5 Simple Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Retail Stores
Every business owner wants to create that special buzz around his/her store. You know the one. It’s the one where every conversation has a mention of your shop. It’s the one where everyone from preteens to octogenarians have heard of you. It’s the one where you’re the talk of the town, the bees’ knees, the real McCoy – and any other outdated sayings I may have missed. The funny thing is, you already know the formula for how to create that buzz because it’s so simple… great marketing leads to increased traffic resulting in more sales. Easy enough right? However, most small businesses don’t have a ton of cash to throw at a large marketing campaign. This is where guerrilla marketing comes into play. Guerrilla marketing is a low-cost form of marketing that focuses on creative – and sometimes unconventional – techniques to circumvent the lack of cash flow. Here are 5 of my favorite guerrilla marketing ideas for retail stores:
1. Go social or die
If you don’t have your store on Facebook and Twitter, you might as well consider your business dead. Social media can be the most powerful marketing tool in 2014 and it’s everyone’s favorite price… free. The key is to not only post relevant content and deals related to your store, but to also comment on, like, and share posts within your vertical. For example, if you’re a wine shop, it would be a great idea to comment on, like, and share posts made by wine blogs. This way, when you’re ready to talk, you’ll already have an audience to listen.
2. Be a walking billboard
First came fire, then the wheel, and then t-shirt advertising (there might have been some other stuff in between, but nobody can say for sure). The point is, t-shirt advertising has been around forever because it works. It’s as easy as buying a dozen shirts (more if you can swing it), putting your store’s logo on it, and bam! You now have a dozen walking billboards. Sometimes the simple and the obvious are just crazy enough to work.
3. Work with other local businesses
Drop what you’re doing. Walk over to another local business right now and form a partnership with them. Let me explain. There is power in disloyalty. By joining forces with two, three, or four local businesses, you are doubling, tripling, and quadrupling your store’s traffic. It works like this, Store A gives every customer some special offer (let us say 5% off their next purchase) to use at Store B, Store C, and Store D. This will drive traffic into those three other shops. Now here’s the beauty, Store B, Store C, and Store D are going to do the same for you. This is a great free way to easily drive more traffic into your store- while also growing camaraderie between you and your fellow small businesses.
4. Reach out to the media- they won’t bite
Don’t believe the hype. You do not any need powerful connections or political pull (although it couldn’t hurt) to get media coverage for your small business. All you need is a good story. The key is to NOT send a New York Times reporter an email about your exciting new website update or how your business is the best thing ever. Not only does no one care, but writers get flooded with these emails everyday. They’ll get annoyed- and then in the trash they go. Your pitch needs to be concise and to the point. It also helps if your pitch is funny, shocking, or heartwarming. For example, if you’re a small retail business that has been around for 30 years and are in danger of being put out of business by a Wal-Mart, then perfect. The media loves these David vs. Goliath story. Or how about the “20% of all our proceeds go to helping XYZ cause” pitch? That works too. Remember, they’re looking for a story that their readers will enjoy or find useful. 9 times out of 10, they don’t care where it comes from, so why not make sure that it comes from you?
5. Create a “Complain Away!” day for customers
This is a fun one that a lot of customers enjoy. It works like this… you designate a day for customers to come in and give written or spoken suggestions or tips to say what they like and dislike about your business. You can tie this in with some sort of limited time promotion or offer as well. This is another great way of driving traffic and creating a buzz in your business. It’s important to note that you need to follow through with your promises so don’t over- promise! Of course, some of the comments will be ridiculous but you’d be surprised by how many people have helpful advice that you can actually implement in your store.
Which guerrilla marketing strategies have you used? Please share in the comments!