What Is Grassroots Marketing And How To Use It?
It's a no-brainer to suggest that you need to market your business. If you want to continue running for as long as possible, you need to use the marketing resources that are available to you to help you meet your customer targets.
One of the popular ways to promote your business is through digital marketing. By using social media, email, and the latest SEO techniques, you can easily attract people to your business. However, as wonderful as these aspects of digital marketing are, you are doing much of the legwork. Within your busy schedule, you will need to find time to market your business in such ways or, as an alternative, pay somebody else to market your business online for you.
However, many business owners have gone back to basics with their marketing approach, and have returned to the traditional techniques associated with grassroots marketing. These methods are both cost-efficient and time-efficient 👀
What Is Grassroots Marketing? 👩🏼🌾
Most marketing techniques are designed to reach the masses, but grassroots marketing works a little differently. Instead of sending a message to the many, grassroots marketing is all about targeting the few. By doing something to communicate a product or service to a niche group, the hope is that these individual audiences will become influencers and spread the word to others.
Traditionally, businesses have sent out their core marketing messages to the people who live closest to them, but in this modern age, it has been possible to target key groups using social media and certain other digital marketing techniques. By doing something that creates an impact, the hope is that the message presented will go viral as the targeted group spreads word of what they have seen or heard.
The Benefits Of Grassroots Marketing 💯
Every marketing technique has its benefits, and grassroots marketing is no different. In fact, in some ways, it makes perfect business sense to consider this style of marketing, as the benefits are very appealing.
Grassroots marketing is cost-effective ⚖️👍🏼
For any business owner looking to save money (that's most of them then), grassroots marketing can allow them the opportunity. And the same is true for you if frugality is a word that you have become well-used to. With grassroots marketing, you don't have to blow your budget on an expensive campaign. By marketing to the few, you can save money, and still have the potential to reach many more customers through your influencers without having to drain your business funds.
Grassroots marketing can develop trust for your brand 🎖
When marketing your business, you are trying to gain attention from others. However, not everybody will trust what you have to sell. Some people need evidence of what you are offering before they part with their cash, and they might decide to buy from your competitors if they aren't sure about you. With grassroots marketing, you are targeting people you know will take an interest in your business. And not only will your niche target audience be more likely to buy from you, but they are also likely to spread word about what you have to offer to others. Through positive word of mouth, well placed touch points and viral sharing, other people will sit up and take notice when your business has been recommended to them by your influencers.
Grassroots marketing isn't always time-intensive ⏰
While you will need to map out an effective grassroots marketing strategy, you won't have to burden yourself with extra work once your influencers start to spread your message. If you can do something that will encourage them to talk about your business, you can rely on your influencers to naturally market your business without your intervention. This is good news for you, as you will then have more time to work on other aspects of your business.
Planning Your Grassroots Marketing Campaign 🗒
Okay, so we have explained in brief what grassroots marketing is and the expected benefits, but what about the practicalities? Where do you start?
Well, let's look at the basics that should form your grassroots marketing plan.
- Research your key demographic. These are the people who will hopefully send your message to the masses, so look for ways to define your target audience. You can do this by compiling data based on your current customer ratio, by using social media analytics, and by researching the types of people who choose to use your competitors. For advice on each of these methods, this excellent article posted on Hootsuite will give you much of what you need to know.
- Target your demographic. How will you reach them? Will you get in touch with individuals or specific groups of people? Find out who they are, where they are, and then consider the message you are going to send to them. Again, you can use some of the methods detailed in our last point to help you figure out your best plan of action.
- Consider the content that will appeal to your demographic. This could be a video, vine or meme that you hope will go viral. Or it could be a blog post that you hope will be reposted by others. It might even be a public stunt that others will spread new of through their own social media channels. By creating something that appeals to the emotions and interests of your target audience, there is a greater chance of word being spread about your business.
There are two facets of grassroots marketing that are worth considering when working on your marketing strategy: Intervention or non-intervention 🧐
Intervention: You can proactively motivate others into sharing information about your business. So, you might ask them to spread the word on your behalf when reaching out on social media, or you could send them a product and ask them to showcase it to others. With this element of grassroots marketing, it is usually advisable to offer an incentive of a discount or a freebie to encourage your chosen influencers to share information about your business.
