It was late August. My wife Linda and I and our three kids were on vacation in Colorado.
We were in Crested Butte for the day, a small, former mining town in the Rocky Mountains that is as rugged and beautiful as I am not.
These days, and despite its frontier beginnings, the town is overflowing with fun restaurants, cool stores and funky bars.
Linda and two of our kids were off walking around. I was sitting on a bench with my oldest son, Evan, just enjoying the sunshine and watching the people pass by.
That’s when we saw it approaching … the Google Street View car.
You know, the car with the big omnidirectional camera on the roof that drives all over the place taking
No words were necessary.
We looked at each other, ran to the edge of the curb, and smiled for the camera (I’m the one with the all too appropriate penguin shirt).
That was August. Two weeks ago (I had been checking regularly), the town of Crested Butte was finally updated in Google maps. And there we were, just as we had hoped.
So here’s my question for you: Is getting my picture taken on Google maps a marketing strategy for my business?
After all, I am clearly visible, in a penguin-themed t-shirt, on the worldwide platform of one of the most well known brands on the planet. And I’ll be there for a few years, at least. And it cost me nothing.
I hope you said no. In terms of bringing me new clients, this tactic is a big fat zero.
The NO Big Bang Theory
There’s a certain marketing myth floating around that is embraced by many professionals: The big hit, will make the big difference.
If I can get interviewed on the right podcast.
If I can write a guest post for the right blog.
If I can launch the new web site, speak at the right event, or get quoted in the right publication.
If I can do any of that, the doors will open and the leads, prospects and clients will rush in.
It’s an oddly compelling fantasy, but effective marketing doesn’t work that way.
Even publishing a book – something I recommend professionals do for all kinds of reasons – is not, by itself, going to make your phone ring for very long (if at all).
Rather, I recommend a different approach. One that satisfies four parameters:
- It keeps you in front of the people you already know. Don’t worry about attracting strangers until you’ve found a way to stay visible with the people who are already predisposed to trusting and listening to you.
- It repeats. Getting quoted in the Wall Street Journal is nice. But tomorrow, somebody else will be quoted. Use tactics that happen over and over again.
- It demonstrates what you know. Social media is a useful add-on to your marketing. But the format tends to be very brief. You need enough running room to share something of value, so potential clients and others begin to believe that you know what you’re talking about.
- It reveals your authentic personality. Every professional you compete with is just as capable, educated, experienced and credentialed as you are. Your chances of standing out based on any of that are slim – to the rest of us, you and your legal, financial, consulting, writing, medical, or whatever-it-is-you-do peers, all look the same.
We can’t tell who’s better – but we can tell who we like. That’s why personal stories, conversational language, and flightless aquatic bird-themed company names help you stand out.
In short, and at the risk of being told to, “Go back to 2007, Grandpa,” you need an email newsletter. It’s the only tool I’ve ever seen that satisfies all four of these things.
But isn’t email dead? No. It’s crowded. And that’s not at all the same thing.
It’s also essential to you and every person you know.
Don’t believe me? If I gave you the choice of keeping just one of the following and shutting everything else down for a week while still trying to survive as a business owner, which would you choose?:
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Networking, Snail Mail, Telephone, Texting, or Email.
Without email, everything stops. Don’t you think you should be in that mix?
Here’s the bottom line. I’ve been waiting for more than 10 years for a marketing tool to come along that’s more effective than a regularly published, well written, useful and engaging email newsletter. I’m still waiting.
So if you’re doing it, keep going.
If you fell off the wagon sometime in the past, hop back on.
And if you’re still thinking about it, you might want to go stand out on the curb, just in case the Google car drives by.
- What have you been waiting on for more than 10 years?
- How many miles a day do you think the Google car driver drives?
- Do you publish an email newsletter?