Marketing can be scary, I admit. And I refer to the typical campaigns you see everywhere, not the guerrilla marketing ideas I want to talk about in this post.
It is one thing to be reading about marketing, absorbing all the information and even learning it. However, launching a proper marketing campaign is something completely different. And as much as it may still be quite easy to do for an established business, when you are only starting out, things are not that simple.
There are many aspects of marketing that can scare new business owners, the budget being usually on the top of the list. Naturally, when you are only beginning to operate as a business, you very rarely have any income at all, let alone profit to spend. Not to mention any budget for promotion, even though you badly need it.
Yes, marketing can be expensive. However, there is a way to promote your business without having to spend huge money or sometimes even at all. Instead, you can invest your time, energy, and other resources available to you to launch a successful campaign to promote what you do.
I absolutely love the term guerrilla marketing. It pretty much describes what the movement is all about, doesn’t it?
To put it simply, as a guerrilla marketer you try to promote your business or a product using unconventional methods which usually do not involve any or very little money to be spent.
Guerrilla marketing allows you to think outside the typical marketing box of an ad and a flyer (sorry, traditional marketers but that is true) and use any tools available to you to promote your company to the world.
What I have noticed from working with startups is that for many it is difficult to come up with initial guerilla marketing ideas to promote themselves.
In order to do that you can look at some of my guerilla marketing ideas that I, and other businesses I know and have worked with have successfully tried.
6 Guerilla Marketing Ideas for Your Startup, Field Tested
1. Handmade and unique business cards
This was always one of my favourite strategies. I used to create my own, handmade business cards and often put messages relating to my industry on them.
You can create a business card from anything. You don’t need a designer and a printer/ And if you do this smart you can make people laugh. And if they do, they will definitely remember you.
2. Open hours sessions
I mentioned this one a few times on this blog already, as it is one of my most successful guerilla marketing ideas.
I used to organise a free advice sessions for my prospects. One day of the week, for 2 hours anyone could come in to our office and pick our brains on the problem he had. No strings attached.
Giving free advice always works well when it comes to promotion. Of course there are people who will only avail of it and won’t give you anything in return, they are a minority though. Most people will be grateful for the advice and will want to help you in return.
This is another guerilla marketing idea I used, twice. Once when my company was 3, I organized a third birthday competition. The reward was a number of days of our work for free. Many businesses, all our potential clients joined in to win.
A result? A list of people interested in us that I could initiate a selling process with.
And the winner has purchased ten times more time from us that we were offering for free so we made quite good money on it.
The second time it was our 5th birthday, and also a launch of our new software. The result was pretty much the same as 2 years earlier.
Contests are a great idea to spread the info about your business and also gain new prospects.
TIP: make sure that the contest relates to the industry you are working with and that the reward is something that your target audience badly needs (and you can afford).
4. Local community group.
This is something I am doing now, to great results so far. I organised free self employment advice sessions for recently unemployed people in my town.
Naturally it is too early to say anything about the results. However, my name gets out there and I already get inquiries.
5. Personalised notes in your promo literature.
This is an idea I recommended to few people and from what I know they got really good results from it.
Whenever a prospect asks you to send him your promo literature, or when you are handing out your business card to them, add a sticky note to it with a personalized message.
You may mark a page in your brochure with a note saying: “I think this will interest you”, or something similar. The key is to turn a brochure, or any of your promotional materials into a unique message directed to the prospect. It will be much easier for the prospect to initiate the conversation with you.
6. Test Drive.
This is a campaign that really helped me to grow my business. It was after it that I was able to move from working freelance to running a small company.
Basically I allowed prospects to take my company for a test drive. I did it to help them establish if I “speak the same language”, understand their problems and am able to help them.
Test drive wasn’t free, I offered 3 price plans depending on how deep the prospect would want me to go into the project. And if they decided to go ahead and work with me, I would deduct the test drive fee from the overall project price.
It worked extremely well as the clients felt more comfortable paying little money to see if they can work with me. And if not, at least they weren’t investing big money into it.
Naturally these are only few ideas from my own experience. The ocean of possibilities when it comes to guerilla marketing is endless though.
Before I go I want to give you a few tips to help you come up with your own guerilla marketing ideas.
1. Know what you are promoting.
As silly as it sounds, this is the most common mistake when it comes to marketing, guerilla or not.
You cannot come up with a good concept if you do not know what you are promoting.
2. Find your prospects pain points.
It is much easier to come up with a guerilla marketing tactics if you know where to attack. Find out your prospects pain points. In other words, what do they really lack, miss or have problems with in relation to what you do. Use that in your tactics.
People immediately notice solutions to their pain points.
3. Do not be afraid of peoples reactions.
Most people do not use guerilla tactics because they are afraid of the reaction of others. Don’t be. Of course, people will laugh at you. I can guarantee you that. However, these are also people who do not achieve anything. You on the other hand are trying to do so, and most likely you will succeed big.