Budgets Slashed? Get Back to Guerilla Basics

Happy New Year, everyone! While I am very optimistic that January 20 will bring a new optimism to America, the economy will be very slow to recover. So today we’ll talk about some basic guerilla marketing techniques you should be employing during these tough times. They don’t cost anything and can only help. While some of you are doing these things already (or are at least aware of them), most companies don’t devote enough time to them.

Engage in Newsgroups

Ask your employees to join newsgroups that pertain to your company. This serves two purposes: it puts your ear to the ground to hear the thoughts and concerns of potential customers, and it gives you a way to get your brand name out through a nonmarketing channel. Now, I’m not saying you should start spamming newsgroups with marketing. But if you are a pet store specializing in bird supplies, an employee should join a bird lover’s newsgroup. Then if someone asks where to buy X or who has Y services, you can certainly chime in with your company information. One of our clients increased traffic tremendously by joining several groups and (over time) mentioning his store. But he also contributed to the forum so people got to know him and liked what he had to offer to the group. He was a person, not a company.

Nurture Social Sites

Just having a Facebook page isn’t enough. You need to spend time every day nurturing it, updating it, and engaging in the community. H&M’s Facebook page features an interactive application with wallpaper downloads; videos of products, runways, and stores; and links to useful Web site features, like the virtual dressing room. With its fan base of over 715,000 people, H&M has an extraordinary (and free) platform through which to gain brand awareness and loyalty.


Pundits have gone back and forth on the future and importance (or lack thereof) of Twitter. Still, if your company doesn’t have a Twitter account, it should. Twitter seems to be delivering on the promise that RSS never really did: to enable companies to push information to eager consumers. Perhaps because RSS was always a little too techie and required a reader, it never reached the kind of potential it could have. Twitter, on the other hand, is very simple to use and has had an explosive growth. It also tends to be more of a personal medium, whereas RSS is much more of a business medium.

Many of my colleagues have Twitter accounts. We usually post personal things on there, but we also post interesting anecdotes we find in the news and elsewhere. I’ll post a tweet when I’ve published an article or when I’m at a conference (so I can meet up with people who are also there). Retailers can tweet daily specials. A financial firm could tweet daily investment tips. Finding the right mix of the personal and professional voices on Twitter is a challenge, but one that can be easily experimented with and overcome.

Create Promotion Codes

If you are a retail company, you probably get upset now and again that your promotion codes wind up on a Web site that publishes all these codes. But this isn’t a bad thing right now. Create promotion codes and purposely leak them. Everyone likes a deal, especially in a down economy. Don’t do any drastic promotions that will hurt your bottom line, but don’t be afraid of bringing people to the site via “leaked” promotions. It’s your job to up-sell them while on the site so they spend more than they had originally planned to.

Rewrite Your Copy

The copy on your site needs to be more than “just the facts.” You must sell products with your copy, not only report on their specifications. You must stress the value of the product versus the price. And you must highlight (across your whole site) your return policies and guarantees. Reduce any barriers to entry that might prevent people from shopping with you.


It’s no shock that this will be a tough year. Even if your budgets are slashed and you can’t spend money on new functionality and technologies, there’s still a lotyou can do to make your site and user experience better and increase sales. Take this time to look at things like site copy and optimize your site as best as possible. Look at some of the free acquisition and loyalty tools I’ve outlined above and dedicate some resources to really exploring their potential.

Thoughts, comments, questions? Let me know!

Until next time…


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