64 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business

Weve all hit it that wall that seems to sap away all your magical creative marketing juices. Suddenly you feel like Peter Pan without his pixie dust.

All you need is a bit of help to kick your marketing strategy back on track. And guess what? Were dishin out 64 creative marketing andadvertising ideasplus inspirational tips to help you bust through that brick wall, generate more leads andincrease online sales. Lets get started with

Push your handles If youre really looking to bump up those Twitter followers, you cant be afraid to be a bit shameless. Speaking at a conference? Put your Twitter handle on the slideshow (heck, keep it in the corner the entire presentation). Ordering new business cards? Better include that adorable handle!

Very cool Twitter-themed business card fromLuis Felipe Silva

Join in on weekly hashtag themes like ThrowbackThursday If you want to build your social media following, you need to be an active participant in the community. This means posting regularly, and also joining in on fun weekly social media traditions that already have a loyal audience. Show the kids how hip you can be!

Vines Vines, quick 6-second video clips, are largely under-utilized. With a little work and some fun content, you could become a big fish in a small pond on Vine.

Pin your own images (and others) -Dont underestimate the value of this image-sharing site. Post your strongest visual assets (templates, infographics, etc) on Pinterest and link them to your webpages for some serious traffic.

Keep social tabs on competitors-Facebookbusiness pages allow you to follow other accounts via thePages to Watchfeature. Follow your competitors and see what they post, and which of their posts get the most shares and likes. See what works and follow their lead.

Living in a concrete jungle allows for some pretty creative concepts.

Step out on the streets In an online age, theres something to be said for goingau natureland exercising a little IRL marketing. Go old school with flyers and poster in local cafes, do some sidewalk chalk writing. This strategy is most effective for locally oriented businesses, but it can work for anyone.

Street chalk Twitter handle byMarquette ITS

Commission a mural Try getting permission to decorate the side of a prominent building with a large mural.

Great Di Bruno Bros mural found onYelp

Use your surroundings Get a little imaginative and think about how you can use your urban surroundings for potential marketing magic.

Very creative urban marketing efforts by Vijar Barbecues, found onOwni

Unusual sponsorships Urban living results in some unique marketing opportunities you wont find elsewhere. They secret is, you need to think creatively to capitalize on these opportunities.

Citi Bank sponsoring Citi Bike (image fromBicycling)

Photo Contests -Photo contests are great for a number for reasons theyre relatively easy to enter (anyone with Instagram and a few spare seconds can submit), and they also provide sponsors with a great form ofuser-generated contentthat can be reused and implemented elsewhere.

Check outHarpoon Brewery theyve mastered the art of photo contests. (And click here for moreInstagram marketing ideas.)

Video contests -Not as many people will enter video contests, but youre more likely to get a higher caliber of content since creating a video requires more effort on the users part. This kind of content can be extremely valuable for businesses down the line, especially when you have talented filmers creatingvideo contentjust for you!

Submit your vote contests -Voting contests get a ton of entries because theyre so easy to participate in (just click a button, in most cases). Whats cool about voting contests is that you can use the data obtained from the votes to create a mini data study. Share what you learned in a blog post!

Caption Contests -Post a photo and ask users to submit their bestcaption- this kind of contest can get some pretty great laughs.

Sweepstakes- The most traditional of contests, sweepstakes/giveaways are a tried and true classic. They are quick and simple to enter plus its easy to ask for email subscriptions as part of the submission form.

Post to deal sites -People love free stuff, some more than others. The people whoreallylove a good deal tend to frequent deal sites and forums. Theres almost always a sweepstake/contest forum section where you can add your contest into the mix.

Ive seen contests in which 90% of traffic is driven from these types of sites alright, they arent always the most qualified leads, but if you want quantity over quality, this is a sound strategy. Start of submitting toSlickdealsand go from there. This can be a great form ofrestaurant marketing.

Hashtag-ify your contest- Adding a relevant (and unique) hashtag to your contest helps you keep track of entries and makes them easy to scan through and organize. Besides, theyre just plain fun.

Make contests super sharable -This means adding share this contest buttons if you have an entry form on a website, or simply encouraging social sharing in general. The more people who know about your contest, the merrier (for you anyway)! Need more ideas for Facebook? Download our free guidehere!

Offer bonus points for sharing -If you offer users bonus points for sharing news of your contest via social media, theyll be much more likely to concede. Tools likeRafflecoptermake it easy to offer users extra entries for different actions (e.g. Joining the mailing list = +5 entries. Sharing contest on Twitter = +2 entries).

Notify email subscribers of contest -Remember, you already know that your email subscribers like you and are interested in what you have to offer. If youre running a contest for a free year of your software, you know your subscribers are going to want in!

Promote your contest on (all) social media -If youre running a photo contest via Instagram, make sureyou still promote the contest on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. You want all your followers, acrossallsocial media networks to know about your great giveaway!

Write for your audience The best pieces of content are the ones directed at your key audiences. Understand your customer: know their pain points, what gets them psyched, and what keeps them up at night.Killer contentaddress your audiences needs and concerns!

Add a visual element to ALL your content pieces People get bored with text really fast! To keep visitors reading, its essential to have images breaking up your text paragraphs. Dont overlook the importance of a visual element, even in blog posts that are predominantly text-based. You can see some examples ofhighly visual business blogs here.

Infographics We know readers love visual content, andinfographicsare a prime example of beloved, linkable visual assets.

