We can stand out simply by standing still. Here a few tips!
When’s the last time you called someone? I mean, really called them, not chatted over WhatsApp. When is the last time you wrote something with a typewriter, or pen and paper? Okay, pencil and paper count too. When was the last time you opened your mailbox and found something in an envelope that wasn’t a bill? Come to think of it, when was the last time someone sent you a bill actually printed on paper? When was the last time you cooked something that took more than thirty minutes? Our tactile connection to things is coming undone, and with it, our sense of what matters.
This is Not Clickbait. I’m Just Taking my Time.
Oh my God, Warren, blah blah blah! I clicked on this post because I thought you were going to talk about SEO and Lead Gen. Was this just clickbait? Not cool, you’re thinking? Honestly, yes – if you want to improve your SEO and Lead Gen, then you had better dust off your typewriter and take your nose out of your phone and read further.
Typewriters, handwritten letters, face-to-face chats, and even slow-cookers have more to do with SEO and Lead Generation than we would believe. In fact, so do Sustainability and Mindfulness. Wait! I kid you not. Keep on reading and I will prove to you how a paper invitation to a home-cooked meal can improve your SEO and increase your Lead Generation.
The Elevator is Almost on My Floor, okay? Make this Pony Gallop.
If you don’t engage, you won’t succeed. You can’t. Personas on a whiteboard don’t buy your products, people do. Real people. You need to connect with people. You can’t do that if you’re running past them. You need to stop.
It’s been some years since primary school, but I decided to invite as many of my old classmates as I could find to dinner for my last birthday. It was if the truth is told, yeah, a bit of a weird thing to do.
“Engagement is up to you. Think about engagement as outreach. It’s allowing people to know that you are relevant. It’s keeping your brand top of mind. For business, engagement shows you’re still in business.”bridgetwillard.com/what-does-engagement-look-like-on-social-media
Taking the Time to Write an Actual Letter or Read an Actual Book
There is something about picking up an actual book and turning the pages that transcend the eBook. You can feel the pages against your fingers. You can smell the paper. Have you tried to smell an eBook? Often small trinkets will fall from the pages as we read – a bookmark, train ticket, a dollar bill, a love note – something that reminds us of better times. Sometimes a whole letter slides out, and these are becoming something of a rarity.
129 billion pieces of mail were sent through the US post last year. That’s down from 159 billion pieces ten years ago. Marketing mail is also down; from 80 billion pieces in 2012 to just 64 billion pieces in 2021. Source: Postal Facts facts.usps.com/table-facts
Direct Marketing via Direct Mail is probably ripe for a comeback as a marketing vehicle. Think about how little actual mail you receive. We get dozens of emails each daily which we can easily delete. And we do. But actual mail is becoming a rarity. It can be personalised and collected too. It’s real. Perhaps you could type your content marketing. Type it for your Gold Club members.
Short of carving words into stone, there isn’t much more permanent than something typed on paper. It’s hammered in there. It goes even deeper than a pen.
“Letters are where we argue, say goodbye, dream, fail, forgive, and tell our secrets, and send regrets. We can’t filter our lives or curate our feeds in letters. Letters are where we attempt to tell the truth and wait.”pbs.org/newshour/show/poet-willie-perdomo-on-the-value-of-writing-letters-in-a-digital-world
Taking the Time to Plan, Cook, and Eat a Meal
There’s a real upside to actually cooking a meal. Cooking lets you control the ingredients. You also take more time preparing a meal than you would if you open a bag of cheese puffs or go to a drive-thru. It’s a healthier alternative. It can also be fun.
The act of cooking or baking puts us in a different state of mind. We become completely focused and absorbed in what we are doing. We forget about ourselves in the process, and we largely lose track of time. In this state, the mind and body work together in harmony.
“Fast food forces us to forget our values and the guiding principles that impact our ability to be healthy. As a society we have become more interested in ‘getting things done’ then honoring what nourishes us and supports our aliveness.”sarahannestewart.com/5-reasons-you-should-get-into-the-slow-food-movement
Taking the Time to Converse Face to Face
Conversation is King. Or Queen. Without a real conversation, we make no connection. Our communication becomes banter. Jibber jabber. Noise. It’s meaningless and annoying, like a banner ad we might see competing for our attention on a website that we would never, ever, click on. Conversations don’t just happen like magic or well-programmed AI.
We need to engage not only software and hardware; but also strategy, empathy, and focus. Don’t follow the siren song of automation; those conversations aren’t real. They won’t build affinity. Affinity leads to loyalty; loyalty leads to sales.
“A text is a means for setting up a conversation, but is not to be misconstrued as a conversation itself. True understanding what a friend or acquaintance is really feeling diminishes.”rossmanschool.org/blog/importance-conversation
Taking the Time to Embrace the Moment
Sometimes we need to slow down if we’re going to win. I associate slowing down with being mindful. When you’re being mindful – you are being in the moment. That’s mindfulness for me. It is not dissimilar to what is necessary for the role of an Agile coach. A large part of this role is not to be a project manager, but to be a facilitator. In Agile we call this a ‘servant-leader’.
In this role, you need to be that which best serves the Agile team. It means your awareness must be in the present: actively present and listening openly to what a person is saying. In any Agile project, the customer or stakeholders are a part of the project – they are actually in the meetings – and actively listen to and participate.
Taking the Time for a More Sustainable Approach
I think we all wrestle with sustainability. We think most often of sustainability as having to do with the climate, food production and consumption, even our survival as a species. Sustainability is about things that last and about making things last. Tangible things. Things we can rely on to be there for us when the power goes out. Things that will continue to work if we drop them. Good friends that stick by us. Food that fills us.
Sustainability reminds me of the Antifragile concept put forward by Mr Taleb in his celebrated book. Robust things might not break when pressed, unlike fragile things, but antifragile things actually improve when under duress. Such as the Hydra in Greek mythology – cut off one head and two grow back. A better example of sustainability is likely difficult to find.
The Proof is in the Pudding
During our dinner conversation, the topic of Wacky Packs comes up. I even pull out a few stickers I still had hidden away. Everyone’s primary school memories come rushing back. Marbles. Hockey cards. Collecting empty bottles from the neighbours for the two-cent deposit. Sunday afternoons playing PayDay. After dinner, you get home and flip open your laptop, Googling Wacky Packs. You find them fairly quickly, but it takes you a while to find a store that sells them. You click on the link, read an article or two, register for the newsletter, and order some products.
Later that week everyone at the Agency is rubbing their hands in glee. Their Google Ads and SEO work for Wacky Packs are bearing fruit. A lot of people are clicking on Google SERPs, spending time on page, registering for newsletters, and ordering products.
What they don’t know is that they never came into the picture. Not even close. SEO meeting lead generation was old school magic. It was word of mouth, oiled by good food and good wine, face to face conversation, kicked off by the keys of the dusted-off typewriter and invitations hurriedly stuffed into envelopes.
In our rush to prove our SEO instincts, we measure all we can, essentially stripping humanity of the thing that makes them human: the mystery of their souls and those magical moments — memories that last a lifetime. – Bridget Willard