In today’s economy, traditional mass media advertising (newspapers, TV, radio) may not be within your budget. A grassroots approach—using alternative media and promotional tactics—is the perfect way to make a big impact with your campaign. The grassroots approach might even be the most strategic way to get your business noticed, because it largely relies on thinking outside of the box.

We explain how nontraditional marketing was used to promote a unique client: Satori, the first eco-friendly apartment rental community in Fort Lauderdale. Which of these strategies might you use to make a big impact with a limited budget?

#1: Be Creative with Media
With a small portion of the budget allotted for print advertising, placement decisions had to be very strategic. By running ads in community newsletters and local niche magazines (especially issues focused on eco-features), targeted readers were informed of all the unique ‘green’ amenities at Satori.

Taking advantage of roadside space at the construction site to flaunt colorful, billboard-sized signage further increased awareness and name recognition.

#2: Interact with the Community
To complement the apartment rental community’s Zen theme, pedi-cabs (also known as “rickshaws”) were hired to give free rides at special events, like the Las Olas Art Festival. The cabs–and drivers!–were branded with Satori graphics, and riders were provided information and handouts. Not only did this improve local brand awareness, but the free rides extended good will throughout the community.

Satori was also advised to make strategic decisions to sponsor local events, such as an eco-friendly exhibit at the Museum of Discovery and Science and a membership meeting of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, which was hosted on-site at the leasing center.

#3: Expand the “Dot Com”
The ad agency’s web development team utilized SEO tactics, blogging and a controlled pay-per-click campaign to achieve weekly site visits of over 500 unique visitors–generating an average of 50 leads per week for Satori. Today, the website ranks on the first two pages of Google with over 200 keywords.

#4: Befriend Technology
Website functionality was then expanded to include an interactive touch-screen display. This cutting-edge feature allowed potential renters to select floor plans by defining their own criteria, and then acquire real-time rates and availability. They could also click to explore local points of interest.

Mobile marketing was employed to boost awareness. Ads encouraged viewers to text a special code word to #34343 to get directions to the leasing center and updates about upcoming promotions. The code word changed for each campaign  so the response could be tracked and measured. The big sell was that each text automatically qualified its sender to win six months of free rent!

But did these creative grassroots tactics drive traffic to the leasing center? Ultimately, the campaign created enough buzz to keep Satori top-of-mind for Fort Lauderdale’s new lessees. Residents were ready and eager to move in when the property opened this month.

Satori’s success makes it obvious: you don’t need a giant budget to market your business–just an open mind, and big ideas.