Guerrilla Marketing Is a Top Technique for Small Business Success

cover your head with apparel designed to spread brand identityI think we’re all familiar with visions of tradeshows gone wild, complete with their freak show of bikini-clad babes and indoor carnivals that seem to scare people as much as enthrall them. But the truth of the matter is that exhibits done right can be incredibly effective for those whose marketing budgets are stressed.

The truth is that freak show appearances at these events are really just for gawkers, but the real business is done by those who move out from behind the exhibit table and actually interact with people who pause long enough to look over samples or sales copy. Be genuine with the people who cross your path at these shows. Candidly discuss your plans for customer service and the future and explain earnestly what you can do for them or their business.

Using these strategies will leave an impression on business people who are used to being sold and sold hard, and it’s a perfect opportunity to use some memento of the occasion that they can take with them to plant the seeds of future contact. We started off using very inexpensive items like keychains and ink pens, but the truth is most of our feedback indicated that these types of knickknacks go to prospects children or into the first trashcan on the way out of the show.

And even though our budget was anything but big, we began to invest in logo based giveaways like embroidered hats, stitched bags and the like. Assuming that your logo is attractive, and it you buy these products made with decent materials, you win on two fronts. First of all, your prospect will actually enjoy wearing or using their gift, but perhaps even more importantly, they will be flashing your brand far and wide. Embroidered hats have been particularly effective in this regard, as we have had reports of them showing up on everything from golf course to ball games in the greater metropolitan area.

So the upshot of all this is to always be closing at these events, but do it with a strategic plan in place for follow-up. The shock and awe effects of your competitors at these tradeshows are far less effective than legitimate business discussion and connection. Press your business card into people’s hands the old-fashioned way. Pass out hats or umbrellas at the end of legitimate business conversations, and watch your revenues ramp up.

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