There’s no doubt that if you’re looking for a way to grow your audience, you won’t be able to achieve it without marketing. You may already have some marketing campaigns well underway; perfects you have a few ads running on Facebook or are in conversations with some influencers. However, you might be tired of the tried-and-true marketing trends; while those methods are certainly effective, switching up your strategy from time to time and trying something new is also a good idea.
With that in mind, here are five unique marketing tactics you can try yourself:
1. Partner With Another Brand
Brand partnerships have several great benefits. Together, two brands can capitalize on new segments of their markets, double their marketing budget, invite more creative input into your strategy, and build brand awareness.
The goal is to partner with a brand that complements yours fairly well. A coffee shop might partner with a bakery; both small businesses would benefit from this type of arrangement. In the same manner, Uber partnered with Spotify; Sherwin Williams partnered with Pottery Barn; and West End partnered with mattress company Casper.
As you begin to explore how brand partnerships can work for you, be sure to consider how the arrangement would be mutually beneficial; no one company should benefit more than the other.
2. Direct Mail
Contrary to popular belief, direct mail is alive and well. In fact, in recent years direct mail marketing has seen an increase, and more businesses are choosing to take advantage of this marketing tactic.
Physical mail creates a deeper, more tangible connection with the recipient, and allows you to be more creative with your efforts. Get custom envelope printing and create snazzy postcards. Some companies even go above and beyond with their direct mail efforts, choosing to send 3D cards and mementos to their target market.
Take a look at some of these direct mail campaigns to get you started with ideas.
3. Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows are a great way to connect with others, generate revenue, and build an audience. Fortunately, there are trade shows in nearly every industry and niche. No matter what you do, there’s a trade show for you. In 2016 alone, trade show revenue was nearly $13 billion, and 30% of companies were planning to increase their trade show budgets.
Attend a trade show prepared to network with others, and come equipped with a full box of business cards. Afterwards, be sure to reach out to everyone you met, even if you don’t see an immediate reason for a connection.
4. Host a Contest
People love a good competition, and hosting a contest gets them actively involved. You might think of a contest as a quick, artificial way to bring in new users, but when execute correctly, it could have positive long-term effects. According to Hubspot, 70% of big brands were planning to use gamification in their marketing strategies by 2014—today, that number is even higher.
Some of the biggest brands have used contests to grow their business while others still use it to attract attention today. Back when YouTube was still in its infancy, they awarded iPods to users who were actively inviting friends and uploading videos. And Dove held a “Love Your Curls” contests to encourage women to embrace their natural curls.
5. Approach Users for Competing Products
Researching users who are already using a competing product is a great way to ensure they have a need for what you’re offering. By approaching those customers directly, you can outcompete your competition.
Before you begin, be sure you have a plan in place. Use market research to get a feel for your competition—big and small—and where those competitors are. Check niche forums, analyze social media, and use competitor analysis tools to learn more about where your competition’s customers are coming from.
From there, you can begin your outreach efforts. Airbnb is a great example of this. When the company first began, they were reaching out to people who were posting sublets on Craigslist and other forms around the country, and they were able to gain a nice-sized chunk of the short term rental market. These initial users helped grow the company.