I’ve managed to successfully promote my businesses online using guerrilla marketing.
Every single time, my tactics were similar: join relevant communities, provide value and knowledge so people see you as a go-to expert. This works well for both online and offline businesses, as you’re about to see.
Several years ago, when I started selling my own private label on Amazon, I joined multiple Facebook groups related to selling on the platform. I already had experience with buying from Alibaba and negotiating with Chinese sellers from my day job.
So, after just a few comments and answers to questions in those groups – which were packed with people buying something on Alibaba for the first time – I was quickly seen as a guy who knows what he’s talking about.
I had no intention of promoting myself, but soon I started receiving multiple direct messages from people asking for help. Initially, I offered advice free of charge, but as the volume of requests grew, I had to start charging a fee.
This wasn’t just about compensation for my time; it helped distinguish those who seriously needed immediate help from the merely curious. Had I joined those groups as a course seller trying to peddle my business, I’d probably have been kicked out quickly. But sharing knowledge freely can make you stand out to those willing to pay for expertise.
A similar thing happened with this blog, which began as a hobby. Most of my target audience was on Reddit and Quora at the time, and so was I. Promoting my blog directly there would have been pointless and likely seen as spammy. Instead, I did what I had done with the Facebook groups.
I began answering questions on Quora relevant to my niche. In a few months, I gained over 2 million answer views and almost 2,000 followers. Simultaneously, I started writing guides on Reddit. In the first two weeks, I had two top posts in r/entrepreneur, with one being one of the most upvoted posts of all time.
This exposure led to journalists reaching out to me, and one of my posts landed me an interview on Yahoo Finance. The same Yahoo journalist contacted me several times over the years for input, quoting me as an expert in her stories. Even now, almost seven years later, people reach out because of that post, asking additional questions since the comments are now closed.
Now, how does this translate to an offline business? A friend of mine owns a small local aquarium shop. He was doing okay, but nothing spectacular. Back then, forums were all the rage (I’m not sure if Facebook groups even existed), and he started being active on a local online forum for fish enthusiasts.
After a few months, he had established himself as one of the most knowledgeable guys about fish in our city. His business exploded. People began coming to his store to ask questions, they came whenever they had a problem with their aquarium, and naturally, they often bought something during their visits.
They started recommending his shop to others because they knew they would get all the necessary info on how to care for their fish. He wasn’t just a fish salesman anymore; he was seen as a consultant.
The same principle can be adapted to any business. But here’s the catch: if you’re selling watches and don’t have more knowledge about them than the average Joe, then good luck. The key is to offer genuine value and expertise that sets you apart.
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