When putting our products and/or services out to the world, businesses know that marketing is the only way to successfully do it. However, much of the marketing methods these days can be quite expensive. If you are just starting out, this may be a challenge. Ken discusses top 5 free marketing methods you could use. Veering from traditional marketing, you now have post-pay marketing and all other services that digital marketing is offering. You’ll find some of the most helpful ideas as Ken gives you the scenarios and some examples of how these methods work.
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Top 5 Free Marketing
#1 That’s Rewarded Will Be Repeated
I’m going to cover the five best methods available that deliver free 100% off marketing. Number one, the law of that that’s rewarded will be repeated. Referral or affiliate commissions are driving some of the biggest businesses. I’m not sure you know the volume of Amazon, but how do $135 billion strikes you? We’ve got companies like Amway, Mary Kay, Avon and Tupperware. These are all 50 years old or longer. Although you may not agree with a multilevel marketing or network marketing, you have other major companies like Aon, GEICO insurance. Almost every single major insurer has its products in some form of network marketing, let alone the share of sales of the world and the commission junctions of the world.
The concept or the theory behind that that’s rewarded will be repeated is the fundamental principle of post-paid marketing. Post-pay marketing means we pay for the marketing after something sells. Let’s cover the opposite of that. Traditional marketing says we’re going to put a lot of money on radio and we’re going to hope people buy something. We’re going to spend a lot of money on a highway billboard upfront. We’re going to hope people see it, call us, or go to our website and buy something. We’re going to pay up front and then hope something. In post-pay marketing, you spend nothing upfront. Other people are out there marketing your products like the $135 billion in volume done by Amazon. Almost 80% of that is done by Amazon affiliates. After something is sold, a month later Amazon cuts them a check for their commission. That that’s rewarded will be repeated. The question you ask yourself is, “Do you in your current company have post-pay marketing or what’s called hope and pray marketing?” Hope and pray marketing is you pay up front for something and you hope and pray. The bigger companies, some of the best companies in the world, are slowly morphing into post-pay marketing. Number one, that that’s rewarded will be repeated. That’s a fact.
#2 Cause Marketing
Number two is worthy cause marketing PR. I went into good depth on this in episode fourteen-way back that was titled Don’t Sell, What Does? I went into both TOMS Shoes and The Barefoot Spirit or Barefoot Wine. I’ll highlight TOMS Shoes briefly because if this one hits you, you want to go back and check out episode fourteen in detail. Worthy cause marketing says or defines how does a company like Barefoot Wine with no experience in wine and no budget. What I mean by no budget, the couple Michael and Bonnie, who built that company had $0 because they helped somebody get out of a financial jam. Part of the helping someone get out of a financial jam was it left them with nothing to market their new wine company. Many years later, they become the largest wine brand in the world never once spending a dollar on marketing. The skinny of it is they ended up hooking up with Surfrider Foundation.
Bonnie used to love cleaning beaches. To relax and spend time with Michael, they would walk the beaches. Every time they would walk the beaches for some peace of mind, Bonnie would bend down and pick up garbage on the beach and it would drive Michael nuts. One day, Michael put his foot down and said, “We are never walking this beach again or any beach because I’m coming for peace of mind and you’re coming to be a garbage picker.” They had a little bit of a tiff and it was Michael’s father that said, “Michael, why don’t you find a way where you could walk the beach together and Bonnie would have no consideration of picking up garbage?” Mike says to his father, “How’s that possible?” His dad goes, “I think you’ll figure it out, but it’s right in front of you.”Plant the seed and just listen. Click To Tweet
Michael realized there might be beach cleaning organizations already out there and maybe we just go out and network with them and support them. It’s a phenomenal story. Their book is called The Barefoot Spirit and it walks you through exactly what they did. Mike and Bonnie to a degree invented what is called worthy-cause marketing. What happened is a young man ended setting up a little bitty tiki hut and serving four-ounce cold water and four ounces or two ounces of their Barefoot Spirits white wine to the people cleaning the beaches. All of a sudden, it went from one tiki hut to three tiki huts. Soon there were sixteen locations in California where the Surfrider Foundation every Saturday would go clean the beaches and be served refreshments from Barefoot Wine. The incredible fateful day was when Mike and Bonnie were looking at their sales sheets and nothing was selling in Oregon or Texas, but in California, there was this one pocket, this one area of the state that they could not keep wines in stock.
