Small businesses, especially in their early stages, are often faced with a predicament. In order to market, they need money; but in order to get money, they need to sell; and in order to sell, they need to market. With limited resources, it can be hard for a small business to invest in growth strategies. Furthermore, they’re competing with larger companies and franchises that have better brand recognition and can afford large scale marketing campaigns. So what’s a small business to do? Go guerrilla.
The term “guerrilla marketing” was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984, as a solution for small companies who can’t afford the expensive marketing campaigns used by larger companies and corporations.
It was named with guerrilla warfare in mind, a strategy used by smaller groups of combatants to compete against larger and more traditional armies.
Guerrilla warfare leverages creativity and surprise to enhance the impact of limited resources available and catch the enemy off guard. Guerrilla marketing leverages unconventional methods to achieve conventional goals in an inexpensive way. Guerrilla marketing strategies are ideal for small businesses who want to make a big impact.
Guerrilla marketing exists both online and off, and utilizes creative ways to resonate with people in a unique manner. Below are four distinguishing characteristics of guerrilla marketing tactics. A method that meets all four of these characteristics is what categorizes it as a guerrilla marketing tactic. However, some methods may focus on one requirement more than others, depending upon the objective of the campaign and the stage of the business running it.
The chief goal of guerrilla marketing tactics is to spend the lowest amount of money and get the highest impact. If you have to invest in any marketing method, such as by hiring a team to create a promotional film, this would not be a considered a guerrilla marketing tactic. On the contrary, getting a few of your coworkers together to make a quick video for YouTube or a Facebook ad, would be considered a guerrilla marketing tactic.
Guerrilla marketing tactics are not just low budget; they must also be nontraditional. For example, producing business cards or stickers are cheap methods of marketing, but they are also widely used by many businesses. Producing business cards that have a knock knock joke on them, on the other hand, would be a nontraditional twist.
The nontraditional aspect of guerrilla marketing for small business is a good characteristic to focus on if you are a more well established business in your community. When customers are used to you doing things a certain way, changes will stick out more. If you’re a newer small business without established practices, it may be harder to for customers to recognize the change, so it will not grab their attention as strongly.
The term “nontraditional” can also apply to your industry or to business in general. Think of the most basic things you do, both in your business and when engaging with other businesses that come as second nature, such as filling out forms and answering phones. Then find alternative ways to carry those out or put a twist on them.
With guerrilla marketing for small business, you don’t just want to get your name in front of people. You want to get your name inside their head and you want it to stay there. People remember things that stick out to them, so nontraditional actions automatically fulfill the memorable requirement of guerrilla marketing. However, there are other ways of being memorable, such as with powerful Facebook ad images, or using catchy songs or rhyming slogans.
The memorable aspect of guerrilla marketing tactics is an especially important point of focus for new businesses. When people are presented with an ad or piece of content from a business with whom they are less familiar, they are less likely to engage. The more memorable you can make yourself to them, the easier it will be for them to recall your business name when presented with an ad or piece of content, and the more likely they are to engage with it.
A pleasant surprise or a twist on something mundane or normal is a great way to grab the attention of people and get them engaged. Rather than just learning about your brand or being exposed to it, they have to make sense of something surrounding your brand. This requires them to involve more areas of their brain with your brand, giving it a greater presence in their minds. The unexpected component of guerilla marketing tactics is helpful for both new and established small businesses.
Guerrilla marketing for small business can be risky. Due to their unique nature, you can’t exactly iterate on the same tactic, so it is somewhat hit or miss. However, when done right, there are many advantages of guerrilla marketing tactics to be enjoyed.
As stated above, guerrilla marketing involves making do with the resources that you have. Because you can’t afford much, you have make sure that what you can afford has a big impact. Having maximum effect with a minimum hit to your wallet is one of the advantages of guerrilla marketing.
Guerrilla marketing is one of the many methods you can use to get the word out about your small business. Guerrilla marketing tactics are focused on grabbing people’s attention in a unique and personal way, of creating an experience that people will want to talk to others about or share. The second advantage of guerrilla marketing is that it can increase social media engagement and trigger word-of-mouth, which is an especially powerful marketing tool for small businesses.
Guerrilla marketing tactics are powerful but lightweight methods of getting a specific message across. This message is meant to be in line with the essence of your brand, the mission of your company, and the values you stand for. In this sense, the advantage of guerrilla marketing for small business is that it facilitates the distlling of your brand into its most powerful components and effectively conveying them to your audience.
Guerrilla marketing tactics require creativity, and it is a known fact that a group is likely to come up with a more creative idea than any one individual.
Bringing your employees together to brainstorm a guerrilla marketing tactic is a great team building activity, and encourages communication in a fun context. The different and creative thinking may also be a refreshing break from your employees’ typical day-to-day.
Engaging your employees is essential because a happy team is a productive team. In addition, your employees are your most valuable promoters. So it’s important to keep them happy!
Some of the most effective guerrilla marketing tactics involve partnering with other small business, sponsoring a community event, or joining forces with a neighbor. The collaboration advantages of guerrilla marketing strengthen your relationship with your community as well as your employees.
The point of guerrilla marketing is to make a high impact at a low cost. To make a high impact, you must target the right audience at the right time, and appeal to the appropriate emotions and interests. When you follow these practices and make a high impact on people, the chances of those people turning into customers are greater. Leads are important for your business, but they are not very valuable if they don’t convert into customers. There are many ways to increase conversions from leads to customers, and guerrilla marketing is one of them.
The advantage of guerrilla marketing here is that because it is so specified and targeted, there is a greater chance that the people you reach will become customers, rather than simply leads.
Guerrilla marketing can be hit or miss, so it is important to make sure your tactic is carefully planned out and highly specified. You’ll want to identify a concrete objective and resonate with a certain type of customer in a certain way. This requires knowledge of your business goals, marketing plan, customers, community, and even your competitors.
Before planning out a guerrilla marketing tactic, it is absolutely essential to check back in and make sure you have an accurate and up-to-date understanding within each of these areas. The last advantage of guerrilla marketing is that it forces you to make sure you’re carrying out your marketing plan and learning about your customers, which are two essential components of growing a successful small business.
Guerrilla marketing for small business involves finding unique ways to achieve common objectives. Nontraditional, memorable, and unexpected will look different from business to business. The key to coming up with effective guerrilla marketing tactics is to know both your business needs and your audience, and to take your thinking out of the box.
While there are millions of small businesses out there and millions of marketing campaigns going on at any given moment, there is only one of you! Find that special approach your business can take and you will find that a little can indeed go a long way.