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Grassroots Marketing – Quickly Scale Your Small Business

Written By Andy Parker
February 4, 2022

Are you looking to organically scale up your business? Would you like to establish a marketing strategy that will help improve customer retention at a low cost? Have you heard of grassroots marketing but are still unsure how to make it work? 

Well, you’re in the right place! As we’ve got just the right solution to help you scale your business in no time! 

A grassroots marketing strategy is a proven method for business development on a budget.  

Moreover, grassroots marketing is a suitable choice for any company. As it contains efficient and inexpensive marketing techniques that can boost their brand awareness. 

Whether you’re already a business owner or you are planning to become one – grassroots marketing is for you! As these quick and easy grassroots strategies will be a fantastic addition to any and all branding efforts!

Therefore, keep on reading and see how startups and small businesses managed to escalate revenue and growth. All thanks to innovative grassroots marketing techniques.

What is Grassroots marketing?

The grassroots marketing definition is not quite the same as the definition of conventional or traditional marketing.

Grassroots marketing campaigns focus on word of mouth. Therefore, a brand chooses a narrowly defined and highly specific target group of consumers to which it promotes its product. 

This niche group is persuaded to share the message the brand is trying to convey with other potential consumers. And serve as advocates for their product. 

As your narrowly targeted consumers become your brand influencers, they start influencing other like-minded members of their community. Hence, they become your broader target audience now. 

The circle keeps expanding as you retain more customers. Since more and more people start recommending your product and sharing your brand message – until it becomes GLOBAL

The magical part about a grassroots marketing campaign is that, when put in motion properly, grassroots marketing is purely organic! Isn’t it remarkable?! Moreover, it is also highly productive, and remarkably cost-effective!

Image of grass with three dollar signs on top.
Image by ISS

Still not convinced this is an effective strategy? For instance, studies have shown that in the US alone, 3.3 billion brands are mentioned through word of mouth daily

Moreover, 63% of those mentions are positive, whilst only 8% are negative.

Thus, these encouraging statistics demonstrate the fantastic opportunities. As a grassroots marketing strategy provides for startups and small businesses on a shoe-string budget, and with astonishing results!

Lastly, the ways of implementing a successful grassroots marketing strategy for your business model are numerous. So let’s check them out and see which ones accommodate your needs the best!

Consumer commercials as grassroots marketing

Many businesses are already using consumer commercials to kickstart their grassroots marketing campaign! 

This is a simple-to-implement and free method of generating content. As it only requires brands to ask customers for photos and videos of their purchased products. Later, the business will use all of it in advertising.

Besides benefiting from free advertising that organically generates more leads, brands also allow their consumers to get closer to them.

Allowing customers to be a part of the brand’s commercials makes them feel special and appreciated. Moreover, people start being connected to the brand on a level that will help in securing their loyalty.

Therefore, we all know that loyal customers love to recommend their favorite brands to others. Thus, this example of word-of-mouth is the goal behind every grassroots marketing strategy!

Infographic of five people standing and holding likes, hearts, and emojis. Metaphorical representation of satisfied customers.
Image by Revechat

Free samples for organic brand growth

Giving away free product samples is always a great tactic. As it interests potential consumers to purchase from your company and educates them about product benefits and uses. 

However, this strategy has a hidden intention – starting a grassroots marketing campaign for organic brand growth! But let us explain. 

People who received the free samples become your narrowly targeted audience that is consciously or subconsciously promoting your product. 

By simply using your product they become walking advertisements for your brand! In a split second, this will influence others to take notice and start talking more about your products and services! 

Hence, your brand recognition grows organically and reaching larger audiences. All thanks to a free sample and a fairy called Grassroots Marketing!  You can’t wait on trying it out yourself, right?

Woman's hands holding a small gift with a pink bow.
Image by Brand Authority

Participate in Charity Events

Charity events are an inexpensive way to start off your grassroots marketing campaign. Moreover, they can potentially reach thousands of people and introduce them to your brand

Do you have an opportunity to be affiliated with or sponsor different causes that are highly related to your niche? Fantastic! This is one example of how newcomers can learn about you. Use this opportunity for them to get acquainted with your products and services. 

