Your lead list is sick of the same old marketing messages. Any new prospects likely are as well. Your current marketing strategies, fruitful or not, are likely due for an upgrade. How can you shake things up while maximizing your recently refreshed marketing budget to really make an impact?

Below are a few unique ideas that you can try, it might just work.

Use Coffee as an Icebreaker

We recently recommended that one of our clients send Starbucks cards to their top prospects in exchange for a 15-minute meeting. The email was positioned as “let’s grab coffee.” Surprisingly, dozens of people responded within the first few days asking to schedule a meeting! This fresh marketing tactic was a great way break the ice and resulted in some productive, fruitful conversations.

This concept is not just limited to coffee. You can offer to take a handful of targeted leads out to lunch. You can buy one or two of your top prospects dinner while at an industry conference. You can even send a physical gift in exchange for twenty minutes of someone’s time –  whatever you think will give you the biggest bang for your buck! It is a small price to pay for great brand exposure and the potential to close more deals.

Market within Your Own Business

It’s amazing how resourceful your employees can be when given the proper incentive. Don’t pay for more marketing or adding additional employees. Instead, try marketing bonuses to your employees for their creativity or hard work. After all, salespeople should not be the only ones rewarded for their efforts!

If someone from accounting upsells a customer, offer them something of value in return. If your lead marketing person designs a campaign with exceptional results, give them a kick back! A R50 gift card or 5% commission can greatly improve employee morale and bring about even more sales opportunities. Quid pro quo.

Publish Your Own Research

Reporting on trends affecting your industry is a fresh marketing strategy that can generate a lot of new leads for your small business. Conducting a simple survey of 10 questions is an extremely worthwhile investment. You can publish the results in an industry report or as an infographic. You can use them in a whitepaper. You can even share them as one-off statistics in social media.

Of course, the survey needs proper execution to be deemed credible. Push for high-level influencers and the perspectives of company owners or directors-level executives and above. Gather a few hundred results – a gift card promo or contest is a great way to ensure you get enough responses – so you can break them down more granularly. Once you publish the results, be sure to restrict access in exchange for a name and email address. This is the best way to gather leads quickly and effectively.

Develop a Solid Referral Program

One of the easiest ways to grow your small business in the New Year is through a great referral program. While used for decades, referrals are often overlooked by small businesses. A fresh marketing approach to referrals, however, can really help step up your game to see growth fast.

To build a great referral program, start by asking current customers what they would like to see for rewards. Is a percentage off their annual contract better than a one-time referral bonus? Also, consider what is involved in the program itself. Asking referrers to provide a testimonial for your site or review your small business on Google, for instance, is a great idea. The more positive attention you create, the more traction you will see.

Share Content on Paid Platforms

Paid content platforms like Outbrain are an effective, fresh marketing strategy small businesses can use in 2018 and beyond. You can see a huge traffic increase on your site by using the display links they provide as recommended content on major news sites like CNN. All you have to do is set a budget and pay for each click of your articles.

Just like with Facebook Ads and other paid advertising, you can even integrate behavioral targeting. This allows you to target your content to different websites and their users. If you know your ideal audience uses certain platforms over others, for example, you can specify those in your ad preferences. This results in better user engagement and higher conversion rates.

Courtesy of