Two clients generously donated to this topic.
The first client said that she has a feeling that her voice isn’t loud enough to be heard, even if her idea is good and valid.
And the second client said there is so much noise and so much marketing going on everywhere you look that she can’t possibly cut through that, no matter how good she is at what she does because no-one’s listening so why bother with an exercise in futility?
Although these might look the same, I sense a lack of confidence in the first and a fatigue with the way other people do marketing in the second.
Loud first. Do we need to be loud? I don’t think so. I think we need to be on fire with what we have to offer the world, so excited about our thing that we can’t help but share it. I think we have to feel that it is fit for purpose, that it helps people and that we will get better at it as we do it with real live customers and clients. And then we have to be visible. And visibility doesn’t necessarily mean shouting from the rooftops or using a bullhorn. But it does mean finding your route to market which you enjoy and employ every day, not in fits and starts.
My own example is a good one so I keep using it in this book:
- Do you know how many business coaches there are in the world? More than we can count.
- Do I feel I have been as loud as the most successful of them? No.
- Do I feel I have been visible enough for the right clients to find me and for us to do good work together? Yes.
- Did this happen overnight? No, it did not. I have been marketing myself for fifteen years and enjoying it and doing it every day.
What have I experimented with that I didn’t like so that I stopped it immediately? Face to face networking. Yuk! Not for me, never was, never will be. Does that mean I am not a networker? No. I have collected many useful people in Judith-world through my work both as an accountant and as a coach, forty years’ worth of contacts, people who do a million different things. And nothing brings me greater pleasure than connecting those people in ways that I hope will be useful for both parties. For instance, I refer clients to all sorts of resources other than myself if I think that will be more useful than our work together or if it will supplement it. But formal networking at breakfast, lunch, tea or dinner? Non merci!
I don’t leave the house to network, and yet something came upon me during August to invite a contact round to spend the afternoon with me in the garden. Most unlike me and yet, once the invitation was issued on a whim, I followed through and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, so many ways to skin a cat with the networking thing without my even leaving home. I pride myself on being good at it online too, remembering most people I’ve ever had dealings with and some I only know from having met them online, many of whom have never even been clients but I know what they do and they know what I do and we help each other by referral. It’s just who I am. Is that loud? No. Is it helpful? Yes.
I bet you do things like this too. And you think perhaps they are quiet, but they add up. No need to be loud unless you want to be.
When it comes to cutting through all the other marketing out there, and resisting it, and not liking it, and not wanting to be like it, you don’t have to be or do anything you see others be and do which makes you feel uncomfortable. If anything, this is what I love most about marketing.
I always say to anyone who asks that I use Facebook 100% for marketing and yet it looks a lot of the time like I am just having fun. And indeed I am. But that is also marketing for me, doing double-duty, helping me to be visible and to connect with strangers who eventually turn up in my diary.
We are back in received wisdom territory again. I am reading a book right now by an expert in her field and there’s plenty of received wisdom in it. Some of that I reject, and some I already know but am happy to be reminded about. And I notice as I read through that I am mentally ticking off – yes, no, maybe. Yes means I already know how to do that, I like doing that and I will do more of it. No means not in a month of Sundays. And maybe means ooh, I’d forgotten about that or never considered it and maybe I would experiment with that and see how it goes or it means ooh, good idea, didn’t think of that one, can’t wait to have a go.
But I am weighing all the received wisdom in the book against my own innate wisdom. OK, I’ll grant you this is born of being pretty confident in my own abilities and filters after all these years, but marketing in 2017 also requires me to learn new things which are stretchy in the learning but satisfying and fun and useful. I learned something new over the weekend which was time-consuming and hard. I can’t tell you how many times during the video training (remember how much I HATE video?) I contemplated switching off, hiring someone to do it for me, or simply listening without focus while multitasking with Facebook. But I didn’t. Because in this particular example I knew it was something I wanted to learn and which would help me “cut through” as my pal says.
TBH, I don’t think much about cutting through. As I have already written in this book, I don’t really believe in comparisons. My first client here is an artist and my second is a website designer, and although I’ve known plenty of those in my time, neither of these two women do what they do in a way that is in the least like anyone else. Our unique set of skills and talents and, more importantly, our human being through which they are delivered is perfect for our ideal clients. We don’t need to be loud, we just need to be ourselves. And we choose to believe that we can make a difference to each of our clients by showing up and offering them our best work.
If that’s the message you communicate through all that you do, whether marketing message or client service/delivery, you will be absolutely fine and you can drop all marketing-related antipathy and bonkersness in time, as you prove the opposite of both of these assumptions. It might not happen overnight. But do not rule out that possibility. Magic and miracles are our stock in trade, remember?
- If not loud or different, what words would you use to describe your own marketing?
- What would be even better than that?
- What one thing could you do now to get that shiny new ball rolling?