While the idea of creating a top-notch infographic may sound daunting, it doesnt have to be hard. You dont need fancy software in fact, you can make a decentinfographic just using Powerpoint. There are plenty of infographic guides templates out there to get you started. Speaking of

Useful templates- Templates are another powerful form of visual assets that visitors find extremely helpful. Templates serve as a visual framework that can help users create custom piece without completely starting from scratch. Take thislanding page templateas an example it explains the basic layout and fundamentals, letting users get a grasp ongreat landing page essentialsbefore making their own.

Graphs and Charts- The infographics less cool cousins, one-piece graphs and charts still have their place as formidable pieces of visual content. They may not be as impressive as infographics, but they require considerably less time and effort to create and are still shareable, so dont be afraid to use them generously. For visual learners, a graph will be much easier to interpret than a chunk of text and numbers. Make sure you appeal to all kinds of learners!

Thats why you find so many dragons at the animal shelter (image fromReddit)

Videos Video is incredible when it comes to drawing in and retaining the attention of users retention rate for visual information can reach 65%vs. 10% for text-based info. Plus, customers who view product videos are much more likely to convert than those that dont. Video content is a powerful tool, whether youre trying to demonstrate how your product works IRL or educating visitors.

Statistic lists Are you hitting a content idea wall? For an easy content marketing fix, collect interesting statistics on a subject matter related to your biz and create a blog post about what youve learned. Massive stat lists are easy to make and extremely sharable. Plus, some of the wilder stats may get your gears turning about other content ideas, such as

Future predictions Play the soothsayer by predicting future trends in your industry just make sure you have at leastsomedata to back up your hypothesis.

ControversyControversial contentalways earns attention, but its not for the faint of heart playing with fire can get you burned! Rather thanstirring up controversy yourself, the safer road may be to answer or respond to larger industry controversy with your own interpretation.

Aggregate awesomeness from other sources -Another easy way to create killer content is to curate quality content from elsewhere. No, its notstealing… at least, not if done properly.

Its completely kosher to borrow content from other sources if youre doing something new with it. For example, take our guide to the bestSEO Reddit AMAs. The content we quoted from was originally posted on various Reddit forum threads. We took what we deemed the best portions of the Q&As from different threads and put it all together to make a super SEO advice guide. This new post is much easier for users interested in SEO to read, rather than scouring through various Reddit threads. NOTE: Play it safe by always giving credit where its due.

Ask the experts Another great content marketing idea is to interview industry thought leaders with set questions and share their responses in a blog post; for example, our interview with industry experts onthe future of PageRank. This kind of content tends to do well, and its always interesting to see where industry gurus agree and where they dont. One great thing about sharing expert opinions chances are, the folks you write about will share your write-up with their own followers! (Pro tip ask the opinions of groups with large Twitter followers!)

Top 10s People go nuts over top 10 lists top 10 tools, top 10 blogs, you name it.

Lists Piggy-backing on top 10s are lists in general. Starting your title with a number can make it stand out more in search listings (e.g. 3 Ways to Slice a Pineapple). Why do people love lists? Because they are super scannable and quick to read. This is probably whyover a third of Buzzfeeds posts have a number in the title. Great content strategies involve a mix of quick, snackable content pieces and more in-depth,long-form articles. Variety is the spice of life, yo.

Product comparison guide Decisions, decisions oh, the pitfalls of capitalism. Its tough being a consumer with so many products to choose from. Help out users with a marketing comparison guide, especially if you have a series of product offerings for different needs. If youre comparing your product with competitors, be objective and fair; maybe youre a better fit for small businesses, while a competitor is better for larger corporations.

Alternatively, write up a comparison guide for a product you dont offer, but which relates to your audiences business. For example, a video game reseller could write a product comparison guide for different video game controllers. This is helpful content that gets relevant users familiar with your brand.

Content is an open door Dont just create awesome content and abandon it feature your best stuff in other related blog posts as well. You can link to or call out other pieces of content mid-post, or list some related articles at the end of your post. Something along the lines of Want to learn more about ________? Check out our _________ guide and our __________ infographic.

Content, love = apples, oranges. (Image from Disneys Frozen)

Slideshare The slideshow is back and better than ever! Repurpose PowerPoint presentations for audience-friendly slideshares. Check out these tips from Jonathan Colman ongetting more views on Slideshare.

Webinars Host your own free webinar or partner with another business for twice the expertise (and twice the promotion power). Webinar are a great source of business leads.

Google related search Checking out the Google related searches (found at the top and bottom of the SERP when you perform a search) for a keyword query is a great tool for generating content ideas. Just Google a term and see what related searches turn up. You may be surprised!

Pop-up opt-in Theres a lot of debate around newsletter opt-in pop-ups. Theyre annoying, theyre intrusive, but quite often, they alsowork! A/B test one and see how it affects your newsletter subscriptions. If newsletter subscribers have proved to be valuable leads for your business, do what you must to obtain them.

Continue your lucky streak Not sure what to write about? Go into youranalytics accountand take a peek at your most popular posts to see what subjects users get excited about, then write a variation or extension of one of your most popular posts.

eBooks Another great marketing idea is to write a comprehensive ebook on a known pain point or popular industry topic, thencreate a quality landing pagearound the offer. Better yet, dont start from scratch; repurpose past blog posts and articles into a mega e-book collection.

101 guides Theres always someone just starting out in the biz; beginners guides and Industry Knowledge 101 content pieces will always get linked to and shared around by newbs.

Even great content needs promotionDont just publish your content and expect it to promote itself;share itwith your email subscribers and social media followers.

Post about industry hot topics Whats the buzz in your field? Post about topical news and trending topics related to your industry to get in on the burst of action and show that youre in the know.

