5 Business Promotion Ideas You Should Be Using

Posted by Brian Opyd on Oct 4, 2016 2:00:00 PM
Brian Opyd
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Creating brand awareness is an important part of running any business. As creatures of habit, some brands can get stuck in using the same promotional ideas every year. In today's marketing world, being able to  try something new has become easier than ever before. As a digital promotions agency, we often challenge our clients to take some calculated risks and try something different. If you are looking for new business promotion ideas, you've come to the right place to find some new marketing ideas.

Let’s dig in.


Sponsorship is an effective way to developing mass awareness for your brand. Most sponsorship opportunities allow brands to get people familiar with your company name, logo, and offering. Sponsorship's work best when they are one part of a larger marketing campaign. Don’t just place your logo somewhere and stop there. Having an activation plan around your sponsorship is key to its success. Oh, and it doesn't have to be putting your name on a NFL or MLB team’s stadium. There are plenty of economical sponsorship options that can result in positive ROI. The important thing to consider when sponsoring anything is that your brand's strategy and marketing targets align with what you choose to sponsor.


Small businesses often like to sponsor local events. Spending the money on the sponsoship is half of the opportunity. If you have the chance to involve your employees you can also leverage them as brand ambassidors and amplify your message.  

Before you decide to sponsor and event, think about your target market.  Consider their interests and favorite activities.  Any event or actitivy that you sponsor should align with the interests of your target segment.  If it doens't, you might be throwing money out the window.  

If you're a small business, here are some marketing ideas you might want to consider:

    • Local Little League baseball team
    • Local business association event
    • Local art or craft fair
    • Local public radio event
    • Local school fundraiser
    • Golf hole and a charity golf event

Larger businesses with with deeper pockets often look for sponsorship opportunties that offer benefits beyound a name on a banner. For lead generation tradeshows, conferneces, or one day seminars are popolular.

As an example we recently worked with a brand that was providing services to the fancy food segement. To generate additonal business leads we decided to sponsor a 2 day industry seminar.  The $10,000 dollar sponsorship fee included the opportunity to give a 1 hour keynote speech to the group of 2,000 attendees and have a booth for further one-on-one interaction with attenees.

While the sponsorship cost was not cheap, our client is still working with leads gathered at the seminar and they've closed several business deals based on the contacts they've made.  

Giveaways and Branded Merchandise

Giving away branded merchandise is a fantastic way to keep your company top of mind with potential customers. Find something that is useful to your customer. Remember, the item itself will (and should) represent you and your company's image. Cheap giveaways can often impact the perceived value of your brand.  Keep that in mind when making your selection.

For lower cost items consider the these branded swag ideas:

  • Pen with tablet stylus tip
  • Water bottle
  • Coffee mug
  • Post-it style note pads, or phone message pads
  • Back up USB charger for mobile devices
  • Baseball cap
  • Refrigerator magnet
  • Calendar
  • Mouse pad
  • Key chains

If you looking for a more innovative approach to branded give aways consider how you give the branded item to your client.  Do you just hand a prospect a pen, or can you weave your give-away into your pitch?

I once toured a facility that was in the business of shipping their products directly to consumers. They used their facilitiy tour to show how efficent and effective their internal process was.  As part of the tour, they took prospective clients around and packaged up branded product samples. At the end of the tour, they'd ship the box of samples right to  your door.  Three days later, you had those same branded samples, in your hand, at home.  What an ingenous marketing trick to keep a prospect excited about their service.  The made a story of their process, and that story continued even after you left their facility.  

Traditional Paid Advertising

Advertising comes in many shapes and sizes. In this list I'm keeping to the more traditional media buys. The cost for advertising can vary greatly depending on the market. Consider if you want a local, regional, or national ad-buy. Larger markets will often cost more. Before jumping into traditional advertising think hard about your target persona. Ask yourself if your target persona is likely to see the ad where you are planning to place it.

  • Trade magazine ad
  • Play or theater bill ad
  • Local radio ad or underwriting credit
  • TV ad
  • Newspaper ad
  • Direct mail piece
  • Leave behind marketing pieces
  • On-package messaging or coupon

In today's world I would not recommend using traditional paid advertisting unless it is something that has a proven track record for your industry.  With the newer generations focusing in teh digital space there may be better ways to spend your dollars.  

That said, business that are hyper local can benefit from traditional ad buys or direct mail campaigns.  Tread lightly here.

Digital Marketing

The main advantage of digital marketing and digital advertising is the flexibility you have with your budget.  With many platforms you’ll also be able to micro target your exact persona based on demographics and psychographics.  You'll be able to ramp up, or ramp down your spending very quickly. You can promote a single post or content piece for under $100 to generate some quick traffic.  If you have more time and money, plan out a structured strategy for a monthly spend.  It’s a great way to step into promotions without breaking the bank.  I also like these approaches because the impacts are immediately measurable through Google Analytics or other web traffic monitoring.

Consider these options for your next venture into digital marketing:

  • Google Adwords
  • Facebook ad buy
  • Content promotion on Twitter
  • Content promotion on LinkedIn
  • Content promotion on Pinterest
  • Content promotion on Digg
  • Content promotion on Reedit
  • Online sweepstakes
  • Online contest
  • Online user generated content  
  • Yelp reviews
  • Google business page reviews
  • Search engine optimization to drive web traffic
  • Inbound lead generation   

Digital ads and PPC campaigns also allow you to quickly and cheaply check our messaging.  It's extremely easy to run two ads with slightly different messaging on Google AdWords for example and see which performs better.  

If I'm new to an industry or product niche Google AdWords and LinkedIn Ads are two of my favoriate go-to toolsets to conduct quick market research.  Remember, you don't need to be in the marketing business to gather marketing insights, you just need an AdWords account.


Endorsements or celebrity appearances can also be a useful tactic. The return on your investment will also be largely based on the type of business you run and how the personality is connected to your business or area of expertise.  If you’re looking for a live event with an endorsement, make sure the individual is connected in a meaningful way to the people attending the event.

Here are some thoughts on endorsements to consider:

  • Local sports personality endorsement   
  • Local business leader endorsement
  • Local religions leader endorsement
  • Customer or client testimonials

You’ve got plenty to choose from and with my list hopefully something that will fit your budget, no matter how big or how small.  The best advice I can give is to try something new, measure the results, learn from it and repeat.  You don’t necessarily need lots of money but you do need to think critically and be willing to experiment to create that boost you’re looking for.  Good luck!

Until next time, keep on marketing!

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Topics: Advertising, brand awareness, Brand, Brand Activation, Marketing

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