I Am the Tortoise

by Catherine Boivin

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Here’s a pickle for you: I’m an author who doesn’t like marketing.

Yes, laugh all you want; I thought it was pretty funny, too. Here’s a girl who’s written a novel (supposedly with the intention of having it read), but who cringes every time she has to self-promote. It’s the introvert in me, it’s my dislike for manipulation, my distrust for profit-driven activity, my annoyance with constant demands for my attention, my income, and my time. I truly dislike 90% of marketing out there.

Like I’ve said to my beloved Mr. Houdini, “as long as one person reads my book and loves it, I feel I’ve done my job.” And that, folks, would possibly get me the award for most ridiculous sound bite ever at a marketing conference.

“How,” I’d be asked, “will you ever sell more books to more people with an idea like that?”

And they’d be right: I might not sell more books to more people. But writers write for different reasons; some want big sales and big audiences, and others, like me, write because we love to write, and because we love to read.

As a reader I know full well the joy of finding a new book that takes me to a new world, so as a writer, part of my joy is knowing that I might bring that same excitement to another person.

My goal is to get my book in the hands of the right person, the person who’s going to love it, be inspired by it, and maybe even share it with people she loves.

I want to create something that will be cherished, and I want to build relationships with those who will cherish it. So you see? If I’m honest with my goals as a writer, I can’t avoid marketing altogether.

Quality product and relationship-building: I might not have a degree in marketing, but colour me surprised if those aren’t two of marketing’s keystones. If I want to share my joy, then I need to get that book off the virtual shelves of Amazon and into the hands of readers who’ll love it.

Back we go to my pickle: how to market for the marketing-averse?

That’s when I piped up to my beloved again: “What I want is an organic form of marketing, like organic food. Natural, real, desirable. Marketing that doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years, but you end up with something honest and appealing.”

“Kinda like slow food?” he asked. “Only it’d be slow marketing.”

Bingo!

Slow marketing. One Google search later, and I found like-minded business people.

You want to know what slow marketing is? The manifesto on this site says it all, as does their nifty tortoise diagram.

It’s my new mantra: this is the type of writer and publisher I want to be!

My craft and my individual readers are the only two things that matter to me; focus on those, and time will bring the only success that truly matters: happiness.

photo credit: Julie Jordan Scott

About the Author: Catherine Boivin is a Canadian author of young adult fiction who loves to know her readers. Drop by her website and say “Hello!” at www.catherineboivin.ca

Create Real Loyalty with Slow Authorship

by Marcia Yudkin

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Originating in Europe, the “Slow Food” movement called for buying local produce, celebrating natural ingredients and delighting in the power of food to bond a family or community.  It counters fast food, where no one cares how nutritious the ingredients are, and where taste matters less than getting served right away and being able to chow down as quickly as possible so as to go back to work or on with shopping.

After Slow Food took hold, parallel movements developed, including Slow Travel, which favors immersing yourself in a place and minimizing your impact as a tourist;  Slow Parenting, which advocates letting children play and explore in an unorganized fashion;  and Slow Money, which supports local businesses with long-term investments and patronage.

Let’s apply this philosophy to the world of books, where with the expansion of digital publishing, a subculture has sprung up hawking fast writing and quantity of output as a road to riches, rather than quality publishing as a worthy goal in itself.  The culture of blogging likewise values frequency over quality, and off-the-cuff style over polish.  Slow Authorship, on the other hand, recommends thinking of writing as a stew in which ideas, characters, themes and artful language may need to simmer to develop the richest, in-depth flavor.

Instead of dashing off a manuscript and rushing it to publication, Slow Authorship allows the time for clarity to emerge and significance to layer in.  In a succession of drafts, you make the work more and more useful, more and more meaningful to readers, more worthy of savoring and rereading.  The mark of success isn’t “Not bad.  Next!” but “I truly learned something here” or “I had such a worthwhile experience.”

Slow Authorship also suggests that you find your own style and message rather than following recipes or formulas.  Discovering your distinctive voice takes time, patience, a focus on craft and self-observation.  Once that happens, ideal readers cherish your uniqueness, whether it’s your wry sense of humor or your powerful perspective on guilt and forgiveness.

With Slow Authorship, your reward is loyal fans, who buy book after book, blog about what they experienced with you and recommend your work to friends and relatives.  You don’t go in one lobe of the brain and out the other, your name floating back into the unknown.  Fervent fans of your work want more, yet if you need time to prepare the next dish, they’ll wait.  It’s worth it, they feel.  They appreciate the difference between your work and half-baked (not to mention unbaked!) books by others.

Perhaps you’re drawn to promises like “Start and Finish Your Book in a Weekend” and “Killer Kindle Bestsellers in Three Steps.”  Maybe you’re mesmerized by tales of briskly selling, prolific new authors who don’t care what any critics say as long as their core readers continue to buy.  Before you go down that path, stop and think whether you’re hoping to create something that represents you well, has an impact on readers and is still bought and respected 10 years from now.  If so, then Slow Authorship deserves your attention.

