Can businesses be successful without paid advertising? How can you build a brand’s following organically? Are there benefits to using paid ads in the first place? And what’re the consequences of avoiding the paid ad route?
If you’re new to the marketing space, you’ve likely questioned all of the above.
In 2020, 263.5 billion dollars was spent on online paid advertising in America alone. From start-ups to established, bigger businesses, many brands see the benefits of paid advertising and use it to scale their business.
But is that the only way?
No. By refining and strengthening your marketing strategy, you can grow your own fan base organically without needing to spend a dime on paid advertising.
Here are 4 ways to build a loyal fan base, increase your number of leads, and widen your brand’s reputation. But first:
If you’ve been in the marketing space for more than a few days, you’ve likely heard the phrase ‘organic growth.’
Organic growth in business and marketing simply means to grow the company internally, without relying on paid strategies.
For example, mastering your content strategy and implementing it into your sales funnel would be an organic growth strategy, as you’re building a business without spending money on the lead capturing process.
Before crafting a strategy to gain organic growth, it’s vital to lay the foundations. To do so, you must first understand what makes a memorable and successful brand.
- A deep understanding of your audience
- A distinguished brand voice
- Strong and established core values and beliefs
- Solid social proof and credibility
- A distinguishable unique selling point (USP)
- Consistent brand design
- Frequent and honest communication
Growing a brand organically doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why many business owners take the paid advertising route, as it speeds up the process. However, if done correctly, the organic method can be far more effective over time, capturing leads in an evergreen sequence.
With that in mind, the first thing to know is that growing a brand organically takes time.
It also takes experimentation and willingness to change and adjust. This is because every brand is different, and, as a result, so is their audience. It’s essential to be aware of your strategy and understand what’s resonating and working with your demographic. Then, it’s all about testing and trialing, monitoring the data, and adjusting the elements that need it.
If you’re aware that this is a long-term strategy that can reap far more benefits than the paid advertising route if perfected, as well as knowing you’ll need to experiment and adjust, then consider the following 4 methods to grow a brand organically.
Organic search is alive and kicking, but you need to be smart about it to get to the top.
You’ll need to be posting and updating your website consistently. If you don’t currently run a blog, it’s worth investing your time in setting one up. Consider outsourcing blog posts to a content or copywriting agency and ensure they are knowledgeable of SEO.
According to SEMRush, companies who blog consistently gain 67% more leads per month.
If you’re hoping to grow a brand organically, blogging is a fantastic way to do so.
Other benefits of blogging include:
- It’s a fantastic place to utilize keywords and keyphrases to boost SEO.
- You’re able to demonstrate empathy for your target audience and convey your knowledge of their pain points.
- Similarly, you’re able to provide value and solutions to these pain points through the content you address.
- Your brand can show their expertise, positioning them as a figure of authority within the industry.
Not sure what to write…or how? Don’t be afraid to lean into copywriting courses.
Social media marketing is extremely popular in 2021. With 420 billion people active on social media, it’s unsurprising that many brands invest a lot of time, effort, and money into perfecting their social media marketing strategy.
It’s important to consider which platform you will use and align this with your target audience.
Different demographics use social media differently, and, as such, other platforms appeal to each set of unique groups.
As such, it’s critical to assess your ideal buyer’s avatar.
After this, you need to explore the usage of social media within your demographic. The best way to do this is to hop on the channels yourself and search for them.
Consider your direct and indirect competitors, and explore their social media platforms. Pay attention to where they’re most active, as well as their responses from the audience.
If, for example, a brand is posting consistently across Facebook and Instagram, but the Instagram posts are gaining more engagement, Instagram is likely the audience’s favored platform.
Don’t make the mistake of picking your favorite social media platform for ease. There’s little point in building a solid social media platform if your audience isn’t there to witness it.
This step could have an article dedicated to itself, as brand voice is fundamental to organic growth. It also impacts the above two points, as everything you’re posting and publishing needs to be written in a consistent tone and voice.
