5 Grassroots Marketing Ideas And Examples For 2023

Marketers typically trade with two currencies – money and time. Businesses that have large marketing budgets tend to spend them on campaigns that bring them customers quickly. 

You need money to run PPC ads or an influencer marketing campaign – and these campaigns deliver results quite instantaneously. 

When you do not have a marketing budget, you opt for “free” channels like SEO or social media marketing. While you do not necessarily have to spend money on these campaigns, the time it takes to deliver results can be excruciatingly long. 

Grassroots marketing is one such category where the marketer trades with time, instead of money – as you do with PPC ad campaigns.

As the name suggests, Grassroots marketing refers to a campaign that targets the grassroots, or a small niche section of the customer base, and strives to grow up from there to a larger, wider audience.

This is ideal for businesses that are bootstrapped and do not have a budget. The objective here is to restrict your marketing campaign to a highly motivated buyer – and repeat this process so you grow from the grassroots to a bigger audience.

If you are a freelancer or a small startup, chances are that you have already deployed one of the many grassroots marketing strategies. 

In this article, we are going to see dozens of different grassroots marketing ideas and how they have been implemented in the real world.

Idea: Cold Emails

You may have not realized it, but each time you send an outreach message to a prospective client, you are executing a grassroots marketing campaign. There is of course a debate on whether you can call this a marketing campaign since this is essentially sales 101. However, considering that cold emailing is a customer acquisition strategy deployed by businesses with zero budget, it won’t be entirely wrong to call this a grassroots campaign. 

Ironically though, one reason why cold email is so popular is because it can be highly personalized and automated thanks to the tools available today. While your campaign is no longer ‘zero budget’ with these tools, they help you identify the right audience to go after, seek their contact details with just click of a button, schedule emails to thousands of people in bulk, and finally follow up with them at regular intervals in order to seek a positive response.

Cold Emails Example

There is a ton of literature available online that teaches you the right way to execute a cold email campaign. 

Here is a good example of what a cold email should look like. 

It is short. It offers something of value to the reader. And also, does not overtly sell anything.

Idea: Networking in a tradeshow

Tradeshows provide businesses of various industries a platform to showcase and reach their target group. Tradeshows are predominantly B2B. But depending on your strategy, you could benefit from this strategy for both a B2B and a B2C product.

Now, admittedly, it can cost several thousands of dollars to participate in a tradeshow or set up your booth. However, your strategy is to go there as a visitor and network with fellow visitors (and the participants as well). 

People coming to a tradeshow often carry business cards to share. Interact with as many people as possible and get their cards. It is also a good idea to do something memorable – by offering free water pouches or cardholders. Even something goofy works.

In addition to these strategies, creating attractive brochures can improve engagement. These brochures act as little but comprehensive guides to your services, helping potential clients understand the value of partnering with you. You can easily produce them in-house without significant expense. Design them on Canva, print with a standard printer, and consider techniques like double-sided printing and other economical strategies to reduce your printing costs.

The objective here is to do something that the people you interact with will remember a few days later. This way, when you do reach out to them, they will remember you and won’t hesitate to talk to you.


Idea: Referral Bonus

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective grassroots marketing campaign strategies, especially if it’s executed right.

What works better than affiliate marketing is offering a referral bonus to existing customers who bring you, new customers.

This is classic grassroots marketing – you target a very small audience base that is your customer already and incentivize them to spread the word to their network (who potentially lie in the same target group). 

The expenses are minimal (the commissions you pay your referrer), but the returns are great.


There are several examples of great referral bonus strategies. Perhaps the most popular one was executed by Paypal. 

In Elon Musk’s own words, “We started first by offering people $20 if they opened an account. And $20 if they referred anyone. And then we dropped it to $10. And we dropped it to $5. As the network got bigger and bigger, the value of the network itself exceeded any sort of carrot that we could offer.”

Idea: Partnerships

Earlier in this article, we mentioned the two currencies that marketers trade in to acquire customers – money and time. There is a third currency that you could potentially use and that’s your skill.

In a partnership, you trade in your skills and, in return, can earn a marketing shoutout, that may have otherwise needed you to spend money. 


Let’s assume that you are a web design agency looking for real estate clients. You can partner with another business that deals with real estate clients and offer to design their website in exchange for a marketing shoutout to their clients. 

For instance, you could partner with an insurance company or a law firm with real estate clients and offer to design their fliers or webpages in exchange for introductions to their real estate clients. 

Idea: Blogging/Content Marketing

Everybody and his dog has a blog today. So, the effects of blogging may seem less impressive. However, done right, you could quickly and effectively gather a steady stream of new customers to your business.

While great content is a formidable first step with this strategy, what matters are the creative strategies you use to promote your blog and bring it to the eyes of your target group. 


There are plenty of great examples of how marketers used blogging and content marketing to reach their target buyers. The common pattern across many of them is this:

  • Use competitive intelligence tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush to find keywords you want to rank for
  • Analyze competitors currently ranking on Google for the said keywords
  • Produce content that is bigger and better than what you already see
  • Build tons of backlinks to your content from top authority websites
  • Wait for the traffic to grow
  • Use lead magnets to capture the email addresses of these blog visitors
  • Nurture this audience and convert them

The marketing ideas specified here are just a handful of the dozens of ways you could reach the grassroots with your campaign. Check back on this page for an updated list of ideas and grassroots marketing examples. 

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