HomeExpert Roundups18 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics that Have Worked for Startups

18 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics that Have Worked for Startups

18 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics that Have Worked for Startups

In the competitive world of startups, CEOs and marketing experts are constantly seeking innovative ways to capture attention. From creating focused microsites to distributing branded seed packets, we’ve compiled the diverse experiences and strategies of eighteen founders and marketing professionals. Discover guerrilla marketing tactics that have propelled startups to new heights, complete with real-world results.

  • Create a Focused Microsite
  • Partner With Larger Companies
  • Leverage User-Generated Content
  • Host Public Skills Competitions
  • Offer Free Services to Businesses
  • Organize Pop-Up Fitness Events
  • Maximize Owned and Earned Media
  • Conduct a Social Media Takeover
  • Collaborate With Micro-Influencers
  • Engage in Local Community Events
  • Utilize Interactive Chalk Art Ads
  • Advertise With Mobile LED Billboards
  • Contribute to Industry Standards
  • Distribute Themed Postcards
  • Drive Around With Magnetic Signs
  • Launch a Referral Reward Campaign
  • Offer Free Coffee at Conferences
  • Distribute Branded Seed Packets

Create a Focused Microsite

One guerrilla marketing tactic that proved successful for us was the creation of a dedicated microsite for our SEO services. Early in the journey of Connective Web Design, I identified the potential benefits of microsites in engaging audiences with a focused offering. I built a microsite called LinearSEO (or something similar) specifically tailored to showcase our SEO services. This strategy was based on the insight that people often respond better to specialized content that directly addresses their needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

While the LinearSEO microsite is no longer active, as I decided to consolidate efforts under the main Connective Web Design brand, the tactic itself brought several notable benefits.

Although this guerrilla marketing tactic was somewhat unconventional, focusing on a microsite dedicated to a specific service allowed us to target a specific segment of the market more effectively. It’s a testament to the idea that sometimes, narrowing your focus can lead to broader opportunities for growth and engagement.

Rodney WarnerRodney Warner
CEO & Founder, Connective Web Design

Partner With Larger Companies

As a startup, we needed credibility in the market. So, we partnered with much larger companies. We offered them leading technology, and they allowed us to use their brand. So, it was a useful partnership in both directions.

Steve KazanSteve Kazan
CEO, Inner Onion

Leverage User-Generated Content

One of our most effective guerrilla marketing strategies was UGC (User-Generated Content).

We asked our customers to post their TP-Link experiences on social media with a branded hashtag. Not only did this create a community around our brand, but it also served as an actual endorsement for potential customers.

The results were terrific. We saw a massive spike in engagement across all our social channels, with thousands of people sharing their stories and images. Not only did this increase brand awareness, but it also drove sales because other people’s experiences influenced people. It also gave us valuable insight into how people used our products in real life, which helped us refine our marketing efforts.

It’s about building relationships with our users and demonstrating that we’re more than just Wi-Fi providers—we’re a community committed to making their lives simpler and more connected.

So, if you’re looking for an effective guerrilla strategy, user-generated content (UGC) could be the answer. After all, nothing is more convincing than hearing directly from the people who consume your products the most.

Laviet JoaquinLaviet Joaquin
Marketing Head, TP-Link

Host Public Skills Competitions

When we first launched, we put together a series of videos called “Speed Moving.” We literally had our movers out there competing in skills competitions like who could set up and tape a box the fastest, who could get a couch down the stairs the fastest, and who could drive a truck full of breakable items through a course with the least damage.

We did these out in public to generate interest from passersby. For liability reasons, we only did this once, but it made some excellent marketing material for us for the first year or so.

Nick ValentinoNick Valentino
VP of Market Operations, Bellhop

Offer Free Services to Businesses

I went door-to-door to restaurants, offering to film a free food show for them. That outreach turned into direct client business.

Robert BrillRobert Brill
CEO, Brill Media

Organize Pop-Up Fitness Events

Our startup, DasFlow, leveraged pop-up fitness events in unexpected urban locations, transforming spaces like parks and city squares into temporary workout zones decked out with our custom athleisure wear. This guerrilla marketing tactic created buzz and engagement on social media, significantly increasing our brand visibility.

Participants shared their experiences online, leading to a 30% increase in website traffic and a 20% uptick in sales in the months following the events. This strategy not only showcased our products in action but also emphasized our commitment to promoting a healthy, active lifestyle, resonating deeply with our target audience.

