When it comes to competing for customers, it’s a jungle out there. But as a small-business owner, you can deploy a smart, scrappy approach to make people notice you: guerrilla marketing.
This form of marketing breaks away from the confines of print and television. Instead, it places your name and brand in unusual spaces, such as markets, parks, college campuses, sports stands, and roadsides. The very best of these campaigns give people a new experience in a familiar setting, or even an unexpected moment of humor as they go about their day.
Because it’s inexpensive and flexible, guerrilla marketing is the perfect way for a small business to make inroads. At its most effective, your campaign can go viral. If it’s shared multiple times on social media or makes headlines on the local news, it will return your investment many times over. Want to get started? Try one of these tactics:
Devise a treasure hunt: Build buzz for your event, whether it’s a grand opening or business expansion, with a treasure hunt that rewards people with a surprise freebie. For example, a coffee shop could conceal branded commuter mugs around town with a gift card hidden inside. Chiropractors could hide stress balls that double as a coupon for a free 20-minute massage.
Create sidewalk art: Colored chalk and a dose of creativity can turn public sidewalks into billboard campaigns, giving your foot traffic a boost. For example, chalk your message near a busy playground, offering a free personalized bottle of sunscreen to those who come to your store and mention your “ad.”
Take a break: Set up a mobile pit stop near festivals or other events so people can relax. Send your guests back out with branded hats, and the entire crowd will see your logo. At the farmer’s market, hand out tote bags that are personalized with your custom imprint. Hit the beach with branded sunglasses and beach balls–they’ll be a welcome sight, and give prospective customers a lasting reminder that you were there to help them.
Transform local landmarks: Change something familiar into a whimsical ad that makes people talk or even chuckle (without causing damage). For example, slip a personalized t-shirt and knit hat on a popular statue, and people will stop to laugh–and take in your message.
Organize a flash mob: You’ve seen these: Out of nowhere, a group of singers, dancers, or musicians spontaneously assemble and perform in a busy public space, delighting onlookers. Enlist some employees and other helpers and you could easily do the same, either changing the lyrics of a familiar song or adapting a dance of your own. Whatever you do, film and post it online (or even to Facebook Live!) so that your performance reaches an even larger audience.
Public spaces are all around us. By deploying some ingenious guerrilla marketing tactics, you can change people’s days for the better and make a lasting impression.