142. Provide EPIC customer support that makes customers love you.
Customer support is an indirect form of marketing that produces excellent word of mouth. In fact, 65% of people say they’ve cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience! That’s why creating a stellar customer support system from day one is crucial to the success of your brand.
143. Increase purchase frequency with reward programs.
It costs 5 times more to get new customers than it does to keep existing ones. Which is why it’s crucial that you reward your loyal customers to keep them coming back for more.
Look at Starbucks, multi-billion dollar business that uses a highly engaging loyalty program to keep customers coming back for more with discounts and special offers. But yours doesn’t have to be that complicated, you could be using simple punch cards.
The point is, it’s an effective way to reward customers and keep them coming back for more.
144. Get more customers coming back to you with personalized offers.
Businesses see an average increase of 20% in sales when they implement personalized experiences and suggestions to give customers the content and products they want.
Amazon is the best example of that in the world. They use algorithms to show people exactly what they are interested in based on past search history, purchase history and much more.
145. Building communities of raving fans that promote your brand online for you.
53% of people who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands. When you build a social community around your brand, you’ll create lifelong customers and fans. Brands like Nixon and Burberry do a great job of this by showcasing customers’ photos from social media and uploaded on their website.
146. Gift gifts & bonuses to make people feel like they are getting more than they paid for.
Everyone likes thoughtful gifts and free bonuses. A perfect example of that is a client of mine that hands out roses to moms on Mother’s Day in their store. It only costs the a few dollars, but it makes a lasting impression on the shopper.
On the other hand, if you’ve ever taken an online course then you’ve undoubtably seen all the “Bonuses” that came with it. It adds perceived value and makes customers happier in their purchase because they got more than they actually paid for like in the example below.
Different gifts and bonuses work better in different situations, just decide which are most appropriate for your business.
147. Improve your business by tapping into the power of feedback using surveys.
It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for only 1 negative experience. Collecting feedback will help eliminate the chance of more bad customer experiences.
Using a simple tool like SurveyMonkey you can collect any kind of feedback you’d like so you can make continuous improvements to the customer experience and learn from past mistakes.
As mentioned in a previous tip, when you can automate a survey request via email once a customer has made a purchase, it makes collecting feedback that much easier.
148. Send hand-written thank you cards, birthday cards, etc.
This one takes a little longer and is more sentimental, but for customers with whom you have a personal relationship with, nothing says “I care about you” then a hand-written card of any kind.
149. Take care of your employees and they will take care of customers.
If you’ve ever wondered how Southwest Airlines turned a small regional airliner into a world-class company, it was through creating a company culture in which employees were treated extremely well and taken care of. Employees that have a high level of job satisfaction treat customers better, plain and simple.
So if you’re not a one man (or woman) show, then you need to understand that how you treat your employees extends through them all the way to your customers.
150. Set up and use analytics to increase marketing effectiveness.
More than 50% of businesses find it difficult to attribute marketing activity directly to revenue results. That’s where marketing analytics come in…
Analytics tools like Google Analytics allow you to analyze your marketing so you can make adjustments to improve ROI.
There’s never been another time in the history of marketing where we have so much data on the people we are targeting. That’s why it’s important that we use this information to make smart business decisions that better solve our customers problems.
151. Heat maps & click tracking to understand your visitors.
Understanding how people use your website will give you insights on ways to make improvements. A great tool to do that with in CrazyEgg, which allows you to see where the most clicks are going on your website, as well as how people navigate your site.
Basically, if people are clicking and going all over the place, you’ve got a problem. The journey needs to be clear and obvious, heat maps and click tracking enable that.
152. Use A/B testing to maximize conversions on your website.
This one is a bit on the advanced side, but if you have a decent amount of website traffic, it’s a smart idea that you’re A/B testing campaigns. Basically, you create a variation of a landing page, CTA, email, product page and anything in between, then test each variation to see which performs better.
This is an ongoing process that can have significant improvements on your website conversion rates.
153. Merge on and offline experiences to create seamless experiences.
Something as simple as uploading photos you’ve taken of your business to social media can go a long way to show people online, that you do in fact exists in the real world. That’s just one example, there are countless other ways to merge on and offline experiences that engage customers and build deeper relationships. You’ll see an epic example of that tip #160.
154. Host events at your store to attract a large group of people.
It’s no secret that people love events. We are social creatures so we love to gather together for events and enjoy the company of people who share similar interests. If possible, think about how you can tie the event back to your business.
For example, a client of mine regularly hosts BBQ cooking competitions and invites the whole community to join. Since they sell BBQ grills in their store it’s the perfect way to get people interested in BBQ to their store to have a good time and possibly buy a new grill!
155. Get involved in the community and local events.
Community events are the perfect way to get face to face with your local audience. You might want to steer clear of street fairs and do something more focused. For example, in Pasadena, CA they do a designer house and showcase the work of different companies to the community. That’s the perfect place for home and garden focused businesses. On the other hand, if you own a restaurant it’s a good idea to get involved in the communities Food & Wine festivals.
156. Direct mail (the right way).
Unfortunately I can think of more reasons to not to direct mail than I can for reasons to do it. But if you can reach the right people with the right message, it can be effective. But without the ability to measure results you’ll never know the real ROI.
157. Host a class to attract people with specific interests.
Along the same lines of giving value before asking for the sale, hosting a class is a great way to meet potential customers face to face. The client I mentioned from tip #148 also hosts BBQ cooking classes where they have a professional come in a teach a small group of people how to be better on the grill. It’s a ton of fun, the people learn a lot and the client makes more sales.
