Tag archive for "Marketing Ideas"

10 Holiday Marketing Ideas

Curb Appeal, Event Marketing, Events & Schedule, Facebook, Local Business Marketing

10 Holiday Marketing Ideas

3 Comments 03 December 2010

Want to add a little holiday cheer to your 2010 holiday marketing? Try these 10 holiday marketing ideas to pump up the sales volume and spread a little holiday cheer all at the same time!

1. Customize your website and/or Facebook page with holiday decorations. It’s fairly easy to make (or find) a holiday graphic that you can customize for your business Facebook page or website, and it creates a festive spirit right there on the Internet, which is where more and more sales are happening (read this article to learn how long it takes for online marketing efforts to “move the needle”). So don’t save the holiday decor just for the brick-and-mortar storefront. Spread the spirit to your online space as well.

2. Have a holiday photo contest. You can theme the contest to fit in with your business, your products, and your services, or you can just keep it generic. Have people submit their photos via your Facebook page and simply “tag” your business page in the photo. You can have a contest for the “Cutest Family Christmas Picture” or “Best Santa Impersonator Photo” or anything holiday-themed. Play it up both in your store and online marketing, and provide a great prize for the winner.

3. Give holiday favors away with every purchase. Think simple and cheap here. A holiday favor can be very inexpensive, something as simple as pen with your logo on it, a holiday pin or sticker, or a individually wrapped chocolate. For the investment of a few pennies per purchase, you get to make a great impression with every customer who makes a purchase.

4. Offer holiday treats throughout the Christmas shopping season. Keep a fresh pot of coffee, a big urn of apple cider, and some holiday cookies out on a table, as a complimentary holiday treat for all your customers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a retail gift shop, an office, or a service-based business; sweet treats are welcome anytime, anywhere. And people who know they can get a cup of hot apple cider on a chilly day will return, and linger while they sip it.

5. Create a “12 Days of Your Product” package. This great marketing idea, from SmallBizTrends.com, gives you an easy, fun, and festive way to introduce customers to more of your products and services. Put together a 12-day package, starting small and building up, and sell it as a holiday special.

6. Send a special holiday e-card to your customer email list. Send it early – well before the actual holiday – and include a special coupon or discount as your way of saying thanks to your loyal customers.

7. Have a tree-trimming day in your brick-and-mortar store. Turn up the Christmas music, hang out signs, invite the public to participate, and have lots of sweet treats handy. Offer special “tree-trimming day only” sales, specials, and discounts.

8. Participate in your community’s holiday events. Is there a parade, a bazaar, a charity fundraiser, a night of carol singing and hot cocoa? Get out there and be part of it. Sponsor something, contribute something, provide some supplies and simply take part in person. Being an active part of your community is one of the best marketing moves you can make anytime of year.

9. Give away your holiday decorations (or some of them). Invest in a big, beautiful holiday wreath or centerpiece; then announce that, at the end of the season, one lucky customer will get to take it home to use in their own decor next year! Offer every customer the chance to enter to win that beautiful decoration; make it easy with slips of paper and a decorated box to put them in. All you need to collect are names and phone numbers (or email addresses). At the end of the season, have a little party, draw and announce the winner, and make even the post-holiday work a reason for celebration.

10. Simplify the holiday gift-buying process for your customers. Offer something like free gift-wrapping, free delivery, or an exceptionally lenient return policy for purchases. Anything you can do to make this time of the year simpler and less stressful for your customers will make it more likely that they spend their money in your store, and remember you when the new year rolls around.

P.S. Here is a post from 2006 on seasonal e-mail marketing ideas that I thought you’d also like.

Image by Howard Dickins.


Samples: Another Cheap or Free Marketing Idea for Small Business

Getting Results, Marketing, Professional Service, Restaurant Marketing, Retail, Smart Strategy

Samples: Another Cheap or Free Marketing Idea for Small Business

No Comments 07 June 2010

Here at the Results Revolution, we’ve had numerous guests on our show talk about the concept of “giving to get.” Basically what this means is using your own currency to market your business – instead of using someone else’s currency (usually cash). This helps moderate cash flow while keeping your business’ marketing healthy. And we like that.

Remember, the object of sampling is just that – to offer folks a sample of your business with no strings attached. You won’t win over 100% of those who sample, but for some who never have broken the invisible plane to enter your business, they will now feel comfortable having experienced this sample – and their lifetime value as a customer is worth far more than the sample.

