21+ Creative Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses


Running a small business is never easy. You have to battle on many fronts including financial and competitive aspects.

The good news is that there are many creative ways for your business to thrive even without spending so much money.

You may not have the time to figure to research or figure out what to do.

Well, you don’t have to worry because this post is all about how you can take advantage of some creative marketing ideas that actually work.

Creative marketing ideas for small businesses:

1) Conduct a Customer Satisfaction Survey

A customer satisfaction survey is a great way to learn about your customer base.

That’s not all there is to it, though. You also get to let them know you still exist.

What’s more, a survey is an indication that you care about how you serve them. It’s an extension of your customer care services.

Customers will always appreciate that you asked for their opinions on certain marketing decisions and products

It boosts loyalty

Around 52% of people around the world believe that companies need to act on feedback from their customers.

Don’t just get that survey result. Go ahead to make viable changes that can boost your small business. The customer is king.

A survey only makes them more invested in the results and lead to loyalty over time.

2) Tell a Story with data or Milestones

Creative marketing ideas

For small businesses looking to grow, this can be an impeccable marketing idea.

It’s equally free and doesn’t take much to accomplish. Go through the numbers of your business and see if there’s a significant story through the data.

Perhaps you’ve done business with a large number of people in your areas. Maybe you provided a service that exceeded industry expectations.

Put up the milestone

Go ahead to publish the results online or put up an obvious sign in your business place.

Since people respond well to numbers, they’ll naturally be drawn to your small business. Imagine meeting a target of providing services to about 1000 people in your community.

Your milestone can read: “we’ve managed to keep 1000 customers satisfied in our community! What are you waiting for?”

3) Promote or Volunteer time for a Charity Event

Charity events present a great place for small business brands. You get to gain some visibility for a good cause.

Moreover, you don’t have to spend to make an impact. You only need the right feel-good attitude, and possibly, donate some products to those that need it.

Volunteer for routine tasks

Volunteering your time is a key way to lend a helping hand. You can organize a team to help out with routine tasks in your community.

Your work will be appreciated especially within a local space and by your employees who get to add to their experiences.

4) Join a Professional Organization

For a small business, joining a professional organization is a no-brainer. The opportunities are worth it.

For example, you get to network with others and get exposure to education and training.

A good example is the chamber of commerce or other B2B organization.

They present free marketing ideas to engender camaraderie for all parties involved.

When you connect with other professional organizations, your business will gain more visibility, especially within your community.

That way, you can interact with similar businesses thriving in your area.

5) Host Events or Classes


Hosting events or classes, and even attending some, can help you learn more about your competitors.

You also get to share ideas with others. What you can do is plan an event that will attract customers to your business.

While there, educate them about your industry. Such an event is a form of marketing to those present.

To get rolling, print flyers and post them on community bulletin boards at various places including coffee shops and other establishments.

This offline marketing idea is worthwhile and will offer great value to your customers and those you want to attract.

Similar businesses can share ideas on how they thrive, and you can pick up more ideas.

6) Design Infographics

Infographics present your data in a format that’s hard to resist. They’re superb ways to let the images do the marketing talk for you.

Moreover, they’re relatively easy and inexpensive to create. What’s more, infographics are visual and easy to understand.

That makes it far easier for people to share them. On the whole, 32% of marketers believe that visuals are the most important type of content their business creates.

Infographics rule

There are online services, including that on Visme, that don’t require any skill or software to design.

You only have to be creative. You’ll be joint 65% of brands that use infographics for marketing purposes.

If you have a small business for it, you can hire a freelance designer to create a set of infographics for you.

7) Sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

You can get free press with Help a Reporter Out (HARO). It’s one platform that reporters that need help on articles or other content they’re working on.

Reporters submit requests for responses on specific topics and you can take advantage of this to chip in yours.

Many industry leaders and specialists provide viable answers to keen readers.

As such, with your answer in any article, your name and business will appear.

Be a thought leader

If you’re an expert in your line of business, consider yourself a thought leader so that you can be on HARO responding to reporters.

It’s mostly quick and free for marketing your small business.

8) Publish Distributed Content

There’s a wide range of benefits associated with distributed content. Many people are familiar with the positives associated with social media marketing.

However, some platforms like Facebook and Twitter can cost you more depending on what you want.

You can make do with other great alternative content distribution networks especially if you need a free marketing idea.


Reddit does seem old-school but it is great. All you have to do is find a niche or subreddits related to your business.

While there, you’ll find many people interest in your business or in what you offer.

