Guerrilla marketing is a term that goes back many years. As businesses once pasted streets with stickers and graffitied walk ways with fliers and low cost advertisements, they often saw an advantage. It was at this point when businesses encountered a new way to gain market publicity by exchanging money for time. The essential outcome was the realization that many forms of publicity for business can be extremely inexpensive or, in many cases, free of monetary expense.
It’s a similar sound we’re hearing today. The ability to gain market exposure by investing time in inexpensive, and many times free, marketing strategies that cost no more than your time. The most exciting thing about this second coming of guerrilla market is that it allows small businesses and entrepreneurs, regardless of industry, to now compete in a form of advertising that is inexpensive and apparently much more preferred to consumers and businesses. The growth on the web, social media and online marketing is its proof.
People are rapidly moving to the free flow of information that the web gives, thus sculpting a new way to purchase products and services. The marketplace is now more informed than ever before, resulting in the shift of buying power to the consumer away from industry. For small businesses, this is a blessing. They now have the pure capability to reach their marketplace with the same effectiveness as the most capital heavy corporations they may compete with. The same guerrilla marketing strategies that resulted in stickers on a busy street sign is now showing up electronically with content pasted through heavy trafficked websites. These busy intersections of the web are now graffiti zones for small businesses willing to invest in the web currency that we today know as content.
Here are a few important marketing strategies that cost nothing more than your time:
Focus on relationships and brand awareness through social media:
What’s better than connecting with your audience for free in real conversations. Social media gives marketers the ability to gain insights to what your market wants, needs and feels better than any focus group or survey could offer. The best part, it costs nothing but your ears (in this case eyes) and interest in your customer. By investing in social media, you get the ability to hear, first hand, what your potential customers, existing customers, market and competitors are talking about in real time. If you’ve paid for market research, you know how valuable this is. If you’ve never paid for market research, you don’t want to know how valuable this is.
Blogging to fill the funnel
In a great talk given by Scott Stratten of UNMarketing, Scott discusses his aggregation in people searching for the ROI of social media. His response, “what’s the ROI on talking?” It’s a great point. In Michael Hyatt’s book Platform, Michael discusses the value of having an audience eager to listen to you. There is no better return than having an engaged audience, and blogging is one of the greatest ways to do this. By creating a platform of resourceful information that truly is beneficial to the people in your market, you begin to attract the same audience that will fill the top of your sales funnel. You look at great bloggers such as Michael Hyatt and Chris Brogan and you see their lists are plentiful. A list they can tap into anytime they have a great message or piece of content they want to share with the marketplace. Again, the cost? A whole lot of…nothing. The only cost is the time you put into shaping the content you offer to the world. Make it resourceful, make it beneficial to the audience, make it valuable to their time, and make it worth exchanging an e-mail for. Once you accomplish this, you begin to fill your funnel in a way that can yield great results.
Start Searching for your place in the market
Did you catch that fantastical play on words? You got it! The greatest resource available to any marketplace is that big, bad double eyes information center. Google. The number one access point for gathering information on almost any purchase we as consumer, or we as businesses, make. Google impacts the majority of purchase decisions in both consumers and businesses, and to be listed where the majority of these actions take place cost…you guessed it. Nothing more than some time to learn how to structure your website correctly and create great content that is shared throughout your marketplace. Search engine optimization was, and still is in most cases, a booming industry. And for good reason. With society’s growing reliance on the information giant for insights to, well, just about everything, it’s becoming more and more important to be there and almost critically damaging not to be.
There are just a few of the many low cost visibility opportunities that marketers must focus on in the upcoming years. To be completely honest, if you’re already not thoroughly engaging in the wonderful world of web, you’re likely missing more business than you’re making. And when the time comes for you to look at the ROI on your online marketing strategies, a cost of $0 is a really good place to start. Guerrilla marketers knew what they were doing, now they just have more accessible and reachable marketplaces to do it in.
What are some other low cost ways to generate leads for small businesses?
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