After a while of trying out different marketing ideas, you may start to feel like the results are hitting a slump. Maybe the same amount you were spending on social media ads is getting you fewer people. Or you no longer get that many customers rushing for your discount.
It could be that you’re doing things that a lot of other stores are doing too. This is where guerilla marketing comes into play. Simply put, it’s all about low-cost, easy-to-do activities that aren’t too common and have the potential to bring in a lot of people.
For any successful guerilla marketing tactic, the results can catch you off guard. It is crucial to have a light theme that provides an amazing user experience. Download the free Debutify theme to achieve great web performance in high traffic situations and increase conversions.
Let’s go through a bunch of guerilla marketing tactics you can use to grow your eCommerce store:
Get On The Ground
As someone running an online business, you might think that the internet is packed with customers. Yes, it is. But it’s also packed with lots of other people trying to get those customers. And not forgetting, ad blocking has also gone up recently.
To stick out a little more, create a list of any real-world places and events that get a lot of people. Set up small stands or pop-up shops with some of your products on display. Have people try them out. Move with a POS if possible and have QR codes for your products too.
This will help you to not miss out on an instant sale. You can also hand out flyers or some other hard copy graphics with details about your products. The best way to make an offline campaign work is by identifying places or events related to what you sell.
If you’re moving headphones and portable speakers, try presenting at a live music event. People can try them out and buy digitally. For those selling BBQ Sauce and other food inputs, consider staging a small demonstration at a food festival or cook-off.
Conduct Social Challenges
From talent-based activities like dancing to random ones like the ice bucket challenge, people are always looking for things to participate in as a group. The best way to go about this is to look for an activity that somehow relates to your products.
It is also better if it can be a multiple-day challenge. You want the hype to stretch out as long as possible. An example can be a 20 days, 20 sneakers challenge. Here, people can post pictures and videos of themselves in a different pair each day.
Under a unified hashtag, you can then track whose posts had the most engagement and reward them with, say a pair of new exclusive shoes. As you get visitors due to a trending hashtag or to redeem a prize, give your store a good theme to try and rope them into your other offers.
Download the free Debutify theme to position your offers on store pages in ways that bring in more conversions.
Celebrate Non-Traditional Holidays
For many businesses, the norm is to hold promotions around common holidays like Christmas, Easter, etc. However, the calendar year is filled with lots of days recognizing different groups of people or historical events.
From comics to fantasy novels, there are various fan-bases celebrating special days. In some cases, you can even create your own. All you have to do is find a day back in time when some major technology was released or a sporting record was broken, then create an anniversary.
You can alter some visual elements of your store’s theme, have your staff dress up in costumes for a photoshoot, etc. Try creating special promotional artwork carrying a quirky or inspirational message related to the holiday.
It is possible to make a spectacle out of even the smallest things, like the day you sold your first unit of a particular product. If you like to play it safe, you can find a list of common holidays sprinkled with a few rare ones and other events worth celebrating here.
Make Shareable Content
There’s always a meme, GIF, audio, or video clip that people are sharing widely for one reason or another. Maybe it’s funny. Or it’s super scary.
The trick is to first learn what usually goes viral amongst your audience. A sports blooper may work better than tight dance choreography amongst sports fans. A good dance routine on the other hand may do the trick for music fans.
For science nerds, you could try physics-related experiments like exploding a watermelon using rubber bands. Just make sure it is something that looks like fun or is well executed and funny. Make sure your entire circle is online on the day of release to repost/retweet and circulate it.
Remember, a viral piece doesn’t even have to be advertising you directly. As long as people can trace it back to the original source. Make sure that any products used are part of what makes the piece interesting/attractive and aren’t just randomly placed in the set.
It could be a video showing someone how to do a dance move or a bike stunt. Be subtle. The only point at a product feature that serves as a benefit in what you are trying to do. Don’t refer to items by their actual brand names.
For example, you can say “for wheelies, I like to use a bike with large pedals that give me more surface to step on”. Or, “for such moves that involve a lot of jumping, use thin-soled shoes that are not too heavy".
It might also help to go with personalities that aren’t already known as influencers.
Do Surprise Giveaways
When you stage a normal discount program, phrases like “hurry while stock lasts” may be used to reel people in quickly. This doesn’t always work. If people can foresee a freebie and plan to be in the right place at the right time, the hype around it may peak quickly.
On the other hand, if you post out of the blue that you’re giving away free products, and not even specify the end time, that can cause a frenzy. Many people are going to try and tell others what’s going on.
Alternatively, you can designate a period, announce say five 30-minute giveaways for shoppers, then withhold details. That way, each one catches them by surprise. Those who miss out on the first few will be on high alert waiting to make sure the next one finds them ready.
