A 30-second commercial during this year’s Super Bowl could have been yours for only $4 million, Forbes reported. Luckily, local TV advertising rates aren’t quite as steep, but small business owners still struggle to level the advertising playing field, especially when their competitors are corporations with deep pockets.
Relax. A creative guerrilla marketing campaign can get your name in front of prospects at a modest cost. Case in point: The tourism firm Visit St. Pete-Clearwater has been drawing visitors to Florida all winter by advertising on inexpensive subway placards and stamping their website URL in the snow, where cold New York commuters are sure to see it. It’s a solid approach to targeted marketing without a huge budget.
Still, low-cost isn’t the same as no-cost. If your business needs the boost of a guerrilla marketing campaign, but you don’t have the money available to fund it, one of these options may do the trick.
Sell an Investment
If you’ve made smart investments that have appreciated over the years, consider selling. If you’re reluctant to let go of a stock that’s still doing well, think about this: You haven’t realized a profit until you’ve sold the security. Conventional wisdom has long held that the average annualized return on a stock is about 10 percent, but some analysts are now saying those days are likely gone—if, in fact, they ever existed.
Could locking in profits and putting the money toward marketing the business you own generate a higher return than the standard 10 percent benchmark? If the answer to that is question is yes, it may be time to sell. Certainly, there are taxes and the cost of the sale to consider; try using a discount online broker such as ETrade or ScottTrade to help minimize commissions and fees. If you hold your investments in the form of an annuity, you may be eligible to sell your future payments to get cash for annuities now.
There’s a good deal of capital locked up in the hands of simple, everyday people. Through crowdfunding, small businesses and entrepreneurs can tap that pool of resources by promising premiums to those who pledge money toward the development, production, marketing and launch of their products and services. The top crowdfunding websites provide platforms to connect these businesses and interested consumers.
These sites offer some side benefits, too. Don’t forget that consumers browse these sites because they want to get in on appealing deals. That means the platforms themselves are a way to get your brand in front of people who are interested enough in what you have to offer to click on your listing and read your pitch. Even if they don’t contribute, you’re building brand recognition, and possibly a future brand evangelist.
Bootstrap Through Freelance Work
Once you’ve devised your guerrilla marketing campaign and know how much it’s going to cost, you can always bootstrap the project by taking on some freelance work on the side. Head over to any of the websites that connect freelancers with projects and offer your services. Take on enough work to generate the income necessary to launch your campaign, but remember: The site you go through will take a commission on every fee you earn.