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5 Rules for Stand-Out Marketing Campaigns These steps helped an old company achieve record growth, and they can help your business too.

By Ann Handley

This story appears in the November 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Bl Photography
Steve Sheinkopf’s Yale Appliance + Lighting is a case study in effective digital marketing.

Seven years ago, in the midst of an economic recession, Boston's Yale Appliance + Lighting was losing money. "I'd read somewhere that people will buy some things anyway during a recession -- and one of those things was refrigerators," recalls CEO Steve Sheinkopf. "So we pumped more money into radio and newspaper advertising, thinking it would help. It didn't -- it hurt."

Sheinkopf, who had taken over the store founded by his grandfather, refocused with what was (at the time) a radical approach. He doubled down on a digital marketing strategy that included social media, blogging, reputation management and email components.

The focus on a content-based inbound marketing program allowed Sheinkopf to bring his advertising budget to near zero. (Last year, he says, he spent nothing aside from seasonal Google AdWords buys around Black Friday and a tax-free holiday weekend.)

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