Sturdy what the community on the niche feels like before making a post.

LinkedIn is another option to consider. It’s a business-focused social network that can leave an impact.

Join professional groups, industry conversations, and share your content. It’s true that such moves can take time. However, they won’t cost you as much.

9) One-to-one Marketing

Be a bit old school with your marketing attempts when you meet customers physically.

Sure, the world has changed a lot thanks to the Internet. However, meeting people helps to boost personalized interactions.

Apart from meeting them at a location, you can send handwritten postcards to loyal customers. You can also send personalized birthday emails to them.

When you meet customers personally, it will lead to more loyalty and more returns for your small business.

That’s because they’ll think about you before any other brand.

10) Optimize Your Emails

Even if many people feel like they get a lot of emails, you can get creative so that you don’t sound like a threat or disturbance.

The fact is about 86% of consumers prefer email when communicating for business purposes.

That shows that email remains an effective way to communicate with your customers.

Email marketing for small business owners is a great step. However, it’s a tricky process especially when you want recipients to open your email.

The best part is to give a lot of room to improve.

Use this as a guide:

  • For your small business, you’d want an address that’s immediately recognized by recipients.
  • Let your subject line be worth the click
  • Make your designs eye-catching but in an optimized way that makes them easy to read.
  • Include a call-to-action (CTA) so your recipients know what’s expected of them. Ensure it’s easy

11) Embrace Marketing Automation

One of the smartest things you can do is embrace marketing automation. Let’s face it, you can’t do it all by yourself.

As a small business, you probably have a lot going in other to break even and stay afloat.

What you can do is delegate some tasks or automate them for efficiency.

Many businesses and individuals use automation to provide support. A study also found that 67% of marketing leaders use marketing automation.

That number has since grown to over 30%. Marketing automation will help you stay on top of the situation.

For example, you can boost your network, maximize referral leads, and even customer retention.

Improve customer interaction

Automation is a great way to make the most out of every customer interaction.

You can identify warm leads better, track conversations, and do a comprehensive follow up on customers.

Automating some functions also means that you’re keeping up with current technological trends. Your small business will be better for it.

12) Get the best out of YouTube

Stats show that YouTube is assuming a position second only to Google as a search engine in the United States.

That means a presence on YouTube for your small business is worth a shot. What’s more, it is a cost-effective idea for small businesses.

YouTube has about 2 billion users worldwide. You can always get a good audience to showcase your goods and services.

For example, you can make a short and enticing video about what you offer.

Also, you can choose a to-do topic to show how one of your products was made.

Either way, it should be creative and inventive enough to grab the attention of your audience.


On the flip side, you can invest in an expert to give your videos life on YouTube.

Moreover, you can borrow ideas from legit businesses on how they got the best out of YouTube.

That way, you’re prepared to use this effective marketing tool.

13) Don’t shy away from Controversial Industry Topics

Some say politics and business shouldn’t mix. Yet, they’re more entwined than ever before.

In line with that, controversial issues are bound to rise. Don’t shy away from them, though.

Take a stand so your customer base knows you have depth on different issues.

Look around

One of the trending issues right now is the attitude of countries to the environment. In your local community, this could be an issue.

Outline steps your small business takes to achieve an eco-friendly environment.

Besides, you can write a post that gets published on popular websites or blogs like Medium.

Support a cause

Supporting a cause doesn’t mean you have to spend some money. You can take a stance or show where you stand by using particular catchphrases or colors.

Remember, you’re trying to strengthen customer relations and also gain new ones.

14) Build a Presence on Online Forums

With the digital age in vogue, many of your customers are online. To that end, you can take steps to market your small business online.

An online community can help organizations improve engagement to about 21%.

Also, 66% of branded communities say that online forums have had an impact on customer retention.

It’s a favorite marketing idea not just because it is free, but also because you can reach more people for your business.

Many of your customers post on forums like Quora and Reddit.

Provide answers to questions in a non-promotional and helpful manner but enough to build your visibility among potential customers.

15) Partner with Influencers and Interact with Customers

With your social media channels up and running, it makes sense to put them to good use by being creative about how you post. How?

Think out ways to interact with your customers who comment or just review your posts.

Chip in on their conversations or let them know you’re up to speed on what they have to say.

It shows that you care about what they think.

Connect to Influencers

From a study, 89% say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.

As such, you can come up with a creative way to put your small business more out there with the help of an influencer.

They have a vast presence on social media that can help you elevate your business presence.