Allow your thoughts to ferment, your talent to ripen and your text to bake and bubble.  With Slow Authorship you have the universe’s best chance of fulfilling your deepest ambitions.

photo credit: doug.siefken via photopin cc

About the Author: Creative marketing coach Marcia Yudkin has had book contracts with HarperCollins, Penguin USA, Henry Holt and other publishers, and her very fastest full-length book took four whole months to finish.  Subscribe to her wise weekly newsletter, The Marketing Minute, at www.yudkin.com/markmin.htm and download her free Marketing for Introverts Manifesto at www.yudkin.com/introverts.htm.

Stop Focusing on Building Your List: It’s Time to Go Deeper With the Ones Who’re Already There

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There’s a LOT of marketing advice out there about how to reach more people. Get more fans. Build your list. And just plain dominate the world with your empire.

But there’s another way to grow your business, and it doesn’t require you to talk to anyone new.

In fact, it’s totally acceptable and A-OK if you take your eye off those vanity numbers altogether.

It’s time to go deep.

Take a look at your current email list statistics and tell me what you see. Are you happy with your open rates? Your click through rates?

Even if your rates are pretty good, they could probably be better.

The real question is: Are you having enough two-way conversations with the folks who are standing right in front of you?

Have you ever been visiting with a friend or loved one and they spent more time looking at their phone than talking with you? How did that make you feel? Ignored?

Or, what about that guy who always hogs the conversation at your local business mixer? Obnoxious, right?

Yeah, that’s what’s it like for the folks on your email list when you focus on building subscribers over relationships.

So how do you go deep?

I won’t lie to you. This relationship thing takes time.

It requires you to be present with the person right in front of you.

To stop talking and just listen.

Here’s what that might look like with your email list:

1. Ask an open-ended question in your emails and encourage your readers to reply. This is deceptively simple — but not always easy to do. Consider the question you’re asking. Is it a self-serving question? Or a question that will allow you to better serve your readers? Here’s an example of what I mean. See if you can spot the difference:

  • Have you found our advice or services helpful? Please reply and share a testimonial. We’ll add it to our website with a link back to yours. A win-win!
  • What projects are you working on right now? Please reply and let us know so we can help you share them with the world. (Include a link to your site or sales page, too!)

Both of these questions might get you some responses, but I guarantee you’ll get more interest from the second one.

Besides, the second question does a much better job of helping you get to know your readers better. And that’s exactly how you begin to build real relationships.

2. Meet your readers face-to-face. Again, easier said than done, right? You can do this a few different ways:

  • Invite your readers to an in-person event. This works but only in the region where your readers live. You can extend this by meeting them in their home towns when you travel. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed sharing coffee or a meal with folks I’ve only seen on Facebook. 
  • Meet your readers via Skype or a G+ Hangout. Virtual coffees don’t have to take a long time — even 15 minutes can go along way toward nurturing a relationship. Set up a regular Virtual Coffee time and invite folks to schedule a one-on-one. Be careful tho — this should be a chance for them to tell you about themselves. Not an opportunity for you to pitch your latest thing. Get to know them as people. Find out what they do for fun and how they spend their leisure time. Ask them about their lives beyond business.

3. Offer products and services that go deeper than just one issue. Your readers and prospective customers all have individual lives of their own (shocking, I know!). That means, they’re all on a different place in the path. Some of them are just getting started. And if what you’re selling is appropriate for beginners, that fabulous. Keep doing it.

Eventually though, those folks will master the foundational things and be ready for more. They’ll be ready to go deeper. What can you do to help them? Is there a way to help them make a bigger impact?

This third strategy works best if you’ve already built a solid foundation around one offering yourself. You don’t want to muddy the marketing waters when you’re just getting started by trying to sell too much to too many different types of people.

Look, we all know it costs more to market and sell to a brand new customer than it does to just keep your existing folks happy. But how much time and energy are you really spending on the relationship-building process?

If you provide radical service (see our last post on the topic) AND you focus on really getting to know the prospects who’ve already shown up, you will grow your business. You’ll sell more to the same people, and those folks will tell others about how fabulous you are.

To reiterate, going deeper = better word-of-mouth and more referrals.

If you’d like help with swimming in the “Deep End” with your email list, leave a question below, or shoot me an email: tea (at) thewordchef (dot) com. I’d love to hear about what you’ve tried so far, and where you’re getting stuck with this kind of thing.

