What is grassroots marketing?
For Small Businesses who may not have deep pockets creating grassroots campaigns is a great place to start! In the past, grassroots marketing is mainly focused on word-of-mouth advertising, which is one of the best marketing tactics. However, with the use of email, SMS, Text and, Social Media, a business owner can easily create a successful marketing campaign for a very low or no cost.
Key principals when creating grassroots marketing campaign
Identify Prospects- Grassroots thrives on the power of personal relationships. You want to target potential clients, people, and or businesses that you come in contact with on a daily basis. Many times you will attract these customers through special discounts or free offers. Never leave anyone out, everyone you know or come in contact with; you want to ensure they know about your new online business. This can be done through conversations, emails, text messages, flyers and more.
Word of Mouth advertising is said to be some of the best marketing out there and has little cost to get your name out there. The key here is to think about how you communicate with others
Tangible grassroots ideas:
Free Swag – Everyone loves free gifts, and many companies spend a considerable portion of their marketing budget on free give-aways that have the companies, name, logo, or slogan on it—everything from Pens, Calendars, T-shirts, to stickers and more. The sky is the limit here. A simple giveaway such as a pen that can be purchased online for $.50- $.60 each with your information is an easy way to open a conversation with someone you know or give to a company that you would like to sell products to. Even better, after the conversation, that customer can either go look at your website or call you later with questions.
Referral Bonuses- Every time you get a new customer is a great time to expand your reach. You can do this by offering a bonus for referring others to your website. Offering a $10 gift card to customers thanking them for the referral not only helps for referrals but also encourages them to make a subsequent order. That small offer may create a huge opportunity for your company in the future.
Sponsor Contests- This is an easy way to get your name out in the community that may help to create future buyers. Look for local markets, organizations, or groups trying to raise money. You can then create a small gift basket or just offer a free gift card to your website. In return, they will typically talk about your business in their publications, including social media.
Markets, Flea Markets and Swap Meets- This is a tried and true method for customers for years. Not only is this a great way to sell products quickly, you can also advertise your online business at the same time with posters or flyers.
Email Marketing- Every company in America uses email marketing every week to advertise new products, special offers, and one-time deals. Keep in mind; you don’t always have to offer a discount, you can easily feature a product and focus on what it will do for them. The key here is consistency in marketing. All it takes is a few minutes a week to sit down and type something up. If you are doing a lot of email marketing, you may want to look into services like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or other companies that specialize in email marketing. Some of these companies offer no charge for smaller businesses to start. Using these companies may make it easier to send marketing emails to a large group of potential customers. Even better many offer email templates that allow you to easily add images, discounts, and special offers in a very professional manner.
Social Media- Most businesses nowadays have at least one if not multiple Social Media accounts. With social media, you can quickly post special offers, daily deals, or any product you would like to feature with just a few clicks. Even better, if you have a Value Plus website or above, you can easily do this with any product right from your website and choose many sites to post to. You may want to try offering a discount on a product for a specific time period, such as today only or this weekend only. You choose the discount amount and then update your promotions on your site as needed.
Coupon Promotions- Coupon promotions are easy to set up on your website and can be included in any marketing method that you choose. Simply set up the coupon on your site and include the promo code to be used when ordering. A coupon can be applied to an entire website, a product line, or a specific product.
Flyers- Flyers are easy to hand out, and you can create yourself or use services such as MS Word, Canva, Adobe, or many other companies online at a low to no cost. If using a free flyer creator, then your cost would just printing that you can do yourself or at a local store. Flyers can be used to hand out to friends, family, or just walking around and are ways that can get your name out in the community. We have had some customers who have attached rubber bands to flyers and have flyered entire neighborhoods attaching to garage or front doors. The world is yours. Look for other areas you can leave flyers, including barbershop shops, beauty salons, local markets, and more.
Local Newspaper or Print Ad- There are many publications in print and online that allow small businesses to create an ad for a very small fee to advertise their business. We suggest looking into local publications in your area to start to research cost versus reward. Keep in mind, many of these publications have tens of thousands of viewers every single day. A small add may be a great way to push customers you may never co
Business cards- Do you need business cards or not? Business cards have been a standby marketing method for years. These can easily be handed to potential customers to advertise your store. You can have them printed on both sides, with one side being your information and the second a special coupon offer. Also, many small businesses allow you to leave your business card at their establishment on cork boards or in specific areas. If you are using flyers, you can easily staple them to flyers for easy contact. For these reasons, Business cards are a great asset to have. They are typically inexpensive to order from a professional printing service, or you can easily make and print them yourself.
SMS Text- Every person on your phone is a person you can stay in contact with easily using text messaging. Here are a couple of important suggestions. If sending a message from your phone, send the messages individually. Never send a message to multiple people as a group. This is highly unprofessional, and you are sharing your customer’s information. Most will not like that. Instead, copy the message and send it individually to each person. In these messages, you can launch your website, letting people you know that you have launched your own website and why or featuring special offers on products that are on sale for a limited time. Just be aware, if a customer is not responding, you may want to limit what is being sent to them. If you would like to send out multiple text messages at once, we suggest looking into companies that offer mass SMS Text.
Networking at Local Events, Small Business, or Rotary Meetings- If you were to look in a local paper or search in facebook groups, you would most likely find local events going on for small business owners. These are great events to meet and greet other small business owners to share ideas, products and create sales to stimulate your growth online.
The goal with grassroots marketing is to keep your business at the top of mind to potential customers. There are some great opportunities to take advantage of whether you choose to use 1, 2, or all of the methods above. The key, be consistent in what you do, don’t just do it once and expect results. As a business owner, you should be spending time daily on marketing your business and getting your name out in the community. The more you do this, the greater results you will see!