In today’s post I want to talk about grassroots marketing. I like to define this as anything you do at a local level to grow your business. It’s the process of talking with people, getting creative, and using guerrilla multi-level marketing techniques to strike up business. It’s when you make up for lack of money with creativity, hustle and initiative.
One of the best books on grassroots marketing is “No B.S. Grassroots Marketing” with Dan Kennedy and Jeff Slutsky. I have to be blatantly honest and tell you that Dan Kennedy is my number one business mentor. I have more respect for him about marketing, sales and entrepreneurship than anyone else. I own all of his books and study his materials frequently. His teachings have transformed my business.
The No B.S. Grassroots Marketing book is brilliant. Overall, I give it an 8.5 of 10. It’s written for the small business owner who wants to build their business at the grassroots level, in their local community. What I want to do in the rest of this post is share some of my favorite quotes from the book. These quotes provide tips about grassroots marketing. Each quote is in bold and italics. At the end of each quote I will share my own two cents on the subject.
# 1 The strongest, most profitable small businesses are owned and operated and promoted by people who rely predominately on what Jeff calls “grassroots” marketing done at the street level, by direct connection, integrated with the customers, their community, and their daily activity. Smart business owners get creative; use their initiative and creativity to build their business locally, without wasting unnecessary money on unproven marketing techniques.
# 2 Get up every morning and act as if and organize as if you were running for mayor. Wake up every day and ask yourself the following question: “Is what I am doing right now the best use of my time?” Get organized, have a game plan and work smart. Treat your business as seriously as you would if you were running for public office.
# 3 While most business owners get a customer in order to make a sale, we make a sale to get and keep a customer. The single greatest cost for most businesses is to acquire a new customer. Rather than look at customers as a single transaction, do what you can to make them a long-term, life-long customer. The real money comes from the repeat business.
# 4 Nearly every form of advertising can be effective, and every form of advertising can be a total waste of your money. Make sure you test your advertising so you can find out what works and what doesn’t work. Keep the winners and ditch the losers.
# 5 Advertising is just one part of marketing. Marketing is everything you do to get people to buy from you. It’s how you answer your phone, how you dress, how you talk to people, etc.
# 6 Most advertising and marketing has become less effective because the customer has become increasingly immune to it. Most people are bombarded with marketing messages every single day so they tune it out. It’s getting harder and harder to reach your prospects.
# 7 Before you even begin to consider how to advertise, you need to determine the message you want to share with the consumer. Your message is the most important part of your marketing strategy. Next comes your market and then comes the medium you choose.
# 8 Regardless of the difficulties, some form of telephone marketing is usually an efficient way of beefing up your marketing. Use the telephone as part of your marketing process.
# 9 You have one shot at a potential customer when that person calls your business. This first point of contact is critical, yet it is often the weakest link in the marketing chain for most businesses, large or small. Make sure that you have a solid game plan to handle all incoming calls. You don’t want to blow a sale due to poor telephone skills.
# 10 The biggest advantage of getting a story is that it is more credible than advertising. When someone writes about your business, does a video about you, or gives a testimonial, it is much more effective than any type of paid advertising you could do.
# 11 The more the prospects know about the person they are contemplating buying from, the more likely they are to buy. Generally speaking, people like to do business with people they like, know and trust.
# 12 In every adversity lies the seed of equal or greater opportunity. Whenever things get tough, and they will from time-to-time, look for the positive and the opportunity that is presented.
# 13 The cost of retaining a customer and even expanding a customer’s value is much less then getting a new customer. It’s cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one.
# 14 To determine what you’re willing to invest in marketing, first discover what an average new customer is worth to you. Every business owner needs to know the lifetime value of a customer, so they can determine how much they can afford to spend to find more customers.
# 15 It’s always good when your marketing shows an immediate profit. It’s good, but it doesn’t always happen. Typically speaking, you will lose money initially to acquire a new customer and then earn the money back from repeat business.
# 16 In your advertising, ask your consumers to take a specific course of action. Always have a strong call to action in each marketing message. Tell your prospect exactly what you want them to do.
# 17 If you can’t track it don’t do it. This should be common sense. If you can’t track it you are wasting money, because you have no way to know if it works. Make sure that you test all of your advertising.
# 18 Not everyone has your best interests in mind. No one cares about your business as much as you do.
# 19 With limited budgets you can’t afford to guess what works and what doesn’t. You have to test and track everything you do so you can work smart and get a positive ROI.
# 20 The ROI from mass advertising media have been eroding. People tend to hang out in niche markets now. That’s why you really need to target your advertising efforts on a specific group of people.
