The idea of launching a public relations or marketing campaign can seem intimidating, especially for small businesses. However, successfully promoting your business doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money (or even time); sometimes, you can achieve the same results by utilizing “scrappy marketing” techniques, which help your business connect with key audiences for a fraction of the budget.
No matter what kind of industry you’re in, here are four tried-and-true scrappy marketing tactics that are sure to give your business a boost:
1. Leverage community partnerships.
While all businesses may not have access to huge advertising budgets, most do have a wide array of partnerships that can be strategically leveraged in order to generate buzz and command attention. For example, is there a local business council or Chamber of Commerce in your area? Consider having one of your team members write a guest blog to be placed on their website, which can help attract new audiences to your business.
Similarly, if your company is involved in the community, leaning into that involvement is a great way to get some news coverage and cut through the clutter. If your business is participating in a volunteer event, for example, make sure to take photos that can be posted to social media and even sent to local news organizations to help spread the word about the positive work your employees are undertaking.
2. Host a disruptive event.
Events are a staple of the scrappy marketing playbook, and with good reason; when done correctly, nothing can get people talking like a buzzworthy guerilla marketing event. Best of all, if you have an event with a great concept, many times it will essentially “sell itself” — the fear of missing out on something memorable will be enough to drive people to attend and spread the word about your event, with little extra promotion required.
For example, is your business launching a line of new products this summer? Host a temporary pop-up shop so you can show them off and get people talking! Promoting a limited-time offering on your restaurant’s menu? Take it to the streets and give fans a taste test of your delicious new item. When it comes to disruptive events, the more creative the concept, the better.
Don’t forget that virtual events can be disruptive, too! In 2020, Scooter Media client People Working Cooperatively took their annual ToolBelt Ball online, reimaging the black-tie gala as a week-long celebration; as a result, the virtual ToolBelt Ball raised more money than the in-person event ever had, along with the benefit of dramatically cutting costs on venue and overhead.
3. Embrace user-generated content.
Creating several compelling social media posts every week can be challenging, even for experienced public relations and marketing professionals. That’s why it’s a great idea to let others do some of the heavy lifting by utilizing user-generated content — which essentially means repurposing content (photos, videos, testimonials, etc.) from your brand’s biggest fans so that it can be leveraged for your own purposes.
Tasked with doing PR/marketing for a local restaurant? Instead of relying on the same photos over and over, use an app like Repost to share that great food pic one of your fans tagged you in earlier this week. Depending on your industry, you might even be able to use user-generated content from vendors, allowing your own audiences to see the products you’re offering without having to take the photos yourself.
4. Be authentic.
Above all else, however, the best way to make your business stand out is to be yourself. Buzzy new product offerings and snazzy social media posts might garner attention for your brand in the short term, but when all is said and done, having an authentic voice and interacting with audiences in a genuine way is the best way to grow your business — and doesn’t cost a dime!
Similarly, having a clear understanding of your organization and the goals you are trying to reach will go a long way toward determining which of these scrappy marketing techniques will work best for your business. Have a scrappy marketing tactic of your own to share? We’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment on one of our social media channels, or tweet us at @ScooterMedia with your tip.
Want to explore some of these tips even further? Don’t miss “5 Digital Tips to Promote Your Next Event,” then check out “5 Tips for Delivering Outstanding Customer Service on Facebook.”