When it comes to houseplants, I am as interested as the next person. Provided, that is, that the next person has basically no interest.

I have nothing against our leafy friends, but I rarely notice them.

So when my wife, Linda, suggested I get a plant for my new office, I reluctantly agreed – I knew it would be up to me to keep that thing alive.

Well, you’ll be pleased to learn it’s been several months now and my office plant is thriving.

Recently, however, I ran into a snag: Linda and I work remotely in Costa Rica every winter for more than a month. Even I know that plants can’t wait that long between drinks.

No problem: The simple and direct solution is to ask a friend to come in and water it.

Of course, if I were interested in simple and direct, I would have already gotten to the point of today’s newsletter, something which, at my current pace, is unlikely to happen for several more paragraphs.

And so, instead, I engaged in a little experiment based on something I saw on social media: I placed a large pot filled with water on a table and ran three or four long pieces of rope from the pot to the plant.

Amazingly, through the magic of gravitational atmospheric aqua fertilization (science!), the ropes were damp and slowly dripping into the plant within about half an hour.

When I returned to my office this past Monday for the first time in five weeks, the ropes were still damp and the plant was alive and well.

(Note: I know what you’re thinking, but this does not work for feeding children.)

This same approach (minus the water) is what I recommend when marketing a professional service.


That pot in my office holds about two gallons of water. What if, instead of dripping it in, I just poured the entire thing into the plant before I left? Same amount of water, so what’s the difference?

The difference is I’d have a flooded floor the next day and a dead plant a month later.

Trying to do a month’s worth of marketing all at once is equally unproductive. Not only do trust and relationships take time to build, but you are trying to raise your professional profile through your frequent and regular visibility. It’s not a one-time thing.

Showing up occasionally – even in volume – by (for example) posting and commenting on LinkedIn for an entire day once a month is not the same as 10 minutes of interaction every day.

Of course, if your marketing is the equivalent of no watering ever, that’s an even bigger problem.


One of the great things about my plant stunt was that once I set it up, it dripped away steadily, day after day.

Your marketing also requires a steady, systematic approach. Granted, it’s not hands off, but the concept – adhering to a set of tactics that happen regularly – still holds.

That’s mostly because the marketing that professionals like us rely on – slow-burn, relationship-based – never has to be done today. So the urge to put it off is strong, since the truth is, one missed day really doesn’t matter.

But, beware – the slope is indeed slippery (why am I suddenly writing like Benjamin Franklin?). One day … becomes a week … becomes stopping entirely.

That’s why I use a checklist of marketing activities that I keep on my desk (yes, it’s printed). It includes all the things I need to do regularly: emails to colleagues, networking events, phone calls, lunch dates, newsletters, etc.

It’s an easy way to make sure I stay on track. (Send me an email and I’ll send you a sample you can use.)


Part of why I set up my little watering caper was to see if it would actually work – the unknown aspect was part of the attraction. And if it didn’t work, well, I never really liked that plant anyway.

Marketing for people like us is also largely hit or miss with little to lose if things go wrong. What works for me may not work for you – the only way to know is to try it and see.

The more things you try, the more you’ll learn, until you fine-tune your way to a program that does what you want.

Small professional services marketing – no staff, weak brand recognition, small budget – is always going to be a contact sport. Your participation is required.

Do it often, do it regularly, and keep fooling with it until you figure out which things give you the best results.

Soggy ropes optional.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How long can you wait between drinks?
  2. What’s your favorite DIY home hack?
  3. What’s the one marketing activity that you do like clockwork?

Share your answers below…

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6 thoughts on “Wautomation

  1. Dana Olson

    Hmmm…..I can only go a few hours between drinks of water. If we’re talking drinks of the alcoholic variety – those I partake of only once or twice a month, if that.

    I really can’t think of any DIY home hacks that I have except that I rely on a bit of technology to help keep things running smoothly:
    1) My robo vac – it is an essential household appliance that I run daily to help keep up on
    the mounds of Australian Shepherd hair on my floors.
    2) My automatic hen house door opener – it’s a lifesaver (for me and my chickens). If I’m
    away from home or sleep in for any reason, I know that my chickens are safely tucked
    in or able to welcome the day due to the programmable automatic door opener (and

    One marketing activity I do like clockwork is the follow up I do directly after a networking event.

  2. Keanisha Mona Johnson

    I can go a long time between drinks! Not picky on that part.

    My favorite DIY house hack would be mowing the lawn because it gives good exercise and saves you money too.

    Not sure if the marketing activity, still trying to figure that out.


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