Guest PostsWhile the SEO value of guest posts has been called into question, theresnothing wrong with guest posting if done right. Just focus on the value of getting your brand in front of a new audience, rather than the links.

White papers Guides, e-ooks, white papers theyre kind of all the same thing, but labeling your assets differently can help your message resonate with different audiences. Test your labels to see which works best with your prospects.

Quality content This should go without saying, but only produce quality content that you can be proud of!Google hates thin content, and users dont like it either.

Show some skin I mean metaphorical skin of course show that you are not a robot. Dont be afraid to have some fun and show off your companys personality. Express yourself; and if that meansliterallyshowing some skin, well then, more power to you. Youre human after all.

Online magazine Producing your own virtual magazine is another epic form of content marketing. For a great example, check outDark Rye, a stylish online magazine produced by Whole Foods. For a quick and easy fix, make your own online newspaper withPaper.li.

Podcasts Podcasts are great because users can download them and then listen on the go! Possible podcast concepts include discussing hot industry news or interviewing experts, in your space.

Cover events If you attend a conference (or even an online event), consider writing a post about what info you gathered from the event, what you found valuable, etc. Chances are others will find it valuable too! Use the hashtag from the event in your promotional efforts.

Collaboration Collaboration can extend your reach and build your reputation. Consider all the different partnerships you could build partner with a charity? A related business? You can co-author a blog post or guide, co-host a webinar, etc.

Memes Memes are fun and familiar for internet-goers. Get a little cheeky with some fun memes its easy to make your own with sites likememe generator.

Social proof Sometimes great content marketing ideas also serve as fantastic forms of social proof. Take this inventive content project by a haunted house called Nightmares Fear Factory. They take photos of victimser, I mean guests, andpost them to their Flickr feed. The photos are absolutely hysterical and prove that Nightmares Fear Factory is as scary as they claim to be! (Thanks for the heads up fromShopify).

Divvy up your content Dont go content-overboard or youll end up overwhelming users. We live in acompetitive attention economy, and if youre creating new stuff every single day, people may tire of you, even if everything you share is excellent. Thems the breaks, kid. Figure out what pace works for your audience.

Conduct a content audit Is your existing content up to snuff? What is driving conversions? What isnt and why? Asking these questions might make you sweat, but youll be better off knowing the truth. Finding the answers to these questions will ensure that your marketing strategy moves forward in the right direction.

Branded tools Create awesome, valuable tools that your audience will find useful. You can use parts of the tool to push towards your product offering, but make sure the tool itself is high-caliber dont just make it a glorified sales pitch. Providing free tools will make users think fondly of you and extend your brand as more people share your awesome free tool!

Mobile! With79% of internet usersconducting online shopping via  mobile devices, you should be embarrassed if youre not mobile-friendly. This is not optional, although many still treat it like it is.

Gameification Gamification is a great marketing idea to get users excited about engaging with you. As onWhose Line is it Anyway, the points are meaningless, but youd be surprised how much people really enjoy getting points. We all love instant affirmation its like virtual crack!

Apps like Belly and Foursquare combine gamification with customer loyalty programs. Starbucks also has its own tame version of gamified loyalty programs in which you earn stars for Starbucks purchases. Consider if gamification could work for your biz.

Get by with some content help from your friends There are a ton of great tools out there to help you find quality content (StorifyBufferto name a few). Remember, you dont want to just share your own content sharing great pieces by others in your industry shows that youre a team player and valuable source of unbiased knowledge.

ComicsWhile newspaper funnies are a dying breed, online comics are alive and thriving! Consider making your own internet comics that relate to the absurd and surreal aspects of your industry. Try free tools likePixtonorStrip Generatorto get started.

Copy the masters Watch to see who is creating great content, and follow their lead. Take a close look atclickbaitsites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed that get a ton of shares; while their audience and content subjects will be different from yours, they serve as an excellent study in how to improve your marketing strategy. What are they doing right? Can you implement something similar?

Take your time with titles While were on the subject, Upworthy is famous for their killer, clickable headlines. Even a superb blog post wont get the attention it deserves without a good title. Should it be clever? Eye-catching? SEO-friendly? Think about what will appeal to your audience. Its recommended you write as many as 5-10 titles for every article, then choose the best!

4-1-1 The 4-1-1 concept comes from Andrew Davis, author ofBrandscaping. Davis social media sharing strategy dictates that for every six pieces of content shared on social media:

4 should be content from other industry influencers that is relevant to your audience

1 should be your own original, educational content

1 should have a sales aspect (coupon, product news, press release), aka, a piece of content most people will simply ignore.

The philosophy behind the 4-1-1 concept is that when you share industry thought leadership, youre building relationships within the industry and demonstrating a certain level of selflessness which earns serious reputation points that come in handy in the long haul.

Ready to grow your business? Try out these 64 creative marketing ideas:

Promote your social media handles, even in person

Pin your site images and graphics on Pinterest

Keep tabs on competitors social profiles

Try urban marketing like flyers, posters, and sidewalk chalk

Use your surroundings to your advantage

Host a good old-fashioned sweepstakes

Make contests super sharable on social media

Offer bonus points for sharing contests

Notify email subscribers of contests

Promote your contest on (all) social media

Write content catered to your audience

Add a visual element to ALL your content pieces

Use templates to make content creation easier

Include graphs and charts in your content

Aggregate awesome content from other sources

Create an ask the experts roundup

Link to your existing content with CTAs

Get ideas from Google related search

Use pop-up opt-ins on landing pages

Use analytics to take advantage of popular content

Create 101 guides to teach the basics

Give your company some personality and dont be afraid to use it

Cover local and news related events

Make and promote mobile-specific content

Use gamification to promote interaction

Stick to Andrew Davis 4-1-1 content strategy

What are your best creative marketing ideas?