Moreover, organizing or being affiliated with charity events – a proven way of putting your brand name under the right spotlight. 

Such participation will help you generate awareness about your company and its products.  In addition, the attendees will associate your brand name with generosity and social responsibility. 

This way, it is highly likely your company will leave a strong and positive impression on potential customers. That can lead to them saying a nice word (or two) about you to others! 

Before you know it, your newly acquired brand ambassadors will start drawing bigger crowds to try out your products! Let the grassroots games begin!

Infographic of four uneven blocks (in yellow, blue, orange, and turquoise) on which different aspects of marketing strategy are taking place.
Image by Cyber Gear

Grassroots marketing through referral bonuses 

An incentive that motivates everyone to participate is getting discounts or free stuff for conducting a simple task.

Therefore, understanding this allows a savvy marketer to motivate existing customers to refer you to like-minded consumers. As a reward, these customers get amazing discount codes, gifts or prizes. But you are not limited here, feel free to use any type of bonuses that may work for your company! 

So, what makes referral bonuses a part of grassroots marketing strategy? 

Well, as you target your loyal customers with an incentive (a bonus), you make them spokespeople for your brand! 

Thus, they start using referrals to influence others to try out your products. This might result in them become your wider audience and potential new customers! A simple, yet highly effective technique!  

Infographic of a person holding a megaphone with gifts on his side. The letters on the left say: "Refer a friend."
Image by Learn Hub

Is Grassroots marketing the same as Guerilla marketing?

Despite grassroots marketing and guerilla marketing are being confused with each other, they aren’t the same marketing strategy.

At their core, both of these amazing campaigns’ purpose is to boost sales, improve brand visibility, and scale business.

Still, let’s see what characteristics separate one from the other.

Guerilla Marketing

Many companies opt for guerilla marketing as a means of targeting larger audiences. Using a guerilla approach, companies raise brand awareness through imagination rather than investment.

Moreover, these campaigns are often subversive or humorous in nature and involve consumer interaction in public spaces to generate interest.

One good instance of a guerilla marketing campaign is McDonald’s innovative approach to promoting their French Fries.

Hence, they used the standard yellow zebra crossing to represent French Fries coming out of a familiar red box. Quite genius, we have to admit! 

McDonald's fries box painted on the street. The fries are serving as a zebra crossing.
Image by Antevenio

Grassroots Marketing

So, what is grassroots marketing then? In contrast to a guerilla marketing strategy, grassroots marketing targets a very small number of consumers. 

This tactic is used to make those consumers brand ambassadors who will spread the company’s message to a larger audience. 

Grassroots marketing can be seen as an umbrella under which a guerilla strategy can also take place. Furthermore, a guerilla strategy can be looked at as an initiative that can be incorporated into a grassroots campaign.

Four silhouettes are holding something that looks like grass above their heads.
Image by Rhizome

Some elements of guerilla marketing, such as an interactive live event, can prove highly effective. So, just incorporate them into your next grassroots marketing campaign.

It is suggested for small businesses, however, to use grassroots marketing strategies as they are exceptionally cost-effective. 

Moreover, once you start your grassroots marketing campaign and convert your consumers into brand ambassadors. Thus, the process of having them promote your brand can become an ongoing one. 

That is why, the more new customers you acquire the more brand ambassadors you will get. As it’s a chain reaction with the best possible outcome for your business!  

What is an example of a Grassroots Marketing campaign?

Another great example of a campaign that proves the potential of grassroots marketing is Movember. This campaign was made to raise awareness of men’s health issues and motivate men to lead a healthier lifestyle. 

Therefore, every November, men are encouraged to grow a mustache to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.

As the result, the inaugural Movember campaign managed to raise an astonishing $90 million! Truly a phenomenal (and virtuous) grassroots marketing campaign.

