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100 + Marketing Ideas

Quick Hits to Get You into Action Fast


  • Never let a day pass without engaging in at least one marketing activity.

  • Determine a percentage of gross income to spend annually on marketing.

  • Set specific marketing goals every year; review and adjust quarterly.

  • Maintain a tickler file of ideas for later use.

  • Carry business cards with you (all day, every day).

  • Wear a personal nametag or pin with your company name and logo on it.


  • Stay alert to trends that might impact your target market, product or promotion strategy.

  • Read market research studies about your profession, industry, product, target market groups, etc.

  • Collect competitors' ads and literature; study them for information about strategy, product features and benefits, etc.

  • Ask clients why they hired you and solicit suggestions for improvement.

  • Ask former clients why they left you.

  • Identify a new market.

  • Join a list-serve (email list) related to your profession.

  • Subscribe to an Internet Usenet newsgroup or a list-serve that serves your target market.


  • Create a new service, technique or product.

  • Offer a simpler/cheaper/smaller version of an existing product or service.

  • Offer a fancier/more expensive/faster/bigger version of a product or service.

  • Update your services.


  • Establish a marketing and public relations advisory and referral team composed of your colleagues and/or neighboring business owners to share ideas and referrals and to discuss community issues. Meet quarterly for breakfast.

  • Create a suggestion box for employees.

  • Attend a marketing seminar.

  • Read a marketing book. Anything by Seth Godin will help you immensely.

  • Subscribe to a marketing newsletter or other publication.

  • Subscribe to a marketing list-serve on the Internet.

  • Subscribe to a marketing Usenet newsgroup on the Internet.

  • Train your staff, clients and colleagues to ask for referrals.

  • Hold a monthly marketing meeting with employees or associates to discuss strategy, status and to solicit marketing ideas.

  • Join an association or organization related to your profession.

  • Get a marketing intern to take you on as a client; it will give the intern experience and you some free marketing help.

  • Maintain a consultant card file for finding designers, writers and other marketing professionals.

  • Hire a marketing consultant to brainstorm with.

  • Take a "creative journey" to another progressive city or country to observe and learn from marketing techniques used there.


  • Analyze your fee structure; look for areas requiring modifications or adjustments.

  • Establish a credit card payment option for clients.

  • Give regular clients a discount.

  • Learn to barter; offer discounts to members of certain clubs/professional groups/organizations in exchange for promotions in their publications.

  • Better yet, join a barter network or trade exchange.

  • If appropriate, give "quick pay" or cash discounts.

  • Offer financing or installment plans.

  • Price for value, not for time.

  • Be expensive or be free.


  • Publish a newsletter for customers and prospects. (It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive.)

  • Develop a 'package' of services that is easy to buy.

  • Include a postage-paid survey card with your brochures and other company literature. Include check-off boxes or other items that will involve the reader and provide valuable feedback to you.

  • Remember, business cards aren't working for you if they're in the box. Pass them out! Give prospects two business cards and brochures -- one to keep and one to pass along.

  • Produce separate business cards/sales literature for each of your target market segments (e.g. government and commercial, and/or business and consumer).

  • Create a poster or calendar to give away to customers and prospects.

  • Print a slogan and/or one-sentence description of your business on letterhead, fax cover sheets and invoices.

  • Don't skimp on your website. Your brother-in-law or college-age nephew might "know how to build a website" but that doesn't mean they know how to make it WORK for business. Get professional help.

  • Create a blog (weblog) which can easily be updated from any computer with your lastest ideas, tidbits, and tips for clients and prospects.

  • Create a "signature file" to be used for all your e-mail messages. It should contain contact details including your Web site address and key information about your company that will make the reader want to contact you.

  • Include testimonials from customers in all your communications - letters, website, leave-behind materials, PowerPoint slides.

  • Even better, use "video testimonials" featuring interviews with 2-3 of your best clients about your best work!

  • Test a new mailing list. If it produces results, add it to your current direct mail lists or consider replacing a list that's not performing up to expectations.

  • Use colored or oversized envelopes for your direct mailings. Or send direct mail in plain white envelopes to pique recipients' curiosity.

  • Hand-address mail that you want someone important to open.


  • Update your media list often so that press releases are sent to the right media outlet and person.

  • Write a column for the local newspaper, local business journal or trade publication.

  • Publish an article and circulate reprints.

  • Send timely and newsworthy press releases as often as needed.

  • Publicize your 500th client of the year (or other notable milestone).

  • Create an annual award related to your field and publicize it.