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Co-Marketing How to Reach New Customers With Strategic Partnerships

Building a business can be a lonely endeavour. But marketing one doesnt have to be.

Co-marketing is about sharing audiences and resources between two complementary brands to execute a campaign that neither one could do as effectively alone.

These strategic partnerships can benefit big businesses and new startups alike, sharing what they have instead of building from scratch to get more exposure for each of their products or services.

The benefits of co-marketing include:

by pooling together resources like marketing budgets and talent.

of similar people who are already qualified as potential customers.

Creating and fostering a positive long-term relationship

between brands as they help each other out.

with free stuff, giveaways and co-branded products.

Co-marketing campaigns will take on different forms for B2B vs. B2C brands, for products vs. services, for new startups vs. established brands. However, with a little creativity, you can connect the dots between you and a partner brand to expand the impact of both of your marketing efforts.

But first, lets talk about one of the core tenants of co-marketing:Reciprocity.

Co-marketing is hard to pitch if the benefits are one-sided. Entering into the agreement has to make sense business-wise for both parties. Dont only think about whats in it for you.

Not only do the benefits have to go two-ways, but they should be proportionatethat is, one party shouldnt reap a big reward while the other just gets the scraps.

Think about how bees and flowers help each other out.

The bees get the nectar they need to thrive from the flower and the flower gets to take advantage of the bees mobility to spread its pollen. Theres a fair balance when it comes to the benefits that exist in this relationship.

Now apply that analogy to two complementary brands and youll see how these non-competitive relationships can be useful for everyone involved.

Harnessing the reputation of another brand

while giving them exposure to more potential customers.

from a campaign that you both contribute resources to execute.

on each others blogs, YouTube channels, podcasts, Snapchat accounts or email lists.

in front of your audience in exchange for getting some time in front of theirs.

Getting samples of your product into the hands of qualified customers

in exchange for delighting another companys customers with free stuff.

If the nature of the exchange is fair and the terms are explicit, co-marketing can be an effective way to tap into new audiences, and drive down the cost of marketing while improving its impact .

The hard part will be finding a like-minded partner you can work with.

There are as many opportunities for co-marketing as you care to look for, but sourcing them all comes down to some old-fashionednetworking and business development.

Ideally, youll be on the lookout for the following criteria in your partner:

They arent a competitoror better yet, they complement you.

They have a sizeable audience (email list, social following, etc.)

They are a similar-sized company and arent too big to work with you.

Youll havean easier time if you have an existing relationshipwith someone there who can help implement the co-marketing campaign.

But if thats not the case, which is likely if youre a new company, you can still make it happen.

There are 3 free tools Id recommend for this purpose:

Clearbit Connectto help you find the email you need to reach out to the contacts you want.

to help you track when your emails are opened, build and manage contact lists, and save templates that you can re-use on an ongoing basis.

SimilarWebto help you evaluate a potential partners website as an opportunity by analyzing the amount of traffic, traffic sources and other signals that identify a good partnership.

But before you reach out to another company, make sure you have some ideas to pitch.

Without any marketing ideas, its unlikely youll get a reply, let alone a Yes, lets work together. And like I said, you need to frame your pitch in a way where your partner benefits.

Heres an email outreach template you can use to get started:

Im the[JOB TITLE]at[COMPANY & LINK TO YOUR SITE], a[QUICK ELEVATOR PITCH].

I wanted to reach out to you about a partnership with[PARTNER COMPANY], because[SHOW YOU DID YOUR RESEARCH].

Heres what I propose:[CO-MARKETING IDEA].

Since[EMPHASIZE THE BENEFIT TO THEM], I thought you might be interested in working together on a campaign.

Let me know if this sounds good to you or if you have any other ideas for working together.

Perfect your pitch to sell your idea better and improve your business development efforts.

Once youve settled on a like-minded partner, its important to negotiate and establish:

What the campaign will look like and how each party will benefit.

Who will be responsible for what, so that everything that needs to be done actually gets done.

What the goals are for the campaign so you both know what to pursue.

The trackable links youll be using to attribute the results for any online co-marketing campaigns (I recommendEffin Amazing UTM Builderfor creating these). You learn more about how to create these linkshere.

Still, all of this doesnt matter if you dont have an idea for a good campaign. So here are some co-marketing ideas, examples, and great partnerships to inspire you.

Co-branding a new product or piece of content is one of the most direct partnerships you can create.

Unlike the other ideas below, this one involves creating a new product. The benefit here is that brand equitythe consumers perceptions and feelings about both brandsis combined and transferred to this new product.

Doritos and Taco Bell, one of the most successful co-branding partnerships in the history of fast food, is an example of a co-marketing match made in heaven.

Here you have two brands whose products appeal to similar audiences, whose brand voices share common qualities.

Todays the day. Get your freeDoritosLocosTacobetween 2-6 p.m. while supplies last.

Together, they launched a Doritos-shell taco that became a wildly popular menu item at Taco Bell.

Another example of successful co-branding is the popularSrirachahot sauce brand teaming up withPOP! Gourmetto expand Srirachas reach through snack products such as Sriracha-flavoured popcorn.

There are no dollars involvedthey exchange exposure to a new audience (provided by POP! Gourmet) for brand equity (provided by Sriracha).