But the way, are you looking for ideas for your next advertising campaign? There are plenty of examples you can use to create a successful campaign that will increase your brand growth

Black and white portraits of eight men with mustache. The logo "Movember" is in the middle of the image.
Image by TGE

The top 5 Benefits of Grassroots marketing

Many companies opt for paid marketing due to its perceived benefits in facilitating business goals

However, if your budget is tight, you are probably not going to spend thousands of dollars on a paid marketing campaign.

That’s why you need to implement a grassroots marketing strategy

Grassroots marketing is full of benefits for your business. That is why, we’ve chosen the TOP 5 that are most likely to persuade you to try out this amazing strategy! 

Cost-effective campaigns

As mentioned earlier in this post, grassroots marketing is an inexpensive strategy.  It, once established, becomes an ongoing cycle of existing and new customers promoting your brand to other potential customers. 

A grassroots marketing strategy only requires a specified brand message and a few consumers to spread that message further. Unlike digital marketing campaigns (email marketing, SEO, paid ads, etc.), which continuously require your attention.

This approach can help you convert potential customers into paying ones, without having to go beyond your budget! 

Person putting one of the coins from the stack into a piggy bank.
Image by Freepik

Grassroots marketing campaign increases authenticity

Grassroots marketing requires you to create a highly targeted campaign for an equally specific target audience. As such, your campaign will stand out from your competitors due to its specificity to your target audience.

Most brands will likely opt for a broader campaign whilst attempting to reach a larger audience. However, such an approach can be too generic for many consumers to take notice of.

You, on the other hand, will create something innovative and valuable for your target audience. 

As your consumers realize the value of your product, they will likely start advocating for it. And this is a great contribution to your brand’s authenticity! 

Plus, the more authentic you seem the more noticeable your brand will be to new consumers! In return, they will happily share your brand’s message with others! (We could go on and on, but you get the point)

Keep in mind: More specificity = more authenticity

A meme representing Donald Trump dressed as Joker. The meme says: "Authentic, I swear."
Image by Make a meme

Improved customer loyalty with grassroots campaign

One of the many benefits of starting a grassroots marketing campaign is that it helps build customer loyalty faster. 

Due to the specificity of the campaign, you’ll send the message that is corresponding to your audience’s purchasing behavior best. 

What’s more, this type of campaign is more likely to trigger consumers’ emotions – thanks to its personalized message. Thus, your consumers will get more attached and feel a part of your brand’s community, which incites customer loyalty.

Finally, your targeted campaign will contribute to consumers engendering a feeling of similarity or closeness. Thus, they become closer to other members of the community! 

Grassroots marketing on social media 

In today’s digitalized world, most consumers are using social media platforms. Starting from searching for new products, getting to know brands, and till communicating with the companies they follow. 

Through the grassroots marketing campaign, you can make use of SoMe channels by engaging with your customers

Companies that engage with their customers via social media create long-lasting relationships with them. And achieve greater business success through building customer loyalty

What’s more? You can utilize social media platforms to get inspiration on current social media trends. Plus, get to know how you can incorporate them into your grassroots marketing campaign

Lastly, even if a grassroots campaign starts offline, consumers will photograph it and post it to social media. Later this will turn into increase of your brand awareness.

The more people repost and share things they relate to, the more like-minded people will follow you online. All of this makes them your potential customers, builds your followers, and gives you a greater social power

Infographic of a phone in the middle of the image with like and heart reactions coming out of it. Four people on each side are liking and sharing the post on the phone.
Image by Bluoo Digital

Improving brand image 

One of the benefits of starting a grassroots campaign is the possibility to enlarge your global community

Due to the specific audience and brand message, you can start cooperating with event organizers, charity foundations, influencers, and businesses. It can be anyone from your niche, who can help spread your message. 

Participating in niche events allows you to engage with your potential customers. Moreover, here you get an opportunity to educate them about your brand at a low cost.

Finally, your company will be recognized as amiable and customer-friendly. Plus, you can be considered as the one that focuses on customer satisfaction and well-being above all else.

