Guerilla Marketing for Small Businesses

Blog Post By: Emily Martin, Marketing Intern

Guerilla marketing is an advertising strategy that uses low-cost, unconventional marketing tactics. The term originated from guerilla warfare, which was used to describe nontraditional war tactics such as sabotages, raids, and elements of surprise. Similar to guerilla warfare, guerilla marketing requires a great deal of imagination as well as risk; however the return on a successful campaign is priceless.

Guerilla marketing is perfect for non-profits and small businesses because simple, affordable tactics can be used to create a memorable impression of your brand. The whole idea is to take consumers by surprise and break through the clutter of traditional advertising. Here are eight ways your business can use guerilla marketing:

1.      Create Eye-Catching Window Displays

Window displays can range from window clings to using manikins to replicate employees working. They are a great and affordable way to attract new customers because of their eye-catching nature.

2.      Yard Signs

Use your own yard to promote your small business. Think of a clever saying or design for people to see as they drive by. You can even pass signs out to employees and willing customers.

3.      Chalk the Sidewalks

Chalk is a great way to promote upcoming events or sales.  Think about how many people text and walk. If their head is already down, odds are they will see your art. Add a website or a Facebook page so mobile users can look your business up right away.

4.      Reverse & Eco-Graffiti

There are various forms of legal graffiti like reverse and eco-graffiti. Reverse graffiti is when you take a dirty wall near your business and use pressure hoses and scrub brushes to wash your logo into the dirty wall. Eco-graffiti involves mixing moss, buttermilk, and a couple other ingredients into a spray bottle or bucket and then using it to decorate walls. The result looks like this:

 5.   Local Bus Skins

Bus skins do cost some money. However, the creativity opportunities it brings to the table are endless. Check out the bus skin the Copenhagen Zoo used to create a memorable ad:

 6.  Host, Sponsor, or Volunteer at a Community Event   

This technique will show that your business is committed to making the community a better place. If the event lets you, try and brand as much as possible with them through t-shirts, flyers, posters, etc.

7.      Creative Packaging or Shopping Bags

This is a great way for consumers to advertise and promote your brand after they do business with you. If the bag or package is fun and creative, odds are the customer will save it and not throw it away. The Red Cross did a great job with this by using these bags to promote giving blood.


8.   Posters Around Town

Surprisingly, posters around town are still a very effective way to attract business. Below is an example of how a local dentist took street posters to a new level.