Q: What is the most surprisingly effective promotional strategy your business has used recently? Why did it work?
A: Hand-selecting ideal clients. “While automation was the first key to a recent marketing explosion, the second has been hand-selecting ideal clients. I took a step back and systemized my sales process, making a firm decision on who I wanted to serve. The minute I got clear, it made it easy to stop wasting my time on any promotional tactic that is outside of those parameters, and it increased my revenue too.” Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
Holding contests. “We started to recently give away a one-year-free package for our product on a daily basis. This costs us pennies in comparison with the traffic and signups we’ve received. I think it works because everyone wants something for free. Many people have a lot more time than money and are willing to ‘work’ for their free prize, which we’ve proved with thousands of new signups.” Peter Daisyme, Due
Handwriting notes. “Sending handwritten notes to team members and clients goes further today than at any other point in history. There was a day not too long ago when receiving an email was exciting: Your computer would announce ‘You’ve got mail’ and you would run to see what had arrived. Today, a handwritten note cuts through the digital clutter and is received with a similar anticipation.” Christopher Kelly, Convene
Offering tiered discounts at conferences and trade shows. “At a trade show recently, we offered discounts that tiered down every day of the show to encourage attendees to take advantage of those specials at the start of the conference (rather than waiting until the end to make a decision).” Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group
Highlighting customer success stories. “We discovered that showcasing our customers on our company blog is a win-win strategy for everyone. The customers love it because their business gets more exposure online; and since they’re highly invested in sharing their story, so are we. It’s also a great way of showing potential customers what we can do for their business. The upswing in traffic and conversions has been incredible.” Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent
Offer a college scholarship. “Getting exposure for your website is difficult, and so is building legitimate links for your site to lead to long-term organic traffic. Since college is expensive, you could create a branded scholarship related to your field and offer it to an incoming student. Reach out to colleges, local news sources and industry publications to announce the scholarship; in doing so you can help a student and strengthen your brand.” Shawn Schulze, AnyplaceAmerica.com
Offer a mobile app deal. “We made one of our in-app purchases free for 24 hours, and it resulted in a lot of press and also a lot of downloads. It was surprisingly effective: What happened is that people ended up buying another in-app purchase after downloading and using our app, meaning the promotion didn’t cost us much.” Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
Branding boomerangs. “We recently attended an expo and ordered bright yellow boomerangs stamped with our company domain to distribute at the event. We became the talk of the event with our branded boomerangs that never returned whenever someone threw them. This gimmick ended up getting us a huge booth discount at the next expo along with a free speaking engagement spot.” Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty
Using Reddit advertisements. “As a B2B company, we never really paid attention to Reddit as a promotional channel. Today, however, it has not only become one of our top channels for leads, but also one of the most cost effective. Since it is not as mature as Adwords, getting good placements is less competitive. Also, Reddit’s audience is more engaged, which leads to higher conversions and ROI for our brand.” Pratham Mittal, Outgrow
Getting creative with special events. “Instead of just going to career fairs or networking, we’ve recently started throwing special events to promote recruitment. By hosting events that attract the specific types of talent that we’re looking for — whether that means hosting a hackathon or bringing in a pro athlete to talk about leadership — we create a memorable experience that keeps candidates talking about our company.” Shradha Agarwal, Outcome Health