While working with clients over the past couple months, at least three of them have made the bold proclamation that, “Newspaper advertising doesn’t work for us.”

These business owners may have made legitimate efforts and discovered that their ideal audience truly can’t be reached via that medium. However, there could also be other factors at play that hampered the effectiveness of their advertisements.

Perhaps their messages simply weren’t compelling enough, maybe their ads lacked a clear call to action, or it’s possible that they just weren’t consistent enough with their print buys.

In this case, the particulars don’t really matter. If a small business owner has made up her mind about something not working, it’s far more prudent to explore other options rather than trying to sway her opinion.

Finding the right marketing mix requires testing different vehicles to determine which ones work and which ones don’t, so you know where you should be investing time and money. You may have a poor experience with more than one medium, but that shouldn’t sour you on the overall marketing process.

And it is a process! If you are inconsistently dabbling with various messages sprinkled through various media, the chances of your efforts being successful are pretty slim. However, if you are sending a strong, consistent message to a clearly defined audience using a strategic mix of marketing vehicles, your efforts WILL yield results.

Lest you find yourself wondering what options are available, I have compiled a list that will get you started in the right direction. The objective is to pick and choose the ones that feel feasible and relevant to your business, and try them out.

Seeing all the available options can be overwhelming, but you’re not trying to use all of them. Instead, pick a number that feels right and start there. In addition to the first group of “Essentials” below, I suggest testing between 3 – 6 on the low side, 8 – 10 on the high side, and 12 or more if you’ve got the resources.

Remember, depending on the medium, it can take up to 12 impressions for your prospects to even notice your marketing. So try to give it 3 to 6 months before declaring something a success or a failure.


1. Company Logo
2. Signage
3. Business Card
4. Letterhead
5. Envelopes
6. Website
7. Email signatures
8. On-Hold Messages
9. Word of Mouth

Content Marketing:

10. E-newsletter
11. Blog
12. Podcasts
13. Articles
14. E-Books
15. Books
16. Video
17. Tip Sheets
18. Sales Sheets/Info Sheets
19. Portfolio
20. Bio/Resume

Event Marketing:

21. Speaking Engagements
22. Workshops
23. Open Houses
24. Trade Shows
25. Business Expos
26. Educational Seminars
27. Daily Deals
28. Flash Sales
29. Pop-Up Locations
30. Contests

Traditional Marketing:

31. Postcards
32. Brochures
33. Direct Mail
34. Cold/Warm Calling
35. Newsletters
36. Coupon Books
37. Yellow Pages Ads
38. Local Magazine Ads
39. Radio Ads
40. Posters
41. Sales Letters
42. Promotional Items

New Media Marketing:

43. Google Maps
44. Google AdWords
45. Facebook Ads
46. Facebook Pages
47. Twitter
48. Promoted Tweets
49. LinkedIn
50. YouTube Channel
51. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
52. Mobile Advertising
53. Text Marketing
54. QR Codes
55. Email Blasts
56. Online Directories
57. Online Review Sites

Public Relations:

58. Media Pitches (Bloggers, Television, Radio)
59. Press Releases
60. Thank You Gifts/Cards
61. Customer Appreciation
62. Loyalty Programs
63. Free Consultations

Partnership Marketing:

64. Networking Groups
65. Business Associations
66. Chambers of Commerce
67. Referral Programs
68. Strategic Alliances
69. Sponsorships

As you can see, there are far more marketing options available than you could possibly utilize for your small business. Some are essential, some are recommended, and others are optional. Many are free, some require a minor investment, and others require a large, dedicated budget.

While many of them may be worth considering, it’s best to pick a manageable number of options to focus your efforts on while you determine which vehicles will prove most effective for your company.

Then, if you find that some are not working for you, as my clients did with their newspaper ads, try something else. After several months of consistent advertising, you will have a good idea of which vehicles are most effective for your business. Once you have determined that, continue to use what works and drop the rest.

Which marketing vehicles would you add to this list?