Three Out-of-the-Box Business Growth Ideas for 2019

With everyone reading the same “tactics” from so-called marketing gurus all over the Internet these days, it can be tough to find anything original.

This is made worse, when they read one another’s articles and re-write them in their own words, because of what I consider a variation on the 90–9–1 rule.

Only 1% of users create all the original content and 9% are “copiers” of that content and the other 90% are readers who do not contribute. (As I said, it’s a variation on the rule, but it seems to hold true in my experience.)

Only one of these three out-of-the-box ideas is something you can do online, the other two are all about connecting in the “offline world” as I like to call it.

Out of the Box Idea #1: Stop “Scheduled” Blogging

I run a small marketing agency and one of our main services is SEO Reviews for client sites. I hear a lot of things from frustrated business owners.

“We have been blogging every week for a year and nothing is working.”

“We have a company that writes articles for us twice a week for the last 2 years and we still aren’t on the first page of Google, or in the map thingy.”

“We share our blog posts on social media but no one clicks on them.”

It’s time to switch up those tactics.

I know the gurus of the inter-webs promised you that if you just stuck to a schedule and blogged every week for your plumbing company or dog walking business that soon the world would be beating a path to your door.

Now that hasn’t happened so we need to take a new approach.

Follow these steps to make a “Pillar Post” which is an article that will attract more interest and readers and search engine love than your other blog posts.

This is because it combines all the good stuff into one page.

How To Write a Pillar Post

Long story short, a Pillar Post is a lengthy article that includes all the important information about a specific topic. Usually, the specifics about each subject covered in a Pillar Post are in separate blog posts (that you probably already have written).

I won’t go into great detail on this here because Neil Patel has a fantastic Pillar Post about Pillar Posts.

Also, he linked to an article I wrote about getting rid of negative reviews so I owe him a backlink. This one’s for you, Neil!

Out of the Box Idea #2: Little Treat Boxes

Little what?

You read that correctly!

Treat boxes.

We use them and suggest them to our clients all the time.

They are little food-safe paper boxes that are about the size of a soda can. The idea is to fill them up with candy or other surprises for your clients or prospects and give them out.

It sounds too simple, but it really works.

Out-of-the-Box Business Growth and Marketing Ideas
Treat Boxes have staying power because they hold the treats…

How Can I Use Treat Boxes To Grow My Business?

My favorite use of these is for events or follow up with existing clients. I have personalized ones for my company and I fill them up with hard candy and a few suckers and then I toss a business card or two inside each one.

I gave them out at an event I had a couple of months ago and I went to visit some clients who had been to the event. Guess what’s sitting on their desk next to their computer monitor?

My treat boxes with a few candies still left inside.

And when they needed my help with something, guess where they got my info? It was on my card, right there in the box between their monitor and their desk phone. You don’t get that from a postcard.

Depending on the industry you’re in, there are a couple of places you can get them. Greg the Candy Box Guy as he’s known. makes boxes called CandyCartons for real estate agents, brokerages, mortgage, hotels, and other real estate related industries.

One tip is to have two people or companies split the box sides up. For example, a mortgage lender could be on one panel of the box and a real estate agent on another. Then they can split the cost of the box, or one can pick up the tab for them both!

For Pet-related businesses or smaller custom jobs, Bark Cartons is the go-to place for our clients. The owner and designer, Kari, does basic design customization and they have low minimum orders.

If you have your own designer, you can have them design the box for you and send the images to either of these treat box shops.

My other favorite uses for custom boxes are to hand them out at events, farmer’s markets, use them as door hangers for realtors or house cleaners, socks for shoe stores, dog treats for Pet Food stores or Dog Groomers, Dog Walkers, and Veterinarians. You can even use them for events like weddings or trade shows.

Out of the Box Idea #3: Triple Thank You Cards

Idea number three is about sending out cards to referral clients.

Three Thank You cards, to be exact.

Most people understand that referral clients are the best, and not just because you didn't pay for advertising to acquire them. They spend more, stay your customer longer, complain less, and are 50% more likely to refer another client to you than other clients attracted by other means.

So let’s say Bob sends you his friend Janice as a referral. You meet with Janice and all goes well, and she’s a great new client.

Card Number 1: Send a thank-you-card to Bob for sending Janice your way.

Card Number 2: Send a thank-you-card to Janice for becoming a new client.

If you just sent these two cards, you’d be miles ahead of most of your competitors. But Card Number 3 is where the magic happens.

Card Number 3: Take a blank thank-you-card with an envelope that you pre-address to Bob, slap a stamp on that thing and take it with you to see Janice (or send it to her if you don’t meet clients in person).

Ask Janice (the new client) to write a note in the card to thank Bob for referring her to you. You’ve already done all the work, she just needs to write a quick thank you note in the card and you can even mail it for her.

People refer their friends and family for a number of reasons.

The most common reason is that it makes them feel good that they could help someone out and without getting into a lot of psychology, it increases their perceived status when someone thanks them for a referral.

Any time you help someone feel that their status has improved, they feel rewarded, and we all know that the behavior that is rewarded is the behavior that gets repeated.

Bob, in our example here, will not only be acknowledged for passing the referral to you in the first place, but he will get not one, but two thank you cards in the mail for his efforts. Doubling his status reward.

Wrapping It Up

These are just a few out-of-the-box ideas you can use. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments for other out-of-the-box ideas for business growth.

Now go forth and be profitable!

The behavior that is rewarded is the behavior that gets repeated.

  1. Get more tips just like this with amusing stories and research that you can read in minutes. Deliver My Marketing Tips!

2. Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Masters Podcast on your favorite podcast app or player. You can also listen to this business marketing podcast here.

About the Author

Matt Rouse is one of the hosts of the Digital Marketing Masters Podcast and is a managing partner of Hook SEO Digital Marketing. He is the author of Start Saying Yes: Improving Customer Experience and Sales Through Positive Messaging.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Matt Rouse

Matt Rouse

Host of the Digital Marketing Masters Podcast. Author of Start Saying Yes. Marketing strategy nerd. I write a lot and sometimes I help run my Marketing Agency.