The Clean and Green Club, November 2016

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, November 2016
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Donald Trump, Social Entrepreneurship, and YOU

I am finishing this newsletter less than 24 hours after Donald Trump was named the victor in the US presidential race. As someone who has spent my whole life defending the oppressed, combatting racism, sexism, ableism and other ingrained prejudice, and working to preserve our planet. I was disheartened to see a repudiation of everything I stand for.

But the work goes on. It will be harder under a Trump administration than it has been under Obama. We can expect rollbacks of the hard-fought climate protection agreement forged in Paris last year, as one example. I have actually written to Trump and made a business case for continuing to honor Paris. I’ll be making that public shortly and will link to it here next month—or you can watch for it on my Facebook feed.

One of my very few regrets in my life is not fighting harder against the 2000 election results (which, to me and many others, were deeply tainted). I will not make that mistake again. If you visit my Facebook profile and scroll back to November 9, you’ll see resources of organizations you can support. And you’ll see a press release called “How Can Social Entrepreneurs Still Thrive in a Trump America?”, also posted at

This Month’s Tip: How Long Do You Keep Marketing to “Dead” Prospects?

Conventional marketing wisdom tells you to keep purging your list, purging your list, purging your list. If they haven’t bought from you after so many months, out they go! Some businesses will even purge the ones who do buy, but haven’t bought “enough.” They chop out the clients who provide the bottom 10 or 20 percent of revenue each year, and concentrate on the bigger fish.

Here’s some UNconventional marketing wisdom: that’s a load of crap.

Consider this:

  • Some people take years to decide on a purchase
  • Purchases, especially of expensive products or services in the B2B (business-to-business) world, might require a very long sales cycle while you build trust
  • It’s not uncommon to move a sale through the “funnel” model, starting with a no-cost or very inexpensive information product, and moving through a series of products of increasing depth—building trust and a reputation as the expert—before finally landing the big sale.

Tonight, I was inspired to write this column because I listened to a webinar, and at the end of that webinar, I pulled out my credit card and bought an info product for $995. Maybe the most interesting thing about the purchase is where it came in my cycle of trust with the presenter and the organizer. I met the organizer in 1997 or 1998 and have consumed a lot of his no-cost offerings; I met the presenter online a couple of years later. I’d purchased very low-cost products from the organizer a few times (such as a one-day conference in the $59 range); I’d never bought anything from the presenter before this call, although I had listened to several of her previous webinars and actually had a no-cost consultation from her.

It’s very rare that I buy something priced higher than $100 or so through a webinar. But in this case,

  1. Buying this product will probably save me at least 20 hours of time—and (because it includes sample contracts and other documents) several hundred dollars in lawyer-review fees.
  2. The two principals had proven their value to me over time, by consistently providing great information.
  3. The presenter’s offer happened to coincide exactly with a new direction in my business.
  4. A risk-free 100% satisfaction promise made it a no-brainer. If it wasn’t what I expected, I could send it back.

The confluence of those four factors made it worth my while to drop a whole grand on this. Those conditions moved me from lookie-loo to buyer of a relatively expensive product. Those conditions hadn’t existed before.

As a service provider, I’ve also experienced this from the other side.

  • This summer, I had a $39,500 client and a $6,000 client. Both of those originally came to me several years ago, with a tiny little project that earned me a few hundred dollars. And both of them have dribbled a steady stream of small projects my way. The $6K client had done some larger projects with me, including one at $20K. If I remember correctly, the $40K client had not spent more than about $1,500 with me at once.
  • Two other clients I worked with this summer have consistently spent a few hundred dollars at a time, a few times a year, for several years.
  • My final big client this summer was a referral—from a client I worked with nine years ago!
  • I literally had a client contact me who had saved and filed an article in the Wall Street Journal about six years earlier that mentioned me.
  • Most of my largest projects in the 35 years I’ve run my business have grown out of previously completing a series of very small orders—pretty much everything except book contracts from publishers, and a few of my book-project-management gigs.

How much work would I have given up if I had purged these folks from my list because they hadn’t bought yet, or hadn’t bought enough yet?

How many people are you sending away just before they were finally ready to buy, or buy bigger?

Hear and Meet Shel
If you’re attending Suzanne Evans’ Build Your Speaking Biz conference in Atlanta, this Thursday, November 17 through Saturday, November 19, please introduce yourself. Better yet, send an email beforehand and we’ll try to meet up.

Thursday, December 1, 5 pm ET/2 pm PT, guest on Willie Crawford and Haddy Folivi’s entrepreneurial radio show.

Monday, December 5 is the likely release date for a really interesting and unusual interview with Jena Rodriguez on the Branding with Jena/Brave Entrepreneur podcast. This is the first time I think I’ve been asked about how I’ve been brave in my social change work (and I riffed about some of the people who are much braver than I am). We had a lot of fun, too.