It will become a company that people would love to share with other members of the community. All the efforts will ultimately help your brand become recognized globally!

Examples of grassroots marketing ideas that lead to success

Grassroots marketing campaigns have contributed to many small businesses’ success. 

These companies have wisely chosen specific strategies and techniques of grassroots marketing. These techniques served as a contribution into increasing their brand recognition at a low cost. 

We have chosen five highly profitable businesses that started small and became world-renown and highly valued among their customers. 


Founded: 2002
Media: Social Media, YouTube

A man wakeboarding on a GoPro board.
Image by Askmen

There is hardly a person alive who hasn’t heard of the revolutionary GoPro camera and hasn’t wished to have one! Rightly so! GoPro has been a master of grassroots marketing for many years. 

GoPro was founded by surfing enthusiast Nick Woodman who decided to develop a small, durable, and portable camera. This turned out to be a game-changer in extreme sports. But instead of investing in costly marketing campaigns – he opted for a grassroots strategy.

He encouraged users to make videos of their adventures with GoPro cameras and used them as advertisements for his product! The consumer commercial campaign was known as “Let Your Audience Express Themselves.” 

By posting the consumers’ videos on YouTube, GoPro gained recognition. And became the number one camera brand for filming adventures and dangerous sports! 

Why is GoPro a fantastic example of Grassroots Marketing?

What made GoPro brand stand out from the crowd was its unique video content. What’s more, GoPro was extremely cost-effective since its advocates were the consumers of the brand.

GoPro wisely targeted its product towards adrenaline junkies who wanted to share their adventures with the rest of the world.

The campaign reached an astonishing number of consumers organically through social media and its customers’ word-of-mouth. Today, GoPro’s YouTube channel has over 10 million subscribers – with a lot of engagement and sharing! 

Video by GoPro

GoPro continues to run grassroots campaigns until today, with Be a Hero being one of the more recent ones. 

Daniel Wellington 

Founded: 2011
Media: Social Media

A screenshot of Daniel Wellington home page. Black background with a black watch coming out of water on the right side and words "Set it in motion" on the left.
Image by Daniel Wellington

Daniel Wellington has become a symbol for simplistic yet elegantly designed watches that every fashionista must have! 

How did it happen, though? Well, “blame” Filip Tysander (the founder) and his grassroots marketing

Back in 2010, Filip Tysander went on a trip to Australia where he met a man named David Wellington. Wellington’s Rolex inspired Tysander to start his own watch production company. The rest is history.

Or not quite! The Daniel Wellington company was founded in 2011 on a very tight budget. This limitation pushed Tysander to think outside of the box and start a social media campaign

The strategy they used was gifting influencers with a DW watch. The influencers’s task was to post and use a hashtag #DanielWellington. Soon, people started hearing about the brand, which quickly became a scalable business!

How did Daniel Wellington make use of Grassroots Marketing Strategy?

It is no exaggeration to say that Daniel Wellington revolutionized raising brand awareness through Instagram influencers. Influencers who were gifted the watch would post the content with the brand offering a discount code to potential customers. 

Interestingly, Daniel Wellington didn’t just focus on renowned influencers, but worked with micro-influencers as well. And this gave them an entrance to more targeted and closed communities of like-minded people!

The brand offers an expensive-looking product at an affordable price. That is definitely a value proposition that is highly appealing to its target audience.

Hailey Bieber's photo taken for Daniel Wellington wathc campaign.
Image by World of Watches

Daniel Wellington is still sticking to their grassroots approach. They now engage their customers by offering them gifts in exchange for posting a photo of their DW watch. Word of mouth strategy at its best! 

Today, DW counts almost 5 million followers on Instagram only! 


Founded: 2010
Media: Social Media, E-commerce

Glossier beauty bags in pin held by a woman in a bathrobe.
Image by StyleCaster

Seeing life through rose-colored glasses? Or maybe you have just been scrolling through Glossier’s Instagram feed

What started as a blog Into the Gloss in 2010 became one of the leading companies in the cosmetics industry. Only after 4 years!

