7 Outside the Box Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Business

You’re blog subscribers are increasing by the day, your social media stats are killing it, and your content marketing strategy is kick ass too, but you still aren’t seeing the marketing results that you have planned for. (Sound familiar?) Perhaps you’re in need of something different – Something outside the box. We’ve rounded up 7 creative marketing ideas to amp up your marketing and provide you the ROI you are looking for. Every business is different, which means there’s no one size fits all, but these tips can be adapted to fit your specific needs. So stop asking yourself “what else can I do?” and without further ado, let’s look outside the box...

Number 1: Handwritten notes

Can you recall the last time you received a handwritten note? In today’s digital age, handwritten notes are more powerful now than ever. A handwritten note takes time and shows the extra effort you took out of your busy day to create one. Not only do handwritten notes add a “wow” factor and make customers feel special, but they are cost effective and simple to create. Here’s three instances when a handwritten note will build loyalty and set you apart from your competitors.

1. Customer Complaint or Issue: Send a customer a “Thank You” for pointing out the issue and being patient in getting it resolved

2. Holiday or Birthday: Send a “Happy Birthday” note to your customers if you have this information. Perhaps you just learned that one of your customers just had a child? Send them a congratulations!

3. Thank You: Having a stack of “Thank You” cards in your desk is a great way to demonstrate your appreciation on the fly

Number 2: Inspire User Generated Content

As Forbes mentions in this article, who doesn’t love some free advertising? Through user- generated content (UGC), you can build brand ambassadors who will advocate your marketing message on your behalf via various social media channels. “User-generated content is free marketing,” says Dave Allan, CEO of Ecigguide. “If done right, it has an infinite ROI because no money is invested in it.”

Here’s how to get yourself some UGC:

· Step 1: Make a list of the type of influencers you are looking for. (Eg. What qualities do they have, who is their audience and does it match your target audience, etc.)

· Step 2: Contact them and outline why you feel they would be a suitable fit for your brand

· Step 3: Set up an arrangement that works for both of you. For example, the chosen influencer can promote your products followers on their Instagram while utilizing your hashtags. In return for the free promotion, you can provide their audience with a discount code for purchasing said product at a reduced cost.

Number 3: Give Back to the Community

Let’s say you’re given the choice of spending $1 on a water bottle or $1.50 on a similar water bottle that donates $.50 to a charity to provide clean water to those in need, you would likely choose the latter, right? Incorporating corporate responsibility in your marketing tactics is a sure-fire way to land you some free marketing, positive press, and a feel-good heart.  

A humanitarian approach will set you apart from your competitors and is as simple as partnering with an organization or charity you are passionate about and sharing this passion with your customers. Findings show that 85% of consumers have a better outlook on and prefer to do businesses with brands that support a charity they care about. Customers that see a meaningful impact behind their purchase will likely choose you over your competitors and will recognize the opportunity to do good through their own purchasing power. 

Here’s a few other ways to incorporate corporate responsibility into your business plan:

1. Donate your product or services to a non-profit organization

2. Participate at Career Days

3. Hold a Fundraiser

4. Support a local charity by offering volunteer opportunities

Number 4: Personalize where possible

Who else lets out a bit of a squeal when they come across a cool product with their name on it? (No? Maybe it’s just me.) Product personalization can include various color and design options or pre-made designs with personalization options via name inclusions. Let’s be honest, Starbucks doesn’t write your name on your cup and announce it aloud just so you know when your ‘Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free, Vanilla Latte With Soy Milk’ is ready to be grabbed from the counter. The personalization gives you a bit of special treatment and serves as a reminder that you’re drinking the perfect cup of joe made with lots of love (and patience), and specifically for you.  

If you sell a physical product, consider adding custom embroidery, screen printing, or engraving. We get you, it reminds you of a monogrammed wedding gift or bath towel….but hear us out on this one, this type of customization can works if executed properly.  Companies that offer personalization get more engagement from consumers, they stay on their websites longer, they visit pages more frequently and become more loyal.

