I am often asked for advice on how to "go to market" with a service or product. People are usually surprised by my answer as it sounds easy in theory, yet is difficult to execute.
My advice is, generally, to implement an organic marketing strategy.
You are probably wondering what an organic strategy is, which is a fair question. It is the strategy I utilize and was inspired by The Lean Startup model by Eric Ries.
Essentially, the organic strategy is to be patient and grow naturally through connections.
Let me explain.
When you are ready to launch your business you must decide to go with an inexpensive organic route or do paid advertising. In most cases, I recommend the organic method as it will allow you to create a solid foundation and not grow too quickly.
Fast growth can be good if you have the proper infrastructure, yet if you do not then you might be spread too thin and not focus on essential items. The organic model is all about reaching out to you current contacts for growth. This is not a new method as many marketing experts advise to utilize your network and referrals.
The difference between previous models and the organic is in execution with modern technology.
Here is how I execute organic campaigns. Once a product, service, online store, blog, or another type of business is live then it is time to promote.
The steps for organic marketing are:
- Send personal emails to your current contacts. The word "personal" needs to be emphasized. Nobody wants to receive a CC or BCC email that went to hundreds or thousands of people. Instead, take the time to write something personal, i.e. how your contact has always supported you. Then describe your business and have a call to action, for example, share your website. Yes, it will take you dozens of hours to write personal emails, but your business is worth the time.
- Post messages on social media about your new business and be smart how you post. Don't try to be everywhere, choose 2-3 social media outlets and nurture your posts.
- Start blogging, you might not think blogging is important, but it is. I don't care if you are a "good" writer, blogging is not about Pulitzer Prizes, it is about sharing value with the world. Blogging has been shown to generate leads, sell products, engage new customers, drive traffic, among many other positive attributes. Yes, this takes time, and yes you might need someone to help - perhaps someone to ghostwrite for you (it might surprise you how many people I ghostwrite for).
- Be consistent in your emails, social media, and blogging. A key to building an audience is simply being consistent. We are all busy and your ideal customer might have missed your email, post, or blog. Keep the content coming as eventually they will see your service and/or product.
- Embrace the mindset that you are always actively networking online and in-person. From the moment your business is launched you must continually look for opportunities to network and expand your business. This does not mean being selfish, instead, it is the idea that you are trying to share your value with the world and connect with like-minded people.
Those are the basics of organic marketing: personal emails, social media, blogging, consistency, and networking.
Create a calendar system that reminds you of each tactic, send emails multiple times a week, post to social media at least five times a week, and start with two blogs a month with a specific time and day.
Notice those do not cost much money! The main cost is time and that is why it is called organic marketing. Just as if you were caring for a plant, it wouldn't cost much money, there would be some fertilizer and watering. Yet the real cost is in time and care.
Do the same with your business. Take the time needed to do what works and naturally grow.
I leave you with a warning. Organic marketing is difficult and takes time, sometimes even years. Any business owner would love a million dollars to throw at marketing campaigns, yet most of us small business owners have a very limited marketing budget.
When you choose organic marketing you choose a life of patience and disappointment. That blog you think will go viral will likely fall flat, but you still need to be consistent. There will be a time when you least expect it that someone responds to an email, social media post, or blog with a purchase or request for proposal.
Trust me as I am proof. I have two businesses (Elisha Consulting and Your MBA Purpose) and am shocked at the amount of business I receive from organic marketing. I have gained clients and landed speaking engagements just from blogs.
You can do the same . . . just be patient.
Contact me when you need assistance with a customized organic marketing strategy or a ghostwriter.