111 Insanely Creative Marketing Campaign Ideas for Small Business

The ultimate goal of any small business is to sell its products and services.

The greater are the sales, the greater are the profits. In order to achieve more sales, a small business needs to position itself well before the target audience and build a brand.

However, when it comes to establishing a brand, small businesses are faced with limited time, tight budgets, and cut-throat competition.

Despite facing challenges, SMBs can win in this digital era by leveraging effective marketing tactics. While employing marketing campaign ideas for small businesses, it’s important to be creative, smart and innovative.

In this post, we have categorized small businesses into various niches and listed down some very creative and impactful marketing campaign ideas for each niche.

These marketing tips are research-driven, proven and would certainly fetch great results.

Just select your business category from the list given below.

Check it out:

An Insight into the State of Digital Marketing in Kolkata

With the ever-increasing digitalization of India, marketing has evolved into digital marketing, leveraging the internet and a multitude of digital devices that are now an integral element of our lives. Digital marketing has been embraced by Kolkata too, owing to the convenience and effectiveness it brings for businesses when it comes to connecting with prospective customers.

After stepping in, digital marketing has been constantly evolving in the city with evolving technology and digital consumer behavior.

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing allows marketers to micro-target potential customers, which is a game-changer for a diverse market like that of Kolkata. As the city’s small, medium and large businesses are gradually recognizing how crucial it is to have an online presence today and realizing the potential of digital marketing in creating that presence, they are increasing their time and money investment in digital marketing.

This post aims to provide you with an insight into the current state of digital marketing in Kolkata. Let’s look at some aspects related to digital marketing to better understand the digital marketing landscape today.

The Beginning and Evolution of Digital Marketing

The term “Digital Marketing” was coined first in the year 1990. The advent of digital marketing was led by the development of the internet.

With the expansion of the internet in the world, the first clickable banner was introduced in 1993. Then, the first commercial online magazine, Hotwired, purchased a few banners for the purpose of their advertisement. These points marked the beginning of internet marketing. Owing to this gradual shift, several new technologies were seen by the year 1994. In 1995, India saw the inauguration of public access to the internet.

Then came “Jerry’s guide to the world wide web” following which Yahoo received online views of about 1 million within its very first year. This brought a significant change in the internet marketing space, and other corporates started optimizing their websites for them to rank higher and stand out from competitor websites.

Another massive change in the online marketing space occurred in India after the emergence of Google. Then, Hotmail stepped into India, which gained so much popularity that Microsoft bought it paying a hefty sum! The world of the internet took a new turn in the country when the small search engines were ousted by Google from the web, owing to the quality mismatch between Google and those search engines. In 2006, when the number of internet users in India reached 40 million, there was a massive increase in search engine traffic. Keeping pace with Google and Yahoo, Microsoft introduced live search.

However, Google remained an unparalleled search engine, which introduced the cost-per-click advertisement scheme, AdSense, and AdWords, which caught the interest of many Indian businesses. This is because Google laid emphasis on relevant content, unlike its rivals.

Then, Web 2.0 was launched, where the activity of internet users increased than before. This facilitated the interaction of many Indian internet users, especially businessmen, with one another. This further led to the coining of the term Super Information Highway.

The result was that information flow increased substantially. As per statistics, the digital market of India reached the mark of $3.9 billion in the year 2009.

Next, social media started to emerge that led to a dramatic change in the business trends. MySpace – launched in 2003 throughout the world – spearheaded in connecting people. With the advent of MySpace, businesses in India saw new opportunities for expanding their businesses and getting more customer reach. The trends of investment and capitalization cost also saw a shift in turn, since business owners found it easier to connect to prospective customers via social media rather than using search engines.

In India, social media marketing has immense potential, which can be assessed from several statistics. Today, India has above 200 million active Facebook users, with 80% of them accessing it through smartphones.

Facebook user stats
Source: Statista

The number of Indian WhatsApp users is 200 million, and that of Twitter users is 33 million, with 76% of them accessing via smartphones. LinkedIn is used by 50 million people and Instagram by 71 million.

Digital marketing is steadily and constantly evolving. As internet marketing grew and changed in the world out there, it grew and changed to an equal extent in India too. Today, the net earnings of world e-commerce and tech giants like Amazon, in India, are billions of US dollars. Digital marketing is prevalent in the large and diverse market of India as well as that of Kolkata and is likely to grow and evolve with the changing market.

