20 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics to Promote Your Next Event
Guerrilla marketing involves low-cost options that make bold statements and make you memorable so that you don’t have to worry about splashing out big to be trending on social media.
Have you spent all your event budget already and are struggling for ways to promote it without the cash? You are not alone, marketing can be the hardest part of the event planning process and that’s where guerilla marketing comes in. If you are strapped for cash and the budget is looking a little low, that doesn’t mean that you can’t give your event the spotlight it deserves. It just means you need to get a little creative.
While traditional marketing has its place it is important to experiment with your marketing mix to keep it fresh. Guerrilla marketing is a great way to break out of your promotional comfort zones. Here are 20 ways you can get as much exposure as possible for minimal cash!
Let’s start with the most obvious one, your social media channels. If you can hit the nail on the head and create content that goes viral this can give massive exposure. Think about creating images, gifs and video which resonate with your followers. Or perhaps you can get a hashtag trending which relates to your event and gets people responding. Nostalgia is a great tool for to resonate with people.
Make sure you use all of your channels to your advantage and understand your audience to widen your reach. Create an event on Facebook, ads on Twitter or collaborate with big Instagram or Snapchat names to promote your event for you.
The best part about your own social media is that it is the most flexible to your budget and can help you to market to those you already know would be interested because they are following you. Include catchy and bold graphics to draw the eye and create slogans that help to embody your event but also market it! You could also look at creating social media contests to generate more of a buzz online.
Bloggers and Journalists
Contact well-known bloggers or journalists and give them a scoop or good story about your event that they will want to write about. It could be a celebrity guest, local hero or even the good that your event is doing e.g. for a charity or unknown organisation that deserves more spotlight. Offer a press pass if they are interested in attending the event itself, and they may give some coverage to you, including the buildup and behind the scenes excitement.
Using blogging to market your next event requires research into bloggers or journalists within the same niche that appeal directly to your target demographic but this can yield incredible results.
For a limited time, change the colors of your website to include the theme or vibe of your event. You could add a landing page that takes you straight to the event details with FAQ’s and the information attendees would need. You could also include page pop-ups for commonly used posts or pages to highlight the new event to market and let people know. The important thing to remember is to keep with your brand but make it pop and stand out so that users are aware that it is something new and something to be excited about.
An impromptu dance, song or display can help spread the message of your event very quickly with minimal budget as long as it is organized effectively. You can use your staff or put a call of action out on your social media to join in and make sure it is recorded so that you can put it online to gain some marketing traction too.
Use areas that are busy such as the London Underground or major train stations, alternatively you could opt to create a flash mob outside large local sporting events to create more of a buzz. Ultimately, the important factor in a flash mob is to make them interesting, fun and well-choreographed or sung because when they are done poorly you may be remembered for all the wrong reasons and it reflects poorly on your event and brand as a whole.
Outdoor Floor Murals or Temporary Graffiti
Using chalk or temporary paint, hire a local artist to draw designs that embody the vibe of your event and create some street art that will get everyone talking. You can opt to do something daring like creating optical illusions or you can go for bold marketing statements, either way make it interesting and get people talking about it. Also remember to have them create their masterpiece in a well spotted area that is frequented by passersby so that it is sure to be seen by potential attendees.
Create a scheme that rewards those who market for you, for example referral discounts or preferential rates that benefit everyone can be an excellent incentive for attendees to tell their friends and get a bargain ticket price. Alternatively you could offer VIP entry, fast track or back stage passes to those who refer large amounts of people or for bulk orders to encourage word of mouth and people to talk about your event on their social media channels. Rewarding the loyalty of current fans and attendees is a sure fire way to keep them coming back in the future too.
Temporary Staff Tattoos
It speaks volumes about your brand or event if the staff are willing to brand themselves, no matter how temporary. This proves that they actually believe in it and are willing to show their friends and family which means that attendees will have more faith in it too. Plus you will often find those who want to follow the trend so make sure you have extras printed to give out to those who want them which is also extra marketing. Make sure the temporary tattoos are somewhere obvious like the hands, or arms so that they are easily seen.
Activity Vending Machines
Getting people involved with your brand makes you memorable, combining this with giving away freebies and you are on to a winning combination. A subway ticket machine in Moscow offered free tickets for 30 squats and Coca Cola created a vending machine that accepted hugs as payment for a free can of coke. These types of ideas get people talking all over social media. You can brand the machine and also provide a business card with every product for the event itself to make sure they don’t forget where it has come from.
Pop Up Event
Create unique pop up event as a trailblazer to your larger event. The pop up could showcases one specific element of your event, for example, take your catering supplier along to offer free samples which is useful marketing for your both and gives a taste of what to expect at the larger event. It is a perfect opportunity to hand out flyers, posters and marketing material to those who might be receptive.
