Guerrilla Freelancing

Learn & network with other freelancers Join The Trenches

10 guerrilla marketing tactics for designers

Guerrilla Marketing is a huge part of being a Guerrilla Freelancer. Guerrilla Marketing is also a great way for creative people to show just how creative they can be. Sure, you can buy ad space online or newspaper/magazine advertisements, but lets be honest with each other, these things are seriously old school when it comes to marketing. So how do we go about creating guerrilla marketing campaigns for ourselves that will not only gain attention but also help generate sales and future business for our freelance businesses?

The answer to this might be a bit more simple than you think. You may not have the big budgets to run 1,000 television commercials at the 6-8pm slots on channel 2, 4, or 7, but I bet you've got the creative mind to come up with a simple solution to generating more buzz for your company. And if all else fails, read the 10 guerrilla marketing tactics below and try to branch out off of them and generate your own list as well. The ideas are infinite as long as you apply your creativity to them.

10 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics for Designers

  1. Offer free hosting for every 1st time client meeting - The main goal is to get time with the prospect and sell them your services right? A 2-3 minute conversation might not get them to buy, but a 30-60 minute meeting with them could definitely persuade them into hiring you. So offer every prospective client free hosting (3 months, 6 months, your choice) just for having the meeting.
  2. Give something else away for free - Do you create custom wordpress designs? Why not create a free theme and give it away? The publicitity from it, the link backs and the traffic are sure to land you some new leads/sales. The same can be true for texture packs, brush sets, free fonts, ect.
  3. Cover your car in vinyl - You've got the design skills right? You're a designer afterall, so why not create the design for a kick ass vinyl piece to cover the back half, side or entire car! It's inexpensive and will be advertisement for you wherever you go.
  4. Business Cards in Library Books - Find the beginner xhtml/css or web design for dummies books and put your business cards inside them in every library you can get to. This way, anyone looking for them books to do their own website will instantly be met with a way to get out of reading the book and trying to do it themselves.
  5. T-Shirts for the homeless - Take your design skills and create a design for some t-shirts, get them printed and then go pass them out to the homeless. If you're able to do 100 or so t-shirts you could probably even get media coverage for doing it.
  6. Stickers EVERYWHERE - Bands and record companies use stickers a lot - and for good reason. They're relatively cheap, easy to place and can be everywhere you want them to be. Pass some out to your friends/family and have them put them up as well. Have family in a different state? Send them some in the mail and have them place the stickers around town.
  7. Customer of the Month vouchers - Design some nice coupons you can print out (use a business card printer as they're perfect size for people to carry around) and allow them to use it for a discount or pass them out to others so their friends/family can get the discount.
  8. Display your toolbox - Taking a tool box (a real one for hammers, screw drivers, ect) and placing it open in an area your target market will frequently come with different tools of your trade (ie: business cards so they can contact you, pencils & paper, computer mouse, ect). This will work especially well if a toolbox is something not found normally where you have it (ie: coffee shop). Inside the top of the toolbox thats open and facing the people coming up to it, you can have a note similar to "The tools of my trade - Custom Web Designs".
  9. Show off your package - No, not that package 😉 For those of us who design packaging for clients (ie: custom shipping boxes for eCommerce, packages, ect), why not create a mock up box and get a bunch of them printed up and place them inside different grocery stores or places where your target market will frequently visit.
  10. Free web consulting - Allow potential customers to have 30-60 minutes of your time for free. Absolutely free, no questions asked. Do not push your services on them at all. Leave them with a business card and notes from the conversation and be on your way. This selfless giving will leave an impression on the potential client and will also showcase your knowledge of the web and what you COULD be doing for them - if they were to hire you. They'll most likely feel so happy with the conversation that they almost feel obligated to hire you for their web design as a way to pay you back for your time you gave them.

Illustrators, Coders, Writers & more are coming soon

This will be a series of posts geared towards guerrilla marketing ideas for all kinds of freelancers. Off the wall, out of the box thinking will be applied to each freelance niche and posted soon. You can request a freelance profession to be covered in the comments and I'll do my best to get it covered as well, so don't be shy :)

UPDATE We've published some of the other articles in this series, you can see the links below.

Sign up below and receive our free ebook - 10 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics Using Your Business Cards

Plus, receive weekly freelance advice delivered straight to your inbox. No spam, no bullshit.


  1. Grant says:

    Excellent article I will definitely be using some of, in fact all of these tips as I’m just starting out.

  2. Scotty says:

    What a good article. I look forward to reading the illustration one.

  3. Matt Tibble says:

    Some really cool tips. I like the one with the library and leaving the cards in the books. Seriosuly though, how many people use libraries any more? The Tool Box idea was also cute – a whole campaign could be built on tools and the play with the words.


    Will RT for others.


  4. Joshua says:

    It’s always the simple ideas that stand out and get people’s attention. It’s even better when it is free (or really cheap) and easy to do. Great article, and great ideas…

  5. :) I’ve read two of your posts and now I’m hooked.

    I like the toolbox idea, most people would never think of that and it’s creative enough to get some attention right away.

  6. What about some gorilla marketing in the real world for online marketers? that could be fun.

  7. On the “toolbox” front, I’ve found working on my laptop in a cafe with my Wacom tablet is always a good way to get into conversations about design, and potentially connect with new client leads. A Wacom tablet always seems to get a lot of attention.

  8. I think #10 is probably the best. Customers usually like someone they can connect with. I think that’s a surefire way to seal the deal.

  9. Iuren says:

    nice article dude! :) Wanna know for copywriters 😀

  10. Trent says:

    Every article I read on your site is great!

  11. BiG-TonY says:

    lol @ giving free t-shirts to the homeless! You know homeless people get around a whole lot and with your Business link and/or phone number on the shirt, that’s like walking advertisement.Ingenuous!

  12. KDzyne says:

    Dude, this list is funny and priceless. I love it! Totally want to use some of these pointers… Thanks man :-)

  13. Lion El Aton says:

    Nice list. It would be groovy if you did one for bloggers.

  14. Fredrik Stai says:

    I love the ingenuity of your ideas and think many of them are great.

    But a word of advice: I think as designers, we should always consider the consequences of our ideas. #4 and #5 may sound fun on paper, but I’m surprised no one else have pointed out that they’re highly unethical.

    #4: Not many people go there any more in this digital age, but the library continues to have an important role as a FREE collection of mankind’s knowledge and wisdom, untainted by commercial interests. Do you really want to be analogue spamming one of our oldest institutions?

    #5: Taking advantage of societies most vulnerable citizens for your own profit reeks of bad taste. As a designer, is that how you want to be perceived? I realize there’s a Dog Eat Dog culture in the US, but that’s just going too far.

    Sorry if I’m being harsh, but I believe as designer we all could benefit from getting better at realizing the consequences of our actions.

  15. Saad says:

    haha… nice list bro… really liked the way you covered them.

  16. I really enjoyed this article, you are extremely creative and a great writer. Thank you!

  17. Creative tips for marketing. Useful for me.

  18. Awesome ideas! Would love to read one for copywriters and online marketers.

  19. Marcos says:

    Hahahaha, tshirt for the homeless.. that was actually the strategy used buy Mark ecko (Ecko unlimited) he distributed cheap version of he tshirt with a big rhino logo on it, to the bump and hoodlum in Nyc. Seems to have work well for him.

Leave a Reply