Your brand voice is the way your brand ‘speaks.’
Many startups or inexperienced brands will fall straight into the ‘corporate and professional’ trap.
This is because our natural instinct, when trying to gain authority and be viewed as knowledgeable within a field, is to write formally, using complicated vocabulary and terms outsiders may not be familiar with.
Despite the instinct, you must fight against it.
Every brand’s voice will be unique, but there’s one clear rule:
Keep it simple.
Using complex jargon will only isolate your audience, and your brand will be forgettable.
To find your brand voice, you need to visit the foundations we previously talked about. Take a good look at your brand’s core values, as these will have a significant impact on how your brand ‘talks’.
After this, study your demographic. The key is to speak the way your audience speaks. For example, if your target audience includes teenage girls, they likely use slang and emojis. You can then implement these written features into your brand’s voice.
Finally, do some competitor analysis. Research brands that are pitching to the same demographic as you. Study their website, blog posts, social media posts, and any other form of written content you can.
You can even create a brand voice comparison table, where you decide on 5-6 key elements within the voice. Then, after pinpointing a handful of competitors, you can tick or cross the features across the grid, leaving you with a definitive list of features brands use for your audience within their copywriting.
The return on investment for email marketing is a staggering 4200%, which equates to $42 for every $1 you spend.
So, email marketing should definitely take a top spot in your organic marketing strategy.
To grow your email list, you can’t rely on ‘sign up to receive the latest updates!’. It simply isn’t enough of a benefit for a potential lead to hand over their email address.
Remember, someone’s email address is a precious tool. When somebody chooses to hand this over to a brand, it shows trust. People rarely do this without a benefit.
That’s where your lead magnet comes in.
A lead magnet is something you give someone in exchange for a method of communication with them – ordinarily an email address.
This could be a discount (which works well for product-based businesses) or a digital product. You can also have more than one lead magnet to segment your audiences, to deliver more tailored content, and see a higher return on investment.
Digital lead magnet ideas include:
- A downloadable guide
- An online quiz
- A pre-recorded or live webinar
- An infographic
- An audit
- An e-book
Lead magnets come in all shapes and sizes. Their impact lies within your knowledge of your audience.
They should solve a problem and contain actionable advice; however, they shouldn’t do your job for you. Finding the balance can sometimes be tricky.
One method to find the right topic to address in your lead magnet is by heading to Reddit.
Reddit is the fountain of audience understanding. Explore your industry using keywords in the search bar, and read through the threads of your target audience.
You can also take to social media and ask your audience yourself what would be useful for them. However, if you do so, you’ll likely receive fewer responses than if you provided a poll for them to vote on. This is down to the effort levels required. It’s easier to pick between two options than to come up with an idea themselves.
It’s also crucial to have a well-written and strategic nurture sequence which delivers your lead magnet and leads into a low-ticket offer. This is the base of your sales strategy, so ensure you nurture your leads, keeping them toasty over time before you position your offer within the sequence.
When all is said and done, both of these routes offer different benefits and present unique challenges.
Organic advertising is inexpensive – sometimes even free! And the brand comes across as less pushy and ‘salesy’ when implementing an organic growth strategy. However, this method does take time, and the investment of your time and effort will be hefty.
That said, organic advertising is more effective in the long run and helps to spread your brand’s reputation through word of mouth, solving people’s problems, and demonstrating empathy.
As such, organic advertising should always play a role in your marketing strategy. Even if you’re simultaneously running paid ads at the same time.
Over the past decade, Liz has worked as a copywriter and digital marketing executive for a multitude of companies from startups to and mid-sized businesses to working as the VP of marketing for award-winning, platinum-selling artists. Leveraging an understanding of the nuance of language in marketing, Liz founded Amplihigher, a content marketing and copywriting agency, designed to connect consumers to companies in a way that results in next-level brand expansion.