I will often open a speech asking those in the audience why they think someone recommends them or their business. I then offer a thousand dollars to anyone who can give me the most data-driven answer. Drumroll, please: I’ve yet to pay out a cent.
The answer, you ask? When solicited, people are most likely to recommend whoever comes to mind first. It’s that simple. You might not even be the best real estate broker, or the most fabulous ice cream maker. When filtering through information, our minds tend to pick the first thing that “fits”. If you’re first through that filter, voilà, you’re touted as a fav. Now there’s a second phenomenon at play. When our minds sift through data, the data most recently imported is what comes to mind first. (Accountants would call this LIFO - last in, first out.) When you consider the incredible amount of data barraging us daily, it’s tough to stay at the top of this information Channel. But staying at the top is the key to marketing today. At Blue Shoe Strategy, we like to refer to “Touchstones”. You must “touch” your Pied Pipers of referrals with information relevant to them that surround your product or service (not to be confused with information ABOUT your product or service) in many ways. And often enough to be at the forefront of their memory (but not so often as to be perceived as an “information stalker”). So that when that moment arrives, and they’re asked for a recommendation, you come to mind first. Phew. This new world is exhausting. Social media alone will not do the trick. You must reach out to your clients often, in a variety of ways, and in a form that meets their needs, inspires them, and/or entertains them. Never forget our “3E” Principles: Engage, Entertain, Educate. If your touchstones achieve one or more of the 3E’s, you are where you want to be with your clients. They will call you when they need what you provide; they will sing your praises when asked; they will forward your content to others - unprompted. So many touchstones. So little time. Social Media Not enough on its own, but the Holy Grail of touchstones, to be sure. Remember to pick the right social media platform for your content. If you’re a lawyer, LinkedIN, not Instagram, is your play. Snail Mail I love snail mail. No one else is doing it much anymore, so you will be noticed. Send a small, thoughtful gift. Send an article you’ve written, or one in which you’re mentioned. Find a real stamp - one that mirrors who you are. Don’t limit your mailing list to clients; you can also reach out to those who got away. Phonecall Our team’s mantra: a call a day that is not driven by need. Pick up that phone and call someone you met at an event. Someone you worked with years ago. Someone to whom you pitched, but who didn’t bite. Never mention your product or service, but do make sure you have something of interest to discuss. Leave a message if they don’t pick up. Make the message relevant. One-on-One Email Send an email, truly personalized for its intended recipient. Mention something you saw on their Twitter feed that you thought was brilliant. Refer to an article they were just mentioned in (Google them beforehand and find the most relevant mentions). Send via email - or use Facebook’s messaging section - or LinkedIN’s. In fact, communicating via social media tells that platform’s algorithms that you really do connect with that person, and could drive up the number of your posts that land in that individual’s newsfeed. Winner winner, vegan dinner. (We thought vegan is more relevant than chicken in today’s world. It’s our idea of entertaining you.) Email Blast Not often. One topic only. Leave the word “Newsletter” behind. No need to blast your entire mailing list in one bundle. Instead, make sure your blast lists are divided into like-minded interests. Use a call to action. Please: no infomercials about some product or service you think is swell. Text Blue Shoe wizards consider texting to be the emerging vehicle of immediate recognition. An event you think they should sign up for. A movie that reflects their position on something. I’m in your neighborhood, coffee? Advertising Dangerous waters to go into without making this article ten thousand words. So I’ll just say: unique ad in unusual spaces. Blog Please don’t become a blogger if you aren’t a writer by desire. Instead, reach out to people who are bloggers with an idea that includes you. Podcast Similarly, if you aren’t a podcaster, don’t podcast. Be a guest on a podcast. Or use someone else’s podcast as a touchstone - forwarding it to someone who will find it engaging, educational, or entertaining. The bottom line is this. Know your clients and what they care about and put it in front of them. Over and over again, in a variety of ways. It will serve you well. And it’ll make you more interesting to yourself. It’s fun. Marketing is fun. Entertaining, engaging and educating.
Christine Merser, Managing Partner