Contests are a proven way to capture emails, create social media engagement, attract new visitors who have never interacted with your brand, and even get your products into the hands of happy winners.

While many brands execute contests alone, you can double your reach by teaming up in creative ways.

For example,Cineplex(one of the biggest movie theatre operators in North America) teamed up withThe Weather Network(a weather-based media company) for WeatherOrNot, a publicity stunt and contest that involved a 20 foot tall bag of popcorn and a lightning rod in an area of Canada aptly named Lightning Alley.

Participants could vote if they thought lightning would strike the bag and pop the corn. Cineplex offered free popcorn for winners, while The Weather Network got to turn the weather into a topic with mass appeal.

This unlikely pairing of brands makes a lot of sense when you consider that both of these companies are both headquartered in Canada, are top players in their respective categories, and dont compete in any way.

For more on executing your own contest, check outHow to Grow Your Business With Viral Contests and Giveaways.

Theres no better way to get people to try your product than to give away free samples.

But unless youre strategic about it, you can end up giving your samples to people who might never buy from you.

How do you ensure youre distributing samples to only the most qualified consumers? You give it to folks who are already qualified customers for a like-minded brand.

Thats whyHDX Hydration, a sports drink mix, teamed up withClean Bottle, an easy-to-clean water bottle. By inserting samples of their HDX Hydration mix into orders of Clean Bottle that shipped, they were able to expose customers to their product in a way that enhanced the overallunboxing experienceof Clean Bottle.

Listen to the full interview with the founder below orjump to the segment on how HDX Hydration created this partnership.

Perhaps the easiest type of co-marketing campaign to agree upon is a simple exchange of broadcasting platforms.

Most brands are investing time and effort into building audiences of their ownwhether its through social media or an email list.

These audiences are assets that you and your partner can exchange to promote a messagewhether its a one-time email or an entire campaign.

Take this email I got fromPocket, an app for saving articles to read later, that features their partnerHired, a job search site where companies apply to you.

With one email, Hired got to expose an already-established list of new potential users to their service and Pocket got to apply their product in a real-life use case with a curated reading list.

The world of business might be competitive by nature, but co-marketing opens new doors through cooperation.

While big brands team up on co-marketing campaigns all the time, its an especially appealing strategy for smaller companies without a lot of money to spend on marketing.

After all, why build an audience from scratch or scrounge up scarce resources when you can share what you and other like-minded brands already have?

Co-marketing only works if youre willing to offer up something that makes it worth your partners time and effort. You need to give before you get, but what you end up getting together is something you likely wouldnt have gotten alone.

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Braveen Kumar is a Content Creator at Shopify where he develops resources to help aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.

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22 Low-Budget Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses

Dont have many bucks to spend on your biz? No worries there are plenty of marketing tactics you can make use of that wont blow yoursmall marketing budget. Lets see how far you can stretch those dollars! Here are 20+ marketing ideas for small businesses working on a small budget.

1. Publish Great Content.I dont think I even need to say this, but itd be neglectful not to mention the importance of kick-ass content. If you can create it yourself, all the better (isnt free always better?). Even if writing isnt your strong point, you shouldnt have too much trouble getting someone on your team to crank out some articles for your blog. Try top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc. I shared a bunch ofcreative content marketing ideashere, and Elisa recently rewrote the rules ofcontent marketing for small businesses.

2. Create Instructional Videos.Video content is really valuable, and while it can cost big bucks to get professional YouTube videos produced, theres nothing wrong with giving it a shot yourself or hiring a film student off Craigslist. Wistia offers a greatvideo tutorial showing you how to shoot expert-looking footageon your regular old iPhone!

If video sounds like too much of a challenge, try making slide decks and sharing them on SlideShare.

3. Get Ad Promo Credits.Whilemassive ad campaigns may be out of your budget, there are often discounts and coupons floating around for paid Facebook ads or Google ads. Some web hosting services offer advertising discount codes as part of their membership offerings. Check and see if yours does.

4. Reddit.Reddit, a bare-bones social network self-titled as the front page of the internet, can be a powerful tool when used strategically. Reddit is composed of a very tech-savvy audience that bristles at any obvious marketing tactics.

To win at Reddit, share only truly awesome content, and post only to extreme niches. In Reddit, there are subcategories (known as subreddits) that deal with some of the narrowest, most specific interests in existence. Theres a subreddit for lockpicking (/r/lockpicking), a subreddit for unicycles(/r/unicycling), and theres even a subreddit for admiring beautiful handwriting (r/PenmanshipPorn). (And of course theresone for SEO.) Find your niche and dominate.

5. Be a Savvy Social Networker.Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. Add Instagram in there too if your business is image-oriented. Also check out this list of easyFacebook marketing ideasfor any type of business.

6. Stumble Upon Advertising.If you want to try some paid advertising but youre not looking to break the bank, Stumle Upons Paid Search Discovery could be for you. Paid Discovery delivers users straight to your site, ready to engage. What works best on Stumble Upon? Photography, visual assets, and humorous content.

Stumble Upon is pretty cheap compared to other paid ad structures. You start with a base price of 10 cents per click, then add +2 cents for age targeting, gender targeting and device targeting. You cansee the whole price list for detailed info.  Whichever way you spin it, Stumble Upons paid offering is leagues cheaper than most othersocial media ads; Facebook ads, for example, can cost as much as 80 cents per click.

To really benefit from Stumble Upon, use targeting options to make sure youre hitting the right audiences and niches.