And if there’s something you’ve tried that worked for you, please share it with the Slow Marketing tribe in a comment below.

photo credit: Jef Harris via photopin cc

Your Marketing: When to Take Action and When to Rest

by Tea Silvestre
Know When to Take Action and JumpSorry, Pumpkin. Slow Marketing doesn’t mean s-l-o-o-o-w marketing. You’ll still have to take action on a regular and consistent basis if you want to see results.

You’ll still want to push yourself — even if it’s just a teeny bit every week.

You’ll still want to do the work. Even if it’s hard.

I know what you’re thinking: But I thought Slow Marketing was about embracing my personal path. My own right timing. I thought that meant I could relax and stop pushing myself. 

I can see how you might come to that conclusion. Slow means slow, right?

Um, it does and it doesn’t.

For our purposes, Slow means…

Being intentional. Taking a bit more time to focus on the details of what you’re doing and why. And staying present with the process of reaching your goals.

Relishing relationships, not numbers. Spending time getting to know your customers and your target market. Seeing each person on your email list as a 3-dimensional individual with needs and desires of their own. Honoring the humanity in all those who cross your path (and not just counting fans or followers).

Infusing our communications and messages with what’s real. Understanding that our emails and social media updates and blog posts are all attempts to connect with someone and start a conversation. And that we don’t need to rely on formulas or templates to get our point across.

Creating honest offers and avoiding manipulative sales tactics. Sure, you know how to use NLP and other psychological tricks. But you don’t need to base your whole marketing strategy on them. People who need what you have to give will respond if you share the value and show them how to take action.

Letting go of false comparisons with your peers and colleagues. Setting your own goals and using the success of others as inspiration. Letting the competition do it’s own thing without drowning in feelings of inadequacy or despair. Celebrating where you are now and looking forward to the journey ahead.

And it means Taking adequate time to rest. Looking for, and joining, the natural flow of our own lives and those of our communities. Creating enough white space in our marketing calendars so that we incubate new ideas properly. Honoring holidays and unplugging from the Interwebz so we don’t lose touch with the real world.

See? “Slow Marketing” is full of meaning. Thankfully, it’s meaning we can all embrace.

So, if you find yourself stuck and not making the progress you’d hoped for, take some time NOW to honestly assess what you’ve done over the last couple of months. Have you taken regular steps every day toward your goals? (Have you even set specific measurable goals?)

If not, it’s time to commit to taking action. Even if that means one baby step every morning. If it’s a stretch for you to do that, then that’s okay. Just stretch!

What action are you committed to taking? Is there another piece of the “meaning” that we missed? Share with us in a comment below.

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

Walk Like a Penguin (+ 19 More Tips to Love Your Marketing Again)

This month the fine folks of the (almost) world famous Word Carnivals chose to write on a topic about re-energizing your business.To me, re-energizing is really about dealing with that feeling of being “stuck” — whether you’re bored and standing still or sliding out of control — and how to avoid and/or move yourself out and past that feeling into the place where things are humming along again like you want them to.

Since most of marketing advice out there addresses the bored and standing still type of feelings, I thought I’d tackle the sliding-out-of-control kind. Ready?

First something fun: 

Did you find yourself laughing at any of these situations? A snort? A chuckle?

Sure you did. Probably (most likely) because you’ve been there yourself.

Even this California girl has found herself hurt and humiliated at the bottom of an icy staircase on more than one occasion. (I also discovered just how horrible my driving skills really are while attending college in Boulder, CO.)

Those of us not raised in a wintery clime don’t usually learn about the dangerous combination of ice and mobility as children. It’s not until we’re older and taking our first ski trip with friends (in our own cars!) that we begin to learn how to drive, walk or sometimes simply stand upright on the ice and snow.

Funnily enough, the same tips for successfully navigating in winter can also help us find our way through the trials and tribulations of marketing a small business. In short, to keep us loving what we’re doing.

20 Tips to Avoid Being Stuck on the Ice

1. Take your time. Make sure you leave early so you don’t have to rush. Don’t let other drivers intimidate you into driving faster than is safe.

Tip: Just say no to those Roadmaps to 10,000 overnight fans. They’re really just a distraction from doing the real work.

2. Double or triple the space between you and the car ahead of you. Stopping distance is important when things get slippery. It might be the driver in front of you who goes sideways, so leave enough room to avoid the collision.

Tip: Leave enough white space on your calendar for hiccups — whether it’s an appointment with a prospect or an entire campaign, it’s good to leave a generous buffer zone around those tasks.

3. Avoid the white knuckle syndrome. When we’re nervous, we tend to tense up. And gripping the wheel too tightly can slow your reaction time in an emergency. Loosen up and breathe.

Tip: Consciously focus on your breathing at intervals through out the day. Take a walk or do something physical to relax. A relaxed body is a relaxed mind. Which is what you need to have to ensure you make good decisions quickly.

4. Know the road conditions. Pay attention to where you’re going. To the weather. To your car. Are you properly equipped for the trip? If your route involves a steep hill, you might need to find a different route.

