small business marketing campaigns

Navigating the Landscape: 5 Types of Small Business Marketing Campaigns Explained

With so many small business marketing campaigns available, it can be confusing trying to pick the best one. That’s why we’re here to guide you. We’ve chosen five marketing campaigns used by all kinds of businesses, big and small. We also have examples of successful marketing campaigns that small businesses can take an idea or two from. They each use different strategies such as advertising on social media, content marketing, hosting business conferences, sending emails, and collaborating with podcasters. These are the five essential small business marketing campaigns:

  • lead generation campaigns
  • acquisition marketing campaigns
  • referral marketing campaigns
  • rebranding campaigns
  • video marketing campaigns

Lead Generation Campaigns

Lead generation campaigns are like fishing for potential customers. The goal is to create brand awareness and attract people who might be interested in what a company is offering. These small business marketing campaigns involve using different methods to get their contact details, like running contests and offering free guides, webinars, and exclusive discounts. Among these methods, Databox found that content marketing was the top way to get leads in 2023, making up over half of all lead-generation strategies. These campaigns often involve creating landing pages, home pages, and blog posts and help with search engine optimization. Other techniques such as paid social media campaigns and paid search advertising only made up around 15% and 12%, way less than content marketing. This is partially because performance of paid ads vary and cost-per-click can be too expensive for some businesses. Other methods like cold outreach and chat services didn’t even reach 10%.

Source: Databox

Once the company has these leads, they turn them into paying customers by giving them info and deals they care about. These strategies often include sending an email automation, getting them on the phone with a salesperson, and promoting on social media platforms. LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for B2B lead generation in 2023 according to Straits Research. The data found that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.

Source: LinkedIn

A lead generation campaign has a few objectives: brand awareness, taking a potential customer from awareness to interest, then getting them to buy. It’s like saying, “Hey, we’ve got something awesome you might want. Interested?” If they are, the company keeps chatting with them and offering goodies until they decide to buy.

Picture this: You’re strolling along, and suddenly you catch a whiff of something delicious coming from a bakery nearby. That first smell is like the start of a lead generation campaign. The bakery wants to grab your attention with something tempting, like a fresh pastry. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, we’ve got something neat you might want to try.” They hope it’ll make you curious enough to stop and check out what they’re offering.

After the bakery grabs your attention, they might give you a taste of their goodies or show you their top treats. In lead generation, this means giving potential customers something valuable, like useful info, free trials, webinars, or special discounts. It’s how a company keeps talking to them—by keeping that initial interest alive with interesting and helpful interactions.

Using different tactics like sending you emails based on what you like, chatting with you on social media, or giving you special deals, the bakery guides you along in making a decision. They’re not just trying to get you to try a free sample; they want you to buy a whole box of pastries to take home and enjoy.

To make promotions work, it’s crucial to communicate with potential customers in a way that matters to them. This is regardless of how you are reaching them, whether it be blogging for search engine optimization, advertising, or hiring someone for your social media management. Not everyone will be interested in the same things, so it’s important to tailor the messages to each person. Knowing who they are, what they like, and what problems they have makes it easier to offer them things they’ll actually care about. Instead of giving everyone the same stuff, each person gets something that matches what they want and need.

Let’s say there’s a tech company. By advertising in places where tech fans hang out, like online forums, they can, for example, offer them a detailed guide about the newest tech trends if they give their email. Now, think about a fashion store. They might team up with social media influencers to give their followers exclusive promo codes. It’s a way to connect better with the people who like their style.

The highlight of the lead generation campaign is when a lead becomes a customer. It’s when all the effort to keep them interested pays off, and they decide to buy something. But that’s not where it stops. Good lead-generation management aims to keep relationships going so that first-time buyers keep coming back and maybe even tell others about the brand. To do this, a company needs to keep doing what it promised, making sure customers are happy, offering great products or services, and being open to feedback.

Slack, a productivity tool, ran a successful lead generation campaign by hosting a virtual conference called “Frontiers 2021.” Slack is a productivity platform that simplifies workflows. It’s part of Salesforce, a cloud software company. Slack’s conference aimed to bring together professionals from various industries to discuss collaboration, productivity, and the future of work. It featured keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and networking sessions. As part of the conference, Slack offered attendees access to exclusive content, such as whitepapers, case studies, and research reports, focused on topics relevant to modern workplace collaboration and communication.