Here is a link to a ResultsRevTV archive where a photography studio owner in Michigan shared extensively her strategy and plan for using sampling and service donations to non-profits as a primary marketing tactic. It’s a 30+ minute show, but an entertaining guest full of valuable ideas for your small business.

Here are two other ideas for using the concept of “sampling” as a marketing tool that other business owners shared with us.


Debra Yergen, owner of DY&Co, offers a detailed strategy for using bag stuffers for goodie bags at non-profit events to gain exposure for your business. Here’s her advice:

“If you do have a product business, such as a restaurant, give a free drink or food item, and DO NOT REQUIRE  an additional purchase. If you require an additional purchase, many people will save it for later and later may never come. It it’s completely free, most people will buy something else, maybe a whole lot of something else, while they’re there.”


Kathy Dalton, of The Kadis Group and co-founder of Little Stinker skin care line, loves sampling because “it gets results. People love to talk, especially about their favorite products or services, and they’re also more likely to trust a product recommendation from a friend over a commercial or other traditional marketing method.”

Kathy suggests using mini-samples or a gift bag with purchase sample. When distributing the sample, she says to include stickers or business cards. But, she insists, don’t just hand out ONE flyer or business card; hand out three so your potential clients can share with friends! There’s that word of mouth marketing being encouraged while offering a sample… sounds like a magic formula to us!

What say you? Have you used sampling to market your business? How did you do it, and did it work for you? What results have you seen?
Photo Credit: Mr. T in DC (bubble tea sample)


Cheap or Free Marketing Ideas

Attitude and Success, Authenticity, Contests, Experience Economy, Marketing, Professional Service, Retail, Small Business, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, Success in this Economy, Wholesale Products

Cheap or Free Marketing Ideas

No Comments 06 June 2010

Cheap or free marketing that works really does exist – especially for small business owners. Guerrilla marketing is still alive and well! In this post, several creative and marketing savvy small business owners share their top off-line marketing ideas to increase sales.

Remember these three things when applying these tips:

1. Print Customer Loyalty Coupons.
Adeena Mignogna, former retail store owner and author of Cute Little Store: Between the Entrepreneurial Dream and Business Reality
, recalls using her own customer loyalty coupons to make the shopping experience fun and memorable while leaving customers with a strong incentive to return for another visit!

“We always had a theme to go along with the coupon. Often it would be a set of different coupons, related to the season or a major holiday coming up. We would make it a lottery and have all the coupons in a bag. At check-out time, the customer would take a coupon from the bag. Since my retail store was very kid and family focused, often the kids would pick the coupon and have a lot of fun doing it. We frequently saw these coupons come back into the store!”

2. Be an Educator.
Shel Horowitz
, author of six books on marketing, including his latest, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet, says that he picks public speaking as his favorite cheap or free marketing tip.

“When you have 50 or 100 or 500 prospects in a room who are there to hear your message and learn from you, it does great things for your business!”

3. Label Stuff.
Dave Greenbaum
, owner of a small computer repair business, recommends using magazines and mailing labels to market your small business. We think that this is a great concept that could be adapted for many uses. Keep in mind that most waiting rooms are known for having old, out of date magazines…

Here’s how this works:

  1. Get magazine subscriptions at a discounted price.
  2. Read the magazines and enjoy them, as appropriate.
  3. Print a label or sticker that says “Magazine Compliments of…” and include all of your contact information (including web site address) and logo.
  4. While visiting your local auto repair center, coffee shop or doctor’s office, leave behind a stack of current magazines with your label on the back (with the blessing of management at each location).
  5. Reel in referrals from those who see the label and those who ask office management about “that guy that left the magazines.” “Doctor Dave” tells us that employees at each location rave and add value to the referrals.

It’s a win-win proposition on many fronts. Adapt this one creatively to your own business’ service or product offerings.

4. Take advantage of advertising “remnants.”
Bonnie Harris
at Wax Marketing reminds us that “ALL traditional media sell what are called ‘remnants.’ These are open ad spaces in print magazines, outdoor vehicles (like a billboard or bus sign), radio ads” etc. that haven’t sold. She recommends knowing ahead of time what traditional media best fits your business and marketing strategy. Then “call the advertising reps and let them know that you are always interested in hearing about remnant ad deals.” Bonnie warns however, “You have to make a decision quickly. Be available to the rep and have your ad ready to go right away.”

Bonnie says that she’s gotten some incredible deals this way…including a block of drivetime radio ads on a top station for $5 per ad!

