Effective marketing is crucial for business success - everyone knows that. If you run a business, regardless of whether it’s big or small, you need to have adequate marketing in place, if you want it to be a success, that is. One of the most common reasons that startups fail (and older businesses too) is because of a lack of effective marketing. This is either due to a lack of money to spend on marketing or because they run out of good ideas and are unable to make their services or products seem interesting.

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The good news is that effective marketing doesn’t have to be a struggle - it can be relatively straightforward and easy. If you know what the best methods are for your brand, then your chances of marketing success are high - just because a marketing method works for your competitors, that doesn’t guarantee that it will work for you, and it’s important to understand that. You need to find what works for your brand, in terms of marketing style, price, and level of uniqueness.

To help you find the best marketing methods for your company, below is a list of six (somewhat) creative marketing ideas. Hopefully, a couple of these will be a good fit for you.

1. Start a blog with something unique about it

A fantastic marketing method that a lot of businesses swear by is blogging. So, if this isn’t a marketing method that your brand already uses, then it’s worth taking the time to consider trying it out. One of the most important things if you’re going to blog as a marketing method is to get to grips with SEO or hire a specialist to help you with it. You can learn more about SEO and online marketing online, by visiting sites like MySalesButler.com. By reading up and getting to grips with what’s involved, you can get an idea of what types of articles tend to be successful and which ones don’t. Blogging can be an incredible marketing method to use, as long as you’re a skilled writer, that is. If not, then it’s best to outsource the task, as for success, quality content is crucial.

2. Create a hashtag and stick with it

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Have you ever noticed how certain brands have their own hashtag to use on social media? Well, a lot of bigger brands do - they use their hashtag on every post that they share and have built a following around their hashtag, even using it to run networking events. If you want to give your brand a chance of social media success, it’s crucial that you have your own hashtag that can be used on every status or tweet that you share. This shouldn’t be too long, it should be short, to the point, and snappy, oh and it needs to link to your brand in some way. Take online dating site Plenty of Fish, a hashtag that is often used is ‘#PoF,' while other brands use their company tagline instead. Get creative and come up with a unique hashtag for your brand - something interesting that links to what you do and isn’t already being used.

3. Run social media contests

Social media is an incredible marketing resource, so amazing in fact that many companies spend thousands of pounds a year on their social media marketing management. If you are going to make a success of your venture, you need to take full advantage of social media as a marketing method as it’s free to use and incredibly effective. A great way to build followers on social media and share your products or services with the world is to run competitions. Everyone loves a competition, so as long as you make it fun and offer a good prize, it’s sure to be a success. Photo competitions always tend to work well, such as a contest to find the cutest pet pictured with a product that you sell - make it fun, and you’re sure to get results.

4. Go carding

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Carding - posting business cards through the letterboxes of businesses and sometimes domestic properties is an old-fashioned marketing method. Thanks to the internet, very few companies actually go carding anymore. However, posting a business card or leaflet through the doors of local businesses or domestic property - depending on what services or products you offer, can be a great way to market your business. Sure, the chances are that out of 100 cards put through letterboxes you will only get contacted by five people, but that’s better than nothing, isn’t it? As well as sticking business cards and leaflets through letterboxes, pop them onto lampposts and community noticeboards - put them up wherever you can.

5. Team up with another brand

This may sound a little strange - teaming up with another brand, but believe it or not, it works incredibly well. Or, at least, if you pick the right company to team up with, it can do. Find another local company that’s similar in size to your brand and works in the same industry but is not a direct competitor, and then team up with them. Agree to share each other’s social media posts and add a link to the other company’s website on your website. This gives both companies a boost in the number of potential clients that they have and can be a fantastic marketing method to use. Say, for example, you run a social media marketing business, you could team up with a web designer or content creator and share your customers with each other.

6. Sponsor an event

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How about looking into sponsoring a local event? It doesn’t have to be the entire event, just part of it. By doing so, you could get your brand name posted around the event, such as on noticeboards and business cards put around. If you sponsor an event, such as a sports event or entertainment event, your brand name will be seen by thousands of people who otherwise may never have heard of you. So, despite the cost of sponsorship, sponsoring an event is a fantastic marketing method and one that you should definitely look into, if you’re serious about being successful, that is.

So, there you have it, six creative marketing ideas that all businesses (big and small) should try.