The founder, Emily Weiss, always made one thing her top priority – her readers and later loyal customers. She used social media and micro-influencer marketing to build a brand image that heavily relied on customer satisfaction and engagement. Grassroots marketing 101!

Glossier’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) business model allows them to stay very close to their consumers. And customize their marketing campaigns to appeal to their loyal customers. They, in return, will spread the brand message to other people.

What is hiding behind Glossier’s success story?

We would guess a lot of hard work and many smart decisions – one of which was using grassroots marketing strategies!

First and foremost, Glossier narrowly targeted their products. Main group – customers aged 18-24, who prefer a natural look due to their “busy lifestyle”. 

What Glossier also excelled in was making the most of Social Media and employing SoMe followers as micro-influencers. As the result, they made the brand visible to larger audiences. 

Glossier's products against a pink background
Image by Frontrowedit

Hence, with almost 3 million Instagram followers, we can only imagine the number of people they reach. Imaging the numbers being generated through sharesreposts, and word of mouth. Glossier portrays their brand as customer-centric, which is a key to long-term success! 

P.S. Did you know that more than 70% of Glossier’s traffic and sales come from customer referrals? (Our jaws dropped too, no worries!)


Founded: 2009
Media: YouTube

Cassey Ho doing pilates.
Image by Shape

If you are a pilates fan, you must have heard of Blogilates! It is the number one YouTube channel for fitness enthusiasts

Blogilates was founded by Cassey Ho in 2009. And it is a truly interesting case of an unintentional grassroots social media success. Cassey was a fitness instructor, but after moving to another city, she started making exercise videos for her old students.

Her students gradually started sharing her videos with others, and her audience started spreading. Before you knew it, Blogilates was established as a company. Additionally, many influencers started talking about and promoting on their social media channels

Today, Cassey Ho is among the 25 most influential people on the internet according to TIME Magazine! What a success story!

Blogilates Grassroots Marketing strategy explained

How did Blogilates become so successful? Simple: Blogilates fostered a niche target audience of dedicated advocates.

Screenshot of Blogilates webpage with Cassey Ho on the right side.
Image by Nitter

Her former students and pilates enthusiasts used social media and word of mouth to spread the message. As Ho’s followers grew in number, her brand became recognized by social media influencers. Later, they started promoting it on their SoMe platforms.  

As a result, grassroots marketing helped Cassey gather 5.5 million YouTube subscribers and 2 million Instagram followers. And, on top of that, it helped her to become the owner of a multi-million dollar company!


Founded: 2010
Media: Social Media, Web

Buffer logo
Image by PC

Buffer is a post-scheduling tool for social media that uses grassroots marketing strategy for its own social media promotion! It is no secret that Buffer used content marketing to increase their brand awareness. But how exactly did they do that? 

Buffer’s grassroots marketing campaign consisted of three steps: 

Let’s explain. Buffer secured backlinks through their work with guest posts. As they are crucial for driving organic traffic, gaining domain authority, and being recognized in Google search

Thanks to guest posts, they had the viewership to start targeting audiences with content that was shareable. Hence, more and more people started recognizing Buffer.

Finally, consistency in posting secured them loyal followers who today make a community of more than 1.2 million users

Grassroots marketing ideas we can take from Buffer

Buffer showed that innovative and slightly unusual approaches to branding can pay off. Their three-step grassroots marketing campaign ensured their long-lasting success on the market.

Buffer’s recipe for absolute success includes three ingredients! The “ingregiendts” are Guest posts with backlinks, content that was targeted at the right audience, and continual consistency

The founder himself became the biggest brand advocate for Buffer. In the first 9 months since he established the company, he had written over 150 guest posts. No further explanation needed about how much that helped him drive traffic to his website! 

He estimates that in those months, only through guest posts and backlinks, he gained around 100000 users

Screenshot of Buffer's website showing the features of the tool.
Image by TrustRadius

Today, Buffer has a yearly revenue of $16 million. Furthermore, it operates on iOS, Android, and web platforms. Plus, it is a preferred app for post scheduling by many! 

