Market Like a River

Marketing that works, for you.


Do you have to be on Tik Tok to grow your business?

I say no.

But also if you want to, yes.

This week’s simple strategy is to be a strong river. Don’t be a mile wide and an inch deep. Pick your channel and put your efforts there.

A strong river of traffic will have qualified people coming to your door, where you can help them convert into customers.

The Simple Strategy.

Marketing should evolve like a river.

Start narrow and strong. Spread out as you grow.


The fundamentals

Back in 1998, when Chumbawumba was still putting out hits (ok their only hit), I was in the 6th grade. In science class we did a unit on the natural progression of rivers. They have three stages, with really exciting titles.

The Upper Course - This is where the river starts. It’s narrow, clear, and moves very fast. Its narrow enough you can jump over it, like I did once for the Hudson.

The Middle Course - The river has gotten larger. It’s wider with more volume flowing through it. Multiple rivers or tributaries might feed into the same river. The part of the Mississippi where barges move around is the middle course.

The Lower Course - This is the delta of the river, where it meets a lake or sea. It’s slow, powerful and wide. It moves a TON of volume.

What do rivers have to do with getting customers? Read on friend…

How this works

Last week we talked about the Profit Formula.

Customers x Average Order Value x Frequency x Margin = Profit.

When you’re bootstrapping a business, or you have limited capital to grow it, you need to get to profitability as fast as possible. And, the time you have as an entrepreneur is often as limited as your capital is. So you gotta spend wisely.

The first part of the profit formula is getting more customers. We get customers by:

  1. Traffic: Increasing qualified traffic to our storefront.

  2. Conversion: Increasing the conversion of that traffic into customers.

Entrepreneurs like you and me get bombarded every day by new pitches to increase leads. Being a podcast guest, or growing on instagram through reels, or whatever other shiny thing it is. How do you know which one to pick?

The answer is simple. Just pick one. And rock it! Pick what you’re comfortable with and focus your effort there.

If we go back to our example of rivers, but think about it in terms of volume of water, where is there more volume, at the upper course or at the end course? Obviously it’s at the end.

Your marketing should act like a river.

If you’re starting out, keep it narrow, strong and deep.

  • Tik Tok is a river of traffic.

  • Instagram is a river.

  • LinkedIn is a river.

  • Paid ads are a river.

Pick a river. Make it strong. If you have limited volume, don’t spread it out among a bunch of tiny rivers, or one that is a mile wide and an inch deep. You need power to get the potential customers to your door. So stay narrow. Stay consistent. If you’re beyond the “upper course” of the river, then start to add in tributaries, other little marketing rivers that feed into the main one.

Persistent, consistent, and frequent stories, delivered to an aligned audience, will earn attention, trust, and action.

-Seth Godin, This Is Marketing

Another Example.

If you’re on LinkedIn, you’ve probably seen Justin Welsh. If not, you’re welcome, he’s legit.

Justin has built his solopreneur company to over $6M in revenue (digital product too, so margin is upward of 80%, meaning profit is v good) in under 5 years. He’s well beyond starting and still recommends doubling down on a channel. Be a strong river.

Strong river on LinkedIn.

Justin has created a river of traffic from his LinkedIn presence, sent to his website where he converts some of that traffic into customers. He has a couple of rivers, but he’s been in the game for a bit.

Double down on one river, don’t spread yourself thin!

Cause I want you to win.


You’re thinking about marketing, probably in more places than one.

  • What small river can you cut back, to apply that time and capital to your strongest river?

The End.

The simple strategy this week is that your marketing should evolve like a river.

Start narrow and strong. Widen as you grow. Don’t spread yourself too thin!

Catch you next week!


P.S. Whenever you’re ready, I help bootstrapped entrepreneurs increase their profit in two ways.

  1. Boost your business with a tailored 1-hour strategy session, 1-on-1 with me. These are best for businesses in the launch stage, usually under $200k in revenue. It’s amazing how much we can get done in an hour.

    Book your call here.

  2. Elevate your profits with our structured 3-month program, focusing on foundational growth, strategic direction, and actionable plans. A cross between coaching and consulting, it includes 2 major deliverables; a financial analysis and a strategic plan that you can actually use. These are best for more complicated businesses that are scaling, usually between $200k and $1.5M.

    I currently have one open spot. Book a call here.

How helpful was this edition for you?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Join the conversation

or to participate.