To access the conference content and join in the virtual event, attendees were required to register through an online registration form. During the registration process, Slack got their info like their name, email, where they work, and their job title. This way, Slack could follow up with them later.

Slack promoted the Frontiers 2021 conference using email promotions, social media, digital advertising, and teaming up with partners. They also got help from their existing customers, industry influencers, and other companies they work with to get more people to sign up.

After the conference, Slack kept in touch with the attendees by sending emails, reaching out personally, and offering more content like recordings of the talks and chances to stay involved. This helped them achieve their objectives of keeping the conversation going and building relationships even after the event was over.

In summary, this 2021 campaign was a hit because it:

  • offered useful content
  • got people involved in a virtual conference
  • was promoted in different channels
  • helped in keeping in touch with potential customers afterwards
  • brought in leads
  • got people talking
  • strengthened Slack’s position as a top choice for workplace teamwork and communication solutions

Acquisition Marketing Campaigns

Acquisition marketing campaigns focus on getting new customers for your small business. Digitally, they try to bring more people to your website, social media pages, or other online spots. These small business marketing campaigns aim to increase brand awareness and drive conversions. They can take various forms, including search engine marketing (SEM), display advertising, social network promotions, regular offline or online advertising, and influencer marketing.

They first aim to reach a wider audience, but the main goal of acquisition marketing campaigns is to get people to do something, like buy your product, sign up for a free trial, or subscribe to a newsletter. These campaigns need to be convincing and focused on what users want. By working hard to improve how people go from being interested to taking action, and by keeping track of data, small businesses can make sure their strategies are working well and giving them a good return on investment.

One example of a successful lead generation marketing campaign is the 2020 “IKEA Sleep Podcast” campaign. IKEA wanted to reach people who were looking to sleep better, something a lot of IKEA customers care about. IKEA partnered with podcasters to produce a series of audio content focused on various aspects of sleep, such as relaxation techniques, bedroom design tips, and the importance of sleep for overall well-being. In the podcasts, they casually talked about IKEA products that could help you sleep better, but it didn’t feel like they were just trying to sell stuff. For instance, they might mention IKEA bedding or lamps when talking about creating a cosy bedroom vibe.

IKEA spread the word about the podcast series on social media, in emails, and on their website. They also made sure the podcasts were available on popular podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts so more people could listen, not just IKEA customers.

To see how well the campaign was doing and to get people involved, IKEA put calls-to-action (CTAs) in the podcasts. These asked listeners to sign up for a newsletter about sleep or to download a guide ebook on sleeping better. Interested people would give their email or info to get these resources. After getting leads, IKEA kept in touch with them by sending more emails with sleep tips, special deals on IKEA products, and invites to in-store events or workshops about sleep and home decor.

Here’s how the campaign worked:

  • It used podcasts to give helpful info to its audience while subtly promoting IKEA’s products and solutions.
  • By addressing a specific pain point (poor sleep quality) and offering relevant solutions, IKEA got people interested in what they had to offer without being pushy about it.

Referral Marketing Campaigns

Referral marketing campaigns use the old-fashioned way of spreading the word—through friends telling friends—to get new customers. These small business marketing campaigns ask current customers to tell their friends, family, or coworkers about your business. Referral programs can offer discounts, rewards, or special perks to customers who bring in new people. The important thing is to give customers a good reason to spread the word about your products or services.

Referral marketing taps into the natural human tendency to share beneficial information with those within our social circles. It’s bolstered by the fact that people tend to trust personal recommendations way more than any ads from companies. When a friend tells us about a great restaurant or a coworker recommends a software program, we’re more likely to listen because it feels like a personal recommendation.

Data shows that referral marketing works. According to a 2023 LinkedIn article, 84% of B2B purchases start because someone recommended a product or service. Plus, a huge 92 out of every 100 people trust recommendations from friends or family.