# 21 Before buying any kind of mass media you must first really understand who your customers are. Take the time to determine your ideal customer before you spend even one penny on advertising.
# 22 The largest audience isn’t always the best audience for you. Only you can determine what segment of people is the best group of people to focus your advertising on.
# 23 Advertising when people are not in the market to buy is a waste of money. You need to focus on a group of people who have the money and desire to buy what you are offering.
# 24 Commitment is more important than creativity. Don’t do any form of advertising just one time. You have to stick with it to give it a fair chance to succeed.
# 25 The more you know about your own customers, the more opportunities you’ll have to promote. As you study your customers you can find creative ways to reach other people with the same demographics.
# 26 One of the biggest problems facing businesses today is discounting, because your customers become addicted to the discount and then refuse to pay full price ever again. If you are only competing on price you won’t make it very long in business.
# 27 All the new media is obviously powerful, but none of it can replace a handshake, a look straight in someone’s eye, a direct answer to a personal question. Nothing will ever beat personal contact with a customer.
# 28 Every businessperson will tell you that referrals are the best form of advertising. Referrals are vital to your business success. Nothing is more powerful or effective than a happy customer referring your business to a friend.
# 29 Nothing drives sales like the mail. The mail is still extremely effective and should not be overlooked. Direct mail should be part of your marketing strategy.
# 30 The thing about follow-up in general is: Most businesspeople fail at it miserably. Most prospects need seven to twenty follow-ups before they will buy from you.
# 31 There’s just no substitute for the experience of receiving, opening, and having attention captured by good direct mail. I couldn’t agree more. People love to get the mail every day.
# 32 As a small business owner, it doesn’t often pay to be the pioneer. Being a trendsetter can be advantageous, but it can also be very risky.
# 33 Driving around town can be one of the best forms of advertising. Put signs on your vehicle to promote your business. It’s a simple and effective passive advertising strategy.
# 34 Consider using email in conjunction with regular mail and other messaging means. Use multiple ways to communicate with your prospects whenever possible.
# 35 Make sure that every time you email someone that you provide real value in the message. Don’t send spam emails. When you communicate with someone deliver value. You can include an offer at the end of the message, but make sure it isn’t just one big sales pitch.
# 36 Prospects are all different and they respond uniquely to all forms of communications. Different strokes for different folks. That’s why you need to use different marketing mediums.
# 37 Getting local publicity is part of any grassroots marketing solution. You want free publicity, but you will have to find creative ways to get it.
# 38 Reporters are not interested in giving you free exposure. Don’t expect the media to give you free publicity. They’re in business to make money!
# 39 I am big fan of selling one to many, rather than one to one. Sell in a group setting whenever you can. It’s much more efficient than selling one-on-one.
# 40 The number one marketing sin is being boring. Try to find ways to be unique and exciting and stand out in the crowd.
# 41 Sometimes it is net-cheaper to acquire customers by giving the product away free than by any other means. Don’t be cheap with samples. Use them whenever possible.
# 42 Your database of customers is perhaps the most valuable asset you have in your business. The money is in the list. Protect your list of customers and prospects like your life depends upon it.
# 43 Mass mailing is tremendously inefficient, which is why 98% of it is tossed out. What you want to do is clearly identify a target market and then focus on mailing to them exclusively.
# 44 Next to your own customer database, the most valuable database you can get is that of your competitor. The more you know about your competition, the better. Buy customer databases of people in your niche, who are already buying similar products and/or services from your competition.
# 45 Sometimes good business intelligence simply takes initiative. You don’t have to know it all to get started. Just take the initiative to get started and you will learn as you go.
# 46 To succeed in your business, you need to take advantage of every legal means possible to gather and use information about your customers, your competition, and their customers. Be a student of your business and study your customers and competitors. Knowledge is power.
About the Book
No B.S Grassroots Marketing was published in January 2012 by Entrepreneur Press. It features 240 pages and comes in soft-cover format. The ISBN is 978-1599184395. As of January 2016, it has 26 reviews on Amazon with an average 4.5 star rating. It is available anywhere books are sold.
About Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy is my business hero. He is quite perhaps the most respected marketing expert in the world. He has mentored some of the best internet marketers and direct response marketers in the world. He is a respected copywriter, trainer, coach and consultant. You can visit his website to learn more about him.
Buy the Book
In review, every small business owner needs to learn and use grassroots marketing. If you want to learn how to do that effectively, I highly recommend the book “No B.S. Grassroots Marketing” by Dan Kennedy and Jeff Slutsky. It is a great read and loaded with great information to help you market and grow your business effectively.