Nicolas KraussNicolas Krauss
Founder and CEO, dasFlow Custom Sublimation Apparel

Maximize Owned and Earned Media

In today’s digital landscape, maximizing brand value doesn’t have to break the bank. This strategy focuses on leveraging our existing owned-media channels, like social media and LinkedIn, alongside cultivated earned-media contacts.

By prioritizing organic reach whenever possible, we can amplify brand value with each post while minimizing marketing spend. Boosted content will be reserved for strategic initiatives like product launches or crucial announcements. This balanced approach ensures we maximize the impact of our limited marketing budget without sacrificing content quality or desired results.

Jamie FrewJamie Frew
CEO, Carepatron

Conduct a Social Media Takeover

Social media is a powerful tool for marketing and promoting a brand. Our startup has successfully used the tactic of “social media takeover” to reach new audiences and increase our online presence. This involved collaborating with popular social media influencers or industry experts to take over our company’s social media accounts for a day or week.

During this time, the influencer would create and share content related to our brand, bringing in their own followers and introducing them to our products or services. This not only helped us reach a larger audience but also added credibility to our brand through the influencer’s endorsement.

As a result of this tactic, we saw a significant increase in our social media following and engagement. It also led to an increase in website traffic and conversions. By leveraging the influence of others, we were able to effectively promote our brand and gain new customers through this guerrilla marketing tactic.

Alex TaylorAlex Taylor
Head of Marketing, CrownTV

Collaborate With Micro-Influencers

One guerrilla marketing tactic that I’ve successfully used for a client involved leveraging social-media influencers for a product launch. We identified micro-influencers within our niche who had a highly engaged audience but were not yet inundated with sponsorship offers. Instead of paying them directly, we offered them exclusive access to our product before the official launch in exchange for authentic reviews and social media posts.

The results were impressive—we reached over 100,000 potential customers through the influencers’ posts, generating a 30% increase in website traffic and a 25% boost in pre-orders compared to previous launches. This tactic not only increased brand awareness but also fostered genuine excitement and anticipation among our target audience, leading to a successful product launch.

Kartik AhujaKartik Ahuja
Digital Marketer, kartikahuja.com

Engage in Local Community Events

One of the most impactful guerrilla marketing tactics we’ve used involves the strategic use of hyper-localized community events to generate brand awareness for our small-business clients. By diving deep into the community calendar, we identified lesser-known events that matched our target demographic’s interests and values. We then partnered with event organizers to create unique, immersive experiences that not only highlighted our clients’ products or services but also enriched the event for attendees.

In one instance, we collaborated with a local food festival in a small town, setting up an interactive booth where attendees could engage in creating their own culinary masterpieces using our client’s artisanal kitchenware. This hands-on experience not only generated immediate social media buzz as participants shared their creations online but also led to a direct increase in foot traffic to our client’s brick-and-mortar store located nearby. Over the next month, the client experienced a 27% uptick in in-store sales and a 40% increase in online engagement across their social media platforms.

These tactics work because they create a tangible connection between the brand and the community, leveraging the emotional power of shared experiences. Moreover, by focusing on engagement rather than direct selling, we build a positive brand association that lasts far beyond the event itself. This strategy, rooted in understanding and leveraging local SEO and community dynamics, demonstrates the power of integrating guerrilla marketing with a comprehensive digital strategy to fuel small-business growth.

Steven MorseSteven Morse
Owner, SEM by Design

Utilize Interactive Chalk Art Ads

One of the guerrilla marketing tactics we implemented with notable success was the strategic placement of chalk-art advertisements at popular city parks and recreation areas. These vibrant and visually appealing chalk drawings were not only targeted toward our key demographic of active outdoor enthusiasts but also doubled as interactive art, inviting passersby to take photos and share them on social media with our hashtag.

This tactic significantly boosted our online visibility and engagement, leading to a 30% increase in website traffic and a substantial uptick in user sign-ups within the first month of the campaign. The low-cost, high-impact nature of this strategy perfectly illustrates the effectiveness of creative guerrilla marketing tactics in generating buzz and engagement for startups.

Steven RennSteven Renn
Co-Founder, ACTIVE Clean

Advertise With Mobile LED Billboards

Standing out in the bustling Phoenix tech scene can be a challenge. At Techtopia, we wanted to make a splash and get our name recognized. But how? Enter our guerrilla marketing secret weapon: a mobile LED billboard!

Inspired by the Firefly displays on Uber cars, we saw an opportunity. We could be the only MSP (that I know of) in Phoenix to utilize this eye-catching technology. Sure, directly tracking awareness from a moving billboard is tricky, but the novelty factor is undeniable.