158. Get instant credibility from peers and potential customers by booking speaking engagements.
If you’re truly an expert in your field then you should have no problem talking about it to a room full of people. Unless you’ve got stage fright, it should be pretty easy to speak with authority and teach people something useful they didn’t know before.
Not only does this establish you as an authority, it’s the prefect place to find new customers and people who want to do business with you.
159. Stand out with great business cards.
A subtle way to make you a more memorable person is to have a great business card. It’s incredible what some creativity and paper can create for pennies.
160. Join organizations that would benefit your business.
One of the best examples of this is an incubator for startups. I briefly worked with a virtual reality / augmented reality agency and they were stationed out of a Microsoft incubator in Florida where they were surrounded by other AR/VR companies to collaborate with.
Another example is local business communities like the Chamber of Commerce.
161. Use printed promotional materials.
Now I’d never recommend handing flyers out to random people walking in the streets, but it never hurts to have some well designed, printed materials. For example, if you own a restaurant and to take-out, then you need a printed take-out menu for customers. If you’re doing an event, then visually appealing posters and banners add to the perceived value of the event.
Don’t go overboard as printing can get expensive, but smart graphics make it easy for customers to remember you and buy from you again.
162. Attend to industry events to increase the size of your professional network.
No matter what business you’re in, there’s probably a conference, trade show or convention that brings together the biggest names and brightest minds in your industry. But before you ante up the price for the ticket, you need to do your research so you choose the right conference as well as get really clear about your goals for the event so you don’t go home empty handed.
163. Rent a booth at a trade show.
Taking industry events a step further, you could also get a booth with a little more real estate to attract and speak with potential clients.
But let’s be honest, people don’t like being bothered, especially if they know you are going to sell them something. It will take some creativity to stand out and get people to your booth.
A smart idea would be to give away something for free. At a recent street fair I attended it was a very hot day so some of the vendors handed out free water or had water bowls for dogs and one even handed out free hand fans with their logo printed on it. All clever, simple ways to get peoples’ attention without making them dislike you immediately.
164. Reach new people by sponsoring an organization.
Now you don’t need to go get your self a stadium or professional sports team unless you don’t know what to do with your money. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of different organizations you could partner with from charities, business communities, events and even other businesses which can significantly increase your brand’s visibility.
165. Attend networking events relevant to your industry.
The problem I have with typical networking events is everyone is trying to sell something. I remember when I first started my app development company and I tried a few networking meet ups, but they all felt rigid and a little uncomfortable. That’s why you need to be selective when deciding which events to attend. If you can find one for your specific niche, more people will be interested in networking than selling because you’ll all sell roughly the same thing, but you’ll make connections that open doors to new opportunities.
166. Get creative with billboards.
I have mixed feelings about billboards because there’s been any occasions where I’ve been on the road for extended hours and I well places fast food billboard makes me pull over for a bite. But, they can be expensive and close to impossible to measure the effectiveness of. But that’s why I love marketing, creativity can breathe new life into old ideas.
The other weekend I was driving down PCH when I saw a billboard for a popular local restaurant promoting their new iPhone app plus 10% off every order inside the app. Since almost every person who lives in the area knows about that restaurant and drives on that street, it was a perfect example of bringing together old and new marketing concepts into an effective strategy.
167. Stickers + Swag!
Mark Cuban likes to make fun of “swag” like t-shirts, stickers, pens, keychains, etc. but I say if it works for you, go for it! Once again, it’s all about creativity and how you use the tools.
For example, instead of giving away t-shirts at an event to hope people buy from you, only give them to special customers as a welcome gift to your exclusive community of customers. My favorite example of this is ClickFunnels. They sell advanced marketing software so the onboarding process for new customers is crucial. To make sure people actually go through the onboarding process, they give people who finish a free “Funnel Hackers” t-shirt to welcome them to their marketing community/club.
168. Write a book.
Yes there are plenty of great digital platforms like Amazon and iTunes to publish your book(s). But physical books that people can actually touch and feel adds to the perceived value of that book.
Books are also a powerful way to instantly boost your credibility as a thought leader in your industry so people look to you for helpful advice.
169. Use magazine ads (sparingly).
The days of Mad Men are behind us and I’d be lying if I told you magazine ads are as effective as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have some practical applications. So if this is something you think might benefit your business, remember:
- You need to stand out
- Use color when possible
- Have an easy-to-understand message
- Make it easy for people to get in touch with you
170. Use automated phone welcome system.
I’m a big fan of automation, on and offline. Which is why I think local businesses need to use a welcome system on their phone to not only point people in the right direction, but also quickly introduce your brand, re-intterate your UVP and let people know what your latest offers are.
171. Get your brand and contact information on your work vehicle.
Like other tips, this one only works for certain businesses. But if you serve customers door to door or do delivery, then having some kind of branding and contact information on your vehicle is a must.
Think about it, if you do mobile pet grooming, your vehicle is a moving billboard that you can use to attract new customers in your community.
When I moved into my new condo there were a couple improvements that had to be made. One day I was fixing part of the sink and ended up just making it worse. Remembering there had been a plumber truck outside earlier and I ran out and called the number on his van. It went to his cell and a few minutes later he was helping me fix the issue. He got a new customer and I got a fixed sink, everyone wins.