Did you eat a lot over the holidays?
Yeah, me too.
Not just meals either. Pumpkin pie, ice cream, cookies, beer, everything.
And, maybe most of all … chocolate.
Fancy chocolate bars that my wife gave me; individually wrapped dark chocolate balls; chocolate covered almonds that came in a now empty, 45 ounce (!) container.
There was even a huge bag of trail mix making its way around the house, something disingenuously labelled “Wholesome Medley,” despite being little more than a pound of chocolate chips with a few raisins and nuts thrown in.
You’ll be pleased to know that I partook in all of it.
The weird thing is that during the rest of the year, I don’t eat much of this stuff at all. On a typical work day I have breakfast, lunch and dinner with nothing in-between.
Of course, on a typical work day there aren’t snacks and sweets lurking in every corner of the house and, even if there were, I’m three miles away in my office.
The truth is, avoiding crappy food requires more than just a decision to “eat healthy.”
Opportunity and ease of access play an important role too. If it’s there, I eat it. If it’s not, I don’t.
Marketing works the same way.
Not because it makes you feel bloated and ashamed of yourself (although that has been known to happen).
Rather, it’s because the decision of whom to call (and ultimately hire) is not simply – maybe not at all – the result of an objective and thorough search of the marketplace.
Instead, it’s very dependent on “top of mindedness.”
For example, when Steve emailed me on Monday to see if I could recommend a graphic designer for his ebooks, he was doing the “Who do you know?” dance in which we all participate.
I was top of mind to Steve and the guy I recommended was similarly located within my own chocolate-infused brain.
The point is, if you come to mind when I need something or when somebody else asks me for a referral, you win. If I don’t know or remember you in that same situation – no matter how objectively qualified you may be – you don’t.
How then, do you stay top of mind? Three ideas:
- You need to create and publish content.
A lot of it, and all the time. Newsletter, blog, infographic, slideshare, videos, podcasts, whatever. The more things you can create and distribute, the more people who are going to notice and (hopefully) remember you when it matters.
(Now is as good a time as any to create that email newsletter you’ve been droning on about to your spouse since the Clinton Administration.)
- You need to stay in touch with the people you already know.
It’s fine to pop up on a Google search. But my best clients and opportunities always, always, show up based on some sort of referral or connection through somebody I already know. Which is why I do my best to keep those “loose connections” alive.
How about you? You’ve sent the holiday cards; what’s your relationship-watering plan for the next 11 months?
- You need to join the conversation.
Whether or not you create your own content (did I mention that you should?), you can still be visible by responding to what others are doing.
Comment on the blogs you read; share LinkedIn articles that you like with your network; engage in conversation with people who send you a, and I don’t like to brag, one-of-a-kind, glaringly good email newsletter.
Bottom Line: If your clients and prospects make decisions regarding whom to hire based on a rational, objective, comprehensive analysis of available solutions, being top of mind probably doesn’t matter that much.
If, however, your target audience consists mainly of Earthlings, it makes all the difference.
My flab and I will be at the gym if you need us.
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