In the small town where I grew up, my father was known as “King of the $2 Bill.” He ran the local savings & loan, located on (yes, this is for real) Main Street, and loved to hand out $2 bills as gifts. Sometimes he’d even pay spot bonuses to employees in bunches of $2 bills. He did it just to be different; and also to get noticed.
Pre-Internet Viral Marketing
The promotional value was subtle, but significant. It was like a pre-Internet version of “viral marketing”. He always had a stack at the ready, and spent them around town whenever he could. As the $2 bills circulated through other local businesses, merchants and customers alike took notice and usually knew where they came from (or if they didn’t, someone would tell them).
But it worked, and that $2 bill “viral marketing” strategy is now being re-discovered by local business groups in other parts of the U.S. seeking ways to promote buy-local campaigns and stimulate sales and growth on Main Street. Business owners in a few cities have started handing out $2 bills to employees as bonuses, asking them to spend the money at local merchants as a way to illustrate the power of supporting local business.
A Refreshing Change from Digital
Try the $2 bill solution yourself. Consider it a refreshing change from doing everything digital. You can probably get some from your bank. And they are guaranteed to get noticed.
If you can link the $2 bill concept to another promotional campaign for your business (a special $2 price for some items for example; or maybe $2 off), so much the better.
The $2 bill itself remains a novelty for most people who’ve never seen one. Some customers won’t be sure it’s even real (but of course it is).
The front-side design of the $2 bill depicting Thomas Jefferson is unchanged since 1929, making it the oldest design of any U.S. currency in circulation. The back side, redesigned in 1976, depicts the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Take it from my father, one of the original viral marketers: Even the humble little $2 bill houses hidden power that can help promote you and your business far beyond its face value.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.