5. Wear your marketing.
Beverly Solomon
, creative director at muse-solomon, a high-end art business, tells us that she loves wearing her marketing…literally. Beverly says, “I had a run of high quality knits done with our muse-solomon name on it. Yes, it is in effect a fancy t-shirt. However, I can wear it to elegant functions and openings. I also wear it for travel. We also give knits to our models and photographers.”

Name recognition and conversation starters are both key in business marketing. Instead of regular t-shirts and polos, consider a fashionable clothing run that serves you well in most environments. There are so many options out there now! Just be ready if you wear your marketing to tell your story!

6. Help customers find you again.
Kerri Halligan
of Athena Creates in Jacksonville, Florida reminds small business owners to make sure your customers know how (and when) to find you if they want to do repeat business. Unfortunately, as Kerri so aptly points out, we sometimes miss some of the most obvious marketing opportunities! Kerri explains, “I get so many repeat customers that sometimes they turn a so-so day into a great sales day. My repeat customers seem to buy more than new customer initial purchases because they now have confidence in my products. I see many other businesses that transact with a customer, but they don’t provide ANYTHING that has the business name or how the customer can find them again.” What a shame, but it’s so true! Aside from great signage, here’s what Kerri does to make sure her customers can find her again:

  1. All products have some sort of tag that includes the business name. (We would recommend she also include logo and URL on each of these tags if she’s not doing it already!)
  2. She hands out business cards to all shoppers or tucks one into their bag at the time of purchase.
  3. Her cash register is programmed to include her business name, logo and web site onto all receipts.

What say you? What are the most effective cheap or free marketing ideas for your business?
Photo Credit: ecastro


Cheap or Free Small Business Marketing Ideas

Getting Results, HALO Business Advisors, Marketing, Professional Service, Restaurant & Food Service, Restaurant Marketing, Retail, Small Business Marketing, Small Retail Business

Cheap or Free Small Business Marketing Ideas

No Comments 01 June 2010

Are you looking for a way to inject some traffic, build word of mouth buzz and boost sales for your small business?

Whether you are a small retail business, restaurant or professional service business, there’s never a bad time to generate an increase in cash flow, especially during the often slower summer months.

Well, have we got some ideas for you!

This Thursday, we’re sharing THIRTY cheap or free, quick to implement marketing ideas that will work for your small business – it’ll all be during our webinar on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 9 a.m. CDT called “Cheap or Free Small Business Marketing Ideas.” This webinar will be presented by marketing coach and small business expert Marianna Hayes Chapman, with questions and personalized advice being given throughout the webinar by marketing coach and small business expert Andy Chapman.

I’m not messing around here – these are the sorts of ideas that you can learn in the morning and implement by the afternoon. They are quick to implement, no or very little cost, and they are EASY!

Here are some of the categories of ideas we’re going to cover:

  1. Getting more from existing customers.
  2. Offline ways to get more from your web site & e-mail marketing
  3. “Guerilla Marketing” ideas for 2010 – offline, free & easy!
  4. How to get more buzz and sales from social media.
  5. How to get the media to talk about you and your business.

The ideas presented in “Cheap or Free Small Business Marketing Ideas” are so easy that even those of you who are still shying away from social media or who can’t update your own web site will LOVE this webinar and the ideas it holds. The marketing ideas are smart and affordable marketing angles that will move the needle for your small business. They are practical, do-it-yourself, and realistic for the busy small business owner.

We know marketing is only one piece of your day, so yes, these will be REAL ideas. This isn’t really a strategy session – it’s an idea session. No theory – just specific explanations of thirty – yes, that’s right – THIRTY marketing tactics that you can use to grow your business THIS WEEK!!!

Around here, Andy often tells me that “activity brings sales.” What he means is that when we are ACTIVELY marketing our business, we notice an increase in sales. And we notice that same thing with our clients. Sometimes the smallest changes lead to enormous results. And that’s what we’re all about – RESULTS!!

This webinar is perfect for small businesses of all sizes including retail, hospitality, restaurant and professional service businesses. These ideas will work in any environment – no matter how small or large your community.

And let’s face it, this is me trying to sell you something in a blog post, but c’mon…for only $29, you really should show up. If you get ONE idea that generates a sales boost for you, you’ll more than pay for the cost of the webinar in about half a day… I’d say your odds of winning at this investment are better than nearly anything else out there right now, so go ahead, register… because space is limited, so don’t miss out!