Tip: Plan ahead. Check in with your mentor. Keep your eyes and ears open as you move forward with your marketing campaign. 

5. Keep one set of wheels on dry pavement as you approach an intersection. Find the side of the road that’s dry or has sand — where ever the best traction is, to avoid sliding through your stop.

Tip: Leverage the grounding ability of your mastermind cohorts. Checking in with them on a regular basis can give you traction when you need it and keep you safe when it looks like you might be sliding out of control.

6. Slow down for bridges and overpasses. They ice up first. It’s important that you avoid changes in your driving. Don’t change lanes. Keep a light touch on the steering. Any sudden movements could spell disaster.

Tip: Know where the crucial junctures are in your marketing and pay extra close attention to your execution. This isn’t the time to switch gears or change direction. Doing a live presentation? Be sure you’ve prepared an outline so you can stay on track.

7. Be prepared to be stuck. If you get stuck in the snow or ice, the worst thing you can do is spin your tires. This creates heat that melts the snow, making the spot you’re stuck in a frozen bowl of ice. Plus the treads of your tires fill up and freeze as well. You’ll never be able to drive out of that bowl without help. Carry some sand or kitty litter for these occasions. If you’re forced to drive in bad winter conditions on a regular basis, a wise investment would be snow tires and a set of chains.

Tip: Once you’ve got Marketing Plan A, try to think about what might go wrong and plan for the eventualities. Do you need a safety fund of cash? A back-up computer or hosting service? It’s also a good idea to build a circle of colleagues you can call on for ideas or help when you hit a wall.

8. Just stay home. Sometimes the conditions outside aren’t worth the risks. It’s okay to say no to an invitation or a trip that might turn deadly.

Tip: If you find yourself saying yes to everything, you’ll end up burned out and ready to quit sooner than later. Practice saying no to things that aren’t in your best interest or might lead you away from your goals and vision.

But what if it’s too late and you find yourself out of control and stuck in a dangerous slide? That all depends on the type of car and/or brakes you’ve got. Let’s take a look:

9. Rear-wheel drive cars should steer into the slide. If your rear end starts to slide to the right, turn your steering wheel to the right. And don’t forget to let off the accelerator.

Tip: If you find your marketing campaign beginning to slide off in another direction, it’s time to slow things down and notice where you’re headed. Give this new direction your full attention for how ever long it takes to decide whether or not it’s helpful or hurtful. Then you can choose whether or not to continue down that road.

10. ABS brakes. Maintain steady pressure, the brakes will pulsate and help you get control.

Tip: Systematize your marketing so that you can maintain consistency and delegate when possible.

11. No ABS brakes. Don’t maintain steady pressure on the brakes. Rather, take light stabs, hold, release, press again, and you’ll eventually regain control.

Tip: If you haven’t yet systematized your marketing, you’ll need to work on this in regular intervals. Try something. Test it. If it works, document it. If it doesn’t, adjust and try again.

12. Small, short wheel-base cars. These vehicles are more prone to sliding out of control. With a short wheel base the vehicle will turn around much quicker and easier then a long sedan. Sometimes you’ll have no warning. Drive accordingly with a small car.

Tip: If you’re a solopreneur or micro biz owner, it’s easier to find yourself off track and out of control because it’s just you making the decisions. This means you need to pay extra attention to your operations and the desire to automate or put things on autopilot (either mentally or literally). 

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And if you’re trying to walk on ice (not drive), remember to “walk like a penguin.”

13. Keep your center of gravity over your front leg.

Tip: Lean into the challenges of marketing yourself and your biz. Going slowly doesn’t mean standing still or procrastinating. It means putting one foot in front of the other. Deliberately. Every. Single. Day.

14. Take shorter steps or shuffle-walk.

Tip: Build your business slowly and surely. Take the time to get to know the people on your email list. Skype with them. Take them to coffee. Build real relationships. 

15. Avoid shoes with smooth soles.

Tip: Marketing tactics that look pretty but have no real tread will get you nowhere fast. Be sure that you’ve taken the time to plan, implement and evaluate each step. 

16. Keep your knees loose.

Tip: Don’t be so wedded to a marketing plan that you can’t make last minute adjustments when necessary. 

17. Extend arms out slightly for balance.

Tip: Don’t tie all your hopes and dreams to just one strategy or tactic. Create a balanced approach to how you build awareness with at least three prongs. For example, online, offline and long-term (e.g., email, public speaking and partnerships).

What happens if you do fall?

18. If you fall backwards, tuck your chin into your chest so your head doesn’t smack the ground.

Tip: Have a crisis plan ready. Know what you will do when things screw up so you can act quickly and minimize the damage.