Have you started with guest posts already? 

A step-by-step guide to quickly scale your business with grassroots marketing 

After establishing what grassroots marketing is, it is time to see the steps of a grassroots marketing campaign. As that will secure your small business’s rise to a multi-million dollar corporation

We have created a guide with simple, yet highly effective steps. Thus, we hope it’ll help you with your next marketing strategy. As we are sure you are going to love it! Let’s check it out! 

Audience research and segmentation

Most importantly, a key to successful grassroots marketing is knowing who your target audience is. 

Demographic research can help you learn more about your consumers’ age, location, education, etc.

More importantly, learn about your audience’s interests, pain points, and things they care about. As these points will incentivize them to engage with your content and start sharing it with like-minded people.

Therefore, gathering this information will help you create more targeted and effective campaigns to appeal to their personas. 

Thus, the more targeted and personalized your campaign, the better your chances are that your customers will love it. And when they love the campaign – they start spreading the word about your brand to others! 

Infographic of demographic research.
Image by Econ-ity

Choose the brand ambassadors (optional step) 

Make sure you gathered enough information about your target audience and decided what type of content you want to create. Later you can add an optional step and research potential brand ambassadors within your targeted group! 

Hence, finding influencers and micro-influencers can help you increase your brand recognition faster. So do it by offering them incentives to advocate for your brand on social media

And don’t forget to send the influencers a free product for a social media post with your brand on it. Additionally, you can provide decent discounts on your products for their followers. This way, you are ready to cooperate with the influencers and begin a partnership with them!

Infographic of four mobile phones, a megaphone, and people. In the middle of the image stands the word "Influencer"
Image by Commbox

Content optimization

It is possible you won’t be looking for targeting large audiences upon starting your grassroots campaign. However, we want to remind about the importance of content optimization. As it is still important for ensuring targeted consumers will receive your message.

You should make sure that your content:

  • Works on all social media platforms
  • Contains keywords
  • Has engaging visuals
  • Engages consumers

If your list of must-haves is checked, you are good to go! Your content is now sharable and people will surely enjoy engaging with your brand and informing others about it! 

Infographic representation of a laptop with people working on Content Optimization and SEO.
Image by The Web Hospitality

Evoke an emotional response

Creating content that will stimulate emotional responses can go a long way. The result of the way is establishing trustworthy and long-lasting relationships that will bring in new customers.

People love reading content that appeals to them and triggers their emotions. As the result, this will motivate them to spread the word and show it to other like-minded people. 

Therefore, remember to include a lot of useful information. It can be something that can educate consumers on how your brand can benefit them or improve their lives.

Infographic representation of two people analyzing a face of a happy customer on a big screen.
Image by Freepik

Ask customers to share your content

The basic principle of grassroots marketing strategy is spreading your brand name through word of mouth without breaking your budget.

Therefore, start engaging with your customers and social media followers. And please don’t forget to motivate them to share your posts and brand message with others.

Offering incentives for referrals is a proven method for reaching larger audiences and raising your brand awareness

Four people standing against the wall and looking at their phones. The icons representing different activities on phone and social media are standing above them.
Image by Medium

Bonus tips for successful grassroots marketing

Now you know what grassroots marketing is and how it differs from guerilla marketing. You’ve also learnt what the steps for a successful grassroots campaign are. Therefore, it is time to put in that last piece of the puzzle! So it is your time to create a campaign that will get the brand recognized worldwide!

Following in the footsteps of other small businesses, you can be assured of your company’s success!

However, before you go, we have prepared one BONUS TIP for you! An additional thing you can do to start your grassroots campaign is playing with little controversy. 

Controversial content can quickly become a hit on social media that will escalate your brand visibility

Check out what the current trends are, be creative, and put a spin on the content that your followers love!

To sum up, we hope you are impatient start making your perfect campaign with these amazing grassroots marketing examples! Good luck and let us know how it is working out for you! 

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