Imagine I sent you this message on LinkedIn:
Hi, my name is Jurgen Appelo. I give keynote talks at conferences and business events and I'm specialized in management and leadership. When you organize an event, I am the person you need. Would tomorrow be a good day to call you about this? How about 9:00 am?
This sound ridiculous because it is. In my opinion, this is, by far, the worst way to offer a product or a service to someone. Sadly, I get such messages every day. I always report them as spam, and then I delete them (after replying with a link to this article).
How I pick vendors (hint: I don't pick beggars)
I recently hired a photographer because I saw her work on social networks, and I liked it. She did not send me a message saying, "Hi, I am a photographer. I am specialized in profiling public speakers. Maybe you need my services. Can I call you tomorrow at 9:00 am?"
Last week, I found some nice lodging locations in Denmark through marketplaces such as AirBNB and Booking.com. Thank God the 10,000 hotels and B&Bs in Denmark have never attempted to email me directly to say, "If you ever visit Denmark, come to us! Can we discuss this over a phone call?"
I also bought some new shirts on Threadless because I once found their website with Google. I loved their designs, and I've been a fan ever since. Anyone who sends me a LinkedIn message offering me T-shirts, saying, "We are specialized in T-shirts," doesn't understand how I prefer to pick great vendors.
In the 20th century, up to the late '80s, there was no Internet, there were no search engines, no websites or social networks, no online market places and no reviews and ratings. Basically, the only way to get more customers was... broadcasting.
Hello everyone! This is what we do!! Anybody out there who needs us?!! We are very cool and awesome! Hello?!
Some people called that marketing.
The 3 rules of marketing
Thank God in the 21st century, smart businesses don't need this approach anymore. They know these three rules of marketing.
- Pull, don't push. Make sure that people can find you using Google, social networks and/or market places. Attract them with great content.
- Show, don't tell. Make sure people can see with their own eyes that you are awesome. Those who are cool and remarkable don't need to say it.
- Share, don't beg. Don't annoy everyone with 20th-century marketing tactics. Thanks to transparency, when you behave like a beggar, everyone will know.
People that broadcast to complete strangers -- "Hello? Can I please tell you about my awesome services?" -- violate all three rules.
P.S. If anyone ever approaches you in such a manner, invite them into the 21st century by sending them a link to this article.
Related: Push Your Product, Not the Promotion