19. When you fall, try to relax your muscles.

Tip: If things go sideways for you (i.e., tech gremlins, people not following through on commitments, etc.) try to step outside yourself mentally and be the objective observer. Do what you can to get things fixed, but don’t get caught up in the drama of what’s going “wrong.” You might find in the end, that what happened was really a blessing in disguise. And then all that drama will just be wasted energy.

And finally,

20. Look back and laugh. When you do finally get out of whatever mess you happen to have found yourself in, remember it’s all fodder for your success (or your memoirs). Loving your business requires you to chuckle, snort and giggle on a daily basis. <– best tip of them all!

How about you? What tips do you have for avoiding the stuckness? Have you ever found yourself stuck on the “ice” of a marketing campaign? Share in a comment below.

photo credit: stupid is the new clever via photopin cc

This post is part of the January Word Carnival. The topic is Beat the Motivation Blues: How to Re-boot, Re-energize and Love Your Business Again. Come read the rest of the genius ideas and join the carney fun.
About Tea (the Chef) Silvestre

As a marketing coach/consultant, Tea loves to help her clients find and share their Secret Sauce with the world. She’s also the founder of the ground-breaking reality web series, “Prosperity’s Kitchen” and the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd.” Connect on Twitter: @TeaSilvestre.

Branding a Movement, Part 2

slowmarketingbadgeFirst: Many MANY thanks to Janet Brent of Purple Panda for her help in creating our new logo. If you get a chance, please pop over and see her website and say hello. She’d love to hear from you.

Second: Gratitude goes out to all of you who took the time to share your feedback on the different logo options. A group effort really makes a difference!

And Third: Let’s get this movement officially underway by spreading the word with our friends and colleagues. Here are some ideas:

  • Share a link to our Facebook page and invite your networks to join us there.
  • Share a link to this website (http://SlowMarketing.org) and mention our manifesto. (Folks will land on that first thing if you use the above link.) Invite them to get on our mailing list.
  • Write a guest post for this site (or write something on your own blog and send us a link to share via social media).
  • Show your solidarity by adding our new badge to your website’s sidebar. You can grab the code below and just paste it into a regular text widget (if you’re on WordPress).

Got any other ideas? We’d love to hear ‘em. Use the comments below and let’s get this party officially started.

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Finding Momentum from Behind

This is a guest post by Grace Judson.

look at how far you've comeHas it ever occurred to you that being in business sometimes feels rather alarmingly like being in high school?

Will your business be voted Most Likely to Succeed? Will you be one of the Cool Kids, or one of the outcasts? And will you be invited to the Prom — or will your prospective date turn you down?

The effort we put into building a following — whether it’s an email distribution list, the comments on our blog, or the number of Likes on our Facebook page — can feel just as painfully difficult as the effort to be part of the In Crowd in high school. And — with great respect and compassion for the angst we all experienced as teenagers — there’s even more pressure on us now than there was then.

After all, if our business doesn’t succeed … let’s just say things won’t be pretty.

So we try to find a balance between apparently competing needs.

The need to be authentic and ethical

versus

the need to market ourselves in a way that gets clients.

The need to serve the people who need us

versus

the need to serve people who can pay us.

The need to acknowledge — and rest from — our hard work

versus

the need to keep on going and work harder so we can succeed.

And so on — I’m sure you’re all too familiar with your own internal competing dilemmas!

There are three things I tell my clients (and remind myself) when these struggles come up.

Thing One:

These needs only appear to be in competition. In fact, it’s completely possible to reconcile them.

  • You can market yourself authentically, ethically, and be very effective in gaining clients who love you and your work. (You might have already guessed this, since you’re reading the Slow Marketing blog.)
  • You can serve clients who are ideal in every way, from their need for and appreciation of the unique value you give them … all the way to the bank.
  • You’ve got to take care of yourself if you want to be truly effective in caring for others (i.e., your clients). And that means self-acknowledgement, rest, and time away from your business.

Thing Two:

No one in business — not even those wildly popular, hugely successful, apparent overnight success stories — avoids these struggles. You can bet that the Cool Kids you’re admiring (or resenting) from afar have experienced similar thoughts and feelings at some point in their business journey. They’re just a bit further down the road than you are.

Which brings me to Thing Three:

You’re doing better than you think you are. In fact, stop thinking so much. Relax. And take a look behind you.

As entrepreneurs, we’re not accustomed to looking back — it’s all forward, forward, forward, what’s next, keep the momentum going!

But the rear view offers valuable insights, the biggest of which is likely to be something along the lines of “Wow. Look how far I’ve come!”

Entrepreneurs are not generally known for patience. But Slow Marketing takes patience. Building real relationships doesn’t happen at one single networking event. Discovering who your best, most rewarding clients are requires time and curiosity. Learning what your clients truly value in your work (it’s usually not what you expect!) and how to talk about it is an evolutionary process.

