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grassroots marketing ideas for local business

When it comes to effective marketing strategies, in terms of cost and performance, there are very few tactics as effective as grassroots and guerilla marketing. While many people use grassroots marketing and guerilla marketing interchangeably, it’s important to note that they differ.

Grassroots focuses on targeting specific demographics, while guerilla marketing is more concerned with the size of audience exposure. Both strategies can be a very efficient way to spread the word about your business if implemented correctly. This rings particularly true for smaller, local businesses.

Examples of Grassroots Marketing for Local Businesses

The following are a few examples of low-cost, effective grassroots promotional strategies.

Philanthropy

The importance of demonstrating a strong sense of charitable giving cannot be understated. Studies show that two-thirds of millennials prefer companies that practice philanthropy.

Being able to attach one’s brand or company to a noble cause can only boost reputation and help develop brand exposure. Once brand awareness is developed, it enables a company to leverage networking opportunities.

This pay-off goes beyond short-term rewards. If a consistent effort is made to demonstrate a sense of philanthropy, long-term benefits will emerge as well. A good example would be hosting an annual charity golf tournament. After charitable efforts have been established for a certain length of time, people will begin to associate the charitable event with that brand.

This can lead to growth in the overall turnout each year, which can lead to a higher chance of the business growing alongside of it. The key to successful charitable efforts is targeting local demographics in order to identify which types of events would thrive.

Cross-Promotional Campaigns

When it comes to beneficial strategies to implement, cross-promotional campaigns can be an effective strategy. Depending on the type of business, cross-promotional strategies with complementary companies can be incredibly useful.

It’s important to note that businesses should be careful when working with direct competition because it could lead to a conflict of interest. A good example of working with your competition would be two local breweries collaborating on a beer to sell at various locations.

A good example of working with a company that’s not in your industry is the collaboration between Red Bull & GoPro. Red Bull is an energy drink, but their advertisements portray them as a lifestyle brand by representing people who are into extreme sports and activities. Red Bull and GoPro collaborated on The Red Bull Stratos project, aka the jump from space. This was an enormous marketing stunt that boosted both companies’ brands.

Although most small, local companies don’t have the means to undertake such costly projects, there are still plenty of ways to create cross-promotional campaigns. For example, a protein bar company could collaborate with local fitness organizations to build a mutually beneficial campaign.

Social Media

Many new and small businesses struggle with utilizing the full functionality of social media. Most businesses have a presence on social media but fail to take advantage of the marketing opportunities it presents.

It’s about more than keeping customers informed about business hours, core values, and mission statements. Pay attention to local demographics to understand what appeals to your consumers and try to center social media messages based on what appeals to your audience.

A capable social media manager can be invaluable. One of the best examples comes from the corporate world and fast food chain giant, Wendy’s.

Wendy’s may not be universally known for the quality of their food but their presence on social media is consistently a hot topic on the web. Their social team is effective when it comes to addressing legitimate issues brought to their attention via social media, but they are regularly recognized online because of their ability to tactfully poke fun at their online following. They have truly mastered the art of balancing a sense of professionalism and humor.

Promotional social media efforts can allow a company to show off their creativity and personality.

Final Thoughts

While these are only a few strategies that can be implemented with relatively low-cost, it’s important to remember that each strategy has an appropriate time and place.

One strategy may work tremendously for one business and not another. There are several factors to take into consideration such as demographics, type of business, and stage of growth.

Being that these strategies are relatively inexpensive to implement, they are a great starting point for small, local businesses. It comes down to innovating creative ways to enhance brand exposure and boost reputation. Any business can do it, it just requires a little research and commitment.

Matt-Edstrom200Matt Edstrom is Chief Marketing Officer of GoodLife Home Loans. Matt completed his undergrad at MIT and his MBA at Northwestern University and has experience in real estate, marketing, and finance.

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