There’s an old adage attributed to Plautus, an ancient Roman playwright; “you have to spend money to make money.” But a bare-bones marketing budget doesn’t have to get in the way of your promotional efforts – think about the last video or meme that went viral or the Ice Bucket Challenge. These guerrilla marketing tactics can be deployed by any SMB at low or no cost:
- Be Creative! Today’s consumer is experience hungry and will respond when presented with creative marketing ideas. What sets you apart from your competition? Who are your customers and what moves them? Get your team together and brainstorm some ideas – maybe you all start wearing loud neon green shirts around a mall one day with “Ask me about the coolest thing happening” printed on the back. Or team up with a local charity and get your name out there with an inventive, fun promotion that does good by being good. Put your back into it and spend a few hours developing your ideas. Don’t just come up with one great idea, try to come up with five!
- Strategic Partnerships. When properly executed, partnerships create win-win scenarios. Look for companies to partner with that share your target audience, have a shared company vision (customers buy from people they like and respect, so partner with companies that share your values), willingness to share contacts and team up to present (at minimal cost to each partner) a high-quality, valuable offer to your customers. Partnerships take time to develop, not money. Consider your time well spent if you can get two or three long-term partners to team up with.
- Be Agile. Larger competitors have more layers of red tape and more layers of decision-makers. But if you develop a “let’s do this now” attitude, you can develop a guerrilla marketing team that’s ready to capitalize on breaking news or breaking product introductions and outflank your competition. See a great news story or social media post going viral that happens to be about a product or service you provide? Be ready to pounce and attack. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to fail once or twice – your team will figure out what moves your customers and when the time is right to take advantage of current events.
- Social Media, Blogs and eMail. What? Using free stuff like social media and your daily blog counts as guerrilla marketing? Yeah! No business owner should be without a robust social media, email and publishing plan in today’s digital marketing landscape.
Stop for just a second and put the pieces together for a great guerrilla marketing campaign – be creative, partner with a few like-minded businesses, be agile and ready to pounce, and tie it all up into a pretty bow by incorporating your social media and email tools. Keep in mind that “guerrilla marketing” campaigns should be innovative, unconventional and low-cost. Your goal is to get maximum exposure for minimal investment.