Grassroots marketing is marketing carried out in the community, taking advertising to the potential customer through a variety of strategies. Grassroots marketing strategies are usually inexpensive, but they can be very effective for businesses in all stages of development. A newly formed business benefits from getting its name out, and established businesses benefit from staying on the customer’s mind. When branding -- or re-branding -- a business, grassroots marketing can quickly establish an image.
The idea of grassroots marketing is to saturate the community with talk about your business. To do this effectively, you need to keep your business’s name in front of people and on their minds. The message you send out needs to be updated often, however, or it will become repetitive and ignored. Keep your message exciting by marketing on a number of levels and combining strategy techniques. Intersperse local events with giveaways and bargains, and sustain the buzz with local partnerships.
Participating in local fairs, meetings, projects and events raises the profile of your business. Get a stall at a local fair, participate in or organize events like walk-a-thons or charity fund-raising, or donate to a local cause or fund. All communities have their own events, and participating in the community creates buzz and gets your business’s name mentioned. When you organize local events yourself, don’t forget about social networking as means of getting the word out. Set up a website, blog or a social networking page for your event and include content that will interest potential attendees.
Giving away samples of your products or services creates interest and encourages word of mouth. You have several different ways to take advantage of this strategy, and it can be tailored to suit many different business types. Restaurants donate their services for a local event, participate in local farmers’ markets, or simply give away samples. An auto-body shop might organize a classic car show in which it shows a vehicle it's reconstructed or give away a free dent removal or scratch repair.
Local partnerships help sustain a grassroots campaign. At its most basic level, this strategy means buying supplies from your customers, which encourages them to buy from you. However, local partnerships can go even further and benefit everyone. Go in with the other businesses on your block to organize and fund an event. You’ll have a bigger budget and you’ll get your name out. Set up referral programs with other businesses in the same general field, or ask related businesses to give out your business cards. For example, ask local real estate agents to include your house painting company’s business card in their informational packets.