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10 Perfectly Promotable Ideas

By Tricia Ryan


As a small business marketer you are often looking for ideas to promote your business that are often guided by

Smaller budgets
Little time
You want relationship building to occur
You want to make a sale
You want the customer to become a repeat customer.

We scouted around our entrepreneurial data base and have come up with 10 promotable ideas you can adapt and build on for your business. It doesn’t matter if you are a hair salon, law office or dentist one of these ideas may have application for you…


Dr. Jennifer Stants is a new dentist in Etobicoke.
She is looking to build her business. She has a lovely office, sends out a newsletter to the local community of residential homes.
Last Christmas she put up a sign in her office telling her current clients that she was collecting for the local women’s shelter. Clients left her office went home and came back with toiletries and toys for the children. The local community newspaper picked up the story and people stopped in dropping off items. Coffee was served and the Christmas cheer was extended to a new base of clients that had not realized that Jennifer was in their neighbourhood. The ice had been broken and Jennifer now had a steady stream of new clients based upon this one charitable effort.
Moral of this story: Charity supported with heart in a community can help build your business.


Tricia of The Marketing Chefs attended a women’s networking session and listened to a dynamic speaker on the subject of Cold Calling.
Inspired to hit speed dial, she realized that she needed more than a few calling tips. She called Susan Aldrige also known as the Outspoke1 and asked Susan if she could come and speak at her upcoming Marketing Chefs workshop as a bonus luncheon speaker. Susan agreed and the two workshop leaders realized that they both shared the same target audience with a different product offering. They ended up retaining each others services, but also promoting each other at their respective workshops.
Moral of this story: Joint Ventures can really help your business and be a Win Win. became a very successful blogging site and an overnight success. They were able to build a data base of over 100,000 moms in 7 days by holding a viral contest. The blog owners sent out an email to their small data base asking for a vote on ‘What’s the Best Moms Site and Why’ Women kept sending emails to their friends asking them to support their favourite Moms Site. The net result 100,000 email addresses in 7 days and 100,000 votes.
Moral of this story: When marketing to women remember viral email is a neat way to build your data base.


The Company of Women holds a number of small scale networking events each month. At the end of each of their dinner events the women all put the small change in their purse in a basket. As the year progressed, the funds exceeded $3000.00. These funds were then sent to Africa to support micro-loans for women .
Moral of this story: Even pennies count


Keeping employees happy and increasing their productivity. Because if your employees are happy, your clients will be happy too! But what’s the best way of making sure your employees remain happy, keep on improving themselves and give you their best efforts? Is it by giving them bonuses? Is it by asking them to attend seminars and workshops? Is it by hiring outside trainers and consultants?
Donna Dooher and Kevin Gallagher very successful restaurant owners in Toronto – Mildred Pierce and The Cookworks found an unorthodox way of increasing his employees’ productivity: Let them visit the competitors! They give $50 to each of their employees to dine at restaurant that have a menu similar to Mildred Pierce! In return, the employees have to come back with a short written and oral report explaining what they learnt!
Every month, at staff meetings they would have a session where all his employees stood up and talked about their experiences in other restaurants. These presentations worked in two ways:
1. If the employees find better service in the competitor restaurant, they immediately implement it themselves.
2. The employees become aware of little goof ups other restaurants make.
Moral of this storey : Happy and proud employees are your best advertising. is a well known chiropractor who has mastered the art of innovative promotions. One tactic he offers to his patients is 10% off on their next visit with the matching of the discount going to charity. He usually sends these postcards out to his database by mail and does very well with the response rates.
Recently he decided to alter the post card in a unique way. He did not change the copy, colour and visuals on the card, he simply tripled the post card size. Interestingly enough he tripled his redemption.
Moral of this story : Think out side of the box and always test. His website is listed in the note as it is a great place to see his promotional ideas.


Female Fever is reigning in America. German brewer Karlsberg is also convinced that it can get more women to drink beer, though its Karla beer comes with a different twist: health benefits. Which has to do with the fact that in Germany, many women view beer as unhealthy, fattening or unsophisticated. So Karla, a beer for women, is marketed as improving health and well-being.
The mixed drink comes in three varieties: Balance, Well Be and Acti-Fit. All are low in alcohol content (1%) and are blends of beer and fruit juices. Emphasis on health prompted an unusual distribution channel: Karla is sold through pharmacists.
Moral of this story: What unusual distribution channel can you use to sell your products?


Piranha Marketing has a small trick that has helped their many clients upon receipt of their marketing kits. On the out seal of the plastic wrap they put a 1 cent sticker in a bright fluorescent colour asking you to call a 1-800 telephone number before you break the plastic seal. What they have a is a recorded message welcoming you to their programs and a brief explanation of what the kit contains. They have found that this 1 cent sticker has improved customer relations and reduced product returns.
Moral of this storey: Where in your business could you use a 1-cent sticker and a phone message to build customer retention?


The Dallas-based restaurant chain Canyon CafÉ combs the local papers looking for announcements of people who were recently promoted. Then they mail a personalized letter and gift certificate congratulating them and inviting them to dine with them for free. What ways can you go out and actively recruit new customers? Are you doing all you can to reach new people and win them over?
Moral of this story: Be proactive in obtaining new customers and publicity.


A struggling wedding photographer had a special talent for photographing babies. She was unable to find enough work in the highly competitive area of weddings. So she would look up birth announcements in the paper and send parents a beautiful brochure and a discount for new parents. Business booming.
Moral of this story: Study the competition and look for holes that aren’t being filled, needs that are not being met.


Tricia Ryan
Principal - The Marketing Chefs

Need help to grow your online business? We show you how to use web marketing tools to attract, convert and connect with customers.” The Marketing Chefs explain the web marketing tools and strategies that go into killer website design, email marketing, publicity, and search engine optimization. Whether your business is new, or you’ve had a long web presence, we help improve online profits by sharing our creative thinking and recipes for success. Nourishing a business is a lot like creating a delicious dinner: it starts with gathering the right ingredients and, like a chef, knowing creatively what to do with them.

Whether you attend our one-day workshops, purchase our workbook, CDs, or choose to participate in one of our “lunch ‘n learn” teleseminars, you will come away with a smorgasbord of ideas, tips and suggestions that you can immediately start using in your business. or

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