The only way they could get to the bottom of this was to go to the stores and interview people buying their product. They ended up staying in the parking lot because you can’t influence a sale in the alcohol industry. They waited in the parking lot to look in people’s shopping carts to see if they saw the Barefoot, which is Bonnie’s right footprint. If somebody had a footprint on their wine bottle, they would stop them and say, “We’re in the marketing department of Barefoot. We work for that company. Do you mind if we ask, why did you choose Barefoot Wine?” They said, “That’s a funny thing. We went into the store for a Robert Mondavi Red, but we saw the Barefoot on the white wine bottle. This is the company that supports our large organization when we clean the beaches. We felt obligated to buy their wine.” Over and over they got the exact same story. “We went in for something else but we saw the Barefoot logo and they support us so we wanted to support them back.”
Worthy-cause marketing has morphed into a lot of different methodologies. The most famous one is TOMS Shoes. The founder of TOMS Shoes vowed that, “If anybody buys shoes from my website, I will put a brand-new pair of shoes on a kid that’s never worn shoes before.” He came up with the slogan “One for One.” If you buy a pair of shoes from Tom’s, he puts a brand-new pair of shoes on a kid somewhere in the world that’s never worn shoes before. That eliminates disease and sickness immediately for that family. That brand blew up. It’s the fastest growing shoe company in history. They got $735 million from Bain Capital for 35% of the company. That’s worthy-cause marketing. That gives you free marketing because it turns your customers into ambassadors. That’s what happens at TOMS Shoes. It also turns large organizations into brand champions. The Surfriders only buy Barefoot Wine. That’s their core drinking wine over dinner because they’re loyal. They’re brand champions.
#3 Purple Cow Service
Let’s go to number three, the third method of free marketing, purple cow service. This is customer service that’s literally too good to be true. Tony Hsieh, in the late ‘90s and early 2000, was the Founder of Zappos. He had an idea. He thought or he wondered, “What would happen if I overnight every pair of shoes that’s ordered with regular three-day delivery.” It’s going to cost us money. It might even eat into all the profit of the shoe, but what might happen? He tried it for 90 days. The rest is history. Social media blew up with comments like, “I couldn’t believe it. I ordered shoes at 2:00 PM and I got them at 10:00 AM the next morning for free.” Words spread so fast that in six months the largest shoe company in America was Zappos.'The greatest time to prepare and hustle is in the wee hours of the morning or the late hours of the evening.' – Dr. John Maxwell Click To Tweet
#4 Help A Reporter Out
The question you have to ask yourself is with your product line and your service line, what area of customer service can you elevate and deliver some type of service that is physically too good to be true? They got to shake their head and go, “Did they do that for me? Did they just send me that?” It’s called purple cow service. It comes from the very small marketing book by Seth Godin, Purple Cow. I highly recommend you read it. Number four is HARO, Help A Reporter Out. I have a very in-depth detailed episode on this. It’s way too detailed to explain. Suffice it to say, it is well worth your time to go through the prior episodes and dig in and somehow find HARO, Help A Reporter Out. I’ve covered it three times. It is buried into the Right to Succeed website. If you need free marketing, there’s nothing like it. If you go to IncomeStore.com and you click Press and you look at how many news places and news agencies have interviewed me, almost all of those were received for free because of our initial blast on HARO, which was free. I’m on stages worldwide. I’ve been interviewed all over the place and a lot of it got its seed benefit and its kickstart. It’s a little big bang from HARO. I would strongly recommend you dig in for that and check it out.
#5 Founder Hustle
Number five, nothing beats what is called founder hustle. You may not be the founder of your company, but I bet you’re the founder of your division. I bet you’re the founder of your sales organization. You quite possibly could be the founder of your company. I’m going to give you two examples of founder hustle that I did in the old days. In 1996, I had a chain of video stores with Kerri and we were in the middle of the second video store, year two or three. I remember vividly, this was when we were renting VHS tapes. I noticed in the winter, let’s call that a barometer of 100% of sales. In the summer we only have 70% of the winter sales, because in the summer you can play catch with your son. You can coach tee ball. You can barbecue grill with your buddies and drink a beer. You can go to the Sox game or the Cubs game. Faced with suffocating break even for three months, I was not about to allow that to happen. I said, “What can I do as the founder of this video store chain that gets the attention of all 150,000 people in Joliet, Illinois?”
