At some point in the last decade, a critical number of people started thinking about the kinds of side effects that might come with using too many pesticides, antibiotics, and other foreign substances to grow food.
From that realization came the organic movement. It has flourished to the point that you can now find naturally-grown options in just about any supermarket you visit.
It’s interesting that our relationship with food changed as access to information grew. By using a little bit of common sense, we (as shoppers) have been able to overcome what was once conventional thinking around nutrition.
I think a parallel shift might be taking place in the world of digital marketing. For a very long time, companies of all sizes have been following a formulaic approach to lead generation.
It basically amounted to doing or saying anything to bring someone to your website, and then relying on hype or fear-of-missing-out to drive conversions.
That approach has been fairly effective, but it hasn’t exactly been healthy for marketers or their customers. After all, hype can set up unrealistic expectations. Some businesses will seemingly say anything to get buyers to pay attention, even if it isn’t remotely truthful. Case in point, empty promises to Rank #1 in search.
Seeing how a short-term emphasis on conversions was doing long-term damage to credibility, smart marketers started following a different philosophy when it came to online marketing. You could call it an “organic” approach to finding customers and interacting with them.
Could going organic transform your business? Take a look at a few of the core ideas and decide for yourself…
Don’t Add Anything Artificial. Keep your communications authentic.
When communicating with my clients, whether it’s in-person, over the phone, or through social media, truly organic marketers try their best to be authentic. They don’t say things they don’t believe, or make hyped-up claims they can’t back up.
That doesn’t mean they never end up wrong, just that they won’t put their name or brand next to something they wouldn’t be able to defend. From a credibility standpoint, that’s just common sense and good business.
Be Clear on the Ingredients in Your Marketing Mix
Being an organic marketer means you don’t have anything hidden in your business. If you work with a partner who outsources coding, for instance, you have to let your clients to know who you are hiring and why.
In the same way, you shouldn’t hide your motivations for making recommendations or referrals. If you’re going to make money off of something, your customer should know you have an incentive to promote it.
Cultivate Your Own Messaging Skills
Some business owners and executives want to off-load all of their marketing and messaging responsibilities to an outside firm. That’s not a good arrangement for the client or the agency, though.
Even if artists and writers are helping to devise the messages or images used online, the client should be involved in the direction. That way, things stay transparent and authentic.
Let Goodwill Recycle Itself
Usually, when a company gives away valuable information online, they are doing it to serve their own purposes. Organic marketers certainly want to generate sales, too, but they are also open to sharing ideas they think are useful just for the sake of it.
Be open to reward by referrals and introductions. The core philosophy is just to do the right thing when possible and trust in kharma. Maybe that’s a little naïve, but it is a guiding principle for many successful companies, including ours.
Don’t Throw Valuables Away
Likewise, not every potential client who approaches a business is a good match for their work. Rather than forcing a bad fit, or simply turning them away, a committed marketer will usually try to send the lead to someone they know and trust.
Whether that third party will ever reciprocate or not isn’t really the point – the marketer has done their part to help out someone, which is never a bad idea. It usually comes back in the form of positive business karma.
Look for Renewable Customer Sources
So many online marketers fail because they want to find a “quick fix.” Those sorts of plans and tactics hardly ever work out well over the long run, either for customers or the companies that use them.
So, businesses taking an organic approach don’t bother looking for instant solutions. Instead, they grow campaigns from the ground up, developing branding and authority over the course of many months. It takes longer, but the results are more consistent and sustainable.
Grow a Healthier Business
Lots of old-school marketers would tell you that the ideas laid out here aren’t practical. To them, getting customers is all about pushing the slickest message you can in front of as many people as possible and hoping for the best. The success of many thousands of ethical businesses proves otherwise.
In fact, the more focused you are on doing the right things over the long term, the easier it is to succeed in your industry every day.
As if treating customers the right way and keeping a healthy bottom line weren’t enough, it turns out that following an organic approach to marketing and customer care makes you feel pretty great about yourself, too.
So, if you want to run a profitable company and sleep well at night knowing you’ve made a good contribution to the world, give it a shot and see what being open and ethical can do for you! And while you're at it, grab a copy of this download, which talks about blogging for lead generation. You're welcome. :)