7. DIY Infographics.Infographics are insanely powerful marketing tools. Theyre visual eye candy, theyre easy to digest, and people love to share them, so theyre a great way to drive upreferral trafficand links. Hiring a designer to make you an A+ infographic can hit your wallet hard, but you can make your own on the cheap if you dont mind a bit of a challenge.

If you have some understanding of Adobe Illustrator, try out thesefree vector kitsthat provide all the elements needed to make a stunning infographic. Not sure where to start? Check outVisual.lyfor inspiration. They have beginner and advanced examples for you to browse through.

8. Give New Life to Old Data.If your marketing budget it tight, you might not be able to always afford content writers to whip up content for your blog. If youre in a dry spell, instead of making something new, breathe new life into something that already exists on the web. There are a ton of data studies and stats available on the internet. While some of these studies may get initial traction, many often go unnoticed.

Find a study that relates to your industry and polish it up.Highlight the most important or interesting parts of the study, add images, crank out some charts, and make your own thoughts and predictions based on the data.

You dont need to be a master writer for this strategy the data will do most of the heavy lifting for you. One mans throwaway data is another mans content success story! Just be sure to cite your sources and give credit where its due.

For government data, check out data.gov orThe Census Bureau. Global statistics can be found throughUNICEFand theWorld Health Organization.Ultimately, youll have to find source data that relates to your industry and audience interests.

9. Lounge About on LinkedIn.LinkedIn is a major social media site that is often under-utilized. Dont just add network connections and sign out join groups, enter into dialogue with connections, and share your blog posts. Theres a ton happening on LinkedIn, and it can be a great place to promote your content, share ideas, and build your brand. Larry recently shared some tips for gettingmore LinkedIn connections, and here are some ways tospruce up your LinkedIn profileif youre a recent college grad.

10. Recycle Your Content.Just as you can repurpose existing data studies, you can rehash your old content into new creations as well! Turn a webinar into a video tutorial. Transform a collection of blog posts into an ebook. Never be afraid to mash-up your old content chances are there will be a ton of people who never even saw your old stuff, so itll be a fresh, 100% new content piece for a large segment of your audience.

11.Develop a Customer Referral Program.Offer existing customers a free product, free month of service, or some other reward for referring new customers. Remember,word-of-mouthis powerful stuff, so friends telling friends about your business is incredibly valuable.

12. Online Contests.Youll need to cough up some dough for a prize, but the number of participants and new potential leads you get will be well worth the price. Really tight on budget? You dont technicallyneeda super expensive prize to get participants. Even a couple high-end water bottles or fancy backpacks might be enough of a draw for some users.

Not sure how to host a contest? Go withRafflecopter they make it super easy to set up a contest and embed the contest entry form on your website.

13. Industry Partnerships.Team up with a business related to your industry (but not a direct competitor) for a joint project. This can be done locally offline through some kind of special event, or online with a webinar or promotional giveaway.

Partnering with another business means twice as much notice. If youre partnering with an industry-relevant business, youre getting introduced to a whole new audience related to your niche. People pay big money for that kind of access!

14. Apply Online for Business Awards.Most industries have business awards you can win, providing you with an online badge you can place on your website. Badges like these can boost credibility, and as a result, increase sales.

If there arent any awards for your industry, host your own! Youll get a ton of attention from other industry businesses who want to apply for your award, which means even more connections and more possible future collaborations!

Local marketing can often be less expensive than massive online campaigns. Your reach is smaller, but if your business is regional, theres no better (or cheaper) way to build your business.Here are 69 MORE ways to boost your business.

15. Awesome Business Cards.Get yourself some snazzy business cards, then give them to every person you lay eyes on.  Every handshake should come with a business card. The more people who find out about your business, the better even if its just a quick glance at a business card.

16. Guerilla Marketing.Guerilla marketing emphasizes creativity over budget, and strategies are often cheap and easy to implement, especially when localized. Broadcast your Twitter handle with sidewalk chalk, use an abandoned storefront as a canvas for street art, or plaster custom stickers on urban dcor that makes those who stroll by look twice. Theres a ton of room for invention here, and you dont need a big budget to be successful. We did amassive post about guerilla marketingrecently, detailing a bunch of strategies and examples you should check out if you want to learn more!

17. Host an Event or Class.Plan an event or class to host, then print out flyers and post them on community bulletin boards (libraries, coffee shops, local colleges and adult ed centers). While most community bulletin boards wont let you post business advertisements, theyre often more than happy to post a flyer promoting an educational event or class.

18. Business Card Drawing.Put a fishbowl at your place of business with a sign asking visitors to drop their business cards in for a chance to win something from you (for example, a restaurant might offer a free pizza party).

At the end of the month youve collected a ton of business cards, and while you can only have one winner, theres no reason those other business cards have to go to waste. Use the email addresses provided to let users know that while they havent won this time, they are more than welcome to join your mailing list, which will notify them of future giveaways and special offers.

Check out 24more restaurant marketing ideashere.

19. Email Marketing.Email marketing is a great way to get new visitors engaged with your business, as well as maintain relationships with your existing customers.

Get new website visitors tosign up for your newsletterby offering a bonus content piece for subscribing (e.g. get your free ebook detailing how to make a homemade pizza when you sign up for our First Slice newsletter). Slowly nurture your subscribers via email until they are ready to become paying customers. Start your email campaigns with a free email marketing service likeMailChimp.

20. Car Magnets for the Company Car. Slap a magnetic sign on your company car to build brand awareness as you drive around town (just be sure to obey traffic laws). Bumper stickers and window decals work as well!