Referral programs can be tailored to fit your small business marketing campaigns and customers just right. Here are a few common types:

  • Discounts and Cash Rewards: A classic approach is to offer a direct incentive, such as a discount on future purchases or a cash reward. For example, a clothing store might give you a 20% discount code every time you bring in a new customer, which is good for both the new and the referring client.
  • Tiered Rewards: Some businesses make it even more fun for customers to bring in new people by offering rewards that get better the more friends they refer. It’s like climbing a ladder—the more referrals you make, the better the rewards you get. This can make the whole process feel like a game and keep customers excited to bring in more referrals.
  • Exclusive or Early Access: For brands always on the cutting edge of the latest trends or next level tech, giving customers a sneak peek at new products or special access to premium services can be a great reason for them to tell their friends about your brand.
  • Charitable Contributions: Aligning referral incentives with charitable giving is a great way for small business operations to show they care about giving back. For example, for every friend someone refers, the company could promise to donate to a charity. This way, it encourages customers to spread the word and help out a good cause at the same time.

The meal kit delivery service Blue Apron has a referral program where existing customers could refer friends or family to try Blue Apron’s meal kits. When a referred friend signed up for a subscription using the existing customer’s unique referral link or code, the referrer received referral credits that can be used for future meal subscription orders.

One of Blue Apron’s successful referral programs in previous years is “Give One, Get One.” ” It was a win-win situation: when someone referred a friend, Blue Apron gave a meal to a family in need through a charity like Feeding America. By giving importance to the charitable aspect of the referral program, Blue Apron tapped into the psychological principle of people’s desire to help others. Customers were encouraged to tell their friends about Blue Apron not just for the reward, but also to do something good, which made them like the company even more.

Rebranding Campaigns

Rebranding means giving a brand a big makeover—like changing its logo, message, or how it’s seen by people. It’s usually done to keep up with changes in what people like, to get noticed by new customers, or to give a brand a fresh new look. Rebranding takes a lot of planning and investment to make sure people like the changes and keep supporting the brand.

By rebranding, a company symbolically sheds its old skin for a new one. This helps it keep up with what’s popular in the market and connect with new groups of customers. People’s tastes change over time because of society, different generations, and new trends. So, by rebranding, a company can change its image to appeal to these new groups, while still keeping its old customers happy.

If a brand stays the same for too long, it can lose its appeal and fade away in a world that’s always changing. Rebranding is like giving it a new lease on life, making it fresh and exciting again. By updating its look, message, and how it talks to people, a brand can shake off that old-fashioned image and get people interested in it again.

The execution of a rebranding campaign is a delicate operation. It’s a careful process where everything needs to happen at the right time and in the right way. This means revealing the new look of the brand everywhere it shows up—like on its logo, website, and product packaging. It also involves a big marketing plan to tell the public about the changes. Explaining why the brand is changing is important so that people get why it’s happening and support it. An animated explainer video is a great tool to do this!

For a rebrand to work well, it’s important to dig deep into the market and figure out the reasons for doing it. Clearly defining the new brand identity, messaging, and visual elements is crucial to communicating the changes effectively. Perhaps the brand’s mission has transformed, or the company is merging with another company. Clarifying these underlying reasons guides the strategic direction and objectives of the rebranding process, thereby aligning it with the company’s revised vision and goals.

Talking to current customers and partners as changes are made can ease any worries or doubts they might have. It’s important to keep the conversation going and let them know the need for rebranding and how it benefits everyone involved. Personalised communication can help clear up any confusion and make sure everyone’s on board. Making sure the message is clear and consistent across all platforms is key to making the rebrand a success. Having a plan in place, like when to make announcements and what to talk about, helps keep everything running smoothly and gets people excited about the changes. This way, everyone hears the same story and understands why the rebrand is happening.

Airbnb worked with DesignStudio, a branding agency, to give its brand a big makeover. They wanted to show that Airbnb is more than just where people find a place to stay—it’s a holistic travel and hospitality brand. With this rebranding, Airbnb managed to show that it’s a reliable choice for unique and memorable travel adventures. Here’s how they achieved this:

Airbnb unveiled a new look with updated logos, colours, and visual style. They wanted their brand to feel welcoming and inclusive, reflecting their values and mission. They expanded their offerings beyond traditional home rentals to include a wider range of travel experiences, such as guided tours, immersive workshops, and unique stays in unconventional accommodations. This showed the brand’s commitment to offering diverse and memorable travel experiences.

They shifted their messaging to focus more on community and connection, emphasising the role of hosts and guests in creating meaningful travel experiences. They started showing how hosts and guests get together, fostering a sense of belonging and cultural exchange.