The long and short of it is I came up with this idea that about three or four doors down at the other side of the strip mall, there was a place that’s been there for 40 years called Louie’s Pizza. I had never met Louie. I knew he was in his 70s because I always saw him making pizza in his stark white hair, combed straight back, typical Italian look. I walked into Louie’s Pizza and I had 5,000 coupons for my video store in my hand. I said, “My name’s Ken. I’ve got the video store a few doors down. I need 30 seconds of your time. I would like you to put these 5,000 coupons on the next 5,000 pizza boxes.”
He was making pizza and he looked up and he goes, “Who are you again?” His manager chimes in and say, “That’s Ken. I rent videos from him and he’s at the other end of the strip mall.” He looked at his manager. He goes, “Would you kindly escort that fine young man out of here? I’m busy making pizzas.” I said, “I want to make a trade. I have a number of video stores. If you give me 10,000 coupons for your pizzas, I’ll put them out and they’ll be out in the next seven days across all my video stores.” He looked up again and he goes, “Get that kid 10,000 coupons.” We did a swap and I put out 10,000 coupons in my video stores in about eight days.Your inner voice is screaming at you when you cannot possibly hear through the noise of the day. Click To Tweet
Louie put 5,000 coupons in his pizzas in two to three weeks. My company grew 22% and never dropped again. His company grew 6% or 8% and never dropped again. The irony of this is we had exactly the same demographics, same exact audience and the same zone of influence. How in the world did we jump immediately? It’s simple. It was influencer marketing. Louie endorsed my brand to his audience. I endorsed his brand to my audience and the rest is history. It was phenomenal. The question is, “Who can you swap or share founder hustle with?” If you’re a doctor, can’t you swap something like that with a dentist? Can’t you partner up and do a local event? Can’t the dentist put an ad on the doctor’s website or the doctor put an ad on a dental website?
How about insurance people partnering with mortgage brokers? Can’t you find a way to take out a half-page ad in the newspaper maybe and split the cost? What if you’re a carpet cleaner? Can’t you partner up on advertising with someone that cleans or heating air ducts or something like that? It’s endless when you think outside the box that doesn’t exist, to begin with. The second thing that I did back in the day in 1997 is I owned a sign company. We would make outdoor electric signs for banks and Harrah’s Casino and McDonald’s and stuff like that. We also did a lot of banners and wooden signs. We had a slow period and I went to the back of the little fabrication shop and I said, “I want you to make me 200 10×12 inch banners.
I want them fully seamed, hemmed and a grommet in the corners so it looks like it is the real material of a huge banner. It’s only one foot and everybody was like, “Why in the world would you do that?” I said, “I want you to use vinyl and I want you to put C3 signs with our phone number on the banner. My brother Bill and I will personally hand them to 200 businesses in Joliet.” It’s going to act as a coffee cup or a magnet and they will know we built it by hand. They’re not going to want to throw it in the garbage. When anybody thinks they need a sign in the future, it will create something called TOMA, Top of the Mind Awareness, and they will call me.
For the next few years, we continued to take orders. We got a lot of sign orders immediately on the same day. People were like, “We were thinking about a sign. What do you recommend? What do you think we need?” It was an immediate business. It was a great business in the next 90 days, but then we had a trickle of business every quarter for the next coming years. People save the banner. They kept it in a drawer, kept it on a filing cabinet. Whenever they needed something, they had something in their face that was hand built. That’s yesterday’s version of founder hustle.Stop lying to yourself. Click To Tweet
What can you do in this digital world? This podcast is called Today’s Growth: Growing Business Today. I still recommend finding your Louie. You can still do the Louie’s Pizza swap. You can still make handmade banners and hand deliver them and it’s got to be done by the founder, by somebody top in the company. What are some digital things you can do? Why not send 500 samples digitally? What do I mean by that? Somewhere in the last twenty episodes, I talked about a gal, a biochemist who came up with a facial cream. She came to me crying and saying, “Business is flat. I’m stuck at $500,000 a year in sales.” I said, “How did you get to $500,000?” She goes, “When I was 22 years old, I read a blog post that said all I have to do is mail samples to people that write blogs or review things on YouTube and I’ll probably pick up some business. I ended up sending out 500 samples and within a couple of years I was doing $500,000 a year and I still do $500,000 a year in residual sales.”
