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Creative Promotional Ideas that Set Your Small Business Apart from the Competition

AUTHOR: Sogol Sabbar

Many businesses use promotions to gain more customers, but how effective are those promotions? Some might say “very effective” and some will say “not so much.” For those of you who said, “not so much,” here are some creative promotional ideas we think will help you stay ahead of the competition and gain more customers.

A Special Day Just for Your Business

Create a special day for your business and run a unique promotion on that day. Try to think about a day in your business that is special to you. It could be during the holidays, summer season or even tax season. It could be your business anniversary, the day you graduated college, or a birthday. Whatever it may be, creating unique special days for your business not only sets you apart from the competition but also shows off your personality as a business owner and allows your customers to relate to you. It is something different that not many other businesses do, and it gets people’s attention. Your promotion could say something like, “Our owner’s birthday is December 5th, and he wants to celebrate with you. Join us to celebrate and receive an extra 20% off your purchase.” These types of promotions will be sure to attract attention.

A Little Entertainment Goes a Long Way

If you have the budget, hire musicians to play music inside or outside your store or restaurant once or twice a month. Music is a mood changer, so choose the appropriate music for your business that will attract the right people. Get the word out by creating signs and posters telling people that you will be having live music on a particular day, especially if you are a restaurant owner.

If you have a TV in your store or can get one, run a few favorite TV shows or movies throughout the day. This will be sure to attract customers; they could walk in watch a few minutes and start browsing your store or come in and grab a bite to eat at your restaurant. It is also a great way to keep kids busy while parents shop.

Flavor It Up

People love food; it is one of the pleasures in life. A great way to gain customers’ trust is by offering them some snacks while they browse or wait for your services. Your customers are out all day burning calories, even if they didn’t expect to work out today, they are sure getting a work out while they shop. They are tired and hungry, so show them that you care and keep them on their feet. Even offering a glass of water goes a long way.

Word-Of-Mouth Still Works

We all know that word-of-mouth marketing works. The more people know about your business, the more people will talk about your business. This approach is without a doubt the best approach, so why not make it work even harder? One great way of thinking about this more creatively is partnering with other business owners around your neighborhood or district to get the word out about your business. Creating a community with your fellow business owners is a great way to network and gain new customers.

Here are just some ideas you can approach them with:

  • Have a weekend “side-walk” party, where all of you come together and offer the same type of promotion, have musicians or a DJ play on the sidewalk, or hand out free refreshments. Get in touch with your district and find out the rules and regulations of having such an event and start planning.
  • Cross-promote with other businesses. Hand out flyers/postcards/coupons to nearby businesses, so they promote for you and you do the same. You could either have them leave your promotions on their countertops or place one inside every shopper’s shopping bag.
  • Hire Santa Claus to come to your neighborhood. You’ve seen them in the malls, so why not have one of your own. If your store is not in a mall, this could be a great way to gain attention to your block. You can set up a booth and have photos taken with Santa and ask for donations to a charity.

Open Houses Are Not Just for Realtors

As a business owner, you can use the “Open-House” approach and create a networking party with your customers. Create this day to allow people to come and get to know you and your business. Use this idea as a soft approach to get potential shoppers through your door. You could have a raffle that day where you give away a product or service. And if you do a raffle, make sure you get their name and email address on the raffle ticket so that you can use it for your email marketing campaigns later.

Get on Social Media

When you are preparing your promotional calendar, it is important to have some Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts scheduled. Try to post interesting and relevant information about your business. When you post your discounts and sales, try to be more engaging. Tell your customers why you are having this promotion. Is it for a good cause, are you gearing up for new inventory? Whatever the reason, try to give your customers a little bit more information about your post. You could even run special campaigns on Facebook or even a Facebook Photo Contest to help with engagement.

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