When you advertise your small business, it’s essential to stand out. Traditional advertising methods might get your message across, but guerilla advertising can help you stand out memorably

Guerilla advertising is a promotional strategy that uses unconventional, surprising, or eye-catching methods. It can help you develop a daring and unique reputation and build buzz around your brand

If this concept is new to you, it might seem overwhelming to try for your small business. But we can help you grasp the approach and use it effectively. 

This guide covers guerilla advertising tactics, including:

  • Examples of guerilla advertising
  • What tactics can make it effective? 
  • Guerrilla advertising ideas

See also: What is guerilla marketing? 

What are some examples of guerilla advertising? 

IKEA

The affordable furniture store IKEA is known for its unique guerrilla advertising methods. The company once set up their products, such as furniture, tables, and curtains, around Manhattan and Paris. 

The public art instalments decorated the streets, growing IKEA’s brand awareness in a unique way. 

Source: Marketing Logic

McDonald’s 

McDonald’s is known for its unconventional advertising tactics. For example, the company once painted a pedestrian crosswalk to look like McDonald’s fries. 

On another occasion, McDonald’s turned a pothole into a massive cup of steaming coffee. 

These large art instalments caught their audience’s attention, leading to more buzz around the fast food brand. 

Source: Marketing Birds

IHOP

In 2018, the American breakfast chain, IHOP, sparked buzz through guerilla marketing. They changed their name from International House of Pancakes to International House of Burgers (IHOB). 

This was a fake publicity stunt to promote their new burger menu, and it became a sensation on social media channels. 

Source: Forbes

Greene King

The pub company Greene King earned recognition when it created a community advertisement filmed by many local pub owners. 

This advert was unconventionally low budget and personable to show the company valued local pubs. It actively fought against the threat of corporate retail taking over these locations. 

Guerilla advertising tactics to make it effective   

Though guerilla advertising can help you stand out, it’s essential to go about it smartly. We’ll cover a few tactics for an effective strategy. 

Know your audience 

Larger companies like McDonald’s might want to get everyone talking. But with a small business, you’ll likely focus on a more specific audience.

So, to make a guerilla advertising campaign that gets people talking, you’ll need to know your target audience. 

Understanding who you want to reach will help you develop your advertising idea in a way that surprises those people specifically. 

To learn more, check out our article on how to define your target audience

Choose your location well 

If you understand who your target audience is, you’ll be able to predict their behaviour and where to find them. 

For example, say you target a younger, tech-savvy audience. In this case, you might choose to pull a guerilla advertising stunt on TikTok. As a result, your audience will be more likely to see it. 

Be unique 

To make your advertising truly ‘guerilla’, it’ll need to be unique. If you try something many businesses have done before, you’ll probably fail to earn a lot of attention. 

But, if you try something daring and new? Well, that’s the name of the game. 

Here are a few ways to check if your idea is fresh and new: 

  • Google it to see if anything comes up.
  • Look at what your competitors are doing. 
  • Compare it to your past advertising. 
  • Hold a focus group or send out a survey to see what people think. 

Use wit and humour 

Also, if you incorporate playful tactics and witty language, you can stand out more easily. With a humorous tone, you can connect with your audience. Plus, you can use humour to set your advertising apart. 

For example, you could make fun of your own business or wittily call out competitors for mistakes.  

5 guerilla advertising ideas for small businesses

Let’s go over a few ideas for guerilla marketing that you can incorporate into or use to inspire your campaign.

Stickers 

You could try designing stickers to leave around public places. With an expertly targeted sticker campaign, you can catch people’s attention unexpectedly. 

Also, consider incorporating QR codes on your stickers so people can learn more about your business. Finding stickers can feel like a thrilling scavenger hunt for your audience. 

Street art 

Much like the McDonald’s examples, you could use graffiti or street art to get your message across. An exciting visual experience can catch the attention of people passing by. 

Street art can come in all different forms, such as: 

  • Chalk artworks. 
  • Pavement spray paint.
  • Interactive art instalments. 

For example, say you run a coffee shop. You could use a nearby brick wall to write a message like ‘You need coffee now’ in chalk. Then, sign your shop title or social media handle at the bottom. 

Or you could spray paint the pavement with arrows directing people towards your shop with the message ‘caffeine this way’. 

You can also prompt people to take pictures and share the art on their social media channels.  

Still, when using this method, be sure to ask permission first to avoid a fine for vandalism.  

Creative posters 

Have you ever seen a poster on a community board promoting a business or event? You could easily twist this idea into guerilla advertising. Instead of just leaving a standard A4 flyer, you could create a unique eye-popping shape.

For example, if you’re promoting a bike shop, you could create a massive, bicycle-shaped poster with pins that let the wheels turn. This surprising look might encourage people to stop and look at it rather than just walking by. 

Video projections or lights

Incorporating videos or lights can also be a great idea for guerrilla advertising. 

For example, you could project a relevant video or advertisement onto a public wall or the front of your shop. Or you could project your logo with a laser, like the bat symbol.  

This visual experience can draw attention to your business and get people talking about you. 

Popup shops 

You might also try doing a popup shop in a public location to draw attention to your business. Say you run a makeup artist business, you might set up a table in the middle of a park on a nice spring day and offer unique spring looks. 

Guerilla advertising to grow your audience  

Using these guerilla advertising tactics to promote your business, you can develop your brand image and earn new customers. Just remember to: 

  • Understand your target audience.
  • Choose your location wisely. 
  • Find a unique approach. 
  • Incorporate wit and humour.

Once you direct people towards your business, you may still need to win them over to secure their business. If you’d like to strengthen these skills, check out our article on how to improve sales techniques.  

Organise your money with a clever financial app 

As you earn new customers through your guerilla marketing, you’ll need to organise your finances using the best tools. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 
Start your three-month free trial today.

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