Here in New England, our first significant snowfall of the season occurred this past weekend. It’s always kind of special, even a little bit fun.
It’s also, for my money, the single most dangerous day of the year to be out on the road driving.
Not because November snow is any different than February snow.
Rather, it’s because with each new snow season, there is a portion of the population that has never driven in these conditions:
There are the people who moved here since last winter.
There are the people who bought their first vehicle.
There are the 16-year-olds who have been driving for all of six months, and who assume that an exhaustive knowledge of how to Tweety-Gram an Insta-Whatever somehow correlates with winter driving skills.
The point is, it’s not the conditions that make driving in the first snow unusually dangerous … it’s all the new people behind the wheel.
Likewise, when it comes to marketing your professional service business, effectiveness is not simply about which tools to use and how best to use them…
… the variable that matters most is the people themselves.
Consider this example…
When my wife, Linda, sends me an email, there’s an excellent chance I’m going to open it.
It doesn’t matter what time of day she sends it, what the subject line says, whether or not she includes images, how well it’s written, or any of the other factors that constitute “email marketing best practices.”
The strength of our relationship supersedes (SAT word!) any of these other variables. If I know it’s from her (and I’m not deliberately hiding, not that I have ever done that), I’m going to open it.
On the flip side, no matter how well constructed an email from a stranger may be, I’m more than likely to delete it unopened.
Does that mean best practices don’t matter?
No. It’s just that their ability to move the needle is tiny; it occurs within a very narrow window.
Which is why when I consider which tactics to use in the marketing of my own professional service business, I evaluate them through the filter of “relationship”:
Newsletters, in-person networking, casual emails, coffee dates, LinkedIn … these are all examples of tactics that take advantage of and enhance connections with people I already know.
Twitter, Instagram, Google search, book publishing, public speaking and most traditional advertising, on the other hand, do not. In each of these cases, the strangers and the friends are treated the same.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do things in the latter category – I do many of them too.
I’m simply suggesting that until you’ve exhausted the former, you’re working much harder to get the same results.
Here’s the bottom line. If you agree that people you know and stay in touch with are more likely to notice you, talk to you, listen to you, remember you, refer you and hire you (and if you don’t, you’re probably reading the wrong newsletter), doesn’t it makes sense to look to these people first – and the tactics that reach them most effectively – when marketing your business?
Evaluate your marketing tactics through the relationship filter and you’ll spend less time spinning your (snow-covered) wheels.
- Have you ever Tweety-Grammed an Insta-Whatever? Send pictures.
- What’s your number one snow-driving tip for newbies?
- Describe your favorite relationship-building marketing tactic.