You can give them a gift or a discount on some of your products.

Whatever platform their using, ensure that they stick to the guidelines. It’s not free but you can create a plan that’s worth the investment.

16) Optimize your Website for Mobile

Many online web searches are done via mobile devices. If you run a website, you should optimize it for mobile visitors.

There’s more to optimizing your site for mobile, though. You have to ensure the interface is clean, clear, and easy to navigate.

Make sure every link and redirect is properly done. Moreover, Google will reward your website with higher rankings if you have a functional mobile-optimized site.

If money is a challenge, search for free templates online.

17) Manage your Yelp Presence

Yelp is a fantastic way for small businesses to find new customers, so long as you keep up a strong presence.

That’s why you should manage your Yelp presence in a way that helps you get more publicity.

What are you willing to invest? Yelp for business is either a free or paid marketing idea, depending on your budget.

Get things started by registering your business, add your location, and post pictures of what you sell.

After all, that’s done, always do your best to respond to customer’s reviews. You don’t want them to think that you’re only after a quick sale.

For a few, Yelp will help you turn visitors into buyers.

18) Start a Client Appreciation Program

Sometimes you have to leave all the creativity and simply appreciate those who have kept your business running.

Your customers, especially the loyal ones, deserve some form of a treat. Showing some appreciation means you value them and want to invest in the relationship.

It’s a sure way to make them come back for more. Moreover, they’ll gladly spread the word about how well you’ve treated them. That’s another form of publicity for your small business.

19) Use Customer Reviews for Content

There’re lots of positives with this idea. However, the main advantage here is that it uses your customer’s words to tell potential customers about your business.

The words will tell potential customers just how good your products and service are. No, it’s not bragging.

The words you use belong to your customer(s).

Customers view

You should encourage your customers to leave a review on your website or social media platforms.

Let them know they have a shot at words being published. Sometimes, it’s wise to offer incentives like a discount on their next order, or first options on some products.

Either way, they should leave a review after using your products.

For example, if you’re into hairstyling, customers can leave comments about how you helped them look good.

Incorporate the words on your website

You can go ahead to use their testimonial or reviews in social media posts, blog posts, and your website.

On your website, you can have the post on your product’s landing page. That way, it’s easier to see, and visitors can quickly make a buying decision.

Always tweak content to fit with current trends and situations.

20) Get Interviewed on Podcasts


Up to 39% of small and medium-sized business owners are podcast users. If you’re not part of this figure, what are you waiting for?

The fact is many business owners within that figure listen to podcasts weekly while researchers also found that 70-72% of business owners who have 100-500 employees listen to podcasts.

Your company can grow to that level. But you have to start using podcasts to level up.

Be a guest

There are thousands of podcasts itching to have a guest share their knowledge on a wide range of topics.

You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to know about your line of business.


If you’re certain about what you want to say, find a pitch to be their guest. Use Google to search for podcast opportunities that fit your preferences.

Also, you can find a seasoned podcaster in your line of business, and where they’ve been guests.

You’ll likely come across podcasters who have featured on different information podcasts.

You’ll find them easily especially when you know topics they’ve featured on.

21) Do some Local SEO

There’s nothing quite like taking advantage of your presence in your local community. To that end, you can use Google’s algorithm system.

It is designed to serve up the most accurate and relevant content for any search query you enter.

Further, it’s not a pay to play system. As such, it allows small businesses like yours to compete with large competitors.

Local SEO is free

It can take some time and real effort, but it’s free. Start now, put in the work, and reap the benefits over time.

It’s very important that you do the following:

  • Add or use location-based keywords like “New York Steak” to the titles, headings, and body content of your main website pages.
  • Get listed on online directories. Make sure your information is accurate and identical across all platforms.
  • Publish your pages or blog posts to relevant communities you serve.

22) Identify your Buyer Persona

People that search for businesses online have a personality. What you want to know is what they are like.

Also, you’ll want to know what their pain points are, and other necessary information about their life in general.

Well, you can create a buyer persona that tells the story of your ideal customer. That way, it’s much easier to optimize your website for them.

Target customers

Identifying the buyer’s persona or creating one will help you know more about your target customer.

You’ll learn what types of things they may be searching for, and how to make them find them.


Gone through these cool and creative marketing ideas for your small business? They can help you stay in business for a long time.

You can take one or a combination of several of them to help your business grow and evolve.

Either way, the customer is king. So it’s best you figure out how to pull in many of them to your business.

You only have to remain focused and constantly creative with different ideas and current trends.