Non-intervention: Do something that will encourage people to talk about our business without your intervention. If you can impress them in some way, perhaps with a funny meme, instructive blog post, or a charitable act, they might naturally share word of your business with others without you having to bribe them into doing so.
Both methods are perfectly acceptable, so consider each when thinking about your grassroots marketing strategy 👈🏼
Grassroots Marketing Ideas 🗃
Okay, so we have looked behind the scenes of grassroots marketing, but at this point, you are probably looking for a few ideas for your personal marketing strategy.
Well, before we highlight a few general examples, its worth having a look at some real-life grassroots marketing strategies that have worked for others. We aren't going to list them here, because the hard work has already been done for us. Utilizing the power of video, social media, and even emojis - 👍 - check out the following article that details 50 real-life grassroots marketing examples. After all, if you are going to consider using this marketing method for your business, you may as well as learn from the best.
After taking a look at the linked article (if you haven't, you really must do so), here are some other ideas that you might want to implement into your grassroots marketing strategy.
Write guest posts for bloggers and other businesses 📝
Research blogs online, whether they're written by people from your target demographic or by non-competing business owners (but who can still draw in people from your demographic) and offer to write guest posts for them. You can do this by sending them a pitch with an idea, and perhaps the offer of an incentive if you need to twist their arm. By writing for people who are directly or indirectly affiliated to your demographic, you have a greater chance of your business becoming better known if they a) post your articles on their blogs, and b) share your blog post on their social media channels.
Send out free samples of your product or free trials of your service 🎁
Do you sell a specific product online? If so, why not ask people in your target demographic to showcase them for you. They might be able to write about them in their blog posts, or share pictures of your product on social media. They might also write reviews about your product on the various listing sites that your product is connected to. And if you're a tech company specializing in apps or downloadable pieces of software, you could contact those people and business who would benefit from them, and give them a free trial (or even something permanent). You can ask the people you have contacted to showcase your app or software program to others in the hope that they will become your next customers.
Give away branded items 🛍
This is slightly similar to the last point, but with one difference: You don't necessarily need to ask people to show them to others. Instead, give away items that are emblazoned with your brand logo and/or slogan in the hope that they will be used in people's daily lives. It could be a cup, pen, child's toy, piece of clothing, or some other such item that can easily be inscribed upon. Give them out to those people who are part of your demographic, perhaps by handing them out when you're at events where your influencers could be attending, or by including them when you send out orders to your customers. Hopefully, the items you give away will be used regularly, and other people will hopefully become aware of your business subliminally.
Do something to go viral online 🤩
This is at the heart of grassroots marketing anyway, as it you can do something to engage the interest of your demographic, they will hopefully share what you have done with others. In this digital age, it's all about sharing on social media, so think about creating something online. So, you might create an instructional video on YouTube, as it might be shared by those people in your audience who know of others who will find your advice useful. Alternatively, you could create a funny YouTube video, be it directly linked to your product or not. As long as your business has a mention in there somewhere, no matter how subliminally, it might get a lot of shares if others have enjoyed your 'hilarious' content. Check out these funny marketing videos, for example.
As we mentioned earlier, you could also create memes. These visual soundbites often get shared around on Facebook and are a great way to imprint your brand into people's thought patterns. Check out these meme examples by famous brands, and consider the types of messages you could get across in a funny and as impactful way as possible.
There are other ways to go viral online, of course. A well-constructed Facebook post or Tweet could make the rounds if you target the right people with them. And if you do something newsworthy or charitable, you might also encourage people to share what they have heard about you through their various blogs and social media channels.
Get involved with the online community 👥
Grassroots marketing is about getting in touch with the people who are almost guaranteed to appreciate the products you sell and the things you have to say. You can do this offline, of course, by attending community events, business fairs, and other places where your target audience is likely to attend. You can also do it online, by developing a presence where word about you could spread. So, contribute to Facebook groups that are in some way connected to your demographic. Become part of the community on the online forums that are used by your audience. And when sharing online, include helpful information about the subjects being discussed, as you might then gain trust and credibility by the online community around you.
Over To You 👊🏽
When it comes to grassroots marketing, much of it stems from your own ideas - that are hopefully good. So, consider the examples we have given you here, and read the information we have linked you to, and then think about what you might do. Commit to further research about grassroots marketing too, as there is a lot of advice online that will stand you in good stead when considering your marketing strategy.