Monday and Tuesday, March 28-29, I think I will be attending the Ethical Corporation conference in New York City, and moderating at least one session. Details not firmed up as of press time.

Order your copy of Shel’s newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World

Learn how the business world can profit while solving hunger, poverty, war, and catastrophic climate change (hint: they’re all based in resource conflicts). Endorsed by Chicken Soup’s Jack Canfield, business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin, and many others. Find out more and order from several major booksellers (or get autographed and inscribed copies directly from me).
Download a free sampler with several excerpts, the complete Table of Contents and Index, and all the endorsements.
Another Recommended BookTools for Grassroots Activists
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Tools for Grassroots Activists: Best Practices for Success in the Environmental Movement, Edited by Nora Gallagher and Lisa Myers

After two months in a row of reviewing corporate apologists, it’s refreshing to stumble on a grassroots handbook for action—published by a very different kind of corporation: Patagonia.

This is a book I wish I’d had access to in some of the organizing campaigns I’ve been involved with for the past 40 years. It’s full of diverse advice from activists in the trenches. Some of these are people we’ve heard of: Bill McKibben, author of several climate change classics and founder of…Jane Goodall, researcher and activist for chimpanzees…toxics activist Lois Gibbs (who took on Hooker Chemical over the contamination of Niagara Falls’ Love Canal neighborhood)…and of course, Patagonia’s amazing founder Yvon Chouinard, among others.

But most of them are known not so much by their names, but their deeds. They leave a trail of success. They have organized or actively participated in movements that saved threatened land. They have expertise in areas such as grassroots organizing, media relations, fundraising, lobbying…

Many of them have great advice about how to work with people who don’t share your values or lifestyles—engaging ranchers, ethnic or cultural communities, retailers, or commercial fishing operators in the areas where your purposes overlap, or winning over influential conservative politicians.

Reflecting on my own experience as the founding organizer of a group that successfully defeated a large development project on our local mountain in 1999-2000 and my participation in a few other successful movements, I found most of the advice was spot on.  Specifically: 

  • Look for common ground
  • Include business supporters and other stakeholders outside the environmental groups in victory celebrations
  • Stay focused on the big goals—don’t drown in minutiae
  • Be willing to negotiate a small reduction in your goals in order to vastly broaden your support base
  • Focus on stories instead of statistics.

Some provide cautionary tales about how NOT to do this work. For example, when John Sterling—now Executive Director of the Conservation Alliance—was Patagonia’s Director of Environmental Programs, he was pressured by an activist with a very short deadline to declare publicly in an ad that the company was not using products from old-growth forests. The activist gained the signatures of several other companies—but when logging interests declared a boycott on the listed firms, the activist hung them all out to dry. Needless to say, those executives who had gone out on a limb were a lot less receptive to future appeals from environmentalists; the activist had done more harm than good.

The book also introduced me to some new resources, or new ways of using familiar tools. I hadn’t been aware of Headwaters Economics, a think tank that researches the economic contributions of undeveloped natural resources and generally finds that they have contribute more to the economy than they do when they’re extracted. And it hadn’t occurred to me that Google Earth could be such a powerful tool to create visual aids such as time-lapse maps that track the melting of a glacier or the land-use impact of a rapidly developing city.

Surprisingly, the book doesn’t deeply address the issue of coalition partners getting caught up in fighting each other instead of focusing on the wider goal—but this is something I’ve experienced over and over again in progressive movements.

My favorite essay was Jane Goodall’s message of hope. She called for activists to celebrate the good news, and noted that there’s plenty of it. And her success story showed how a well-executed campaign could impact on multiple levels; her Roots and Shoots project manages to address habitat and species protection, youth empowerment, and bringing people out of poverty all at once. That’s just the kind of victory I love to celebrate in my books and talks.

Highly recommended.

Recent Interviews & Guest Articles: 

Shel’s done 13 podcasts recently, ranging from 5 minutes to a full hour. Click here to see descriptions and replay links.
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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a green and social change business profitability/marketing consultant and copywriter…award-winning author of ten books…international speaker and trainer, blogger, syndicated columnist – Shel Horowitz shows how green, ethical, and socially conscious businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green, less-socially-aware competitors. His award-winning 8th book Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet was a category bestseller for at least 34 months (and is now available exclusively through Shel). Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Green And Profitable, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company. He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.
He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).
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2 Comments so far »

  1. Connie Taylor said,

    Wrote on November 16, 2016 @ 5:40 pm

    Just want to say thank you for the work you do.

  2. Shlomo12241956 said,

    Wrote on November 17, 2016 @ 2:28 am

    Thanks, Connie. Good to be appreciated.

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