Join the Results Revolution and our founders for this hard-hitting hour of amazing small business marketing ideas that will get you REAL RESULTS for your small business – THIRTY marketing ideas presented by Marianna Hayes Chapman! In addition, while Marianna teaches the session, attendees can submit their questions, and Andy Chapman will monitor the question and answer forum, so unlike most webinars, you’ll have the benefit of constant interaction and personalized ideas for your business.

Join us this Thursday, June 3 for Cheap or Free Small Business Marketing Ideas (only $29!!)… You’ll be glad you did!


For Main Street or Downtown Programs, Professional Service, Restaurant & Food Service, Retail, Wholesale Products

No King Ever Ordered a Revolution

No Comments 29 October 2009

VivaLaRevolutionI’m a nerd. It’s official.

Here’s the proof: Just picture me. Sitting in paradise this past weekend: Key Largo to be specific. Reclining oceanside in the privacy of a mangrove tree dappled beach. My toes are nestled into the rocky sand and the clear water is gently swooshing in over my feet. I can see the coral below the surface a few feet away and see folks snorkeling off shore in the distance. I’ve got my beach read in hand… Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

(That’s the nerdy part.)

We’re writing a book – Andy and I. The book leans heavily on the analogy of teaching a child to ride a bike to communicate the process of “learning” how to assimilate to the social media/new media world. At one point in his book, Chris used my analogy. He stole it. I’m sure he’s stalking me. I gasped and almost dropped the book in the water. But it was too good, so I didn’t. (And no, I really don’t think he stole it or is stalking me. But I think he’s REALLY smart. *wink*)

So, after another hour or so, I finished the book. I know it’s really bad form to give away the ending of a book, but hey, who am I to do things the way they’ve always been done, so here I go (sorry, Chris). Last three sentences of his book:

“Try something new today. It may just REVOLUTIONIZE what you do. Trust us.”

Did you see that? Again, I almost dropped the book. But since I had read all the way to the end, I had filled the margins with notes, my own ideas and analogies – and lots of underlining, stars and arrows…I really didn’t want to feed my notes to the sharks. So, I held on to it. I mean, WE are HOME of the Results Revolution. (I’ve had the domain name for a long time – like more than 6 years a long time: resultsrevolution.com – being reworked right now for a cool 2010 project.) Brogan stole my word! (Again, spoken in jest.) I’ve been giving the Webster’s definition slowly and carefully in speeches for more than nine years. I sign my e-mail newsletter with two words: “Be Revolutionary.” But I’ve also been raising babies and running carpool lines and generally doing this life thing at a pretty hectic pace the last few years. That is very good work – the best work in fact. But maybe now it’s time to finish that book, to really demonstrate “revolutionary.” That’s part of what this weekend in paradise was all about. Refocusing, rejuvenating, writing, learning, listening and thinking – about nothing in particular – just letting the creative juices flow with no pressure induced. I’m so fired up.

(In case you missed it, Webster’s says that a “revolution” is “a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.” It’s really a revolutionary definition all by itself, if you stop long enough to unpack it.)

So, today, I’m plugging back in and reading some past Brogan e-mail newsletters and ran across one titled the same as this post: “No King Ever Ordered a Revolution.” Made me stop and think over this revolution thing one more time.

How about you? Are you willing to take on the status quo, to be the leader that sticks his neck out for the sake of the cause – even when the cause doesn’t think it’s the right move? Are you the lone voice in the wilderness thinking that social tools and networks might just give your business a chance to connect in a whole new way – even survive? What would a revolution look like if it happened in your business? Isn’t it time you pursued your own personal or professional revolution? No one but you can order it. It’s you against the world – go do big things, different things, far-reaching things.

I’d love to talk about what that means for you. What say you?

P.S. If you haven’t read it, it’s a good read. And if you don’t, follow @chrisbrogan. He’s smart, keeps it all real, and you will benefit from him and his network.

Photo Credit: chris.corwin


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About Marianna Chapman

For the past 15 years, Marianna Chapman has been creating game-changing big ideas resulting in big returns for dozens of businesses and communities across the U.S.

Today, Marianna and her team help business and non-profit clients at Big Idea Company, Inc., writes the Results Revolution blog, serves as Executive Editor for Eat Cities, LLC media outlets, and is a frequent speaker to national and regional conferences.

Marianna is a professional problem solver and rainmaker for hire.

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American Express OPENforum
MSN Business on Main
Return on Behavior magazine
Mississippi Business Journal
Greater Jackson Business
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