Evolutionary means incremental, which unfortunately also means it can be easy to overlook, especially when you feel like you’re struggling.

Taking a look behind you, seeing where you’ve been, gives you a basis for comparison, allowing you to see just how much you have accomplished, grown, and gotten better. Better at your work, sure, but also better at communicating about it in ways that connect with your audience while helping you feel good about yourself. In short, better at Slow Marketing.

So let go of the high school angst. You already are one of the Cool Kids for your best clients. Focus on them, and focus on what you’ve been giving them that makes them love you.

photo credit: Dinohyus via photopin cc

About the Author

judson_grace_d2Grace Judson is delighted by uniqueness and driven to understand why people do what they do. She helps her clients discover, describe, and communicate the unique value of their work, and says that knowing your unique value is a catalyst for ease, joy, and success in marketing, business, and life. Her website is http://www.svahaconcepts.com.

 

Why Marketing Doesn’t Get It – Trust Takes Time

This is a guest post by Michael Martine

medium_2103925878Trust is much more difficult to earn than money. And it is more valuable by far. Because when enough of the right people trust you, it ensures access to whatever resources you need.

Let me ask you a question: have you ever trusted someone instantly?

Instant trust? Nope!

I can’t speak for every person in every situation, but almost surely not!

You don’t instantly trust a complete stranger. It just isn’t done. And with good reason: people get burned. No, you must first get to know a person. Only then may trust take root, and even then it’s not guaranteed. This is because it’s subjective and based on the context in which you’re interacting with other people. It’s because it’s based on how much congruency there is between what others say and what they do.

Actions do indeed speak louder than words, and trust takes time.

Every promise kept, every chance to fulfill taken, every chance to harm or neglect passed by, every deed congruent with the words that preceded it: these build up trust over time. Think of others’ trust in you like a bank account. You can either make deposits or withdrawals. If you withdraw everything or overdraft your “trust account,” you may not ever recover from that. Or it may take a very long time to even try. The depositing rules for “trust accounts” are strange: you just can’t make big deposits. Only small ones, over time. Imagine only being able to deposit up to $0.29 per day, maximum, in a real bank, and you’ll have an idea of what I’m trying to convey here.

That’s how trust is built up.

At odds with marketing

And yet as soon as you try to learn about marketing you are inundated with all manner of trust-shattering tactics and strategies. All manner of tricks to try and get people to do what you want, even if they don’t want to.

If you can convince someone to buy something in the course of a single sales letter, that’s not trust.

It’s trickery. The kind that leads to buyer’s remorse, refund requests, disputed payments, chargebacks, and bad word-of-mouth. Is that what you want to be known for?

Trust simply does not develop that quickly.

Trying to move a prospect along a sales funnel at a “faster than trust” speed results in no trust and no sale, because the prospect felt rushed and pressured by your tactics, and naturally they rebelled. In the old days, you went out hunting for prospects, and when you found them you cold-called, set up an appointment, and strong-armed your way to a sale (ever had a vacuum cleaner salesperson come to your house?). Not that you’d want to, anyway, but you can’t really do that on the internet.

The trust-builder

How it works now is that on the internet, your prospects are trying to find the answers they seek as they try to educate themselves prior to any purchasing decision. What you want is for them to find you. What you want is for you to be the information source which educates them far in advance of the actual decision to buy. This is what content marketing does.

The better the content, the more popular, visited, and linked-to it is. The higher it rises in search engine results. The more often it is shared on social media. Then your prospect finds it and consumes it and the most tender, fragile roots of trust are established.

Pushing for a sale at this early point is like taking a seed that has just barely sprouted, ripping it out of the soil, flinging it to the ground, and crushing it to a paste beneath your boot heel. What that seed needs is time. Time to grow. Time for trust to grow.

Trust-breakers

If you want to build trust in your readers so they become customers, avoid these “trust-breakers.”

  • Making promises you can’t keep. I cringe at all the times I had stated somewhere there was going to another webinar or a follow-up ebook or program to the current one and then never followed through. Don’t say you’re going to post every day and then fail to deliver. Don’t say you’re going to have a weekly email newsletter and then fail to write one for an entire month.
  • Leading people on with promises as a form of “engagement trickery.” This is something I see done a lot. I have no problem with delivering a free webinar that’s designed to sell a product, but don’t act like deep secrets are going to be revealed only to just deliver a product pitch instead. Worse yet is when that product also fails to deliver, yet promises more in a higher-priced product upsell. This kind of marketing is blatantly deceptive.
  • Saying whatever it takes to get a sale and then unwittingly contradicting yourself. People who are only after money will sometimes say anything to get it, like a junkie trying to scam grandma out of a few dollars to afford the next fix. You may not think of yourself as being “that bad,” but it’s surprisingly easy to do when you’re on the hunt for a sale and you smell blood. If you talk to a lot of people it’s easy to forget what you said to each one, but they’ll remember what you said to them. And if you contradicted yourself, they’ll catch it and then your game is up.
  • Presenting your opinions as if they were fact and having no proof. When you get going on a blog post and get “into the flow” it’s easy to cut corners and end up talking out of your rear end. In your haste to publish something, anything, you haven’t cited any sources or fact-checked anything. It takes very little time to conduct a search in order to bolster your opinions. Doing so lends you credibility and authority. But you skip it in your rush to publish and move on to the next thing on your to-do list. In a slow marketing approach, you take the time to write well and edit your writing. You back up what you’re saying with links to other web pages.

