We often look at something and think it is too hard or unnatural and so we run away from it. Exercise might be one of those things for you, it can be for me. I look at people who are achieving great things and think, “I can’t do that.” I doubt that I could flex quite as well as the woman in the photo but there are many other ways I can get exercise.
Business owners often think the same way. I was talking with Shahrzad Arasteh this morning about what she sees as problems in marketing. Shahrzad is a holistic career counselor; who specializes in career transition/meaningful encore careers. She and I met on Twitter in 2009. She had a great love for my dog, Teddy, and that built our friendship. In March 2010, we met in Baltimore at the Career Thought Leaders Conference (CTL).
Shahrzad volunteered for an exercise with Susan Whitcomb at CTL. She was told to practice visualizing and responding to worst case scenarios. Shahrzad had a deep desire to leave her role in higher education and become a sole proprietor. Responding to a “then what” type of questioning, Shahrzad shared what she thought was the worst thing that could happen if she went into business for herself and came to realize it might really be possible. She took the leap and is now working in her own career practice.
As she talks with other business owners, she told me she finds many people who are challenging with the concept of marketing. They love what they do but they get chills thinking about marketing as they think they know it. They know they have to find clients and have to get them to engage to use their services, buy their products, or attend their special event. Everything is focused on the words “selling” or “promotion” and that doesn’t feel natural so they can’t figure out how to connect with their audience.
The concept of sharing
She feels like what is missing is the concept of sharing. Using social media marketing is very different from the broadcast strategies that many business owners struggled with in the past. I can attest to placing ads in various media for years with the hopes that someone would read them and call me. It always sounded good when the salesperson told me about it but it only rarely resulted in responses.
We have become immune to many traditional advertising strategies which then fail to influence us to act. The way I see content marketing (you might call it blog marketing) as different is a blogger should not be in a sales mode when they write. They should be in a sharing or teaching mode. If you can write about what you love and share with the audience, you will develop a loyal following. I would guess that individuals like Shahrzad and other service providers hit a capacity with the number of people they can work with at a given time.
Too big an audience
Unlike celebrities, we are not looking for people to follow us in the 1,000,000s or even 100,000s. In my career practice, I need 3-5 clients per week to keep my quality high and allow me to deliver what they need. I would guess that many other service providers are the same.
Big numbers don’t mean loyalty. Loyal develops on a one-by-one basis as people grow to trust you as someone who has expertise in a certain area.
Perhaps if you think about marketing as sharing what you love and what you do best, you might be able to move forward and create content to helps others want to work with you.