Guerilla marketing means maximum impact for minimum expense, often on a Do-It-Yourself basis. And while this sort of thing has always been a priority for small business marketing, in today’s tough economy, innovative, low-cost guerrilla marketing strategies have the potential to be more important than ever.
This article focuses on custom stickers-one of the cheapest, most versatile marketing materials in existence, and one often overlooked by traditional marketing campaigns.
Let’s start with the basics:
1) Understand Your Customers
First of all, this may seem like commonsense in any marketing strategy, but commonsense is often not so common. If it were, more small business owners would understand that a simple logo sticker-however great that logo may be-is probably not going to go viral, except among folks who are already ravenously loyal to their cause.
However, a sticker that people actually identify with-because of the humor, the artwork, or some other element-does have the potential to go viral, for one very important reason: it says as much about your customers as it does about your business.
A great example of this is a pizza shop in my area called Bob’s Pizza. Their logo, appropriately enough, is their name, in a curlicue type font next to a drawing of a slice of pizza. The owner of this shop (Bob) could easily have made a custom sticker of this-instead, he chose to do something different.
As the owner of an affordable downtown pizza joint, Bob understands that his target market in this area is composed primarily of families and students. So he not only provides crayons and paper for young artists and late-night doodlers, he posts these masterworks on the walls of his shop. One of these artworks happened to be by a seven-year old boy; it was a happy, blob-like person with a piece of pizza, accompanied by the words, in a childish scrawl, “I like Bob’s Pizza.”
This is the image that Bob chose to turn into an eye-catching, die-cut sticker-an image that seemed to strike a chord with both families and students, who appreciated the style and the humor. I’ve seen this sticker everywhere imaginable. I’ve also noticed a lot of people in Bob’s Pizza.
The moral of the story being: create a sticker that shows you understand your customers, and they will advertise your business far and wide-at virtually no expense to you.
2) Be Useful
Nearly everyone knows the old trick about putting a tip-calculator chart on the back of your business card, to encourage people to keep your cards in their wallets.
Depending on your business, however, there may be a better way to “stick around” in your customers’ lives-and in a way that helps to establish authority in your area of expertise. By printing a custom sticker with useful information related to your business, designed for semi-permanent mounting in important, everyday places, you can keep your name and number in front of your former and potential clients for an almost indefinite period of time.
Fix computers for a living? Design a sticker with quick-reference trouble-shooting for common computer problems, designed for mounting on a computer monitor or laptop. Yoga studio? Create a daily ‘mindfulness meditation’ designed to mount on the dashboard of a car. Heating and cooling business? Print a sticker designed for thermostats, featuring energy-saving tips.
The trick here is to be innovative, useful, and to stick around long enough so that when people need your services, you’ll be the one they call.
3) Be Outrageous
If you truly want to create some buzz in your area, you can put the “gorilla” in guerrilla marketing with some over-the-top, in-your-face marketing-that-does-not-resemble-marketing.
Case in point-a website called SprayGraphic. This online artists’ community wanted to create some buzz in different places across the US. First, they recruited creative artists to feature their graphic design work on their website. Next, they sent out eye-catching posters and custom stickers to these artists, in order to help them promote their work.
The result? Intriguing posters began to appear in coffeeshops and on community boards all over the country, accompanied by their characteristic, funny moustache, nose and eye-glasses logo, explaining who they were, what they did, and why people should join. Then a series of die-cut stickers featuring their logo started showing up everywhere, accompanied by their URL. You can rest assured this simple, affordable guerrilla marketing tactic created a huge amount of traffic for this site, almost overnight.
The trick with using custom stickers this way is not to give too much away-and to use them to create a kind of mystery, which your customers will then be compelled to solve.