A green figure standing in a crowd of others holding a sign that says "Grass Roots Marketing"

Back to Basics: 8 Grassroots Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

As crucial as digital marketing is, grassroots marketing is still a great way to grow your business. These awesome tips will help you launch your next campaign.

Many business owners feel as though “anyone” can be their client. But not everyone is the perfect client.

Some will cost you a lot of time and money while you receive little in return. Others will only make one purchase from you. And some will never become your customer no matter what you offer and how low the price of your products and/or services.

Yes, digital marketing is highly effective. But sometimes it makes sense to look to grassroots marketing efforts to deliver your core message to your niche target audience. 

If you’re looking for a tried and true way to help you launch a grassroots advertising campaign, keep reading. We’re sharing with you eight grassroots marketing ideas. 

What Grassroots Marketing Does

What is grassroots marketing? It’s a cost-effective way to deliver your core message to the people who live close to where you live, work, and play. 

It’s effective because it targets a niche group of people or demographic rather than reaching out to anyone and everyone. Grassroots marketing is great for growing your customer base whether you’re starting out or are well-established. 

1. Host an Event

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, one way to get people through your doors is by hosting a fun event. Invite local performers to entertain the crowd and have a few giveaways to hand out to those who attend. 

If you don’t own a brick-and-mortar business, you can still participate in events. Local events like church fundraisers, craft shows, and school events are also great places to let your neighbours know you’re in business. 

Your goal here is to integrate yourself into your community and develop a presence. The more people see you, the more they trust you and that translates into more business. 

2. Partner Up with a Charity

Nine in ten millennials are willing to switch to a brand associated with a cause. And they aren’t the only ones.

Partnering with a charity is also a great way to get more exposure. If you choose to partner with a well-known charity, there’s a chance the press may cover it.

And, if you wear t-shirts with your company name and logo on them, you’re getting even more exposure. You can take photos when you and your staff are volunteering and share them on social media as well. 

It’s a great way to get more press and give back to your community. 

3. Cold Calling

Most people feel the urge to run away as soon as someone suggests cold calling as a grassroots campaign. But this doesn’t have to be a sales call that makes you and the person on the receiving end cringe.

Instead, use cold calling as a way to just let a potential customer know about an upcoming sale or promotion. You can also just drop in and visit potential business customers to network with them and inform them of how you can assist them in their needs. 

If you focus on providing them with value and information rather than pushing a sale, you’ll find you get a much warmer response. 

4. Distribute Samples

People love samples. It’s also a great way to get your product or service out in front of your community without being pushy or having it become too costly.

And the more people have sampled your product or service, the easier it is for them to help you promote it. If you own a dry cleaning store, offer to do free dry cleaning for people about to go on a job interview.

If you own a hair salon, offer free haircuts to homeless people or give out free haircuts at your local senior community centre. If you own a bakery, drop off free mini-cupcakes to local businesses. 

You’ll not only get to connect with your community but you’ll instantly accumulate raving fans who are hooked on your products and are happy to refer business to you

5. Hand Out Promotional Items with Your Logo on It

Maybe you don’t have samples you can give out. That’s okay. You can still do a grassroots advertising campaign with promotional items.

Hand out free pens with your name or logo on them. Give out fun toys to kids who come into your shop. 

Not only will someone go home with a reminder of your company, but having your logo featured on it will help brand your company and make it more memorable. 

6. Write Guest Posts

If you have a knack for writing, then a smart grassroots campaign is to write guest posts for other companies. This allows you to share information with their customers and helps set you up as an expert. 

There are tons of companies looking for contributing guest posts. Doing a simple Google search will help you find sites within your industry that accept guest posts. 

Create a pitch and send it to them. Just remember to create a spreadsheet so you can keep track of which companies you’ve contacted. 

You can also contact other local companies and ask if you can write a guest post on their site. Invite them to do a guest post for your site. That way, you can cross-promote one another. 

7. Cross Promote Another Local Business

Local businesses need to stick together. The more they support one another, the more successful everyone becomes. 

Contact other local businesses and ask if they’re willing to let you display your products in their store. You may also be able to advertise your services in their store or office by leaving business cards.

If you own a dog walking business, visit local vets to see if you can leave your cards at their front desk. You can then recommend their services if one of your clients needs a vet. 

You can also do this online. Trade website links and then display each other’s links on your sites. 

8. Donate to Community Events

Silent auctions are a great way to promote your product or service and get it out in front of the public without it costing you a ton of money. Raffles are another way you can get your business in front of the public.

Don’t forget to include literature about your company along with the gift certificate or item. Not only will the recipient learn more about your brand, but so will everyone else at the raffle. 

You can also donate promotional items to community events. 

Ask for Reviews

No matter which of these grassroots marketing strategies you choose, always ask for reviews. The more people who leave positive reviews on your site, social media pages, and search engines, the more successful your business. 

If you need help collecting reviews and managing them, we can help. Click here to learn more about how we work.