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In need of some fresh marketing ideas?

1) Start a blog

A blog is a great way to communicate directly with people and is FREE on sites such as wordpress. A blog will make your company seem open, friendly and helpful. You can share your expert knowledge with potential customers which will help generate followers and enquiries. A blog is very simple to set up and maintain, it requires very little technical knowledge and is great for website SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

2) Join Twitter

It only takes a few minutes to set up a Twitter account. Complete your profile and start joining discussions and promoting your twitter account to build up a network of followers interested in you, your products and your services.

3) List your business on Google Local

It's amazing how many businesses aren't listed on Google local/places. Take advantage of local search results by ensuring your business is listed. Once you're listed, encourage your customers to leave reviews on your page, it will help improve your local ranking.

Click here to list your business.

4) Write and submit original articles

Write expert articles about your industry and submit them to sites such as Articlesbase and ezinearticles. You will be able to link back to your own website from each article which will help drive traffic to your site as well as providing backlinks.

5) Get your business listed on directories

List your company details on directory website such as hotfrog. Google 'business directories' - there are hundreds!

6) Create an email database and start sending monthly newsletters

Companies such as Vertical Response or Mailchimp make it easy to create a database list and allow you to easily design a professional newsletter template.

7) Start networking

Find out where your local free networking events are and start attending! People like to do business with other people. Networking can lead to a lot of new business and referrals.

8) Get involved on forums

Make sure these forums are to do with your industry. Post regularly with helpful advice and get involved in discussions. Make sure you include your website in your forum signature. This will generate more traffic for your website.

9) Be creative with your marketing literature

Don't do what everyone else is doing. The world is over-communicated and everyone is constantly bombarded with advertising messages. Be different and you will stand out and be memorable.

10) Create a loyalty scheme

Reward loyal customers with discounts. It will keep them coming back and will help generate referrals. Don't just expect people to come back to you, there are hundreds of competing companies trying to win over your existing custmers - don't let them!

11) Create an email signature

Don't just put your name at the bottom of emails. People are naturally curious. Include your web link and twitter link and they will click them. Also include your company name, telephone number and email address.

12) Run a joint promotion

If you own a hair salon, why not run a joint promotion with a fashion boutique? Both businesses are based around image and looking and feeling good. You aren't competing, you can both help each other. Get the salon to give clients cards or leaflets promoting the fashion boutique. The fashion boutique can do the same.

13) Improve customer service

Customer service is a form of advertising. You're advertising that you care, that gets noticed.

14) Find out when local advertising magazines go to print and contact them!

Most advertising magazines will have spare advertising space before they go to print. They would rather generate revenue from that space than fill it with an article or leave it blank. Make them an offer for the spare space, you can often get greatly reduced advertising rates.

15) Offer something for free

Getting your foot in the door with new customers is half the battle. Make them an offer they can't refuse. Get them hooked on your product or service then you can start charging them.

16) Get AWESOME business cards

Home-printed cards suck. Template business cards also suck. Be different! Why use a generic card design that lots of other people are using? Get your cards professionally designed, add Spot UV varnishcoloured foils, print them on cotton, have them a strange shape... be creative! Then get them out and about. Give them to everyone. 

17) Use your vehicle

Vehicle graphics are seen by thousands and thousands of people a day. Turn your vehicle in to a mobile billboard - especially if you are on the road a lot! Vinyls can be added to your vehicle fairly cheaply, if your budget allows consider a full or partial vehicle wrap to really get noticed!

18) Ask your customers to recommend you

Go on, don't be shy!

19) Run a competition with a prize

Promote your competition and collect email addresses and customer details to send out future promotions. The competition will also create awareness of your company.

20) Use testimonials

Whatever your business is, make sure you ask for testimonials and use them! Make sure the testimonials are genuine and go in to a little detail. People are naturally skeptical and especially so when reading testimonials from "Mr R in Leicester" or "Michelle in Manchester"

21) Use promotional gifts

People love free stuff. Why not send a small promotional gift out with quotes and invoices?

22) Attend exhibitions and trade shows

It may cost a little bit for a stand but trade shows and exhibitions can be very effective in generating a lot of new customers and interest in your company.

23) Use friends and family

Ask your friends and family to promote your business.

24) Exchange web links with other business

Approach other businesses and offer to link to their website if they do the same for you. Want to go further? Why not create a blog post about your experiences with each other, along with a web link.

25) Think outside the box

Marketing doesn't have to be limited to press ads and radio jingles. Why not think outside the box? If you own a bakery why not dress up as a sandwich and hand out coupons? You'll probably get photographed and get some good exposure on social media! Marketing doesn't need to be boring, it can be fun and creative!