For the entrepreneur without a big marketing budget, there are many ways to spread the word about your new business. All it takes is a bit of creative thinking and hanging out in the places where you are most likely to find your target market. That means using every opportunity – from your kid’s baseball game to your niece’s wedding – to subtly work your marketing message into each conversation. But it’s not just in-person contacts that qualify for guerrilla marketing methods; you can use internet, print and other media to advertise your business on a budget. Take a look at these examples and see if they spark an idea.
1. Build a List and Keep Marketing
You’ve got a website, right? Does it use good SEO to drive traffic? The key idea is getting people to visit your site – and then capitalizing on that by enticing them to opt-in to your mailing list. This allows you future opportunities to send them marketing materials that will turn them into customers over time.
So how do you entice visitors to opt-in? Guerrillas know it doesn’t take anything more than adding an opt-in box (use cheap or even free programs like Mail Chimp) and giving something away. Use your imagination to come up with an enticing offer that doesn’t cost you anything. For instance, your free offer – also referred to as a “pink spoon”, could be a half hour phone consultation (lawyers, business consultants, accountants), a website template or spreadsheet formula (internet marketers, website designers), a podcast or an eBook (any business). Costs you nothing, but adds subscribers to your list – that’s guerrilla marketing!
2. Use Visual Social Media
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+) is a very visual way to market your business – everyone wants to see cool stuff and share it with their friends. The best social media campaigns go viral because they incorporate fantastic imagery or really creative scenarios presented via photo or video.
How about turning the launch of your business into a mini-movie and posting it on YouTube? Perhaps you could take one of your products and use Photoshop to add it to images of iconic landmarks – something like placing your company’s game or toy or food in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Eiffel Tower – whatever makes sense for your products. Post a series of pictures starting with the first one and tease the rest, turning it into a game of sorts. This goes along perfectly with the next strategy:
3. Create a Meme
Whether it’s a cartoon character, a person or a symbol, a meme that characterizes your business and what it provides is a good way to create brand recognition and increase marketing reach. It doesn’t cost anything (or very little) but time and creativity. Your company’s meme could be a pet or a doll or an animated character.
The key is to continually associate it with your business name so it becomes part of your brand (think of the Geico gecko). Use social media to expand this strategy by giving the meme its own Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ page and Twitter account.
4. Form a Joint Venture
Joint ventures allow you to share lists, send marketing materials and perhaps even offer bundled packages of products or services. A partnership with another business owner in a related, but non-competitive niche can be a very guerrilla form of marketing – especially if you use some thought and creativity to come up with a nontraditional pairing. Could a seamstress pair with a gym or weight loss program? How about a catering company and a virtual office? You get the idea – think outside the box to reach an unexpected market.
5. Use Print Media
There are lots of things you can do to market your business with a simple printer and some paper. The key to making your efforts more guerrilla-like is to use not-so-obvious opportunities. For instance, a taxi service could gain lots of new customers simply by slipping business cards under the windshield wipers of every car parked outside a bar. If you are marketing to a predominantly female market, how about posting a flyer covered in lipstick “kisses” with tear-off slips (include your phone number, email address, URL) next to the mirrors in a restaurant restroom? One particularly creative dentist wrapped two strips of pink construction paper around a downtown telephone phone and attached tear-off slips in between shaped like teeth.
Guerrilla marketing is a way for the creative entrepreneur to launch a new business and make it memorable, without a big budget.