In the online business community Facebook Groups have become a staple part of the marketing strategy for many start-up business owners and freelancers, as it offers a free and easy way to get in front of your target market. Facebook Groups do provide a great “free” platform for start-ups and experts to grow their business.
Now, when I say “free” I mean that it is free in the financial sense. It’s not free on the time and energy investment.
When you are in that stage of start-up you may not have the money for paid advertising, but you often have time up your sleeve to make Facebook Groups a viable strategy to get your business up and running.
In start-up you’re also full of energy, buzzing with adrenaline anytime anyone engages with your business as it gives you instant feedback that your idea/s are viable and helpful/useful/valuable to others.
All great things, however the past 18 months, and more frequently in the past 6 months, I’ve noticed an increase in enquiries for marketing strategies that don’t involve Facebook Groups. Usually because one or more of these common scenarios happen…
- Your business takes off and you no longer have time to show up (most common)
- Your energy is depleted from having to constantly “show up” and engage to be seen (hello to all of my fellow introverts!)
- You want some time off of social media without breaking your business (very common)
- You realise that more of your target market are seeking what you’ve got in other places outside of groups
- You’d rather spend your time on social media being social without marketing
- Your time investment isn’t paying off
- You want to try something new
- You’re just starting to hate being on social media
These all tend to be the common thread underlying why people are coming to me looking for alternative marketing strategies to Facebook Groups.
In a nutshell: not enough time, it drains energy, and it’s not scale-able or batch-able.
So if you just quietly recognised yourself in a few of the above points, here are a couple of organic marketing strategies to experiment with so that you can become less reliant on Facebook Groups to grow your business. They’ve worked for me and for many of my clients, if they resonate with you, try one and make the change.
Organic Marketing Alternatives to Facebook Groups
SEO (search engine optimisation) is very popular – especially among the introverted clients and the people who prefer writing over video/social – as it offers a way for customers to find you, instead of you finding them.
It works by optimising your website, content, and online presence to essentially tell Google what your site is about so that Google can match people searching for what you’ve got with your site.
- you can DIY for “free”
- it can be engineered to target people at each point of the buying cycle
- customers find you, not the other way around
- it’s pull marketing, not push
- you can do it when it suits you
- it can be batched
- it can be easily measured
- can be outsourced
- great option if you enjoy writing and a splash of analytics and tech
- can produce sustainable customer flow
- minimal energy required
- once in place it can continue to work even when you’re on break (or sick :/ #becauselife )
- “free” if you DIY but does take time
- long-game strategy, instant results are extremely rare
- does require a level of technical and analytical skills
- can’t really automate the process
- you kinda have to like writing
- it’s not a done-once done-forever strategy there are constantly changing trends and algorithms to keep up with
- you must have obvious next steps to engage the visitor to get the ROI
Another organic marketing strategy that works really well is…
2. Customer Experience Optimisation (CXO)
Customer experience (aka CX) is a broad term that covers every touch point that a customer experiences your business. This can be through advertising, email marketing, social media, working together, after-sale service, product delivery, point of sale, watching your video, participating in your program or course, and the list goes on.
We all know that it’s most cost efficient to retain an existing customer for repeat business than to convert new ones. So if we can make the customer’s experience with your business memorable and enjoyable, not only will they come back and buy from you again, but they are highly likely to recommend other people to you.
And as you would be well aware, word of mouth is more effective marketing than when you directly market yourself (which is why affiliate marketing works so well).
Both repeat business and word of mouth marketing is more profitable and energy-protecting than constant “push” marketing from top to bottom of funnel.
- More happy customers *hooray*
- Increases repeat business
- Increases customer loyalty
- Increases positive Word of Mouth
- Less energy required for bigger results
- More profitable outcomes for time/money/energy investment
- Some can be automated
- can be outsourced although does require personal elements
- can be DIY
- once in place it can continue to work even when you’re on break (or sick :/ #becauselife )
- Sustainable customer flow
- Requires upfront time, energy and potentially financial investment to get it working effectively
- Usually requires technical and analytical skills if DIYing
There are a multitude of ways to optimise your customer experience but as you can see it definitely pays off to invest some time and energy here regularly.
3. Collaborative Partnerships and/or Guest Features
An organic guest feature can include things like guest blogging, featured press, podcast interviews, video/live interviews, guest presenter to groups or programs. Collaborative partnerships involve two or more professionals coming together to create or offer something together.
The idea being that you show up in another space that your ideal audience frequents or places value on that you didn’t have to curate or work for.
For example: you may write an article featured in a world class industry journal or news site, or be a guest presenter in a high-profile person’s training program, can earn you expert status – even to people who aren’t familiar with you or where you were featured. It’s all about perception.
- Bigger reach so your name and message gets out to your audience faster
- Has similar marketing effects to Word of Mouth
- Can give “expert” status and raises perception of “expert” status
- Quick win
- Scale-able to a point
- Can be a long-term strategy
- Time investment is minimal for the return
- Can require pitching and applications which take time – but you can do that it a time that suits you, it can also be outsourced
- Only scale-able to a point
- Not a set and forget strategy, I’d recommend scheduling appearances and collaborations across the year
- Can’t be automated
- Usually can’t be outsourced (the applications or writing can, you showing up obviously cant)
- Have to be prepared for influx of customers
- Once the initial influx is over it can die off
Other organic marketing strategies that work:
Face-to-face connection works wonders for building instant rapport and promotes word of mouth marketing. Does require a time and energy investment, and definitely can’t be automated. The best results are in the follow up, so if this sounds like a strategy for you, nail your follow-up strategy.
Pinterest is a great alternative for people who love creating, the social aspect, and a sprinkling of SEO. I’ve found sharing to Pinterest a great asset in sending targeted traffic to websites resulting in great conversion rates. As a member of a number of group boards and Pinterest Tribes, this can have that “group” marketing element without having to physically show up.
Pinterest marketing is batch-able, scale-able, and easy on the energy. It does require time to create the content, write the descriptions, tags, and pin. BUT that time investment does pay off as pins don’t “disappear into the abyss” like Facebook posts do after a day or two. I still get traffic to this day for pins that were pinned years ago!
I find that clients often have 5-30 minutes they can spare to show up in a week to pre-record a video or do a live video on social media. You can then re-purpose that content into quote graphics, social media posts, blog posts, share the video to other applicable social channels, email the video/blog to your mailing list, create the video as a lead magnet… so many things can be created from a minimal time investment. You can even batch the video creation and outsource the content re-purposing if you want to save even more time!
This marketing strategy also allows you to connect with customers in multiple ways: video, written, audio, visual. Every one learns and engages in different ways, and on different channels, so I’ve found re-purposing content not only helps the business owner to save time, but also allows them to connect with more people.
I also recently interviewed a group of business owners from around the world to ask what marketing techniques have worked for them that felt easy to do. Read about them here for more marketing ideas.
Are Facebook Groups the only thing keeping your business alive?
Are there any organic marketing strategies that you’ve tried to break the reliance on Facebook Groups? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments or feel free to send me an email. And if Facebook Groups are the ONLY thing keeping your business alive, we need to talk. Book in a time to chat here.