In the wonderful world of business, traditional marketing strategies include TV ads, print ads, radio spots, sponsored Google Ads (pay-per-click), search engine optimization and hiring a PR agency. Unfortunately, these things cost money, and in some cases, lots of money. What if you don’t have extra cash lying around? Should you take out a marketing loan or throw in the towel? Absolutely not, because you already have access to two of the most powerful, free marketing tools available: your brain and your legs. Let me explain.
Put Yourself to Work
Think of all your payroll employees, even if it’s just you. Who’s the most dependable? Who costs you the least amount of money? Which one is passionate about your business? That’s right—the answer to all of these questions is you and you’re about to give yourself another job title: chief guerrilla marketing executive. Relax, you don’t have to be a guerrilla or a marketing expert. Guerrilla marketing is simply anything you can do to build your business, spending anywhere from zero to maybe a few hundred dollars on creative strategies that will ultimately grow your business by the thousands. It’s all about hustle and bustle, thoughtful networking and thinking outside the box.
Guerrilla marketing is simply anything you can do to build your business. It's all about the hustle and bustle, thoughtful netowrking and thinking outside of the box.
Over the years, you’ve probably witnessed or even implemented dozens of guerrilla marketing strategies—you just didn’t know it! Here are some examples:
• Door-to-door handouts of business cards
• Working for free at a friend’s hair salon tradeshow booth in exchange for displaying your spa menus for your facial
• Joining free local networking groups
• Posting on social media
Time vs. Money
Whereas traditional marketing is pre-determined by your budget, guerrilla marketing is limited only by your wildest streak of creativity and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into it. It’s been said before: time is money. And there are certainly plenty of people out there you can hire, whether it’s to write blogs for your website, send out mailers or cater your business events. But at the end of the day, you’ll need to write them a check. With guerrilla marketing, on the other hand, you’re going to invest some serious sweat equity, as we like to call it.
In addition to saving you tons of money, guerrilla marketing has the ability to snowball, as it can be linked to both word-of-mouth and social media marketing. A really heartwarming, provocative (within reason) or funny YouTube video that costs nothing to shoot/upload can easily get people talking and more importantly, sharing it with their friends, who share it again and so on. Well-done videos are often shared for months and even years.
Guerrilla marketing can also create buzz about your products and services in a way that traditional marketing does not. Think about a print ad that might arrive in your snail mailbox; let’s say it’s an invitation to a local skin care seminar. Would you get excited about it? Immediately call a friend and tell her? Probably not. However, if you received an e-mail invitation with an RSVP link to an amazing company-sponsored beauty event with free food, drinks, opportunities to win prizes and live demos of cutting edge services, would you be more likely to respond? Of course you would. And the funny thing is, the first invitation cost someone a lot of money, while the one that will likely generate more interest and cost next to nothing.
With guerrilla marketing, the customer’s experience can also be more memorable. Think again about a print ad versus someone personally stopping by your place of employment and introducing herself along with free product samples, home baked cookies and discount coupons for facials. Which one would pop into your head the next time you need a facial?
Do Try These
I know you have your own incredible imagination, but here are several examples of guerrilla marketing tactics to get you rolling:
• Find meet-up groups in your area with relevant audiences. If your targeted group is women aged 25-45, find groups including that demographic and offer to sponsor one of their meetings, providing food and drinks in exchange for a 15-minute talk to promote your business.
• For $20-$30/month, send out e-mail newsletters that include fun facts, inspirational quotes, treatment photos and special offers.
• Search DIY graphic design and become your own in-house graphic designer.
• Create your own website with highly user-friendly website creation tools like WordPress.
• Focus your target on a specific demographic. For exammple, “anti-aging” could include a short talk on avoiding skin cancer to a senior group where you can also promote peels for sunspots.
• Call last year’s customers and ask them to tell you about their customer experience with you. What was good? What could be improved? Offer a 50% discounted treatment to clients willing to provide a testimonial on social media and/or your website.
• Incentivize others in non-compeititve health and beauty businesses to spread the word. For example, they’ll send you facial clients, you’ll send them personal training clients, etc.
• Google local TV and radio stations. E-mail their editors with story ideas about your business.
• Post daily on social media, research what’s engaging, trending, etc.
Top Three Guerrilla Marketing Tips
1. Photos. Never underestimate the power of before- and after-photos in anything you post, e-mail, distribute, etc.
2. Branding. Always include your logo and contact information, front and center.
3. Experiment. Keep trying new things and track what works or doesn’t. Never give up.