Is It Quicksand?

Are you talkin’ to me?

Launching a new product or service? Expanding? Taking advantage of the slowdown to get your message out with less competition? If you’re a small business owner, you’ve got to make a plan, and get the word out about what you offer—and you need to do it every day.

Like the rest of your Positioning, your marketing strategy must be carefully tuned to your audience. Too few messages and you may not be remembered; too many, and your prospect will tune you out.

Monday, we talked about the danger of driving away customers who are already sold on you; Tuesday we dug into the customer’s Perception of a withholding campaign.

Yet somehow, there are “success” stories being told:

My friend Bert says he does great by sending out loads of email,* with little drips of information, over a long time. By the end, he’s got a nice list of people who are interested. What gives?”

*Your friend Bert may mention telemarketing, long, long direct sales letters, or other direct mail efforts (magazine and credit card offers come to mind), blasted repeatedly at a very large, unwilling audience. It depends on Bert’s business.

What customers are you attracting?

Methods of annoying, teasing, withholding, and other prospect-pummeling are like trying to build an empire on resentment. It changes who will stay with you, and who will say yes.

It’s a numbers game.

When BigBankOla sends offers to 500,000 people in a region, their offer is going to stick with some people. People who desperately need money right then. People who are just dissatisfied, but not desperate, threw the junk mail in the trash on their way to start dinner.

If you call 75 receptionists per day, one boss is going to be so sick of hearing your name announced that he’s going to agree to talk to you. Increase it to 75 an hour, and now you’ve got 8 annoyed C-levels to talk to every day.

Get a really big megaphone to announce your latest Internet sensation, and thousands of people flock to hear your message. They want your “Great Growth Make Money Online Quick Scheme,” theoretically, but they haven’t heard specifics or seen a dollar sign.

You decide to hold off. To tease, to entice. To build attraction. Clickthrough rates were great on that first piece where you said nothing. Here goes again. Well, more people didn’t follow through this time, but you started with so many. A few just aren’t interested. Again, and again, you deliver nothing, until you are left with a fraction of the audience you had in the beginning. You think that interest waned and you have only devoted fans left. Wrong.

You don’t have brand Propheteers, pre-sold on your Vision. The folks who are left at the end of all these cons are the desperate, the bored, the worn-out, the hangers-on. The easily conned are your remaining prospects.

It’s a numbers game, and you will sell to a percentage of them.

Is The Big Tease part of your big plan?

Doing this isn’t always “wrong.” BigBankOla has the money, staff, and time to throw at the problem. They don’t want to make more personal, genuine efforts at growing their business. They’ve done a lot of research; they’ve planned it exactly. They know exactly how large the mass mailing needs to be, who those desperate seekers are, how many will be desperate enough, and how to catch their eye. Whether I like it or not personally, they know what they’re doing. Do you?

Are you making the decision consciously? Are the easily conned, your Ideal Customers? Does this align with your company’s Purpose?

Some do build an empire on resentment. If you try, don’t be surprised that your customers are not your fans. They’ll be gone, as soon as the next empire-builder catches their eye.

Can we build our empires on-line and off with a kinder, gentler Tease? What works or doesn’t work for you?

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson