So you’ve designed a one-of-a-kind, must-have app that you know digital consumers will download like crazy. Now you just have to let them know it exists.
One of the surest ways to catch the eyes of today’s eco-minded consumers is to go green in your marketing strategy, says frugal marketing expert Shel Horowitz.
And he can rattle off a variety of reasons any entrepreneur – whether they’re selling apps or real estate – should be implementing sustainable marketing practices:
- It’s profitable
- It’s the right thing to do
- It gives you a point of differentiation in your marketing
- It helps you appeal to people who will buy for better reasons than just price
- Not to do so means you’re leaving behind the fastest-growing segment of the whole marketplace
Finally, he adds, if we fail to change the way we run all facets of our businesses, there might not be anyone left to market to.
“We need sustainable living practices if we’re going to have markets,” Shel says.
Here, the author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green shares his advice on how business owners can introduce marketing tactics that are both affordable and environmentally friendly. Read on:
Tell us about your professional background – what’s your area of expertise?
1. Marketing and profitability strategies for green and/or socially conscious businesses, for solopreneurs, very small businesses and authors/publishers.
2. Walking the often-complex journey from unpublished writer to well-published, well-marketed author.
3. Showing the entire business community how tackling the biggest problems of our time – things like hunger and poverty, war and climate catastrophe – can lead to profit opportunities.
My background is as a self-taught marketer trained as a journalist, learning both by doing and by studying the experts.
I got into marketing because, thanks to my journalism training, I was often the person in the various community groups I was involved with who had the role of communicating with the media, and from that, my interests expanded into the entire world of marketing. I’ve read hundreds of marketing books, listened to hundreds of hours of expert presentations (both live and online). I’ve been making my living as a marketing consultant and copywriter for decades. I’ve written six marketing books myself, most recently the acclaimed bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green (co-authored with Jay Conrad Levinson, the Father of Guerrilla Marketing).
And over the years, I’ve developed a very distinct philosophy that’s very different from what a lot of other marketers advocate. Here are a few of the key points:
- Marketing doesn’t have to scream. It’s more effective when it’s less hypey.
- Marketing needs to respect the intelligence of its customers.
- Consistently providing useful information is often the best path to not just a sale, but also a loyal ongoing client.
- Great marketing touches both the heart and the brain.
- If customers have a choice of comparable products and services, and one of them is known for its good work in the world, a whole lot of people will choose to patronize that one.
- The easiest way to win new customers is to partner with someone they already buy from and trust.
- Business ethics is a key component of success. And being a green company is an essential component of business ethics.
- Find – and tell – “the story behind the story.” Look to solve the prospect’s problem, ease the pain point, help meet a goal – make it about them, not about you.
What do you love about frugal marketing? Why are you passionate about sharing ideas with others?
I love that any startup or solopreneur can attract attention. We’re so fortunate to have this incredible marketing toolbox now. It’s easier than when I started more than 30 years ago. At that time, it was reasonably easy to attract local attention – but now, that solopreneur can get noticed around the world.
What do you think are the smartest things any brand – whether it’s an individual sharing a useful new app or a major corporation launching a new product – can and should do when introducing itself to potential customers?
1. Think like the customer. Express the customer’s needs, wants, goals, problems and demonstrate how you meet them.
2. Let a party the customer already trusts make the introduction.
3. Be seen as the helpful, friendly expert.
What do you think are the biggest mistakes brands make when reaching out to customers early on?
1. Too salesy, too quick
2. Not successfully differentiating themselves
3. Making false assumptions about what the customer knows or believes or desires
What are your favorite frugal marketing methods?
- Partnering with people your key prospects already trust
- Having a consistent and helpful presence on the right Internet discussion groups (the ones where your prospects are already hanging out)
- Publicity in traditional and new media (newspapers, magazines blogs, radio, TV, websites, etc.) – including letters to the editor and online comments
- Content marketing
- Social media campaigns that respect the platform and engage prospects in conversation
- Public speaking, both live and online
- Testimonials and endorsements
- Websites, done right
- Cultivating good ratings on reader-review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, etc. (NOT faking them, however)
What frugal marketing strategies don’t seem to work as well?
- Print ads (with a few exceptions, such as quoting a very favorable review in later issues of the magazine that reviewed you or offering something special from your tradeshow booth in the show program)
- Radio ads that don’t use a memorable jingle
- Pretty much any paid marketing aimed at a very general, untargeted audience (there is a place for paid advertising when it reaches your target market and only your target market)
What are some easy ways app developers, entrepreneurs and small business owners can go green, especially in regards to their marketing efforts?
- Emphasize the user benefits of the green features of your products and services – in your marketing and in informational presentations
- Eliminate waste – in marketing, and in every other area
- Electronic outreach vs. paper
- Configure computers and printers to print on both sides of the paper
- Bump up screen font sizes so you need to print less because it’s more comfortable to read longer documents on screen
- Black-and-white printing (on recycled paper) vs. color
What are some of your favorite tools or resources for small business owners when it comes to building awareness for their brands?
- HelpAReporter.com: leads from reporters who are actually looking for story sources
- Twitter, probably the easiest way to connect with the carefully guarded industry experts
- Commenting intelligently and appropriately on well-regarded blogs and newsletters in your industry
- Speaking to audiences that include a large percentage of your target market
- Partnering with people who already reach and are trusted by that target market