Thoughts on Guerilla Marketing

The public launch of my new startup is in about 4 weeks. While the site will not be fully functional, I do want the ability to capture users and provide information on the full scope of whats to come. (You may not remember but my company is in the consumer internet space).

Moreover, I want to begin to get feedback from users & potential users. I think when it comes to the internet and consumers, you can’t always know how users will interact with your site until it is up and running.

My budget is limited and as this new site is consumer related I have to get as many users as possible as quickly as possible. So I am always looking for inexpensive (preferably free) tactics that can help me find users (when I flip the switch) or help me better hone my message. I think this is guerilla marketing — I don’t know the actual definition. So today I ambled over to

I took a quick look at an article titled Seven Steps for Creating Successful Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. (You need a sub to read the whole thing — sub is free). Here are some highlights.

1. Find the inherent drama within your offering.

After all, you plan to make money by selling a product or a service or both. The reasons people will want to buy from you should give you a clue as to the inherent drama in your product or service. Something about your offering must be inherently interesting or you wouldn’t be putting it up for sale. In Mother Nature breakfast cereal, it is the high concentration of vitamins and minerals.

2. Translate that inherent drama into a meaningful benefit.

Always remember that people buy benefits, not features.
People do not buy shampoo; people buy great-looking or clean or
manageable hair. People do not buy cars; people buy speed, status,
style, economy, performance, and power. Mothers of young kids do
not buy cereal; they buy nutrition, though many buy anything at all
they can get their kids to eat — anything. So find the major benefit
of your offering and write it down. It should come directly from the
inherently dramatic feature. And even though you have four or five
benefits, stick with one or two—three at most.

6. Be sure you are communicating clearly.

You may know what you’re talking about, but do your readers or
listeners? Recognize that people aren’t really thinking about your
business and that they’ll only give about half their attention to your ad— even when they are paying attention. Knock yourself out to make sure you are putting your message across. The Mother Nature company might show its ad to ten people and ask them what the main point is. If one person misunderstands, that means 10 percent of the audience will misunderstand. And if the ad goes out to 500,000 people, 50,000 will miss the main point. That’s unacceptable. One hundred percent of the audience should get the main point. The company might accomplish this by stating in a headline or subhead, “Giving your kids Mother Nature breakfast cereal is like giving your kids vitamins—only tastier.” Zero ambiguity is your goal.

This last one always concerns me the most. My site, I hope, and its features, services, products, benefits, etc. are straightforward, I think. I just won’t really know until we launch and start our marketing campaigns.

Any thoughts on ‘musts’ for marketing strategies for startups — especially online consumer sites.


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