For those of you that read that episode, I sarcastically said to her, “Why don’t you send another 500 samples to 500 others?” She did and her business blew up again. Here’s the question. Who are the people of influence in your industry? Who could you send samples of products to? Who could you write content for that describes nothing but value? You ask nothing in return. There’s no call to actions. You write a killer piece of content and you send it to all these sneezers saying, “See if this makes sense for the readers of your blog or the viewers of your YouTube channel. Is this is of value to you?”
I’ve done this for both Inc. and Forbes Magazine and they keep asking me for more stuff because I never asked for anything. I said, “Here’s some great content if you need it, if you can use it, great.” Now I get asked at least once a year, “You’ve got any more content?” You’ve got to remember these sneezers wake up every week saying, “What am I going to write on this week?” Serve them up some killer content on a cookie platter and I’m telling you, they will allow you to mention the name of your company. They will give you credit for the content. You can link to your website. You’ve got to try it.
Number two and maybe the greatest founder hustle of all time, no question. It’s the item that’s gotten us the more business worldwide than anything else is I began to speak everywhere. It started with the university that I graduated from. They called me up, “Would you come to speak to our marketing guys?” I was like, “Of course.” I got a call from Loyola, then DePaul and then it got to small business associations and it escalated all the way up to the EO. They flew me out to Dubai. I ended up speaking to the alternative investment division of the government of Dubai as well since I was already out there. I’ve spoken all over the world on our topic of what we do growing businesses. All of it started because people found on my website that I spoke at a couple of universities, I spoke to large groups and I spoke to global mastermind groups. It escalates. Everything starts with a seed and the seed usually starts with founder hustle.
The best time to come up with the founder hustle ideas and I got this from John Maxwell is in the quiet times like Saturday mornings. Every Saturday’s at 6:30 in the morning, I go to a men’s Bible study. It starts at 7:00. We eat from 6:30 to 7:00. There are 50 of us. We get out of there at 8:00. When I come home almost everybody in my house is still sleeping. From 8:00 to 10:00 it is a ghost town in my house. There are six people in my house. What do I do? I close all my computers, I turn off Skype, I turn off my phone and I sit quietly staring at a white piece of paper. What’s on my mind is what can I personally do in the next 30 days to grow this company?
I plant the seed and I listen. This comes from John Maxwell. He was a pastor for 25 years. He has more shelf space in Barnes & Noble than any author in history. Twelve of his fourteen books have the word leadership in the title. He switched from 25 years being a pastor. For the last 30 years, he’s been what is considered the greatest leader of leaders in the world. Someone said he’s personally impacted 30 million people. Dr. John Maxwell says, “The greatest time to prep founder hustle is in the wee hours of the morning or in the late hours of the evening when everything is quiet and you can hear the voice of God or hear the voice of some higher power calling to you.” You hear your inner voice screaming to you when you cannot possibly here through all the noise during the day of text, Skype, phone, email, Slack, this and that. You can’t. Let’s get real.
The first step of all success is to stop lying to yourself. We know that one. The five methods of free marketing: number one, that that’s rewarded will be repeated. Number two, worthy cause marketing PR is explosive. Number three, purple cow service. Everybody reading this can implement that one immediately. Number four, HARO. Do some homework and figure that one out. Number five, founder hustle. Nothing will ever beat founder hustle under any circumstance. I hope this helps. Take care.
- Mary Kay
- Don’t Sell, What Does? – past episode
- TOMS Shoes
- The Barefoot Spirit
- Barefoot Wine
- Surfrider Foundation
- Bain Capital
- Purple Cow
- Help A Reporter Out – past episode of Today’s Growth
- Louie’s Pizza
- John Maxwell