21. Give Away Balloons at Local Events.Get a few hundred custom balloons printed with your business name, rent a helium tank, and watch the smiles roll in.

Kids love balloons. Adults love them too, but are embarrassed to admit it. Stop the shame balloons and bubbles will always be awesome, its OK to say so. Youll have a bunch of happy people marching around with your brand floating above their heads, all for less than $200.

22. Join in on Local Contests.Consider donating a product or service of yours as a prize in a local contest or event.

Here are all 22 ideas to market your small business:

Any low-budget marketing tactics we missed? What works for your small business?

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What Is Co-Marketing? A Guide to Co-Branding Marketampaigns

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As marketers, we are always looking for new ways to get more bang for our -marketing allows two or more companies to work on a project together, doing less work for more reward. Who doesnt want that?

So to help get you started, weve collected a ton of tips and tricks below for creating a successfulco-marketing campaign and relationship, from start to finish.

Co-marketing is when two companies collaborate on promotional efforts for a co-branded offer.In a co-marketing partnership, both companies promote a piece of content or product, and share the results of that promotion. By levering the relationship and reach of a partner, co-marketing campaigns are designed to deliver more leads, buzz, and awareness, with less work.

Youve probably heard the terms co-marketing and co-branding thrown around quite a bit — but whats the difference? Is there one?

Turns out, theyre actually pretty similar.

While co-branding refers to a partnership in which two companies combine their products or expertise to create an even more valuable product or offer (Think: Doritos Locos Tacos), co-marketing takes things a step further.

Co-marketing campaigns provide teams with an opportunity to work together to promote a shared offer — such as a co-branded product or piece of content. In a co-marketing partnership, both companies promote that offer, and share the results of that promotion with each other.

Co-marketing helps brands build a new audience, and get a new type of content in front of their audience. The most common form of co-marketing is for two companies who have similar audiences to work together on a piece of content, and promote that content to both audiences.

This content — ebook, webinar, templates, etc. –typicallysits behind a lead generation form to capture contact information. The goal is for both partners to sharethe downloads from the offer, thus getting twice the leads that they normally would.

But thats not the only way to carry out a co-marketing campaign. Strayingfrom the approach above, two partners might agree to host an event together and split the costs. Or, on a smaller scale, partners could agree to a series of guest blog posts on each others sites.

The most important thing when deciding to do co-marketing with a certain partner, is to make sure the purpose andgoal of the project is similar for both parties. If one partner wants leads, but another is looking for ticket sales to their annual event, you will be hard pressed to find a project that satisfies both needs.

When determining whether or not to do co-marketing with a partner, I look for the following things:

Do they have a similar type of audience that my company has and wants to grow?

If not, the value I would get out of promoting our content to their audience may not be worth it.

How many new leads am I going to get from this partnership? Is it large enough to be worth mytime?

Only you can decide what is worth it.

Do they have some expertise that I dont have?

Lets say my audience is dying to know more about how to optimize for local SEO, but my knowledge base is limited to general SEO knowledge. Maybe I partner with an expert on local SEO.

Does their brand and name have a good reputation?

Dont partner with people who will bring down your credibility.

Are the people you are working with enjoyable to work with?

This is a new one I added recently, but it is important. Sure, co-marketing is a job, but it should still be enjoyable. Look for partners that you actually look forward to working with.

How to Find the Right Co-Marketing Partners to Work With

In any co-marketing relationship, you want to make sure there is mutual benefit to working together. Check out tips in determining if a partner is a good fithere.

Once you determine that youd like to work with a partner, its time to come up with an idea pitch. When approaching this step, always do your homework first: Learn what you can about the company and their audience, tailor your ideas to what would be appealing to them, and show them the value you are going to provide.

Odds are, if you are the one pitching the idea, you are the small fish and they are the big fish. In other words, its easy for them to say no. To combat this, go the extra mileto show them that theyd be crazy not to work with you.

If you are on the other end being pitched to, remain open to ideas. Even if the person pitching you isnt a pro at this, dont completely disregard it. If its totally unrealistic, be honest with them.

And ifthe idea sounds interesting but its just not a great time for you to take on the project, consider adding them to a backlog of people you want to work with in the future.

Youve found a partner to work with– thats great! — but whats the next step?

For things to run smoothly, its important that you set expectations and a plan for your project. In the end, this process will help to ensure that both partners holdup their end of the bargain. Heres what we suggest:

If you want leads, make sure they know that, and that they also want leads. If you dont, neither partner will get value out of the relationship.

Agree on the topic and theme of the content.

Decide on a topic that is going to be mutually beneficial and appeal to both audiences.

Determine the timeline that makes sense for both partners.

For a larger piece of content like an ebook or webinar, I suggest doubling however long it takes your team to write one on your own. This will allow for time forapprovals and feedback.

Decide what your strong skills are.

It is likely that between the two companies and teams, some people are better at certain tasksthan others. If you assign tasks based on who is good at what, the process will be less painful, and much more efficient.

Write up an agreement that covers the basics:

Ownership of content and assets (who is creating what?)

With an agreement in place from the start, you have something to point back at if anythinggoes wrong or any miscommunications arise. This can be a legal document if your legal team wants to get involved, or a non-legal document of good faith.

Time to decide what type of co-marketing project youre going to work on.Below are a few common examples to help get the wheels turning.

