Like most businesses, the end of 2009 and early part of 2010 proved to be a very difficult time for my company. I discovered that the old ways of doing business were just not working in the “new economy.” I was used to charging US$5,000 or more a month on retainer without anyone batting an eye, as clients saw the massive value we provided. This seemed to change overnight. The US$5,000 turned into US$3,000, which turned into US$2,000. Rather than decrease my prices, I needed to think outside of the box.
To keep my business afloat, I decided to turn to the most well known marketing concept in business history— guerrilla marketing. Like most entrepreneurs, I was familiar with the concept, but I had never really utilized its power. The essence behind guerrilla marketing is using time, energy and imagination—rather than money—to generate interest in your business. Here are five guerrilla marketing methods that produced the best return for me:
Find a Designated Guerrilla
To keep our marketing strategies organized and streamlined, I decided to make one person at my company the designated “guerrilla.” This person was responsible for the marketing calendar and ensuring that the steps we were putting in place were executed correctly and tracked to the umpteenth degree. By delegating micro-responsibilities, I was able to focus more on the macro aspects of our strategy. Focusing on the big picture ensured our marketing initiatives weren’t derailed by unforeseen circumstances.
Extend Value to Clients
When it comes to sales, I’ve never been a fan of dropping prices, especially since I never compete on price. Therefore, to make sure we started winning more deals, we began increasing the value we provided to clients. For example, our clients now receive a clientonly event once a year that’s educational in nature, access to our training portal and a virtual assistant for 10 hours a week at no cost, among other perks. Instead of worrying about costs, I focused my efforts on maintaining quality relationships with the people who support my business.
Leverage Your Testimonials
As a business owner, I had client testimonials all over the place, but I wasn’t properly leveraging them. Rather than letting these testimonials sit dormant on my company’s Web site, I integrated them into the marketing materials and sales process. This took our credibility to a whole new level, as prospective clients saw that we could be counted on. I also discovered that using video testimonials, as opposed to just text, worked much better. It put a face to my clients and helped promote the benefits of my business.
Write a Book
This is easier said than done, but in my experience, a book is the best business card you could ever have. It took a lot more work than I expected, but the results have proven to be invaluable. By putting my thoughts in print, I positioned myself as an expert in my field, and in the process, secured more interest in my business.
Conduct Free Public Talks
My favorite guerrilla marketing secret is free public talks. I contacted various organizations and local business groups, and offered to speak on topics relating to Web marketing, monetizing social media and Web 3.0. They were thrilled because they were used to paying speakers, and I was happy because I was practicing education-based marketing and contributing to the business community. By putting myself out there and offering my services for free, I was able to strengthen the identity of my business and net more clients.
If you’re looking to generate new interest without spending a lot of money, guerrilla marketing has worked wonders for my business. All it takes is a lot of patience and a willingness to leverage your skills for the benefit of future success.