Spread the word about your products, events and/or services by hitting the streets with a marketing street team. Just what is that? Well, think of it as a street army of brand advocates who want to promote your business.
Street teams tend to work best for businesses with cool or trendy products or for those that host fun events, but they can be useful for most businesses when they are:
Hosting a grand opening
If you are opening your storefront for the first time or launching a second location, send a street team out to busy areas to make people aware of your new business or location. Hand out coupons and marketing brochures that explain opening-day sales to locals. Also, give them t-shirts to wear that include your store name and logo to promote your brand.
Launching a new product
You need street teamers to be advocates of the product, so they must be familiar with it. Bring them into your store or office to teach them all about the new product, and give them hands-on experience using it. Once you've done that, send the team out to talk to people about the features and benefits of the product and to share promotional materials with potential customers.
If possible, give street teamers samples of the product to hand out to customers, or let them take a product along so they can show people what it looks like, how it works and so on. This approach can apply to both physical and virtual products; for example, you can celebrate the launch of a new mobile app by sending out a street team to hand out free gift cards or swag to people who download the app.
If none of these options are possible for your product or service, set up a demonstration area near your store location, and ask the street team to encourage potential customers to stop by and learn all about the product. You may consider offering free snacks, drinks or live entertainment to attract potential visitors.
Holding an event
Whether it is an outdoor advertising blitz, concert, charity event or some other live performance, send a street team out to hand out fliers, direct people where to buy tickets and hang posters. Other local businesses are usually happy to help you promote community events, so the street team can ask those businesses to post fliers in their stores.
Building Your Team
Now, if you love the idea of a street team and want to make it part of your 2014 marketing strategy, follow these steps to build a team:
1. Decide what incentives you will offer.
Most people won't waste their time for nothing. Even your biggest advocates will want something in return for hoofing around the streets all day. If you can't pay your street team members, offer them other perks: free products, free admission to an event or steep discounts. You could also position the job as an internship and offer college credit to anyone who joins your team. Additionally, teach them workplace skills—such as using software, managing a team, designing brochures or writing marketing copy—that they can put on their resumes.
2. Come up with an approach that grabs attention.
Flash mobs have become really popular among marketers. After coming up with a dance routine, you can send your team out to surprise potential customers and to hand out promotional information. Or you could recruit performers to act out a show in front of your building or in another location wearing shirts with your name and logo on them. If either of those ideas sounds like too much work, ask your teams to dress in crazy costumes that reflect your brand, an upcoming event or holiday, and have them hand out fliers to passersby. Sometimes, asking them to do a quick chant as they walk down the street is enough to grab and hold people's attention.
3. Invite your fans to join your team.
Your street team must consist of people who are enthusiastic about your products or services. Reach out to your No. 1 customers, or ask employees and their families to participate. Recruit street teams through your social media sites and your website. Just make sure you leave enough time for quick interviews with the people joining your teams. You want to ensure that they have the right personality and attitude and are comfortable talking to people.
4. Hold an orientation.
You need to instruct your street team and set expectations, as well as build a sense of teamwork. Providing guidance to them will prevent confusion and ensure that the marketing effort is a success. In addition to scheduling a meet-and-greet with the team, create a package of materials that contains:
- A thank-you letter that shows your appreciation for them joining the team.
- Information about your business, product, service or event.
- Establish the job. If these are one-time freelancers, make sure that they sign an agreement that explains the position and how much they will be compensated. A thorough job description can help establish your expectations and goals for the team.
- Rules. Street teams are supposed to be fun for the members, so you don't want to be too restrictive, but do establish some basic guidelines about dress and behavior. These people are representing your brand, and you don't want them to tarnish it with inappropriate actions.
- Review safety procedures. Review any precautions you’d like the team to take and any emergency procedures. Consider asking them to sign a liability waiver.
- Route map. Use simple maps to highlight the areas teams should cover. This is especially important if you have more than one team because you don't want two teams covering the same territory.
5. Make it fun.
Hosting some get-togethers with food, music and games is a great way to build friendships among team members as well as to give them an incentive to keep working with you.