8 Unique and Creative Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

If you want your small business to stand out from the crowd, sometimes you need to think outside the box. Here are eight unique and creative marketing ideas that you may not have considered.


As a small business, it can be tough to compete against the bigger players.

The way to get in front is with marketing.

You can’t compete on dollar spend, but you can be more creative and agile than the bigger players.

We’ve compiled eight unique and creative marketing ideas. To get you thinking outside the box. And smashing the competition!

Let’s take a look.

Marketing Basics: Pains and Gains

Every business owner understands the importance of their product or solution. The key to marketing well to customers or clients is to make them understand how your solution will solve their problem.

The two core questions are:

  1. What pain, problem, or discomfort does my customer have? (‘Pains’)
  1. How does my product or service fix their problem or ease their discomfort? (‘Gains’)

Successful marketing talks to the customer pain, offering them the gain (your product) as the solution. This is the pains-and-gains marketing approach.

These are the marketing basics, and you’ve no doubt heard of them before.

Small Business Means Marketing Advantages

Social Media and magazines are saturated with big marketing companies. They spend millions on these campaigns.

As a small business, is it even possible to compete?

Absolutely! You can compete precisely because you are a small business. You can be agiler than the big guys.

If you find a cheap effective marketing idea, you can roll it out in a day.

You don’t need four signatures from three departments and a couple of staff meetings to launch it!

So let’s play to your strengths.

Here are eight creative marketing ideas. You can start any one of them this very afternoon. Let’s roll!

Creative Marketing Ideas

Here are our eight creative marketing ideas, in no particular order. None of them require a big marketing budget.

1. Paint the Town

Much of today’s marketing efforts are digital. While your competition is spamming Facebook, why not use your physical environment?

Chalk the footpath or commission a mural to get local people talking about your business.

You can always add a creative or mysterious hashtag to your wall or chalk murals. Then you’ll have those curious cats looking you up!

Some cafes win customers by putting a piece of trivia or a competition on their blackboard each day. Those that can answer the riddle get a free or discounted latte.

2. Master Mail-outs

In a similar vein to creative marketing suggestion #1, mailing a flyer can catch attention. While everyone else is focusing on email newsletters – that are by-and-large deleted on sight, focus on the original spaces.

The mailbox is mainly ignored, and the leaflet marketing that enters it is usually boring. If you have a fun, well-designed flyer you can really grab attention with a mail-out.

If you run a local business, even better. What better way to get direct access to your market then by dropping a flyer in the mailbox of the local area. You can do this on foot, or might even have a service through your local post office that includes leafleting.

Avoid having spammy ‘Rug Sale’ flyers. Instead, go for fun, color, and invite your readers to do something.

If they bring the flyer to your shop they get a discount. If they follow you on Facebook they get club points. You get the idea.

3. Produce a Podcast

We bet you are a bit of an expert in your area. Even if you’re modest about it. Why not start a podcast, giving out advice to customers?

There are some great success stories of companies using a podcast to talk about their product or service. Like a blog post, these set you up as a trusted advisor.

And in business, trust sells well. You need a minimal amount of tech to get going. A microphone and some free online editing software and you’re good I to go.

4. Enter Instagram

Instagram is an incredibly popular social media channel. Humans respond to visual sense stronger than any other.

You’ve heard the phrase ‘seeing is believing’, right?

So recruit your customers to sell your product visually. Have them post on Instagram images of them using your it.

Get them to use a specific and original hashtag. Give points, discounts, or make it a competition with an envy-inducing prize.

Congratulations- you’ve just recruited a visual media team, for free!

5. Nail Memes and Shareable Content

The key to competing with traffic online is to create fun, shareable content. Memes are a popular and effective way to do this.

You could publish fun memes that relate to your business or create a competition where your customers do.

6. Make a Fun YouTube Channel

Once you’ve got the hang of your podcast, move it to YouTube.

Filming the content will get you subscribers on a whole other channel. Find a way to make it gimmicky.

Answer your customer ‘pains’. Mke sure you put your keywords in the video description. That’ll drive traffic to your YouTube channel like you won’t believe.

7. Coin a Coin

People love a freebie and go nuts for a reward, especially if it’s original.

An adult version of collector cards is Custom Challenge Coins. You’ve probably got the idea so far that gamification is key.

Noone likes to feel sold to.

Involving them in a competition is a great way to generate buzz without people feeling you are pushing something. Lots of companies report that custom challenge coins are fun prizes and personalized gifts that their clients love.

8. Guerilla Marketing: Flash Mob

We all love a bit of scandal, we’re all prone to curiosity. Tap into that by staging a flash mob.

You can have all those in the group wear a shirt with the hashtag that takes them to your shareable content or competition.

It’s best if you are subtle about the point of it. It will drive them wild, and they’ll be googling to find out who you are and why you’re there.

Compare that to a big billboard ad demanding they buy your product. That’s’ the power of creative marketing!

Bringing It Together

There you have it: our eight creative marketing ideas. We bet you’ve got lots more.

The key is to keep it fun. To gamify where possible. And to make people feel a bit VIP – like they know something before everyone else.

If you’d like more great ideas for small business, read our ideas on colocation, creating prototypes to start.

There’s that and lots more on our small business advice blog – check it out today!

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