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Joann Brayman is a SCORE mentor and marketing consultant who recently retired from Armstrong World Industries as vice president of global and commercial marketing.

In the age of digital marketing, small businesses can create personal and memorable engagements with customers for a much more affordable price than ever before. Guerrilla marketing does exactly that.

Often compared to guerrilla warfare, guerrilla marketing similarly focuses on small, personal engagements between businesses and their target customers and is often fast, flexible and low cost.

Guerrilla marketing isn’t a set of tools; it is a mindset that is particularly well suited for small businesses that want to focus on one-to-one engagements with potential customers that are unexpected, unforgettable and low cost.

Break away from traditional marketing

Traditional marketers order business cards with all the basic contact information on the card. Guerrilla marketers think about their business card as a miniature billboard, with a front and back available to tell their story, or they throw out the traditional card altogether and create a fold-out card that doubles as a miniature brochure.

Traditional marketers end every email with their logo and perhaps a tagline at the bottom. Guerrilla marketers will include information about their latest products, a video link or news about their employees at the bottom of their emails.

Traditional marketers who are planning to attend a convention or product expo might buy an ad in the show program. Guerrilla marketers might hire local art students to do chalk art on the sidewalks entering the expo.

Each of these examples share the tenets of the guerrilla marketing mindset, creating memorable, personal and affordable interactions with current and potential customers with the goal to heighten brand awareness and preference.

Develop relationships with customers

Since guerrilla marketing is typically much more hands-on than traditional approaches, it enables businesses to focus on connecting and building relationships with their customers. Ultimately, these nurtured relationships lead to brand loyalty and qualified referrals in the future.

There are numerous ways small businesses can build relationships with their customers without spending a lot. Here are a few you can try for your small business: — Respond to everyone who offers a rating or review of your business. Potential customers often look at reviews, so seeing a company take the time to thank previous customers for their feedback says a lot about that business.

— Make your location a drop-off point for donations to the local food or clothing bank. Or become a sponsor of a nonprofit event.

— Email articles of interest to your key customers. For example, if you have a customer who is an avid bike rider, send him a link to an article about a new bike trail.

— Write personal notes to customers thanking them for their business. Include photos if you have them.

These small acts of acknowledgment are perfect ways to show your customers that you care about them.

Get noticed easily

As advertising messages proliferate in our real and virtual worlds, it can be difficult to get noticed. Small businesses need better ways to break through. Guerrilla marketing takes a more upfront and personal approach than traditional marketing, making it easier to be noticed and remembered.

If your small business is struggling to build relationships with customers while on a budget, reach out to a SCORE mentor today. Our mentors have helped businesses in every industry and would love to help you find the best marketing strategy for yours.

• Joann Brayman is a SCORE mentor and marketing consultant who recently retired from Armstrong World Industries as vice president of global and commercial marketing.