Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Marketing

8 Creative Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners


One of the top reasons that small businesses fail is poor marketing. Your marketing strategy can make or break your business, so you have to take it seriously. 

Some of the latest marketing methods are too expensive for the average small business owner. You have to get creative. You may not be able to afford expensive commercials or Times Square billboards.

We’re here with a few of the best marketing tips for small business owners regardless of their budget. 

Read on to learn more.

1. Try Out a TikTok or Reels Trend

In 2022, you can’t get away from the cultural phenomenon of short-form video-based social media content. TikTok and Instagram Reels have taken the world by storm, and anyone with any marketing know-how at all knows that if you want to compete, you have to join in. 

These platforms operate on trends. One person will use a specific sound or video theme and countless others will follow them (either ironically or in earnest). As more people join the trend, it gets bigger and bigger and the accounts that join in become easier to find. 

That means that if you want to gain social media traction, you need to join some trends.

Look for trending sounds, dances, or activities that make sense for your brand. You don’t want to use a trending sound the wrong way. This will come off as “try-hard,” which is not helpful when it comes to attracting younger audiences on these apps. 

Try to have fun with it and let yourself be silly as long as it makes sense for your business. One of the best creative marketing tips is to get out of your comfort zone, and playing with TikTok and Instagram trends will help you do just that.

2. Or: Try to Start Your Own Trend

What if none of the current trends align with what you envision for your marketing strategy? It’s time to get even more creative and create one of your own.

Creating a trend is tough, and it’ll take a few tries before something picks up unless you’re truly one of the lucky ones. That said, if you’re successful, it’s a great way to gain a large audience fast.

You can try starting a TikTok dance, but if dancing isn’t your forté, create a challenge that makes sense with your business’s niche instead.

For example, you can create a challenge using a specific song (try one that isn’t trending yet, but that is familiar). If you run a clothing business, the challenge can be something fun, like creating an outfit for your own personal video game character. 

Make the video, make the parameters of the challenge clear, and post it. Consider having people in your network join in on the trend so your business’s TikTok or Instagram isn’t the only one doing it. 

3. Use Humor to Your Advantage

As long as it’s appropriate for your brand, humor is huge when it comes to marketing. Get creative and make your potential customers laugh. 

Consider brands who have been using humor for years on their commercials and social media platforms. Denny’s Diner, for example, created an entire Tumblr page full of absurdist humor targeted toward the millennial and gen Z audience. 

Make sure that you keep jokes smart and light. Avoid joking too much about current events outside of things like pop culture. 

4. Get Unique Branded Swag

Many people think that there’s no more room for traditional advertising in 2022, but this isn’t the case. There are still plenty of ways that you can use old-school marketing tactics with great success. 

Branded swag can be more than just boring pens with your logo on them. Instead, attract new customers and keep your old ones coming back for more with useful and unique branded swag items.

Look for things that people actually want. You can only have so many branded mousepads before new ones find themselves in the garbage. 

Instead, think of things like water bottles, yoga mats, and reusable utensils to match the sustainable health and wellness crowd. 

Instead of plain branded t-shirts, hire someone to create a unique design. Bonus tip: we also recommend opting for hats instead of t-shirts. Hats are in and people can wear them every day. 

Think outside of the box.

Consider bringing your branded swag to local events or doing giveaways on social media to further expand your reach. While this might seem like a waste of money, it should still fit snugly into your standard marketing budget, and it might make a huge business.

Using swag for giveaways will help you grow your social media profiles (and thus gain more leads). Ask people to follow you, share a post of yours to their story, and tag a friend, and you’ll get so much exposure. 

5. Upgrade Your In-Store Signage

Sometimes the best idea is the simplest one. If your in-store signage is lacking, it’s time to upgrade it. 

Both traditional and digital signage matter. Make sure that everything is aesthetically appealing, clear, and useful to your potential customers. 

Signs aren’t just signs. They’re also decorations. Pretend that your in-store signage is part of a gallery wall. 

You can use your in-store signage to advertise sales, show off photos, advertise your social media platforms, and more. Read more on OptiSigns.com.

6. Create an “Instagrammable” Space

This isn’t going to be effective for every type of small business. Small business owners who work in the legal field, for example, won’t benefit from having “Instagrammable” spaces. 

If you run a restaurant, clothing store, design studio, or one of many other types of businesses that can potentially trend on social media, however, making your business Instagram-friendly can make a huge difference (and it’s a lot of fun). 

Consider paying a local artist to create a mural either in your building or on the outside wall (if you’re able to do so). This will create a perfect selfie spot or photo background for anyone who’s visiting (which is extra helpful for businesses within the beauty and fashion niche). 

Consider adding fun signs that look great in photographs, like trendy neon signs. 

If altering your space isn’t an option, can you spruce up your products to get them photo-ready? Think about how viral Starbucks drinks went when they started making Instagram-friendly Unicorn Lattes!

7. Get In Touch With Your Local Community

Let’s get out of the digital sphere again and talk about another part of traditional marketing that many business owners neglect. You should be interacting with your local community when it’s possible for you to do so. 

As long as you have a brick-and-mortar store, you’re going to rely on locals to support your business. Get your name out there by involving yourself in the community.

Start by going to local festivals and events. If there’s an opportunity to set up a booth, do it. Regardless of your niche, you need to take the time to make yourself more known in your community.

You can sell products at your booth if applicable, but you can also just use the opportunity to pass out business cards, give away swag, and talk to locals about what you do. 

You can also consider sponsoring events or donating your goods and services. This will get your name on event fliers and help you build goodwill in your community.

For example, if you run a brewery, you could sponsor the event’s beer garden. People will get to try your beer without visiting your brewery (and if it’s good, they’re sure to visit you for more!). 

8. Take Advantage of User-Generated Content

How much time are you spending crafting carefully-curated social media content? That’s all well and good, but don’t miss out on one of the most helpful marketing resources you have at your disposal: your customers.

If you have followers on your social media accounts, you have the potential to start using user-generated content. Use some of the earlier tips in this list to start making it happen.

Let’s say you’ve created an “Instagrammable” drink for your cafe. If you’ve played your cards right, your customers have taken photos of it and posted them to their stories on Instagram.

Re-post their stories to your own account (using the share feature so you can give them credit). Not only will this let your customers know that you’re paying attention to them (which will make them feel appreciated), but it will also show your other followers that real people enjoy your products!

Try These Creative Marketing Tips for Small Business 

These marketing tips for small business owners are sure to help you get new leads and expand your reach! Don’t settle for boring radio ads and basic social media posts. Make your marketing strategies more creative by getting with the times!

For more helpful articles about marketing and more, visit the rest of the site. 



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