They teamed up with other brands, organisations, and influencers to amplify their message and reach new audiences. This included partnerships with travel bloggers, local businesses, and cultural institutions to offer exclusive experiences and promotions.

Unlike competitors that focus on the recreational aspects of travel, Airbnb started talking more about how to travel in a way that’s good for the planet and local communities. They asked hosts and guests to recycle, shop local, and be mindful of their environmental footprint while travelling.

Airbnb launched integrated marketing campaigns across various channels, including digital advertising, social media, email marketing, and experiential activations. These campaigns showcased the brand’s new identity, offerings, and values while engaging with audiences across different touchpoints.

During the rebranding, Airbnb made sure to listen to what their hosts and guests had to say. They asked for opinions, sent out surveys, and paid attention to what people were saying to make sure the changes they were making were what their audience wanted.

To summarise, Airbnb’s rebranding worked by:

  • highlighting their community-focused approach
  • broadening their services
  • updating their brand look and feel

Video Marketing Campaigns

Video marketing campaigns leverage the power of visual storytelling to engage, entertain, and educate your target audience. These small business marketing campaigns can include videos for social media, website content, or paid advertising. Using videos helps get across complex messages, showcase products or services, and promote brand awareness. In a recent study by Wyzowl focusing on video marketing trends towards the end of 2023, it emerged that a staggering 91% of companies have embraced video in their marketing strategies.

These campaigns use different social media platforms to share videos—like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, where short videos fit well and grab attention as people scroll through their feeds. This is great because according to HubSpot’s The State of Marketing Report for 2024, short-form video enjoys the highest performance rates as the most utilised medium in the content strategies of marketers. Longer videos can go on websites or be used for YouTube advertising to give more details about what’s being promoted. The study above reported that the social media platform that stands out as the most popular for distributing marketing videos is YouTube.

Video marketing works because it’s a multi-sensory experience. It combines moving pictures with sound—like music, talking, or the authentic sounds of a brand at work. This mix helps share complicated ideas in a way that’s easy to understand, going beyond just explaining things to evoke emotions and build lasting impressions. An effective brand awareness tactic is to make video content authentic and reflective of your brand’s values to truly resonate with your viewers.

Through creative pre-recorded and livestream video content, businesses can showcase their offerings in action, providing tangible proof of their value. Demonstrations, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes peeks build trust and credibility, while animation or fictional narratives can be used to explain things that are harder to understand.

Examples of impactful video marketing for small businesses include:

  • Producing high-quality how-to videos that highlight product usage or industry tips
  • Creating customer testimonial videos to build trust and credibility
  • Sharing behind-the-scenes content to humanise the brand and foster a community feeling

Behind-the-scenes videos give you a peek into what a company is like behind closed doors. It’s like taking a backstage tour to see how things work and meet the people behind the scenes. For instance, Ski the East does a great job with their office tour video. It’s short and to the point, showing their office, employees, and products in just a few minutes. This keeps viewers interested because shorter videos are easier to watch. What’s cool about Ski the East’s videos is that they add humour. Everyone seems happy and ready to be on camera, which gives a positive vibe. This makes the company look good and fun to work with. Ski the East has made several behind-the-scenes videos. The more you show your customers, the better they understand your company and what you offer.


Running marketing campaigns for a small business can be tricky, but if you understand each type, it can help you make better choices for your business. There are different kinds of small business marketing campaigns, like getting new customers, asking customers to refer others, offering discounts, changing how people see your brand, and using videos to promote your business. Each one has its own advantages, like bringing in new customers or making existing ones stick around.

Remember, there’s no one right way to do it. You have to think about what your small business needs, what your customers like, and what’s happening in your industry. By staying flexible and tweaking your plans as you go, you can stay ahead of competitors.

So, try experimenting with different campaigns and see what works best for you. It’s an exciting journey into the world of small business marketing. As a small business owner, do you want to run a video marketing campaign? Read the Impact Animated Videos blog for inspiring ideas!

Ready to kickstart your small business marketing campaigns? Pick one of the five types of campaigns we talked about and make a plan to use it for your small business. Whether it’s getting new leads, asking for referrals, or giving your brand a makeover, take that first step today.

Discussion Questions:

  • When it comes to lead generation campaigns, why do you think content marketing is considered the most effective method?
  • Video marketing has become increasingly popular among businesses. Can you recall any memorable video marketing campaigns that left a lasting impression on you?

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