Grass Roots

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By Jennifer Morrell

Getting Perspective the Old Fashioned Way

“Back to the basics.” Seems like a simple, yet effective, way to gain objectivity as a marketer. By examining a situation from an unbiased viewpoint, you can examine how you are reaching into your community to build your brand’s reputation.

Independent validation is one of the fastest ways to build a brand’s credibility. While your ultimate intent is a buying decision, you can implement solid tactics to accelerate the buyer’s path to that decision. 

“People buy based on credibility,” says David Pachter, co-founder of JumpCrew and host of the podcast, “JumpByDesign.” “The faster you can establish it, the lower your cost of acquiring a business lead or client.”

Today’s buyers trust unbiased reviews from people who are most like them. In a world full of varying sources for content, the Top 3 most trusted sources of information for a potential buyer are recommendations from people they know, consumer opinions posted online, and editorial content. 

On the flip-side, the three least trusted sources of information when making buying decisions are biased online banner ads, mobile display ads and mobile text ads.

Phillip Stutts believes that every business should implement a simple marketing strategy that has nothing to do with paid advertising. He calls it the “Three Rs,” which stand for reputation, relationships and referrals. 

“We never start with a paid campaign,” says Stutts, founder and CEO of Santa Rosa, Florida-based Win Big Media. “Everything we do and talk about with our business clients is to market in a different way. Be relevant and differentiated in the marketplace.”

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In today’s business landscape, time, people and resources can be limited. Businesses, therefore, must prioritize their efforts. They cannot be everything to everyone and perform well.

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Stutts says since 99 percent of people have a smart phone in their hands, take the position not to be another of those companies. Don’t be one of an average of 5,000 ads seen per day by the average person. Instead, be an outlier by building personal relationships and later folding in a paid advertising campaign.  

The most obvious way to build brand credibility is by generating reviews and testimonials. Public relations—good public relations—can help build awareness, if you can get your business in “best of” lists or featured in general and trade publications. But the quiet, yet most powerful, way to build credibility is through strong word of mouth. 

“That comes from being great at what you do,” Pachter says. “It is easy to get bad reviews when something goes wrong, but if you want good reviews, you will most likely have to ask for them.”

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JumpCrew achieves positive reviews and testimonials from clients through content marketing, email programs, social media, and by calling clients on the phone and asking for them the old-fashioned way. Public relations strategies can vary, but what works for JumpCrew revolves around Full Stack Client Acquisition (FSCA), which starts with developing brand awareness. 

“Content marketing can be leveraged into email and paid campaigns to generate recognition with the goal of driving interest from a qualified lead,” Pachter says. “Hopefully, that interest converts to intent to purchase. Once you achieve interest, the tactics are about nurturing the lead by building trust in the brand and accelerating the intent to purchase. We do this with a sales conversion team.”

Because people are hungry for relationships, brands should give them that, first and foremost. Tony Hsieh, CEO of the online shoe and clothing giant Zappos, helped build a billion-dollar company around this premise. His call center staff spends a longer-than-average amount of time on the phone with customers with the goal of not making a sale, but building a relationship. He also has a no-automation and no-overseas-call-center rule in place. 

The result? A 75 percent repurchase rate through Zappos’ call centers, alone. 

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It’s important to identify all the vehicles that can drive you toward your goals, Pachter says. Test them in a way that allows you to have the perspective to make smart data-driven choices.

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If you’re looking for the ultimate definition of the importance of continued grassroots marketing, Stutts offers this thought: “Every business owner should design a strategy around this question, ‘What would happen if the only way we got new business was from our current client base?’ Build a strategy around that question, and you’ll never go out of business.”

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