Trust-builders

Now let’s take a look at some things that build up trust over time:

  • Genuine engagement in order to listen and learn. People who feel like they’re listened to will respond in a more positive way. This is taught in successful customer service training for sales reps to deal with irate customers (Starbucks, for example). Online, listening and learning takes place mostly in blog comments and on social media. And, surprise: it takes time, because you’re gathering these little gems of customer intelligence over the long haul. But then when you employ what you’ve learned for the benefit of both your customers and you, the trust you’ve earned also earns the sale.
  • Mastering the art of the pleasant surprise. I was originally going to call this “under-promising and over-delivering,” but that’s too manipulative and disingenuous and not trust-building at all if people suspect you of simply putting on an act. Instead, think in terms of shaping a delightful customer experience. Of delivering pleasant surprises instead of what is merely expected.
  • Consistency and regularity. With content marketing, consistency breeds trust. If you pick a day of the week for a certain type of content, you must be consistent with that or people will notice. Your email newsletter and regular blog features must go out like clockwork and never fail. People come to expect them and as soon as you fail to deliver your trust has taken a huge hit. Fulfilling your promise builds trust over time.
  • Being your own best example, following your own advice. There’s an old saying: no matter how deep of a hole you dig, you’ll always be down there with at least one hypocrite. In my years of running my own online business and helping clients with their blog marketing, one of the most difficult challenges both me and my clients have ever faced is simply following our own advice! But walking your own talk is a huge trust-builder. The proof of what you say is there for all to see because you are being your own best example.

Exercise:  make a trust-building plan

To help you get a grip on trust-building, ask yourself this question: for what things do you want to be trusted?

You can write down, “People trust me (or my business name) because…” and finish the statement. But don’t write down your current reality. Write down what you want your reality to be. Then write down, step by step, how you plan to get there. To help you do that, ask yourself: “What needs to happen for me to become trustworthy in…” and then list out those steps.

Now you have a trust-building plan.

Trust and accountability go hand-in-hand. To make sure you can stick to your trust-building plan, get an accountability buddy to share it with so she or he can help you stay accountable (even better if you can do the same for your buddy, too). If you are part of a mastermind group or a forum, you’ll probably be able to find partners there.

Trust takes time. Resist the fast and dirty “easy marketing tricks” and work to establish trust. It’s worth your time.

photo credit: icanteachyouhowtodoit via photopin cc

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About the Author

Michael Martine is the force behind Remarkablogger.com, where infopreneurs go for cutting-edge blog marketing information and training.

Branding a Movement: Our Story, Logo and Platform

Slow Marketing is a movement whose time has come.

And like any movement (or small business), our success depends on how well we tell our story.

The story of who we are, what we stand for, and what we hope to achieve.

Part of the way we’ll do that is through visuals — specifically our icons and symbols.

Which brings me to today’s topic: the Slow Marketing logo.

When I put together this site over a month ago, I knew that the creation of a logo would eventually be required, and I wanted it to be a process we did together.

In the interim though, I had to create something. So I looked to the natural world and how we might represent this movement in symbol.

Why the Sea Turtle?

Throughout history, we humans have seen turtles in a special light. Ancient myths from all over the world describe our universe as resting on the turtle’s back. Eastern cultures  believed that the turtle’s back symbolized Heaven and that its underside represented Earth. For them, the turtle signified the uniting of Heaven and Earth within one’s own life.

Some cultures still think of the turtle as a symbol of the primal mother and believe that it is connected to the lunar cycle. Others associate it with longevity and wisdom. Incredibly, sea turtles have existed on earth longer than any other vertebrate animal — they were here when dinosaurs evolved and became extinct, and they survived the Ice Age.

The turtle has qualities that are aligned with the Slow Marketing movement. The turtle naturally withdraws and goes within when in turmoil. It doesn’t need to learn the importance of this focusing inward, it naturally knows.

The turtle’s whole life is one of steadfastness, effort, and patience. It lives a slow and steady life of “non-doing.” There is a saying, “Home is where the heart is” — the turtle is always at home within itself.

Choosing Colors: Green, Blue and Other Choices

Color is another form of non-verbal communication, so it’s important that we choose colors that not only look good, but that also help us tell us story.

