Effective Marketing: 10 No-Cost, Low-Cost Ways to Make Your Marketing Stand Out and Sell More Products and Services

For many businesses, especially if you sell services, “effective marketing” boils down to this message: Remember us when you need us. I don’t know of a silver bullet, secret weapon or sure-fire combination of words that will instantly make your marketing more effective. I do know, however, at least 10 effective marketing tips that won’t cost you much—if anything—to attract more prospects, clients and referrals. They’ll also take you an especially long way in setting your business apart in the marketplace and from the competition.
  • Especially if you’re in one of those categories where the marketplace thinks you and the competition are all pretty much alike. “Same-old, same-old, just tell me how much you charge.”
  • Health care, hospitals, medical practices and practitioners
  • Architecture, engineering, construction (AEC)
  • Financial services, banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers
  • Consultants of all kinds and areas of expertise
  • Freelancers, web designers, copywriters, graphic artists, photographers, illustrators
  • [Your industry here?]
So help yourself to these tips, tools and creative ideas for more effective marketing. And if you want to explore whether one of my presentations or a Pinpoint Session might be a fit for specific help, call or click! (If you’d like a reprint of these effective marketing tips, scroll down a ways, and download the free PDF.)

Effective Marketing Tip #1: Turn It Sideways

If everyone does it vertically, turn yours sideways. If everyone else is sideways, well, make yours vertical. Remember, the more two things are alike, the more important every tiny difference becomes, and the more impact it can have on setting you apart.

Effective Marketing Tip #2: Connect Before You Convince

People don’t care about you or your business. They care about themselves. Instead of describing your experience, product or service and focusing on how great you are, connect to something they care about (which isn’t you.) Focus on what they want, not what you do.

Effective Marketing Tip #3: Change Your Voicemail

Don’t give instructions. We know what the beep is for and what to do when we hear it. People are so used to hearing the same boring greeting that even a slight variation will have a huge impact. No sales pitches, though. You want them to WANT to talk to you when you return that phone call.

Effective Marketing Tip #4: Toss Your Typeface

If you’re using Times Roman or Arial, you look like eleventy million other emails, proposals, resumes and companies out there. Computers come with plenty more. Pick one—not a cornucopia of script and serifs and san-serifs and icons. Pick one or maybe two families who can get along.

Effective Marketing Tip #5: Have a Conversation

The best marketing sounds and feels like a conversation. A letter from a good friend. Not a term paper or spec sheet. Be conversational in all your marketing messages. Read what you wrote out loud. It should sound natural. Think dialogue, not monologue.

Effective Marketing Tip #6: Use Intrigue

Don’t be so obvious or expected that people know what you’re going to say in your marketing materials. If they can “get it” in a glance, they can toss it just as fast. Make them wonder; spark their curiosity. That’s why it’s called the “power of the reveal,” because it is, indeed, powerful.

Effective Marketing Tip #7: Have a Personality

Your company has a personality, a unique “voice,” if you’ll let it come through. It’s the single most effective way you and your marketing can stand out from your competition, and if you’re in a we-all-look-alike category, it’s likely the only thing.

Effective Marketing Tip #8: Expand Your Definition

Marketing is not something you “do.” It is not just making noise in social media, brochures, ads, publicity, email and snail mailings. Effective marketing is anything that helps or hinders the sale or use of your product or service. Anything. When you look at it that way, you’ll find plenty of things you can “do” to improve your marketing. HINT: start with the touch points and points of contact.

Effective Marketing Tip #9: Bring Your Benefits to Life

Benefits attract. Features merely describe. A flower does not attract a bee with a long list of pollen attributes. "Attract" means to not just "draw the eye," (or ear) but to please it, as well. Convert a feature into a benefit by asking “why is [feature] important, personally, to my target audience or decision maker.” And keep on asking it, until you have a list of wants and needs that mean something to the prospect.

Effective Marketing Tip #10: Be Brave

What would you do if you weren’t a [fill in your business]? What marketing or business development idea would you do implement if you were brave? Go for it. It might have the biggest impact on more effective marketing. Not to mention your bottom line.