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Learn by Example: 5 Super Successful Small Business Marketing Campaigns

Genia Stevens
Genia Stevens
Mar 30, 2016

Anyone familiar with the story of David and Goliath knows David didn’t need to be big to win the battle; the creative thought he put into the battle is what did it for him. Well, that and luck.

Small business owners who lack deep pockets are forced to rely mostly on the strength of their marketing strategy and creativity.

Excellent execution of a well-planned, strategic and creative marketing campaign can yield great results.

Here are five creative and successful marketing campaigns employed by small business owners.

Related Article: Text Savvy: How to Build an Irresistible SMS Marketing Campaign

1. York City Pretzel Company

Meagan Feeser, Director of Marketing at Downtown Inc., shares the guerilla marketing strategy employed by York City Pretzel Company in York, PA.

York City Pretzel Company added pretzel sandwiches to their menu in their downtown café location and they wanted a creative way to announce the new menu item.

Knowing the company’s main weekday target audience would be downtown employees, York City Pretzel placed tiny sandwich boards around town announcing the new menu item.

The signs encouraged people to share pictures of the signs on social media for a discount on their sandwich.

York City Pretzel Company pic of their new pretzel sandwiches

The strategy and the sandwiches were so successful that the pretzel sandwiches are now one of the highest-selling menu items for York City Pretzel.

Due to the campaign’s success, York City Pretzel has launched a new wholesale arm of pretzel sandwiches to other shops and cafes in town.

2. Lancaster Insurance 

Richard Morley, Lancaster Insurance’s Operations Director, says Lancaster, an insurance company based in the United Kingdom, decided to try to win a Guinness World Records™ title for the “Largest parade of MGs” to help build their brand awareness and increase awareness of their classic car insurance. It worked.

In April 2015, Lancaster Insurance announced the company was an official Guinness World Records™ title holder for the “Largest parade of MGs.”

The parade took “pole position” on the Oval Track, the UK’s only banked Oval and Europe’s fastest motor circuit, with an array of classic and modern MGs in attendance.

Lancaster Insurance Company announcement of their Guinness World Record title Holder

In addition to securing a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title, Lancaster Insurance maintains a three-year-old blog on their website that provides regular content related to classic cars.

Their content-rich website and Guinness World Records™ title helps to promote the company’s brand and confirm the company’s legitimacy.

Related Article: Increasing Content Marketing ROI: 14 Innovative Strategies

3. Origin Code Academy

Jeff Winkler, Founder & CEO of Origin Code Academy, launched a marketing strategy in September 2015 that re-purposed content developed by a third party.

Winkler used a television news story about one of the Origin Code Academy graduates securing a $110,000 programming job.

The story was produced by his local ABC affiliate. Winkler posted the segment on his Facebook page and paid to promote the post.

Within a week, Winkler sold enough course applications that he needed to start a wait-listing people for future courses.

Screen shot of Jeff Winkler on ABC news story promoting his company

This strategy makes great use of free third-party generated content that tells your brand’s story for you.

4. LA Fashion District

Ariana Gomez, Marketing & PR Manager for the LA Fashion District Business Improvement District (BID) shares details about their unique dinner party.

The Fashion District hosted “An Urban Dinner Party” to create brand awareness with local residents and business owners.

Organizers closed a street in the district and created a dining table, more than 100 feet long, in the middle of the street. The dinner party, a pop-up fine dining experience, came with a four course meal prepared by a local chef.

Diners were entertained by a live band. Organizers sold tickets and used sponsorship dollars to cover costs for the event.

Screen shot of LA fashion districts urban dinner party invitation.

Blogs and local media coverage generated half a million impressions on Instagram alone, and the event even sold out.

5. AllProWebTools

Andrea Lotz, Communications Lead at AllProWebTools, shares a great idea for marketing during a networking event.

AllProWebTools is located in Fort Collins, Colorado and several of the company’s employees planned to attend a networking event in Denver.

David Kramer, the company’s founder decided to use some accumulated trade dollars to rent a limo to travel to the event.

Since the company has prospects along the route from Fort Collins to Denver, Kramer invited prospects to join AllProWebTools at the event.

If a prospect said he couldn’t make the drive, he was invited to ride in the limo.

Kramer placed a magnet bearing the AllProWebTools logo on the side of the limo. During the ride, prospects had an opportunity to network with each other. They took pictures and videos and posted that content to their social media accounts.

Related Article: Simple Steps to Optimizing Your Email Marketing Campaigns

The limo ride was called “Mobile Networking.”

Lotz says this campaign helped AllProWebTools increase brand awareness, generate buzz, build a relationship with North Colorado small business owners and double AllProWebTools users and income in 2015.

Because so many prospects asked for a mobile networking invite for the next Denver event, AllProWebTools has continued their Mobile Networking invites.

Genia Stevens
Genia Stevens
Genia is an entrepreneur and digital marketer who helps businesses remain competitive with creative & sustainable solutions. She currently contributes to, Business 2 Community, Social Media Today, Engadget & Elite Daily. Genia is a member of the Forbes Agency Council.