Don’t worry, this isn’t going to get creepy. It’s just a fact: I go upstairs to pee.
I work in an office building that houses five or six small companies (not to brag, but mine is the smallest).
There are two bathrooms – one on the first floor where my office is, and one upstairs.
Ever since the pandemic hit, I go upstairs.
The problem, you see, is that the ground floor bathroom is used a lot.
Not just by my fellow tenants, but by their clients (we have a chiropractor and a therapist in the building), as well as by the mailman and UPS guy, both of whom take frequent advantage of our convenient location.
I’m no infectious disease expert, but statistically speaking, that first floor bathroom is a veritable COVID frappe.
Anyway, last week, our UPS friend dropped off about 100 small boxes in the lobby for the upstairs tenant. The boxes, containing who knows what, are all marked “return to sender.”
The tenants upstairs are hardly ever here. So, after walking past the box pile a few times, I decided to help out by carrying a bunch of them with me each time I made the trip. They weigh next to nothing and I’m going upstairs anyway.
I can’t be sure how many days it will take for me to move all of them, but given my age and how much coffee I drink, I don’t imagine it will be long.
Whatever it turns out to be – and this is the key point, my patiently-reading friend – small, regular actions allow you to get big things done easily.
After just a few days, grabbing boxes as I walk upstairs has already become second nature.
Small Steps = Effective, Long-Term Marketing
When it comes to professional services marketing, I am often asked to weigh in on speed-related questions:
How do we quickly grow our newsletter list?
What do I say to a prospect to get them to hire me?
How do we get noticed right away on social media?
I have nothing against speed. And I get it, if you’re in a tight spot and need more clients right away, you have few options but to focus there.
But, if you’ve been around for a while and have a bit of breathing room, I encourage you to build a marketing program that, rather than speed- and home-run-hitting-focused, is oriented around completing a set of small, simple steps … over and over and over again.
Doing that will make your marketing easy and predictable. Even, dare I say, enjoyable.
You Need a Stay-in-Touch Plan
I do four marketing things regularly – none of which yields immediate results; all of which generate ongoing word of mouth and bring fabulous clients to my door, year after year:
- I publish this newsletter. Every other week, I send it to anyone on planet Earth who wants it.
- I stay in touch through email and LinkedIn. I’ve got a list of about 250 people with whom I want to remain connected. I comment on their posts, I respond to their newsletters, I send emails to say hello and see what they are up to.
- I send custom “Marketing Tip” cards via snail mail. Once a month, I mail exactly 50 of these. They include a simple insight (e.g., Flaunt Your Smallness, Jumpstart Your Relationships), along with a (typically idiotic) photo of me doing something that represents the tip of the month.
- I meet people for coffee or lunch. With the pandemic, of course, it’s now Zoom. But the concept remains: each week, I have a one-on-one meeting with a colleague.
A few things to note about these four activities:
#1. I’m not explicitly selling anything while doing them.
Of course, the point is to generate client work. But when you change your focus from getting hired today to getting hired at some point in the future, your brain naturally shifts from “What can you do for me?” to “What can I do for you?”
#2. These are not the right things; these are just my things.
Yours would likely be different. But like a good exercise program, make sure you combine a range of activities (mine vary in degree of personalization, cost, frequency), and pick things that you don’t hate doing (or else you won’t keep doing them).
#3. The magic is in the repetition.
Doing any of these things once – or twice, or three times – will make not one bit of difference. You may as well not bother.
The power is in doing them over and over again, in combination, for weeks and months on end.
#4. None of this is particularly difficult.
Like carrying boxes upstairs several times a day, after a while, these kinds of things are barely conscious activities.
They are “work,” I suppose. But like making breakfast or yelling at children, it’s just part of a daily routine.
Here’s the bottom line.
Everybody dreams about the marketing homerun – the one big hit that’s going to open the client floodgates forever.
Maybe it’s out there, but I’ve never seen it.
But I can promise you this: If you can stick to a simple, stay-in-touch program that keeps you in front of your existing relationships, over and over again, those would be clients you’ve been chasing will start chasing you.
- What would be a good name for a combined chiropractor/therapist business?
- What are the odds that the upstairs tenants don’t actually want those boxes moved?
- What is your never-miss-no-matter-what marketing activity?