By the time you’re left with just one more, it will be on everyone’s mind and lips. This tactic is good for generating organic hype. Ensure that you’ve done your research about products that shoppers are most likely to be interested in. Don’t forget to have your analytics tools ready.
Make the eligibility conditions for the giveaway very clear. Choose products that somehow promote what your store has to offer. If your products are too expensive, you can always create a line of branded merchandise like cups, hoodies, pens, journals, etc.
This style can definitely help you even learn more about customer behavior. Things like when they are most likely to shop, how many of them like free things, etc. This is due to the randomized nature of the giveaways. It enables you to spot patterns that you didn’t stage.
Find more details on how to hold giveaways for your eCommerce store here.
Hide Messages Within Others
One of the best ways to do this is through what is known as advertorials. Here, a random person can create a how-to piece for any activity. Lawn mowing, shaving, making popcorn, etc. The objective is to draw all the attention to their advice and make it seem like the main offer.
While at it, the tools they use can be from your store’s product catalog. Even though this method can be quite effective, it has its weaknesses. In the era of the influencer, people are skeptical whenever they see a brand logo or an easily identifiable product.
If it keeps appearing in a rather suspicious manner, viewers may catch on and not react positively.
Stage A Stunt
PR stunts have been around for ages. People like a little drama and a good story now and then. The issue is how to not make it so obvious and also keep it classy. No one likes cheap and unethical attempts at grabbing people’s attention.
A typical stunt that can go down well is a customer having a mini-disaster with your product. For instance, it can be spillage on a living room rug before hosting guests. The person may post online seeking help on how to fix it since they have nothing to cover it with.
This is where your official account jumps in with a cleaning solution. Maybe your store sells the rugs or the cleaners. Whichever the case, if the solution works, the customer can then post a “thank you” message.
For those following, it appears that you sell products for which stain removal is not an issue. It also shows that you have great customer care. Some people go for more elaborate and dramatic approaches like break-ups and arguments in comment sections (see Burger King).
Just make sure that the story doesn’t overshadow the product benefits. And even more importantly, make it believable. People are always playing internet detective, sniffing out fake accounts, and similar writing styles.
Please stay away from polarizing political subjects. Outrage marketing will definitely get eyes on you. It will also most likely leave a sour taste in people’s mouths. They are also not easy to keep up with.
There’s only so many times you can convince people that you were not aware of how insensitive your message was to a minority group. You can discover some guerilla marketing stunts that worked positively and negatively here.
Double Down On After Sales Service
Send out an email or make a phone call to find out whether the customer is having any trouble using your product. They might have set it up the wrong way and are failing to get the most out of it. These kinds of things happen with antenna/aerials for broadband and Pay TV signals.
They are also common in electronic devices with motorized parts that have different settings. You can also get information from tutorial sites and repackage it into small “did you know” bits. It’s always exciting when a user discovers the hidden functionality of a product.
Things like bottle top and can openers tend to hide in plain sight. Bring out the “Oh! That’s what that is for?!” reaction. Well-executed after-sales support will get you many return customers. Make use of your theme to provide a more personalized experience for them.
Download Debutify for free and tailor store features to customer preferences to simplify their shopping experience and get more sales.
Be Mindful Of Local And Platform Rules
Many guerilla marketing methods revolve around the driving mystery, curiosity, quick attention, etc. They thrive on surprising people and upsetting normal situations. You may come up with several smart ideas on how to do this, but some may not be legal.
A lot of metropolitan areas require permits for you to set up selling stands. Some don’t allow it beyond/before certain hours. In many places, activities as simple as handing out flyers are prohibited due to littering and other reasons.
Things like sticking posters on walls, spray painting designs on the tarmac, trains, etc. are totally illegal in many cities. Even in the online space, most social media platforms have rules governing what kind of products you can or can’t sell on personal pages or profiles.
You might think that having a group of people dress up in masks and hold fake weapons is clever, but it can end in a disaster. Don’t just go around altering landmarks and monuments, blocking public pathways and crashing events, etc.
Whatever technique you decide to go with, always remember that guerilla marketing isn’t about spending too much. Also, try to find ways to analyze results. Just because it looks like a silly prank, doesn’t mean that you do it blindfolded.
Go into each of these activities knowing which metrics will tell you something about your success. With good execution, your brand will be implanted into people’s minds. You may see an uptick in visits that aren’t from ad clicks.
Use a visually appealing theme to portray that same cheekiness in your marketing. Whether it’s enticing CTA pop-ups or moving graphics, Debutify will help you engage your customer in a fun way. Download the free Debutify theme for a high converting Shopify store.
Written by Ricky Hayes
Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.
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