Think back to the last time you stumbled upon a piece of web content that changed the way you felt or thought about a topic — something that made you feel genuinely seen, heard, and understood.
Did it empower, motivate, and inspire you when it comes to something important to you? The chances are excellent that it did.
And if there were products, services, or brands attached to the content in question, you probably left the experience feeling pretty great about them, as well.
You may even have eventually made a purchasing decision that reflected those feelings.
That’s the power of grassroots marketing at work, and you can use it to give your content production the same kind of power.
Ready to know more? Keep reading!
What is Grassroots Marketing?
Grassroots marketing is similar to other niche marketing strategies in that it seeks to reach a small, highly niched target audience.
However, it’s about more than just brand-building or closing a new sale on a product or service.
Instead, the underlying aim of grassroots marketing is to motivate that audience to share, spread, and amplify your message using channels of their own.
A successful grassroots marketing campaign not only reaches its target audience but mobilizes them to act.
The idea is to make your audience believe in your message so strongly that they’ll do your marketing for you. Think of it as an incredibly effective form of word-of-mouth marketing.
How Does Grassroots Marketing Benefit Your Content Production Campaign?
Digital age web content does best when it’s authentic and personal, and a grassroots marketing strategy ties right in with those values.
So here’s a closer look at how including one in your content marketing plans can help you take things to an entirely new level.
If you’re serious about cultivating a healthy bottom line, you need to make every penny of your content marketing budget count.
Grassroots marketing helps you do this in a couple of ways.
To begin with, it’s often less expensive to market to a smaller, more niche audience. Plus, in a successful grassroots marketing campaign, your audience handles much of the ongoing marketing for you, saving you a potential fortune in time, money, and labor.
It helps you connect with your audience
Today’s consumers expect more from the brands they buy from than just excellent service and a terrific catalog of products to choose from.
They want personal relationships with the companies behind those brands, and they want to feel like their purchasing decisions make them part of something greater.
Grassroots-style content marketing can help you establish the kind of connection that inspires the type of ongoing loyalty you’re after.
It leverages the power of social proof
Naturally, part of a marketer’s hope with any type of web content is that it will resonate with a target audience strongly enough for them to share it around.
Many even dare to dream of going viral, and with good reason. There’s nothing like solid social proof to make people sit up and take notice.
Grassroots marketing is all about encouraging it, so it’s a must for any savvy content professional.
In other words, the grassroots approach can really give your content a powerful voice, not to mention legs that eventually help it find an even larger audience.
How to Run a Successful Grassroots Marketing Campaign
Successful marketing efforts of any kind always start with careful planning and a firm foundation they can grow from on an ongoing basis, and grassroots marketing campaigns are no exception.
Here’s what you need to know to develop winning campaigns that get results.
1. Learn all there is to know about your target audience
Although it’s always important in marketing to know your target audience intimately, it’s nonnegotiable in grassroots marketing.
Keep in mind that you’re targeting a small, highly specific group of people in the hopes that they’ll be moved enough to spread your message far and wide on your behalf.
The content you serve them had better be something exceptional. Make sure it fits the bill by doing deep research on your audience.
What do they care about most? What types of content do they most readily share across their own social media channels?
Then, use what you learn to create content they won’t be able to resist. Knowing your buyer persona might help a lot with this.
2. Tell an incredible story
Nothing helps a content creator connect to an audience like a great story.
Stories draw people in, take them on a journey, and stir emotions throughout the entire process.
Great grassroots marketing content should seek to do the same, so it’s time to put on your storyteller’s hat.
Just be sure to frame your story around a critical aspect of your core audience’s collective identity.
Are they parents who want the absolute best for their kids? Create content around the idea of healthy, loving child-parent relationships.
Are they environmentalists who care deeply about healing our world? Try weaving a compelling narrative around sustainability.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and consider what might inspire you to smash that share button yourself.
3. Don’t cast too wide a net
While it’s true that part of what you want with a grassroots campaign is for it to spread and perhaps even evolve into a movement, keep in mind that it never starts that way.
All good grassroots campaigns begin with tiny groups of people, so identify who those people will be and focus all your energy on them.
Remember, the idea is to activate this initial group and inspire them to act further on your behalf, so the goal here is to get them to share and discuss the content.
Then, trust the power of word-of-mouth recommendation to carry it even further.
4. Include powerful visuals
Not only is the average modern consumer’s attention span growing ever shorter, but people are getting busier.
They also have tens of thousands of marketing messages vying for their attention every day.
That said, putting together amazing content for your grassroots campaign isn’t enough on its own. You still have to get people to stop scrolling long enough to give it their attention.
That’s why grassroots marketing content should include powerful, eye-catching visuals whenever possible.
Not only do options like photos and videos keep your content from getting lost in the shuffle, but they make your content more shareable, as well.
5. Include a call to action
Naturally, you know your grassroots campaign is all about inspiring action, but your audience isn’t psychic.
So what exactly is it that you want them to do? Are you looking to get them to purchase a specific product, donate to a cause, or perhaps simply share the content?
Tell them that explicitly with a clear, compelling call to action.
People like being told what they should do. Calls to action help you accurately communicate your wishes to your audience once you’ve successfully captured their attention.
Of course, they do the same for people who will see that same content in the future, as well.
Great Examples of Successful Grassroots Marketing Campaigns
Want a better read on what world-class grassroots marketing looks like in action? Check out these legendary examples of how to do it right.
Leading gum brand Extra nailed grassroots storytelling with their emotional series of commercials.
One example featured a father and daughter bonding by using their Extra gum wrappers to make beautiful origami birds. Another shows a young man using doodles drawn on Extra gum wrappers to express his feelings for the young woman he loves.
Both stories speak directly to an audience’s most treasured, deeply held values and successfully associate them with Extra gum.
The powerful storytelling also helps the commercials stick in your head long after you’ve watched them.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity’s underlying mission is all about the belief that everyone should have access to affordable, decent living environments.
Their “Use Your Voice” campaign was meant to mobilize young people and raise awareness, and it did an excellent job of both.
Use Your Voice quickly became the non-profit organization’s most popular video that year. It was also created with easy sharing in mind.
HRH’s various affiliates could add their own custom URL to the end of the video to direct viewers toward their local chapters. The video itself even wound up dubbed in several different languages.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Before this iconic ice bucket challenge, many people were not aware of ALS, but that was far from the case after.
The challenge involved tagging friends on social media and challenging them to create a video of them getting a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads.
Participants were then required to donate to the ALS Association.
Saying this campaign went viral is a serious understatement. It grew so large and spread so far, even celebrities and other highly influential people participated.
And the rules of the challenge had shareability built right in, making it even more effective.
Wrap Up: Stay Trend-Savvy to Keep Your Grassroots Marketing Efforts on Point
As you can see, the key to a genuinely stellar grassroots marketing campaign is laser-sharp focus when it comes to not only understanding an audience but knowing what kind of content will appeal most to them.
Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to content marketing trends can help you get it right the first time.
Ready to learn what’s already hot and set to get even hotter this year?
Check out our comprehensive guide to the most important content marketing trends, and make your next marketing project a massive success.