Make the most of a small business marketing budget with creative promotions

What a lot of the analysis and theorizing about marketing comes down to is this – does a brand or organization stand out in consumers' minds? By many ways of reckoning, this is the single most important task that small business owners must accomplish. If local companies are to successfully compete with big businesses and each other, they must show that they are different from their rivals.

This can be a difficult task requiring creative thinking and innovative methods. Fortunately, a timely or seasonal promotion can provide both of these things. By taking advantage of the many interesting and unusual holidays spread throughout the year, a small business can garner attention and attract customers with its use of fun and compelling celebrations. Use the following guide for inspiration to conceive of promotions that will set a company apart.

November 3 – Sandwich Day
This food is so versatile simply because its definition is so loose – put anything between two slices of bread and you have a sandwich. These dishes have endured for so long due in no small part to the fact that nearly everyone has a favorite variety. Restaurants can make this day a highlight of the year without difficulty, but other companies can just as easily team up with food suppliers to offer sandwich discounts to customers. Likewise, offices and stores can provide limited-time meals onsite or even choose to give discounts on days that "sandwich" this holiday.

November 5 – Book Lover's Day
Despite the prevalence of the internet, television, radio and other media, books are still a popular form of entertainment. A day like this can be used for a promotion in many different ways. Companies can give away books full of coupons that can be used in the future. Employees can dress up as their favorite literary characters. Offices and financial institutions can even offer rewards for customers who use their checkbooks on Book Lover's Day. At the very least, such a celebration is useful for striking up conversations with new customers about beloved classics and their authors.

November 11 – Veteran's Day
Organizations should always strive to reward the men and women who have given so much to this country, but November 11 is a particularly meaningful day for such actions. Discounts for former sailors, pilots, soldiers and support staff are just the beginning of what can culminate in a grand recognition of their service. It is also a good time to highlight the brave work of workers or management staff who have served abroad or currently have friends and family in the armed forces.

November 15 – America Recycles Day
There was a brief period of time when going green was a fad and could only be considered as a marketing gimmick. However, that time has passed, as consumers and businesses alike have recognized the importance of preserving the earth and its natural resources. Consequently, companies should draw attention to their efforts at conservation and ecological awareness on America Recycles Day. Consider including demonstrations of recycling techniques that make organizations more efficient and make an effort to give away promotional products that emphasize an earth-centric perspective. These can include solar phone chargers, promotional water bottles or reusable branded grocery totes.

November 24 – Thanksgiving
There's nary a business that won't be making some effort to celebrate the events of 1620 when the Pilgrims were saved from freezing and starvation from the kindly Wampanoags. However, most will simply be using decorations that have more to do with the season than the holiday itself. Help customers realize how lucky they are by offering discounts or savings to those who make known what they're thankful for. Promotions can even include events at which companies show how thankful they are for the business of regular customers by singling out particular people and giving them promotional products.

November is Jewelry Month
Shiny baubles and beautifully wrought accessories are important parts of improving one's appearance. If there is ever a time when promotional jewelry, personalized watches or corporate gifts of that nature are appropriate, it's during the month of November. In fact, competitions or contests that name a customer of the month or regular of the week can give this kind of promotional product to the winner. After all – it's important to show consumers that their business is valued.

November is Native American Heritage Month
Indigenous people, besides saving one of the first permanent settlements in North America, have also contributed a great deal to the culture of the United States. Many of their social practices, foods and words have entered modern American society, whether people realize this or not. Consider paying tribute to these societies and their dwindling populations with promotions that extol the virtues of Native Americans. Depending on the area, some companies can even collaborate with local Indian tribes for charitable events that will raise money for schools and reservations while raising awareness of a small business.  

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