Advertising your business, be it online, brick and mortar or both, is something that can help you to grow your business and get folks talking about what you offer. Advertising is the first step in spreading positive feelings about your brand and if you can follow through with great service and goods, you’ll really be in business.
But traditional advertising is so commonplace that the masses can tune out the average ad. The average buyer is inundated every day with subtle sales pitches so why stop to listen to you? Well, if you come up with a unique advertising or guerrilla marketing idea that is full of personality and punch, you’ll have a chance to break through the clutter and it will likely cost you less than traditional advertising.
Here are 10 ideas to consider. At the very least we hope they’ll serve as a springboard for you to come up with your own unconventional marketing methods.
1. QR CODES
These little squares have existed for 20 years and with the scan of a smartphone, a user can pop up a ton of information about your company. You can print these codes on everyday items like business cards, leaflets and beer coasters. The hardest part will be compelling those that encounter them to whip out their phone and scan the code. So think carefully about how you present them. A well crafted call-to-action is a necessity, cleverness is a bonus and a special offer is even more incentive.
Have you considered commissioning an artist to help you create unique advertising? A truly great (in size and quality) painting is a great alternative to a billboard and can help broadcast what your brand is to passersby day after day. Pick a great (read: high traffic, highly visible) spot, make sure you secure all city approvals you may need and pick an artist that matches your brand aesthetic and identity.
This may be one of the oldest methods of guerrilla marketing, but it still exists because it’s effective. If your subject matter and artwork is compelling enough to catch a glance, wheat pasting upcoming events and offers around your town (or even hiring street teams in other cities) can help you to make a name for yourself and increase your profits.
4. Idiosyncratic Website
Having a unique website can in and of itself cause people to talk about your company. Some of the most intriguing, non-salesy sites get media attention AND compel users to come by and buy. Senador Volstead
, a Spanish brewery, is a good example of this. So, if you already have a straight sales site, considering designing a microsite that approaches people with the goal of enthralling them instead of hitting them hard with the sales pitch. If you do a good job, you’ll find that the sales will still come from this unconventional approach.
If you can strike up a mutually beneficial partnership with a non-competitor that has a similar target market, you can help each other to grow. For example, if you are a breakfast spot down the street from a popular bar, consider approaching that business to stock your fliers offering a special discount to patrons. And agree to do the same for that bar. Cross-promotion like this can be found in unlikely places so do your research and don’t be afraid to reach out.
Gamification is where you turn going to, purchasing from or mentioning a business into points and offers for customers. Starbucks for Life
is a great example of this. For a couple of months, any time you made a purchase at Starbucks with your Starbucks card, you earned a play in the game and earned adorable little stickers. If you collected three stickers in a category, you won a corresponding prize (Starbucks for Life, Starbucks for a Week, etc.). This kind of game intensifies buyers’ fervor and rewards their patronage with at least a game play and at most a prize. Plus, you can build in rewards if they spread the word about your company, which can help you break into new markets.
7. Moving Media
Juice Salon in India transformed an escalator into an advertisement at every step and it was so successful because it used the nature of the space in a novel way
. Embracing movement and creating imagery that matches in an unexpectedly suitable way can allow you to bombard your potential buyers in the best way. Consider your placement options and start brainstorming.
This is a controversial way to advertise because it involves defacing other advertisements to promote your product but some companies have found a way to do it with tact. One example is a gum company that attached large, labeled balloons to billboards to make it look like the person in the ad is blowing a bubble with their gum. While that kind of guerrilla marketing is changing the nature of the advertisement someone else paid for, it’s not taking away from (or making vulgar) the original ad. Consider applying cross-promotion tactics here to strike a mutually beneficial advertising relationship with a parallel business. Maybe you can split the cost of that billboard.
9. Social Video
Social video has become a hugely effective marketing tool, particularly for online businesses. This year, online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion. And 52% of consumers say watching product videos gives them more confidence in their purchasing decisions. By 2017, video will account for a whopping 69% of all consumer Internet traffic. Whether you choose to go super short (like Vine) or cross post to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. you’ll have the best chance of making an impact if you go for (brand appropriate) feeling over sales. Seek to entertain and subtly show who you are over making a sales pitch.
10. Top 10 Lists
In general, we all love lists of things. Lists break information up into bullet pointed numbered tidbits of data for us to easily digest. Write an SEO-optimized, well-researched list that people can trust and people will find it on Google, share it and revisit it again and again. Being associated with that kind of content can help you to build your business and profits. But why is ten a magic number? Well it isn’t exactly, but George Carlin did say, “Ten sounds important. Ten is the basis for the decimal system; it's a decade. It's a psychologically satisfying number: the top ten; the ten most wanted; the ten best-dressed.”
Have you seen some super compelling unconventional or guerrilla marketing tactics that we didn’t mention here? Or have you had success with one of these or your own unique advertising ideas? We want to hear about it. Tweet at us!
And in the meantime, good luck and good sales.