Digital Marketing Statistics in India

Digital marketing can help you reach out to your potential customers effectively and get significant conversions, leads, and sales. Don’t believe me? Here are some statistics gathered in 2017, which are a testament to the potential of internet marketing in helping your business thrive.

Statistics on the Internet:

  • 40% of the planet’s population has an internet connection. The world has over 3 billion internet users.
  • Millennials and younger generations, who are growing in an era of digitalization, prefer ordering and shopping online.

Statistics on Websites:

  • 57% of online users don’t recommend the services and/or products of a business with an outdated and poorly designed website.
  • 88% of users don’t come back to a website that offered a bad experience.
  • 25% of visitors leave websites that don’t load in 4 seconds.
  • The loading time of a website should be 500 milliseconds or less, and that of a page should be around 2 seconds or less.
  • A business’s credibility is assessed by the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) of its website. A website with outdated design elements is likely to generate a negative impact on the business.

Statistics on Online Search:

  • Google gets over 3 billion search queries every day, and Google search represents around 65% of the total searches in the world. Each second, there are 40,000 searches happening.
  • Search engines lead to 300% more site traffic compared to social networking websites.
  • Smartphones and other types of mobile devices lead to 60% of search queries.
  • 67% of people search for information about a local business online first before physically visiting the store or making a purchase.
  • By 2019, spending on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) will rise up to about $45.49 billion.
  • The ad at Google search results page’s first position gets Click Through Rate (CTR) of up to 7.94%.

Statistics on Online & E-commerce Purchase:

  • 2 out of every 3 retail sales happen online.
  • 58% of online shopping revenue comes from mobile websites rather than native apps.
  • 88% of online shoppers refer to online reviews prior to making a purchase.
  • 80% of online users research a business/product/service through mobile phones prior to making a purchase.
  • Lost orders worth $260 billion could be recovered through changes in checkout flow and design.

Statistics on Content:

  • 70% of consumers come to know about a company/brand through a blog rather than an ad.
  • Companies that do regular blogging get more inbound links by 87% compared to companies that don’t blog.
  • The effectiveness of daily blogging is about 25% greater than monthly blogging.
  • 92% of companies that blog more frequently saw a greater generation of leads and conversions.
  • 32% of businesses have a proper content marketing strategy so as to receive greater returns out of planned efforts.

Statistics on Email:

  • B2B companies get around 4300% ROI through email marketing.
  • Over 50% of business professionals like to get an email prior to a meeting or discussion call.
  • Every second, about 5 million emails are sent.

Statistics on Social Media:

  • 1 out of 5 consumers gets influenced through recommendations on social media.
  • 55% of B2B buyers conduct research about a vendor/business/product as well as their reputation over social media.
  • 84% of professionals that are on executive-level, research about a brand/service/product over social media prior to making a purchase.
  • 75% of B2B shoppers take the help of social media for supporting their purchase decision.
  • 13% of small businesses saw an increase in ROI after employing social media for communicating with their customers.
  • 75% of brands use Facebook marketing for promoting their brands.
  • 500 million users actively use Instagram monthly.
  • 40 million small businesses have their own Facebook page on social media.

Statistics on Advertising Spending Distribution in 2016 & 2017 in India:

  • For Television, spending in 2016 was 37.8% and in 2017 was 37.2%.
  • For Newspaper, spending in 2016 was 37.8% and in 2017 was 37.9%.
  • For the Internet, spending in 2016 was 12.5% and in 2017 was 14.3%.
  • For Outdoor, spending in 2016 was 5.6% and in 2017 was 5.5%.
  • For Radio, spending in 2017 was 3.6%.
  • For Magazine, spending in 2016 was 1.9% and in 2017 was 1.7%.
  • For Cinema, spending in 2017 was 0.8%.

Statistics on Advertising Revenue in 2016 in India:

  • For Print, the revenue was 201.3 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Television, the revenue was 201.2 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Digital, the revenue was 76.9 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Out-of-home, the revenue was 26.1 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Radio, the revenue was 22.7 billion Indian rupees.

Statistics on Advertising Spending Distribution in 2017 in India by Sector:

  • For FMCG, the spending was 27%.
  • For E-Commerce, the spending was 8%.
  • For Auto, the spending was 8%.
  • For Retail, the spending was 7%.
  • For BFSI, the spending was 5%.
  • For Telecom, the spending was 6%.
  • For Real Estate, the spending was 3%.
  • For Education, the spending was 5%.
  • For Others, the spending was 23%.

Digital Marketing Trends in India for 2018

The fast-paced world of digital marketing is constantly changing. To make sure your online marketing efforts are on the right track, you need to keep yourself updated with the recent changes and developments in digital marketing. So, let’s have a look at the major trends reigning in the digital marketing industry in 2018.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Previously, marketers were hesitant in incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in their strategies. However, 2018 saw a rise in the confidence of marketers in applying it. This is because the ambiguity regarding results is lower now as the number of industries is reaping substantial benefits.

The presence of artificial intelligence was felt in the previous year via its supplementary processes like Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, and big data. This year, a visible impact and changes were noticed brought by AI application.

The year 2018 has proved to be groundbreaking for digital marketing powered by AI. Here’s how artificial intelligence has impacted online marketing this year.

  • AI facilitated user experience personalization to a large extent
  • AI brought forth image recognition used to receive greater ROI
  • AI helped in easier & simpler decision making with predictive marketing

2. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

The makeup app of L’Oreal employs virtual reality (VR) to let users virtually apply makeup. This allows users to know how they will look after applying the products. Recently, Elle Magazine leveraged virtual reality for creating its photo shoot’s 360-degree virtual tour.

Brands in India are also making use of AR and VR to offer interesting experiences to their prospective customers and audience. This year, these technologies played a big part in helping various brands stand out from the crowd.

3. More of Videos

2017 already saw a boost in content generated by video. Well, 2018 is the year in which video seems to have surpassed all other types of content! Videos are prevalent over social media as a chief form of content generation, and this trend is likely to only increase according to all the signs. Whether users are live streaming videos or not, video captivates them more than any other content form.

Platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope smoothen communication between consumers and brands, where there’s an almost infinite capacity of creating more enticing and distinctive content.

4. Interactive Content Marketing

A popular textile brand – Siyaram’s – created an interactive content marketing campaign last year in 2017. The campaign was named #10DaysofGoodwill. The brand created a contest of 10 days during Navaratri, in which the audience received one new challenge each day.

This contest encouraged people to participate and tag their relatives and friends on Twitter and Facebook. This campaign became a massive success, receiving 750 participants and 32K organic impressions on Twitter along with 100 new followers.

Interactive campaigns like these can fetch a significantly greater engagement and reach for your brand.

5. Local Marketing

2018 saw an emphasis of brands on reaching out to the local market and creating more brand awareness locally. This led marketers to focus on local marketing and local SEO, besides global SEO.

When a brand achieves significant visibility among local searchers, it gets more local traffic and local customer engagement that translates to conversions and sales. As more and more internet users research brands on the web, whether local or global, before making a purchase or seeking a service from them, the significance of local marketing is likely to only increase in the near future.

To stay ahead of the competition, when it comes to getting local customers in Kolkata, it’s important for businesses to optimize their website for local search and employ effective local SEO tips.

Future of Digital Marketing in India

In 2018, the digital marketing industry underwent many significant changes. What’s in store for 2019? Well, in 2019 too, internet marketing would continue to evolve. Marketing experts have already made predictions about what we can expect in digital marketing in the upcoming year. Some of the predicted online marketing trends for the year 2019 are emphasis on engaging content, growth of voice recognition technology, the rise of technologies like AI and VR, heightened use of live video features, and more.

Let’s hope to see the digital marketing landscape coming up with more and more interesting things in the near future. And I’m sure, the future developments will prove to be more effective and useful for businesses to flourish in this digital age!

12 Tips for Small Businesses to Build a Brand Identity in Kolkata

It’s often believed that branding is limited to large-scale businesses. However, in today’s world of keen competition, building a brand is important for any business, whether large or small, to flourish and keep the revenues flowing in.

So, how can small businesses create a brand identity? 

With all big names to compete with, how can small and local businesses attain brand recognition?

Well, branding for small businesses differs from branding for big businesses.

Though small businesses may need to compete with big brands, what many small businesses get it wrong is they compete with the big names on their platform. For instance, trying to equal a big brand on selection or price poses an immediate disadvantage to a small business.

Small businesses should rather compete on their strengths and turf. Small and local businesses are valued by consumers for quality work, trustworthiness, and personalized service. Branding for small businesses should focus on these areas.

Nevertheless, the greatest asset of a small business is its location. Being a part of the community, a small business is able to understand the culture and dynamics of local consumers and can become “one of them”. This is indeed an asset small and local businesses should leverage.

Local businesses are trendy and their appeal to consumers is gradually increasing. 82% consumers have reported that they have shopped from local businesses in the past few years, and almost all of them (98%) would continue to shop or increase shopping locally in the years to come. It’s smart to brand locally; it enhances your online visibility, raises your profile, and eventually heightens your bottom line.

If you are a small business based in Kolkata and want to build your brand, grow your reputation, and increase your search ranking locally, the following are some effective tips to help you do so. Read on…

1. Engage in Person and Online with your Community

Amy Cuddy, a Harvard social psychologist, states that when people meet a person, they develop two main impressions about the person – firstly, people decide if they can trust that person; secondly if they can respect that person.

Well, people make the same evaluations about small businesses and their brands. To prove that you are likable, personal, trustworthy, and active, you need to engage and communicate with your audience, thereby increasing your familiarity with them.

With the popularity of social media increasing steadily among consumers, it’s a great medium for branding. Engage with your audience on social media to build brand awareness. This would result in social media activity like check-ins, followers, fans, and likes. The volume of social media activity serves as a brand signal for Google indicating that your business and products/services are liked by consumers, and your products/services are a likely match for people looking for similar products/services.

Ensure that engagement is frequent and regular. It need not be long; in most cases, simple and short works best. It’s better to split your longer posts into shorter pieces and break up the content into a number of posts.

2. Let Consumers Share Something

Consumers love sharing their unique experiences and moments. Getting treated specially, receiving pleasant and unexpected surprises – all such things trigger positive responses from consumers. Try offering them ad hoc discounts or an extra cake piece. A shout-out through a post or picture or a personal note, are all free but amazing ways to make someone smile. Such moments inspire people to share, whether, through a like, comment, post, or review, and Google takes notice of it.

It’s also effective to involve in the community that is outside your shop. Sponsoring or participating in local events suggests that you belong to the community. It would also provide you content for sharing that is likely to facilitate consumer interaction online or chatter from the local media outlets.

3. Get Customer Reviews

Reviews represent your reputation. In the present times, consumers project their impression of you and your brand through different review outlets. A recent survey by Moz shows that the decisions of around 67% of consumers are impacted by reviews.

The quantity of reviews is an important signal to Google indicating your business’s popularity amongst independent, third-party consumers. A large number of consumers leave a review when asked. So, ask your customers for reviews not only on Yelp, but TripAdvisor, Google, Yellow Pages, and other directory listings also.

Bad reviews matter too, both to search engines and public perception. The inevitable bad reviews should be managed individually and it should be realized that a number of good reviews would counter the effect of the bad ones.

4. Target the Local Publications of Kolkata

Who’s talking about your business and brand are important. Getting a world-renowned magazine, website, or other sources to link to your website or mention you would indeed be a big deal; however, local sources are even better for you considering your purpose. Why? Because local community magazines and news sources are the places people most often go-to for getting local information. Hence, when your site is linked to or your business is written about by a local news source or magazine of Kolkata, it builds brand recognition for you through the audiences of those publishers.

All major cities have local publications, and when your business is mentioned, linked, or listed in them, Bing and Google would reward you with an increase in your local search ranking.

5. Target the Smaller Hyperlocal Publications of Kolkata Too

Being mentioned or linked to by the hyperlocal publications can prove that your business is truly local. There are several publishers serving specific communities, such as communities residing in a particular area of the city, or the ones speaking a particular language. There are other hyperlocal sources that publish hyperlocal content like current events in a specific area, restaurant and store openings, road construction, etc. Your small business can get valuable citations and links from these hyperlocal sources.

6. Use Lingo Showing you’re Local

In every locality, certain districts, streets, or areas have nicknames. Use these nicknames when describing your location. Additionally, use local landmarks. This suggests that you know the locality and are a part of it.

Celebrate the culture and local events of the area in which your business operates. Consider offering special offers or discounts during local festivals or occasions. Local sports teams – of a high school, college, or a pro – often have large fan followings. Conducting events surrounding games depicts your local roots.

7. Leverage Content to Showcase your Expertise

The second prong of Amy Cuddy for creating an impression is – whether people could respect a person. This, in other words, means whether the person has adequate competence or expertise. Small and local businesses are expected to offer better customer service and high-quality services or products. So, you need to demonstrate your ability.

Publishing content that’s not sales-based, but is related to your business niche and is educational, would demonstrate that you know your business. It would also provide confidence to consumers that it’s right to make the purchase. You can publish blogs and send out email newsletters offering useful information and helpful tips related to your business vertical. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise.

Once you get consumers’ confidence, you would get higher clicks to call, greater click-through rates from searches, and other online activities that can be captured as customer engagement with your local business.

8. Concentrate on Branding, and Not on Conversions through Ad Impressions

Admeasurement ‘impressions’ usually have a bad reputation in the world of digital marketing. Right from small and medium businesses to the big brands – all are critical of its ambiguous reach, transparency, and pricing structure.

This criticism arises from the lack of measurable ROI generated by impressions in comparison to calls, clicks, and the question of whether an ad is truly viewable. To assure ‘viewability’, it’s necessary to redefine what comprises a viewable impression, which includes, among other factors, requiring the time given to an ad to be a minimum standard of 1 second.

However, it was found by MIT researchers that the human brain has the ability to process an entire image in just 13 milliseconds, which is 0.013 of a second. This implies the human brain is capable of processing 77 images every second. Hence, a viewer can process even an ad’s very brief view. While the viewer may not always take an action, there is value in building familiarity of the viewer with an image, or the brand.

9. Borrow Some Prominence from National Brands through Co-Op Programs

Co-op programs offer compensation to local retailers when they display national brands in their advertisements. For instance, if local tire dealers display logos of Bridgestone, Michelin, and Goodyear in their own marketing, they, in return, receive payouts for brand exposure. Nevertheless, the benefits of co-op programs to you, as a local business, extend beyond financial subsidies. National companies make heavy investments in their branding, and when a local business is affiliated with a national brand, the local business’s reputation gets a boost.

From an SEO perspective, brand names have authority with search algorithms. The brand names would help correlate your local business to the business niche those national companies are associated with.

10. Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities is not only an effective way to get your local business name out; it also indicates that your business works for causes within the community. When sponsoring a charity, request the organizers to mention the name of your small business on their social media pages, website, printed materials, t-shirts, or signage. This would raise your business or brand name recognition locally.

11. Use Custom Hashtag

Take the use of hashtags on social media a step further by using a custom hashtag. Using a custom hashtag would boost your brand recognition in the local market. Use it when posting on different social media channels, especially on visual platforms like Instagram. Such a strategy helps your target customers associate the hashtag with your business, increasing the likelihood of name recognition.

12. Flaunt your Business Name

Make your business known to the world…especially to your locality! Increase your business name recognition by posting the name of your business anywhere you can. You can list your business name on your personal Facebook profile under the section of employment. Create a page for your local business on Linkedin. If you post at industry or community forums, include the name of your business in your bio. People on these platforms might not be aware that you are the owner of a business, and they might seek the services you provide. You might even get your next customer from these platforms!

Use pens that have the name of your business on them and carry extras when going out. When making new personal connections, hand them out your business card that has your contact number.

 Summing Up

There are two challenges involved in marketing – the first one is being found and the second one is being chosen.

Google’s search algorithm considers the brand to be an important factor. Local businesses can boost their chances of being found by promoting their brands in their community, where it matters the most.

Increasing brand recognition helps with the second challenge of being chosen too – when the search results feature your local business and your business name is recognized. If your brand name happens to be on top of the minds of your audience and they enter it as a search term partially or in whole, that’s even better. Hence, brand-building should be a part of all your marketing campaigns and strategies. And the winning tips mentioned in this post would greatly help you build a solid local brand in Kolkata.

Best Background Colors for Websites: Give Your Website Punch of Color Power [INFOGRAPHIC]

Colors have always caught human imaginations and have become subjects of scientific and psychological studies over the ages. Knowing about the best background colors for websites will help you get more leads and earn hardcore profits.

Colors in websites have proven to dramatically raise the sales graph and marketers have always performed A/B testing on colors that convert the best.

See how the primary color red is used by leading brands to play on the impulsive emotional side that humans have. Bold and prominent, the color strikes a bold chord and brings out the most passionate side of humans.

brand logos in red

We provide you with a list of colors, the corresponding emotions that they evoke, different industry verticals, and the way they are used on their websites.

best background colors for websites Infographic

Armed with the knowledge of the basic colors and the effects they wield on human minds, you can now effectively plan your website and marketing campaigns. It is the key to tap on the right aspect of your clients’ psychology and make quick business conversions!