In color psychology, green is the color of balance and growth. It can mean both self-reliance as a positive and possessiveness as a negative, among many other meanings.

If we look at the chakras, green is the color of the heart chakra. The heart chakra is our fulcrum. The point of balance between deep earth (foundational, material, prime creation) and elevated reality (ethereal, spiritual, metaphysical creativity).

The heart is the mixer. The equalizer. The channel through which the material and immaterial must move in order to create…well, create anything and everything. Nothing of substance or natural order comes into being without first passing through the gateway of the heart.

As for blue, color psychology tells us it’s the color of trust and peace. It can suggest loyalty and integrity as well as conservatism and frigidity.

In the chakra system, blue is the throat chakra. It’s the chakra of communication and expression of what we’ve learned and dreamed up in the heart. Sounds like marketing to me!

Purple (in color psychology) is the color of the imagination. It can be creative and individual or immature and impractical.

In the chakra system, we could go with either indigo or violet — both have relevance to what we’re about here.

Indigo is about vision that helps us see past illusions. And violet is beyond linear time.

Options to Consider

Thankfully, one of our own stepped forward to help us create some of the branding elements we’ll need in order to build this movement: our logo, badge and possibly our website. (Be sure to show her some love by visiting her online!)

Here are six ideas she’s shared with us. Please leave a comment and let us know which one(s) resonate most with you.

(Usually, I’m not one for doing this sort of thing by committee, but I felt it was important that we share this process together. Your input matters!)

To view the logos, click on the thumbnails below and they’ll open up at full view.

Feel free to suggest color and font changes, too. We’ll take all comments and feedback under consideration.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Knowing When (and How) to Let Go

By Tea Silvestre, aka The Word Chef

Building a thriving small business is a little like dancing.

Okay, it’s a LOT like dancing.

When we begin, we dance solo much of the time. Tentatively learning the steps — by ourselves (with a homestudy course) or with a teacher or a mentor.

Eventually, as our confidence and skill level builds, we begin to dance with others — our clients, our community, our vendors and our peers. If we’re lucky, the dancing (usually) turns into something that looks a lot like a party.

But have you ever felt like you were dancing too much? Too fast?

Sure, you may be doing something you love, something you’re passionate about — at least, that’s how it started. But now, you’re more dizzy than ecstatic.

It happens to the best of us.

Finding Your Own Rhythm

Typically, at the close of any year we take time to reflect. On what we’ve accomplished over the previous months. On the goals that we turned into reality (or that fell by the wayside). We look at what went sideways. And most importantly, we ask ourselves what we’d like to create next year.

What if you also spent some time thinking about what you’d like to give up?

Mark Silver, of Heart of Business, wrote about just this topic in his post, Preparing for December.

He begins with the story of a client who told him she wanted to quit her entire business. That she was done. Finished. Kaput.

He thought it was definitely time for her to quit. But not in the way she thought.

He’s got a few recommendations for thinking about quitting. (Go ahead and read his post. I’ll wait.)

Did you just feel your heart expand?

It’s good to remember that sometimes we need to slow down the dancing and consider who we are and what we really want.

Releasing the Wrong Dance Partners

Very recently, I had the privilege of quitting something BIG myself: an old vision of who I was and what I was meant to bring to the world.

This quitting was huge for me because, well…it was/is woven into a massively large project.

When I began the planning of it, it looked grand and beautiful. I was excited about the possibilities and couldn’t wait to see it debut on the world-wide-web.

But over time, my perspective about my role and purpose shifted. And before I knew what happened, I found myself depressed and annoyed with this big awesome thing.

I no longer believed that my project was the wonderfabulous offering it first was. In fact, I was sure that I was dancing the wrong dance with the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

Simply put, I wanted to quit. Quit the whole darned thing. Just chuck in the towel and move on. Get a J-O-B.

When I confessed all of this to my mastermind group, they held that quitting space for me for a few moments and then lovingly challenged me to see — surprise, surprise — that the reason they believed in my dancing was the reason I was there in the first place. That I could re-focus, re-work and re-invent my project to be in total balance with who I am now.

I didn’t need to give up the project. I just needed a realignment.

What about you? What projects or roles are you ready to set down or reinvent? What dance partners are you ready to let go of? Share with us in a comment and let’s celebrate your new dance steps together.

This post is part of the November Word Carnival. The topic is Letting go: How and What to Trim to Keep Your Business Lean and Focused. Come read the rest of the genius ideas and join the carney fun. 

photo credit: jbhthescots via photopin cc

About Tea (the Chef)

As a marketing coach/consultant, Tea loves to help her clients find and share their Secret Sauce with the world. She’s also the founder of the ground-breaking reality web series, “Prosperity’s Kitchen” and the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd.” Connect on Twitter: @TeaSilvestre.