The term "guerrilla" used to get a pretty bad rap. Our dear comrades in South America associated it with armies or military tactics, but today it gets thrown around quite a bit in discussions about online marketing.
Yes, it's a bit ironic that principles most associated with Che Guevara's Marxist revolution are being applied to capitalism but such is life.
Guerrilla, in the marketing sense, means a subversive, street-level scares. But with such a high ROI and potential for success, online businesses have been increasingly innovative in their interactions with customers.
www.IWearYourShirt.com is a great example of this creativity in action. For a small fee the company will create a YouTube video to share with their tens of thousands of followers. They'll also wear a shirt with your company's name on it, taking your online campaign off like an old t-shirt, and opening new acquisition channels that never would have been possible with a website alone. Not only are you getting the online activity you need to keep people engaged with your business, but you also get the notable benefit of having your online business publicized with offline techniques. A useful tool indeed for the company looking to establish an army of dedicated brand ambassadors.
Moving on, the principles of social entrepreneurship can also be very useful in generating activity for your online business through word of mouth and online networks. Social entrepreneurship is a business with a cause; you're not only concerned with the bottom line, but also with ensuring your work is making a difference in communities. It's an amazingly productive way to get people involved and engaged with your business and ultimately mobilize online as brand ambassadors.
TOMS Shoes is probably the most well-known example of a successful social-entrepreneurial venture. The premise of the business is simple: for every pair of shoes sold they will donate one additional pair to a child in need. Not only to people get cool looking shoes, but they also get to feel good about their purchase.
But an online business doesn't even need to go this far. For example, for every water bottle sold by Drink Give, a portion can be donated to the customer's charity of choice. This has two benefits. One, it gets your community of shoppers excited about purchasing your product and more likely to enlist others to do so; you can build a strong base of brand ambassadors with a simple click of a button. But it also adds an offline face to your business that is rarely seen in the online community and could be just what it takes to get customers mobilized for your product.
The phrase "innovate or die" gets thrown around a lot in the business community, and nowhere is this as important as in online marketing. There's a lot of noise of the internet that could distract a customer from your business or prevent them from becoming passionate about your product.
Che Guevara may not have seen it coming, but the online business that is able to connect with its supporters through multiple acquisition channels is best suited to building a strong base of brand ambassadors and, if it's up your alley, try and lead a marxist revolution in South America (maybe).
This post first appeared on Social Media Today.