At Home On the Range

My wife, Linda, and I were on vacation last week out west: Denver to visit our son; Portland to visit our daughter.

Along the way, we spent a few days with Linda’s college friend Edie and her husband Gary.

Edie and Gary live in a small mountain town about three hours west of Denver. It’s a beautiful spot and we have stayed with them several times over the years. Their hospitality and the location never fail to make for a great visit.

They are not normal people.

Gary is a talented carpenter, having built his own house and several others, more or less by himself. Edie grows much of their food, runs their very successful landscaping business, and always has a horse or two hanging around.

For someone like me, whose definition of “roughing it” is when Starbucks is out of dark roast, this is all the more impressive. Whenever we visit, I have the distinct feeling that were they dropped on a desert island with zero tools or supplies, they would have high-speed Internet up and running within the week.

And they are always working on some kind of project. This time it was a four-person sauna and adjacent “cold plunge tub” that Gary built out in the woods near their house.

The idea, if you’re not familiar, is that first, you sit in the 165-degree sauna for about 20 minutes. Then, just as you’re ready to pass out from the heat, you jump into the cold plunge tub and its ever-flowing supply of 35-degree water from the nearby mountain stream.

You’ll be impressed to learn that I tried it. Twice. And as the old joke goes, on average, I was comfortable.

Afterwards, and once my heartrate returned to normal, I realized I had just gone from the hottest room I’d ever sat in to the coldest water I’d ever dunked in – 130 degrees of range in just a few minutes.

As small professional service providers and solos, our marketing is very much a hands-on game. But, with (always) limited time and resources, we need to think carefully about what’s worth doing and what isn’t – you can’t do everything.

I’ve written before about the need to use tactics that reach your target audience in particular as well as tactics you enjoy (or at least don’t hate), so you’ll keep doing them.

But range is also important: reaching your audience in different ways.

For example, newsletters and podcasts are great because they scale infinitely; it doesn’t cost more or take any more effort to add another person to your list. They are perfect for staying visible and expanding the scope of people who know about you and your work.

But … they are generic, one-size-fits-all content. And while there is often some interaction with readers or listeners, it’s mostly in one direction – a far cry from a real relationship.

Coffee, lunch, or one-on-on Zooms live way at the other end of the range. These are fundamentally interactive conversations, perfect for helping others get to know you, trust you, and refer you.

But… they take up a lot of time and are mostly about deepening, not broadening, relationships. You have to pick and choose who to spend time with and wherever you come out, it’s a long way from “everyone.”

The solution is to do some of both: Some things that put you in front of a lot of people; some things that maintain and improve relationships with those you already know.

Obvious? Maybe. But I find most people, for whatever reason, are drawn to one side of the range or the other. They either focus all their marketing on the broad, newsletter-podcast-publishing side of things, or on the in-person hand-shaking side of things.

Both are good. But if you want to average out at “comfortable,” try a little of each.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you own a horse?
  2. What’s the coldest water you’ve ever been in?
  3. Which side of the “marketing range” comes most naturally to you?

Share your answers below…

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7 thoughts on “At Home On the Range

  1. Dana Olson

    1.Yes, I own a horse. She is a beautiful paint mare named Annie.
    2. I honestly don’t know the coldest water I’ve ever been in…? (Maybe it was so traumatic, I’ve put it out of my mind).
    3. I gravitate toward the one-on-one marketing but also publish a newsletter.

    I love your content.

  2. Keanisha Johnson

    No, I don’t own a horse, just a couple of cats loll
    I’ll say the coldest water I’d ever been In was the ocean beach water when you first put your feet in before it starts to warm up
    I market my newsletters to the elderly care facilities, senior centers,etc

  3. Charles Alexander

    1) Does a Golden Doodle count?
    2) Was just in Costa Rica in waterfall that was pretty to look at but not fun to swim in.
    3) Started off more personal, then went to more digital (Explainer Videos), not trending back to personal (coaching people to do more by doing less)


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