Drip, drip, drip.
As a Coach who has owned her own business for over 13 years and who coaches business owners across the country, starting and managing their own businesses, I am often asked what is one of the best marketing ideas to help get the word out about their business. Most people seem to respond to their own questions with, “spend money on Google, right and flood the market?” And my response is usually, “sure, you could, but what if you tried drip irrigation first?” Most of the business owners I work with are not farmers, however there was one in Middlebury, VT that I adored working with, drip irrigation can help ANY business get off the ground. And it seems to be a “small step” that everyone can take without spending much money or time.
The idea of using drip irrigation in your marketing is based on an agricultural practice with the same name. In drip irrigation, crops are nurtured and grown using a perfectly measured amount of water delivered in “drips” over time. Drip marketing is characterized by the idea of “dripping” relevant pieces of information to customers at the appropriate moments. Drips are often referred to as “touches,” and are scheduled moments when the business reaches out to the customer.
Sure, you could “touch” your customer by starting from scratch a website and making the excuse that once it is done, you’ll be successful because you have written a new blog post every day hoping to catch the attention of the entire internet that has no idea they should be looking to your website for your daily blog posts. BUT, what we know is that drip irrigation is always better than a flood when it comes to nourishing plants (and a growing or emerging business…). It gives your plants a chance to absorb what is coming at them vs. being flooded, practically drowning in information. So, how do I suggest you start drip irrigating to “nourish” the seeds of your business? LinkedIn…
Using LinkedIn to market your business.
You may be thinking, “but I thought LinkedIn was designed for someone to get a job Amy?” No, when LinkedIn was created in 2002, it mission statement was keyed to connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. And it still is that platform, especially for your business. This is a great way to “Get Clients” by speaking to them in measured moments, to educate or share with them information they may find interesting.
The message many new (and existing) business owners get is that they should be blogging about their company, or at least about the industry their company caters to. One does not need a fancy website (or delaying the launch of your business as an excuse of not having one) to become a blogger. And you don’t need to write 1,000 words every few days to get the attention of your customers. Emerging entrepreneurs most likely has a LinkedIn profile, because they most likely have a professional network built up over the years from the jobs they held prior to starting a business. Speaking to your customers can be as simple as just updating your LI profile that you own a business and publishing a few thoughts on the industry you are now in…and you will start to build your customer base from the network you created on LinkedIn. By doing so, you spark a thought in them that, for example, for me as a Coach who works with business owners, I want people to think, “Wow, Amy really shares some great articles about Subject X…I should think about sending my cousin to her who is also interested in starting a business around Subject X.”
Share what others have written.
By sharing with the world your thoughts on articles or blog posts OTHERS have written, you can baby step into the world of blogging without having to write a super long post. Because trust me, only folks on my team like Jane Taylor, REALLY love writing. The rest of us, tolerate it. Especially blogging about ourselves. Or our businesses. So, the excuse of “I don’t know what to write about” or “I am a bad writer” doesn’t have to be the excuse to not share and comment on an article you find interesting.
What does it look like to comment on someone else’s posts? Find an article that connects what your business or you think your client base may find interesting, adding, “this is a wonderful article that made me think of _____” and post it on LinkedIn…what I love about this approach is you don’t have to write a full blog, just find an article on a topic that interests you and comment on it…then provide the link in the post. It gives you SEO ability because you are using someone else’s article, so folks may find you to find the article, but it also gives people a sense of what is important to you.
Plant your seeds, but don’t flood them.
By starting to plant the seeds to your network that you are a business owner without screaming “I am selling to you, hire me, or buy from me”, you are watering with small drips, your business, helping folks start to think of you as a subject matter expert in the business that you won.” Plus, it is fun to go look for GREAT articles written by other subject matter experts and share them with your network. And by drip irrigating and not flooding your audience and network with “buy from me, hire me, blah, blah, blah” they are going to start to feel drawn to you and what you are actually selling. You don’t need to write every day, but one post, once a week commenting on an article you just read is a great start. And in owning a business, baby steps or drip irrigation of effort is a sure cure for every day fear. And creating an audience for your business. What can you do to create a trickle in your business, your life, or your career?
Side note: Thank you to the Coach who inspired this blog post…rumor is after speaking to him about drip irrigation for his own coaching practice, he took it a step further and bought a drip irrigation system for his lawn…it’s a start for sure…may the “waters” you bring to the world help nourish others (and your flowers…)
Final thought: With heavy rains flooding parts of the east, I write this blog post respectfully and by no means mean to make light of the flooding that is happening. For those who are being touched by this deluge of water, I send you thoughts of safety to your families and your homes.