Marketing isn’t about advertising anymore. You can’t build a product and then hope to ‘find an audience’ for it. Mad Men is truly over.

The new marketing is being who you are, attracting your natural tribe, and then creating products that deeply serve them.

As Seth Godin says, “You don’t find customers for your products, you find products for your customers.”

So how do you gather a tribe? How do you find more of the people you’re here to serve? Well, I’ve drawn out 5 ways for you.

I was resistant to writing this piece

I confess, I’ve avoided more practical articles like this so far. I’m not totally sure why. Part of me has assumed that this blog had a more philosophical identity. But I also know that’s my comfort zone.

So, this is me walking my talk, and choosing to create new stuff despite feeling resistance.

I’ve done a lot of marketing the last few years. I know the conventions really well. I know that a small business that doesn’t focus strongly on marketing is going to struggle. I also know that non-vomit-inducing marketing is hard to come by.

And yet, I think the new marketing really does transcend (and exclude) vomit.

So, let’s get stuck in. How do you grown your tribe? Here are 5 ways…

1.     Share your wisdom (consistently)

This really is the bed rock. That’s why everyone’s dog has written about it. You want to grow your tribe? You need to show up and share what you’ve got, so they can find you. No sharing, no gathering.

Share your wisdom. Whatever it is that you think can help folks, give it. Don’t hold back the good stuff for some vague future product. Lay it all out.

It’s a process of self-revealing. When you disclose who you naturally are, your natural tribe will naturally find you.

And if you want to do this effectively, you’re going to want to be consistent.

Whatever it is you’re putting out, put it out regularly. As you get better at saying what you have to say, and people get more trusting that you’re going to keep saying it, your tribe will increasingly grow.

2.  Say the things you don’t want to say

Show yourself. Radically. Share the thing that you don’t want to share. If you’re not quivering as you click ‘publish’ you probably played it too safe.

No-one changed things without making a ruckus. No-one followed a leader that wasn’t radical. You can’t create a new tribe without dividing opinion.

What are the things you don’t want to share? What are the things that seem inappropriate? What do you fear will piss people off? What do you worry might ruin your reputation?

If it’s deeply important to you, you feel it in your heart, and you know it needs to be said; say it.

Losing 10% of your community because of a controversial share is a good thing if the other 90% love you even more deeply for it.

3.  Say the things you do want to say

Share what you care about. Yes, you’re here to help and serve. But if you don’t fundamentally feel excited about what you’re sharing, people will feel it, and they’ll turn off.

Forget your ‘target market’. Ignore the strategic leverage. Share what you know you’re here to share. Say what you want to say.

What would you talk about if you could talk about anything? What would you talk about if you didn’t have to do anything except drink strawberry smoothies through a straw for the rest of your life?

Talk about that, and see who shows up. That’s your tribe.

4.   Signpost the route

“Build it, and they will come.” Except they don’t.

You need to show people how to find you. You need to signpost the route. Maybe you prefer an understated little sign with a personal message. Maybe you prefer a big flashing neon monster.

But you do have to sign post it.

“Tribe this way. We’re into preserving the endangered Tualamanian nose flute. If you want to join come this way.”

Facebook. Workshops. Email. LinkedIn. Meetups. Parties. Wherever you think your people hang out, mark a trail back to your tribal home. And welcome them when they arrive.

5.  Interrupt people

When I’m designing marketing strategies for my business or clients, the end goal is always creating trust and intimacy. It’s about getting into genuine relationship with them, for the long term.

That’s the most effective long term strategy I know. And it’s what feels good in my heart, and my bones.

But to get into relationship, you’ve got to make contact.

Today’s market place is like a packed room at a party. It’s loud, fast and fickle. If you stand alone in the corner (like I prefer to do at parties) and hope people wander over and strike up a conversation with you, it’s going to be a slow and lonely process.

You need to interrupt people.

Which is why, for the first time ever in four years in this game, I decided to use a (hopefully tasteful) popup. Scroll a little further down and you’ll find it.

Interrupt them. Make contact. Touch them. Then you can build a relationship, which grows your tribe.

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Ewan Townhead

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you're interested further in my work, you can find out more about me here, and my coaching here.