10 Ways to Launch Guerilla Marketing Attacks

Guerilla marketing refers to the low-cost to no-cost techniques that use creativity and effort to increase impact and cut costs. Following are ten of the best techniques for guerilla marketing, in which the goal is to boost visibility or sales in a small, highly focused area or group without engaging traditional marketing media:

  • Communicate attention-grabbing content. Make your message so potent, so important, so striking that it stops people short and makes them attend. The word free can be powerful if you add something truly valuable after it. For example, a new restaurant could post “Free Meals on Opening Day” in its windows with a countdown to the date. Odds are slim there would be any open tables that day. And if the food was good, they’d have the beginnings of a good customer base.

  • Spot where you can put free material. In small-scale local marketing, you can always find free placement opportunities. Walk around your town and identify all the places where you can place your marketing materials for free, what forms these materials come in, and how they’re presented. Then make a point of using these free placement opportunities routinely.

  • Participate actively online. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great avenues to talk about your business and network with others. Thirty minutes every other evening is enough to maintain a lively online social network that can do a lot to build your brand and increase your visibility.

  • Give your product or service away. Let your product find you more customers by seeking ways to hand out free products or services as often as possible. Often when you give someone one of your products or some free advice, you win a happy new customer who may buy more and tell others about you and your company. Or at least you get a new lead that you can try to upgrade to a customer later on.

  • Take advantage of your own ad space. Don’t overlook possible advertising space in your own mailings and on your own buildings and vehicles. Use any vehicles, buildings, windows, packaging, envelopes, or mailers to spread the good word about your brand or company.

  • Get yourself published. Getting published is a great (and free) way to boost your visibility and build your business. Keep your eyes open for newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs where you can contribute an editorial or a short article (about 250 words or less) on something you know all about because of your work. Then get ready to reap the benefits of your published prose!

  • Reward customers with gifts they can share. Rewarding good customers is one of the most immediate ways to create word-of-mouth marketing. Along with a thank-you note, give your customers a tin of home-baked cookies, a tray of brownies, a “coffee break” consisting of a big box of hot coffee and a tray of pastries, or some other treat that lends itself to being given away or passed along. Customers who feel you’ve treated them well always send new customers your way.

  • Give out decals, stickers, and more. Let your customers and the people in their extended networks promote your business for you. Pass out window decals and bumper stickers featuring your logo, company name, and web address. You can also give out premium items such as pens, mugs, caps, shirts, notepads, whatever — just make sure you’ve made them nice enough that people will actually use them.

  • Throw a party. Hold an open house or benefit event and distribute e-mail and printed invitations. Offer homemade food and good cheer — or if your business image and budget suggest a more sophisticated approach, hire a caterer. Even if you don’t have the time or money to create a major marketing event, throwing a simple party can attract interest and generate enthusiasm for your business.

  • Join and participate. When you get out there and participate in the community, you’ll find that your network grows quite naturally. So go ahead and join community and professional groups, sponsor or coach youth sports teams, volunteer at a local community service agency, help raise funds for a local museum, or go to educational and cultural events (especially those events at which you can mingle with other professionals, like art gallery openings and ribbon-cutting ceremonies).

    If possible, you can also budget even 1 percent of your time and marketing money into charitable activities. You may find them well worth your while in terms of goodwill and visibility. Supporting charities is a natural way to integrate your business — and your enthusiasm and goodwill — into your community. The more you give, the more respect and interest you attract for your brand.

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