Time is of the essence when it comes to business – or so we are prone to believe. The prevailing thought is that time is money. If your marketing techniques are not producing quick, tangible and measurable results, then both time and money are being wasted.
There is of course a lot of truth in these sentiments. Time on a business is best spent, surely, on driving those figures and basking in the glory of skyrocketing results. From the large corporation to the SME, we’ve all got our bottom lines to worry about. And, especially for the smaller business, the desire and often the need to grow – just in order to survive – can frequently be dependant on the haste with which we are able to accomplish this.
However, in the rush to make as many sales and generate as many leads as possible, sometimes a business can shoot itself in the proverbial foot when it comes to longevity.
Let’s take the social media marketing side of things, for instance. You’ve suddenly realised that you need a social media presence in order to compete with your rivals, and so you sign up for Twitter.
The first thing you notice is that your closest competitor already has in excess of 20,000 followers, and since this is only your first day on the platform, you’ve got fewer than 10.
The temptation may well to be to go on an all guns blazing mission to acquire as many followers as possible in as little time as possible. In your panic, you will be following random accounts left, right and centre, and may even decide to buy the odd 5 or 10 thousand followers from a decidedly dodgy source – what harm can it do, right?
After a couple of weeks, you’ve got 15,000 followers, and now you feel as if you can hold your head high in the Twittersphere, as the number after your name in your profile ‘qualifies’ you as a bona fide contender in your market.
However, what have you really gained? Has your business really grown? What about your reputation?
The answers to these questions are nothing, no, and no, respectively. In fact the only thing that has grown by your Twitter punt is your ego – nothing more.
Quality Over Quantity
“Most marketing is so fast. It’s ‘buy now’ and ‘closing people’ and ‘converting prospects’ and creating ‘irresistible offers’. It’s ‘double your income in 30 days’ and ‘lose 50 pounds overnight!’
“It’s ‘6-figure blueprints’ and ‘marketing cash machines’ and ‘10,000 fans.’
“It’s the ego-driven need to build your audience ever larger.
“We’re constantly bombarded with messages that send us into various levels of panic if we don’t ‘act now!’ or haven’t succeeded in ‘crushing it.’
“Panic is not a business strategy.
“What would happen if we all. slowed. down. our marketing?”
Indeed, in the example I have given above, by taking the fast route to amassing a high quantity of Twitter followers, what you are sacrificing is the quality of those followers.
Firstly, by following random accounts, sure, you may get a few people following you back – but who are they? Would they ever even be interested in your industry at all, let alone be likely to make a purchase from you? And as for bought followers – these invariably come from completely inactive accounts, so if you think you’re going to garner interest and engagement from ghosts, then you might be in for a spooking.
The Slow Way To Lasting Success
A lot of slow marketing commentators use the tortoise and the hare analogy – and there’s a lot of truth that can be taken from this. Whilst the hare blasts forward, thinking s/he’s got the race sewn up, the tortoise takes his/her time and ultimately catches and then overtakes the hare at a point in the race when the big rabbit is suffering from burnout.
(Image Source: slowmarketing.org)
The slow marketer is not in business for short-term achievements or to get rich quick. Rather, the slow marketer realises that lasting success doesn’t happen over night. A business needs to take its time building up trust with customers. In the real world, we rarely put our full faith and investments – be they physical, emotional or monetary – in people that we’ve just met, so why should we expect our customers to do the same the first time they encounter our business?
The slow marketer believes that we shouldn’t. And when it comes to social media slow marketing, here’s how s/he does it…
3 Tips For Slow Marketing
#1. Get Blogging
Blogging is perhaps the most obvious means of slow marketing. Blogs are not designed to force direct sales, but a means of truly indirect marketing, whereby a business establishes itself slowly as an authority in its field, and uses the written word to build up trust within consumers that shopping with them is the wisest choice, because they are the most thoughtful and learned entity in the arena.
#2. Take The Time To Engage With All Of Your Followers
This is a good tip for all social media marketers, whether they want to embrace the slow marketing ethos or not. Building trusting relationships with customers and potential customers doesn’t happen overnight. Indeed, someone who comments on one of your blog posts today might not make a purchase from you for another year or more. But this doesn’t mean that it’s a cold lead. With slow marketing, the whole point is to nurture and nourish every business relationship that presents itself, and to always remember that it is the quality of the relationship, not the quantity of them, that matters. 20,000 followers on Twitter might look impressive – but how many of them will ever convert? Having a few strong and insightful conversations is better than having lots of worthless ones.
#3. Listen. Really Listen
There is a prevailing tendency amongst many businesses and startups in particular who, because they are in love with their idea, they believe that everyone else will be as well. When business owners become blinkered like this, then they can often feel overwhelmingly perplexed when their business isn’t taking off in the way that they believe it should. The trouble most of the time is that they are not listening to their customers and their potential customers. Client satisfaction is the only thing that matters. It doesn’t matter how clever you think you are or how brilliant you think your product or service is – if there isn’t a genuine need for it, then there isn’t a market either. This means that, while you may be onto something with your business idea, unless you take the time to listen to feedback and act upon it and make the alterations that are being suggested, then your business is only ever going to go so far. Of course you need belief to be an entrepreneur, but you also need patience. Listen to your customers, and give them what they want, not what you want them to want.
Are you embracing slow marketing? What have you learned on your journey – and please, take your time with your answers, and we will, too.
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