This doubles up as a great fundraising idea and can be used to create buzz about your sponsors, services or your brand in general with the run up to an event. The idea is that you offer prize items relating to your event, for example a basket with products from suppliers or sponsors, signed goods from the entertainment or guest speakers, consultation opportunities or simply free services. People then write their details and the most they are willing to pay for each item on a card and the highest for the prize or prizes win them.
Mixing up traditional advertising is a unique way to get noticed and this can be done on a larger scale, for example Carlsberg featured a built in pump into one of their billboards that dispensed free beer. Alternatively you could choose a traditional print ad that offers a little something extra like Nivea did when their ad in a magazine turned into a solar panel phone charger for readers and gave them something back and had people talking all over Brazil about their brand.
Using gamification in your marketing strategy can help to make the process more fun and gives a good brand image for potential attendees. Creating a real-world urban treasure hunt that offers exclusive event clues can be a way of adding an element of exclusivity to the event while generating a buzz for those who are playing. Ideally they will also share on their social media when they have found a clue or won a prize which can encourage others to play along too.
If you prefer to keep things online and reduce the amount of organisation, you can opt to create branded mini web games that you can make available in the run up to the event with the ability to unlock certain event privileges on the day or earn benefit codes e.g. a free drink as they complete the game itself.
Targeted Flyer Dropping
Let’s be honest, flyers are becoming less and less effective and it is no longer good enough to stand in the town center and hand them out because they normally just find their way to the bin. Flyers however don’t have to be wasted and they are still effective if you target them directly to your demographic only and this works better if you chose a niche.
For example, if you are organizing a running event, an effective way of targeted flyer dropping is at other local running or sporting events because your target demographic is all in one place and has their minds on running or fitness. Often, the organizers will allow other brands or organizers to leaflet drop in the goody bags or at the start/finish in exchange for providing a few helpful volunteers for the day (there’s nothing to stop you branding them as well).
A budget friendly and traditional option that can be used to your advantage to target previous attendees or your followers is to send out an online newsletter. While these are not effective if done badly they can still be useful and require minimal work or budget. In order to create a successful newsletter you need to add value because those who feel like they are being constantly sold to will unsubscribe very quickly.
Keep them up to date on the latest trends or information around your event and when you are marketing to them offer exclusive newsletter discounts, insider info, first-look videos or guest speaker interviews because this makes people want to sign up to the newsletter and it is easier marketing for you in the long term!
Acts of Kindness
Become part of the community for the day and hit the streets performing random acts of kindness. Take your branded staff and help people carry their shopping, offer free hugs and compliments or make people smile. This makes you more memorable and creates a sense of connection and trust with the public surrounding your brand which can make them more receptive to marketing in the long-term. You could also hand out flyers as you go but your primary concern is to be helpful and show actual faces of your event.
Unique Product Displays
Rent out a shop window and create unique displays that market your event, the most powerful ones catch the eye have a message but also give something back to those looking at it to make it more memorable. An interesting option that meets these criteria is to have live displays using people who pretend to be mannequins but will move for the purpose of your marketing.
John Lewis marketed the GSOS gymnastics by featuring real gymnasts doing tricks in the window of one of its stores to showcase moves and promote gymnastics in general.
A surefire way to get attention is to give things away, you can opt for larger prizes that could be free event tickets, backstage passes or you could go for many smaller options like tasters of some of your catering for the day using pop-up stalls.
You don’t always have to run the giveaway yourself either because in many instances if you offer free tickets to sponsors or in exchange for air time on the radio they can run the whole competition for you so it offers powerful exposure for minimal cost.
Millions of cars drive on the roads every day and other than the radio it can be hard to reach them, spruce your car up with signage and car attachments and drive around or if you prefer, advertise using Taxi’s through big city centers as they are more noticeable and stand out from the crowd.
Iams chose to include a wagging cat tail to the back while Snickers renamed a yellow cab as a “Snaxi” during one of their advertising campaigns. Also to market the launch of a new HBO Sopranos sitcom they added a dummy dead arm to hang out of the car trunk!
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Shark Week that was airing, The Discovery Channel left “half eaten” branded surfboards scattered across Australian beaches to get people talking about the upcoming event and it certainly created hype when some appeared to wash up on shore!
Leaving props in public places is bound to get people talking, especially on social media and this means more marketing for you. You need to find the right mix of mystery to get everyone excited and provide enough information so that people know where it has come from, so striking the right balance is key.
Local Event Sponsorship
An old classic that is frugal but particularly beneficial for local events you are trying to market. Attending other events such as street fairs or school fundraising evenings can be low cost sponsorship but still reach your intended demographic.
By offering branded volunteers to help with the event or just by sponsoring and having a banner, stall or logo on the t-shirts you are linked to the local community and makes your name memorable to others, especially if their event is much smaller than yours or your brand. Here are 13 event sponsorship ideas to get you started.
You now have 20 guerilla marketing tactics that can help to promote your event to your target demographic. Ultimately though it is important to get creative and to be bold and original to get your name, brand and event out there. Thinking outside the box will always work to get you noticed and this doesn’t always have to be big budget.
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