Number 5: Spice up your packaging

Survey results found that 64 percent of consumers said they will sometimes buy a product off the shelf, drawn by packaging, without prior knowledge or having researched it beforehand. Additional studies ranked packaging as one of the highest drivers of repeat purchase, providing higher impact than television ads online reviews, and even recommendations from friends.

 The way you package your product should be executed as carefully and strategically as you execute the product itself.  After all, if you aren’t an online store, your product’s packaging is the first thing your potential customer sees. Setting yourself apart from the others with creative packaging is a great way to grasp attention, get people talking, and hopefully earn you a few shares on social media! At one point, Nike delivered its famous Nike Air shoes in a box of actual air...

While we’re on the example of shoes, let’s discuss just one more! The below packaging is an example of clever and resourceful design by Puma. Who doesn’t love second-use packaging? If you have purchased a pair of Puma shoes you may have noticed the box looked a bit strange. (A red piece of cloth, really?) Upon opening, you realize it transforms into a re-usable bag that works wonders for grocery shopping or as a gym bag! It also makes for a great wine bag, just sayin’.

Number 6: Guerrilla Marketing

The aspect of being unconventional, risky and affordable is the name of the game behind guerrilla marketing. The best part about it, it’s easy to do on a limited budget! The most effective guerrilla marketing campaigns utilize a creative scenario or situation that is typically interactive and exciting, so don’t worry if you lack the budget for an expensive video crew or fancy stunt car. The most successful initiatives require one main ingredient, creativity.

A popular approach to guerrilla marketing is offering interactions to people as they go about their day-to-day routine. This form of advertising catches consumers off guard and establishes a positive moment they won’t soon forget. Street art and interactive display ads are a great way of accomplishing this. Check out these engaging examples of street art adverts.

Guerrilla marketing can also be applied online. Many e-commerce companies have developed creative ways of making waves on the web with unique and unconventional approaches. A fairly easy idea is to give a product or service away for free or as a contest giveaway! (Did someone say fo’ free?) There’s no doubt that people love free stuff, but just be sure to make them work for it! (Eg. Getting them to like your page, share a photo, sign up for your mailing list, etc.)  If you’re hosting a contest giveaway, create a video of the winner(s) being selected. This will provide some behind-the-scenes action and a glimpse into who you are as a company.

Number 7: Create an entertaining video

We’re all familiar with the stats that show that people are more inclined to watch a video than read through an array of text (With exception to this array of text though because this array of text is awesome.) We’ve got loads of tips for engaging with your audience via video and recommend developing a creative or funny video that grabs attention or makes your audience laugh. You’ve seen the ones that have gone viral to astronomical standards which catapulted some businesses into another dimension. Remember Dollar Shave Club’s video ‘Our Blades Are F***ing Great’? That video grabbed over 24 million views and the company was just acquired by Unilever last July to the tune of $1 billion cash... yes, cash. Mind you, that video was made at the mere cost of $4,500. If that isn’t a spectacular ROI, we don’t know what is.

You may be saying, “$4,500 is a lot of money to my small business!” We couldn’t agree more. There are even more cost effective ways of making killer videos. Bentley filmed and edited an entire commercial with an iPhone and an iPad Air. So, no excuses! Think on a budget, get creative, and start rolling the camera! A great idea executed well can go a lot further than you’d think. We promise.

We may be a little biased, but we like to think our videos are pretty cool too. We’ll let you be the judge here. Videos offer various marketing benefits, including sharing your brand story and increasing conversions. See for yourself as to why your company needs a brand video.

If you need a hand raising awareness of your amazing brand or have simply hit a road block in marketing your business, 10Twelve is here to do all the creative thinking for you. We have industry experts with experience in small budget start-ups all the way up to Fortune 500 companies. To start creating outside the box marketing ideas that are guaranteed to grow your business, feel free to contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation!