While guerrilla marketing for small business has many benefits, it also has its risks. The elements that make up a successful guerrilla marketing tactic can just as easily create negative experiences for your customers. Inexpensive can be cheap; nontraditional can be disruptive; memorable can be offensive, and unexpected can be upsetting.
Follow these tips to ensure your guerrilla marketing strategy is a success with both satisfying and growing your target audience.
Tip #1: Mind the Law
Guerrilla marketing is risky, but the risk should be only in the hit-or-miss nature of the tactic, not the law. When planning out your guerrilla marketing tactics, do your research ahead of time make sure that you won’t be violating a solicitation law, that you don’t need a license/permit for what you’re doing, or that the venue doesn’t have any special policies.
Attracting more customers will not benefit your business if it is to the detriment of your relationships among the greater community. Remember, your offline behavior affects your online reputation too.
Tip #2: Plan Carefully
While many guerrilla marketing tactics are designed to be spontaneous and random, the planning of these activities should not. In fact, the lower cost and shorter duration of guerrilla marketing tactics are made possible by a greater investment of time on planning. In addition, guerrilla marketing tactics are typically one-time campaigns. You only have one shot to make it a success, so planning is crucial.
Consider any challenges that may arise in carrying out your guerrilla marketing tactic, such as with weather, nearby events, or negative audience reactions. Guerrilla marketing tactics are short-lived, but their impact is not. One mistake could lead to negative online customer reviews that last long after the event is over.
Tip #3: Maintain Respect
Although guerrilla marketing tactics are used to produce a high impact in a short period of time, be sure to respect the audience you are targeting. For example, if your tactic involves approaching people in a high traffic area, keep in mind that the people you see may be in a hurry to get to work or catch a train.
An effective guerrilla marketing tactic takes into account the time and needs of the audience it’s targeting. Don’t be overly aggressive in your approach, make it clear that it will only take a few minutes of their time, and thank them after they’ve given you their time. The level of respect you give your audience as strangers will be an indicator of the respect you’ll give them as customers.
Tip #4: Be Positive
Guerrilla marketing tactics are designed around capturing people’s attention in nontraditional, memorable, and unexpected ways. However, you do not want to capture negative attention. For example, if your Facebook advertising campaign is targeted at your competitors audience, taking a jab at your competitor in this ad might grab viewers’ focus because it is not expected, but it may have a detrimental effect.
Participating in negative behaviors toward your competitors may cause your audience and competitors to lose respect for you, and will make your competitors more appealing. It’s beneficial and important for companies to have competitors, not enemies.
Tip #5: Don’t Scare
While guerrilla marketing tactics use intense emotions to surprise and impact people, the experience should never be upsetting. For example, a fitness company might try to capture the attention of people using scary facts on the dangers of obesity in their social media posts. If their target audience includes overweight people, that guerrilla marketing tactic is more likely to upset this demographic and lose their favor. In addition, Facebook has strict rules against fat shaming.
A better guerrilla marketing tactic here is one that inspires the audience to get in shape by showing them the health benefits of receiving your services; not one that scares them into pursuing your services.
Make sure that your guerrilla marketing tactics, whether online or offline, get people to engage with your business in a positive way.
Tip #6: Make Your Message Clear
Many guerrilla marketing tactics are designed to not appear as marketing. However, even if your method is secret, your message should still be clear. If your company is running a fundraiser, make sure your participants are wearing bright and eye-catching T-shirts with your company name on them. Use large and clear signage to indicate which fund you are supporting. This way people can clearly understand that you are supporting a cause, not just simply raising money for your business.
Guerrilla marketing tactics are usually short in duration, and people’s attention span are even shorter. You have a finite window of time to convey your message, so make it as clear and obvious as possible!
Tip #7: Keep it Appropriate
Guerrilla marketing tactics are gutsy. They may sometimes use strong language to appeal to specific emotions or relate to the jargon of their target audience. While this jargon may be appropriate for your target audience, keep in mind that they may be with children or other people sensitive to your content.
If you’re going to catch your audience off guard with bold terminology, consider who they might be with based on the location and medium of your tactic.
Guerrilla marketing is meant to get your brand to stand out, to represent your business in an edgy and unique way that appeals to people. Even though guerrilla marketing tactics are rather extraordinary and extreme, there is still a principle of moderation to be applied. Any of the characteristics of guerrilla marketing can work against you if employed the wrong way. Consider these guidelines and you’ll be on your way to benefiting from guerrilla marketing!