  • Get public relations and media training or read up on it.

  • Appear on a radio or TV talk show.

  • Create your own TV program on your industry or your specialty. Market the show to your local cable station or public broadcasting station as a regular program. Or, see if you can air your show on an open access cable channel.

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or to a trade magazine editor.

  • Take an editor to lunch.

  • Get a publicity photo taken and enclose with press releases.

  • Consistently review newspapers and magazines for possible PR opportunities.

  • Submit "tip" articles to newsletters and newspapers.

  • Conduct industry research and develop a press release or article to announce an important discovery in your field.

  • Create a press kit and keep its contents current.


  • Ask your clients to come back again - and give them a reason to!

  • Return phone calls promptly.

  • Set up a fax-on-demand or email system to easily respond to customer inquiries.

  • Use an answering machine or voice mail system to catch after-hours phone calls.

  • Include basic information in your outgoing message such as business hours, location, services available, special promotions, etc.

  • Record a memorable message or "tip of the day" on your outgoing answering machine or voice mail message.

  • Ask clients what you can do the help them.

  • Take clients out to a ball game, a show or another special event - just send them two tickets with a note.

  • Hold a seminar at your office for clients and prospects.

  • Send hand-written thank-you notes.

  • Send birthday cards and appropriate seasonal greetings.

  • Photocopy interesting articles and send them to clients and prospects with a hand-written "FYI" note and your business card.

  • Send a book of interest or other appropriate business gift to a client with a handwritten note.

  • Create an interactive forum on your website specifically for your customers to connect and share ideas.


  • Join a Chamber of Commerce or other organization.

  • Join or organize a breakfast club with other professionals (not in your field) to discuss business and network referrals.

  • Mail a brochure to members of organizations to which you belong.

  • Serve on a city board or commission.

  • Host a holiday party.

  • Hold an open house.

  • Send letters to attendees after you attend a conference.

  • Join a community list-serve (email list) on the Internet.


  • Most service businesses should avoid traditional advertising!

  • Advertising works well for retail, restaurants, and hotels.

  • Advertise during peak seasons for your business.

  • Get a memorable phone number, such as "1-800-WIDGETS."

  • Obtain a memorable URL and email address and include them on all marketing materials.

  • Provide Rolodex® cards or phone stickers pre-printed with your business contact information.

  • Promote your business jointly with other professionals via cooperative direct mail.

  • Create your own direct mail list of "hot prospects."

  • Consider non-traditional tactics. One idea: hire a clown or a mime and send him/her to your best prospects with a basket of bagels or donuts for the office... and a note introducing yourself!

  • Consider placing ads in your newspaper's classified section.

  • Consider a vanity automobile tag with your company name.

  • Create a clever bumper sticker.

  • Code your ads and track your results as you test different versions to find the most effective one.

  • Improve your building signage and directional signs inside and out.

  • Invest in a neon sign to make your office or storefront window visible at night.

  • Create a new or improved company logo or "recolor" the traditional logo.

  • Sponsor and promote a contest or sweepstakes.


  • Get a booth at a fair/trade show attended by your target market. Then LEARN about trade show selling!

  • Sponsor or host a special event or open house at your business location in cooperation with a local non-profit organization, such as a women's business center. Describe how the organization helped you.

  • Give a speech or volunteer for a career day at a high school.

  • Teach a class or seminar at a local college or adult education center.

  • Volunteer your time to a charity or non-profit organization.

  • Donate your product or service to a charity auction.

  • Appear on a panel at a professional seminar.

  • Write a "How To" pamphlet or article or white paper.

  • Produce and distribute an educational CD-ROM, audio or videotape.

  • Publish a book.


  • Read newspapers, business journals and trade publications for new business openings and for personnel appointment and promotion announcements made by companies. Send your business literature to appropriate individuals and firms.

  • Give your sales literature to your lawyer, accountant, printer, banker, temp agency, office supply salesperson, advertising agency, etc. (Expand your sales force for free!)

  • Put your fax number on order forms for easy submission.

  • Set up a fax-on-demand or email autoresponder system to easily distribute valuable information to interested people.

  • Follow up on your direct mailings, email messages and broadcast faxes with a friendly telephone call.

  • Using broadcast fax or email messages to notify your current customers of product or service updates or special offers.

  • Extend your hours of operation.

  • Reduce response/turnaround time.

  • Make reordering easy - use reminders. Provide pre-addressed envelopes.

  • Remind clients of the products and services you provide that they aren't currently buying.

  • Call and/or send mail to former clients to try to reactivate them.

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