An ebook is a very common form of co-marketing content because it is easy to split up the work — someone lays out the design, someone else writes the content, etc. Below is anexample of an ebookHubSpot created with the LinkedIn Sales Solutions team:

Co-creating a blog post is one of the lower effort ways to do a co-marketing project. Here is an exampleof a Q&Ahosted by SEMRushfeaturingBuzzsumos director Steve Rayson:

Webinars are often the go-to type of co-marketing content. Why? Well, its pretty easy to find an expert who is willing to talk for an hour on the topic of their expertise. It is also a well-known format for educational materials.

Below is an example of awebinarwe hosted with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick on how to make amazing social media posts:

Co-creating a video with a partner is a great way to have your message heard. Below is an example of a videofrom MOZ andWistia, on how to use video:

A Twitter chatis a virtual event where people gather to discuss a common topic. For example,Google and Twitter partnered on a campaignabout Small Business Saturday. In the week leading up to SBS, they dished out helpful advice on Twitter using a common hashtag, and then aggregated all Tweets on thiswebpage:

Co-marketing can also take form in larger events, both in person and online. Last year Unbounce hosted the first everCROday, including speakers from around the globe who hosted online events and webinars around the topic of CRO.

Once you have chosen your topic and form of co-marketing, start with a shared doc to do a brain dump and outline your plan.I use a Google Doc from the start that I share with the partner, allowing them to add content if they have something of value, or comment on what is terms of timing, allow both teams about a week or so to hash out their ideas.

Onceyou have agreed on the outline, your writer can jump right in and start the content creation. Typically I split the creation of content between partners by having one partner write and anotherdesign, so that voice and design are consistent. The other option is to have each partner write up and design half the ebook, andthen fuse the two together. Keep in mind that this will require a thorough consistency check once both parts are brought together.

After the first draft is complete, send to the partner to give feedback orapprove. Give ample time between a writing due date and a feedback due date. I like to give a week if I have planned far enough in advance to allow for this.

During the content finalization period, have your promotional team begin creating the assets needed to promote the content, such as the landing page, emails, social media images, infographics, SlideShares, blog posts, etc. Since working with a partner will likely take longer than a normal content creation process, this will help to save you some time.

Dont know how to approach landing page creation and promotion? Dont worry. Well dive into that next.

Both your content and landing page should be co-branded — and it should be obvious. This means using both partners logos in the header, and mentioning both partners throughout the content.

Since you will likely be sharing the offers downloads with your partner, you will need to consult with your legal team about the proper disclaimer to include at the bottom of the form. For example, ours simply states that we are authorized to share their information with the specific partner after they download this ebook:

To keep things organized within your marketing automation tool, we also suggest that you come up with a unique code for naming these co-branded pages to differentiate them from your existing ones. Not to mention, this will make it easy to locate them via internal search.

Its important to set an agreed upon launch date with the partner. On this date, bothteams email, social campaigns, and blog promotion should start.

About two or three weeks prior to the launch date, have a brainstorm with all people involved from both teams to discuss what promotional tactics you will use and the timeframe for promotion. Will you both promote the same hashtag on Twitter? What audiences will you be promoting it to?

Below are a few examples of how you can promote your content across various inbound marketing channels:

Blog posts are a great way to drive traffic to your upcoming co-marketing offers. At HubSpot, we promote our content on the blog in two ways. First, on the launch day, we create what we call a launch post. These posts are different then our normal educational posts, as they run only a few hundred words, and their main purpose is to inform our audience that we have an exciting new offer.

To set the expectation, we allude to this in the title:

The second way we promote our content in a blog post is through theuse oftweetable textand an eye-catching call-to-action:

Promoting your content on social media is a great way to drive awareness for your campaign and attract visitors to your site. For added value, dont forget to tag your co-marketing partner in the tweet. Below is an example of a tweet sent out by Twitter to promote a webinar we did with them on holiday marketing best practices:

You can even include both partners logos right on the image — check out what HubSpot did to promote the same Twitter webinar above:

Email is still one of the best ways to get a large number of people to attend your co-marketing event, or download your piece of content. Keep emails visual, and be clear that this piece of content is co-marketing, meaning there are two companies involved. The last thing you want is for people to be surprised when they start hearing from both companies. Check out the email we sent out promoting awebinar with Unbounce:

To track your partners promotions efforts vs. your own, be sure tocreate unique tracking URLs. This will help you determine which leads came from where. For more on how to do that using HubSpot,check out this resource.

Your campaign is live and being promoted — good work! Now its time to look back and see if your initial efforts were successful.

First and foremost, was the original goal hit? If so, good. If not, why? What happened? Did you fail to hit the mark, or was it the partner? Keep these things in mind when making decisions to work with them a second time.

Next, look to see if the leads generated were as high of quality as the leads generated by your own, individual content. Things to consider here are: lead-to-customer conversion rate, quality rating within your automation tool and CRM, and whether or not your sales team felt the leads were up to par.

Finally, take a step back and measure in a more qualitative way: Was the partnership successful? Was it difficult to work with them, or smooth? Did you get high quality content that you may not have been able to make without them? What worked? What didnt?

Now that your project is well under way — or maybe even completed — its time to follow up with your partner.

If you hosted the landing page on your website, take the initiative to send over the leads generated from the form, as set up in your agreement. Often times, the easiest way to do this is to simply download the CSV file of leads from your database. If you are looking for a less manual process, I suggest using a tool likeZapierto send specific leads from your marketing automation platform to your partners.

Once thats taken care of, be sure to keep in touch. While it typically doesnt make sense to do one project after another with the same partner, there may be an opportunity to work together again in the future.

What are your best tips for executing a co-marketing partnership? Share them below.

Editors Note:This post was originally published in March2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.