We’re not flying blind, though. We’re using social media listening to track mentions with a unique campaign hashtag (create one if you don’t have one!). Plus, the billboard displays a QR code linking to a special landing page, giving us valuable insights into how many people are curious.

This isn’t just about turning heads; it’s about sparking conversations. “Is that the Techtopia truck?”—We love hearing that! It creates a buzz and encourages people to share photos on social media.

So, next time you see a bright Techtopia message cruising the streets, snap a pic and share it! We’re excited to be shaking things up and getting Techtopia on the map, one innovative approach at a time.

Shawn RyanShawn Ryan
Founder & Owner, Techtopia

Contribute to Industry Standards

We contribute to OWASP, the Open Web Application Security Project. OWASP develops a lot of standards and guidelines in appsec (application security); most mature companies will look at OWASP for guidance, and they will see our names pop up. This delivers inbound leads, but it also provides credibility when would-be customers consider our proposals.

Whatever your industry, get involved with the standard-development organization, which is likely a nonprofit organization that is supported by industry leaders. Be in the room where it happens, and make it happen.

Dag FlachetDag Flachet
Co-Founder & Professor, Codific

Distribute Themed Postcards

Good old-fashioned postcards were effective for keeping one of my books top of mind. I left small stacks of them with relevant businesses (this was pre-pandemic, when everyone worked in the office), passed them out at conferences, and gave them to anyone I met at events. The book continues to sell years later.

Heather JohnsonHeather Johnson
Medtech Marketing Consultant and President, OutWord Bound Communications

Drive Around With Magnetic Signs

One guerrilla marketing tactic that’s yielded remarkable results for Myrtle Beach Home Buyers is our “Drive-By Billboard.” We designed eye-catching, oversized magnetic signs with bold messages like “Sell Your Home Fast!” and placed them on our vehicles.

As we drove around town, these mobile billboards attracted attention and inquiries from curious onlookers. This tactic not only boosted brand visibility but also led to a significant increase in website traffic and direct inquiries. Its cost-effectiveness and versatility have made it a staple in our marketing arsenal, continuously driving leads to our business.

Adam SeguinAdam Seguin
Owner, Myrtle Beach Home Buyers

Launch a Referral Reward Campaign

One guerrilla marketing tactic I used for my startup was to send an email campaign offering different rewards to our subscribers, offering them $2 or more when their friends sign up, complete verification within 24 hours, and trade on our exchange.

The value of the reward depends on what the referral does. There was a catch, though: the rewards can only be used to trade on our exchange. They cannot be withdrawn or used for any other purpose. Instantly, this was a success; we gained over 680 new users in the first 8 hours, and we saw a 31% increase in trading volume over the next five days of launching this strategy.

Each reward has its own set of rules, and there was an expiration period for the rewards set at 30 days. With a specific offer and reward and specific rules on how to play, we increased our monthly active users, acquired new leads, and increased our monthly trading volume.

Guy SheetritGuy Sheetrit
Founder, Over The Top Inc

Offer Free Coffee at Conferences

I once went to a sales conference where I knew a lot of my target customers would be. I turned up with a mobile coffee machine and walked around offering free coffee to the attendees. Most people loved it because it saved them time from having to walk off the floor of the conference to the cafeteria to buy coffee.

Moreover, it gave me a chance to talk one-on-one with over 180 target prospects over two days. While pouring them coffee, I would tell them about how my company can add value to their company. Needless to say, that bit of guerrilla marketing has been the single most profitable investment we’ve ever made.

Marc BromhallMarc Bromhall
Founder, StorageBuddy

Distribute Branded Seed Packets

As an expert in pest control and plant care, guerrilla marketing tactics have been instrumental for our startup, Safe Pest Control. One approach that yielded great results was our “Plant Protector” campaign.

We created eye-catching seed packets labeled “Plant Protectors” and filled them with wildflower seeds coated in our eco-friendly pest repellent. We then strategically placed these packets around community gardens, nurseries, and even slipped them into magazines at waiting rooms.

The curiosity sparked by the mysterious packets drove people to our website to learn more. Once there, they discovered our innovative, sustainable pest control solutions perfect for protecting their beloved gardens.

This guerrilla tactic was a huge hit! We saw a 25% spike in website traffic and tons of new customer inquiries in the following weeks. Plus, those wildflower seeds blossomed into beautiful pest-deterring gardens all over Sydney.

It was a win-win—getting our brand out there creatively while giving back something beneficial to local green spaces. As a passionate gardener myself, fusing marketing with my expertise made this campaign super fulfilling.

Milad BahramiMilad Bahrami
Director, Safe Pest Control

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