Play to Your Strengths

I often tell people that I’ve built my business “one cup of coffee at a time.” I look at coaching as an extremely personal and relational process, and I develop my clients the same way; through networking, referrals and direct conversations. Because of that, I’ve never been big on email marketing or automated campaigns as a tool for building my business.

After seeing the success other coaches had using “drip” campaigns, I began to wonder if I was missing an opportunity. This past fall, I decided to dip my toe in the automation water. I crafted what I thought were two pretty good email campaigns and sent them out to a couple different groups of contacts, one in November and another in December.

The results were. . . rough. Disappointing. Dismal would not be too harsh of a word. In terms of open rates and engagement, I did pretty well. It was the actual response from individuals that hurt. My “unsubscribes” went through the roof. I received spam complaints. A marketing friend called me and said that the emails were good, but just did not “sound” like me; they weren’t personal. As a “High I” on the DISC chart who thrives on relationships and building friendships (I’m basically a Labrador retriever), this was a punch to the gut. I got a pit in my stomach every time I thought about sending out another email. It was a bad experience, all around.

I made the decision after that phone call to put the automation experiment on hold and focus on what made me successful in the past. I pulled out that same list of names, and began emailing people directly. I researched each person so I could find a connection point. I apologized for sending them a clunky, ham-handed mass email. I asked to connect with them, either through LinkedIn or Facebook, or, better yet, over a cup of coffee. And something amazing happened. People responded. . . positively. I received emails back setting up meetings and thanking me for the personal outreach. My calendar filled up. Yes, I had sacrificed some efficiency, but exchanged it for a process that drove results and felt like me.

The point of the story is this; play to your strengths. Focus on your areas of excellence. Do what you do best. If you are good at something, and that something is generating results, and you enjoy it, spend your time doing that thing. You are better off spending your time and energy on those things that you can consistently do in an excellent fashion. This is by no means an endorsement for not trying new things, but rather an endorsement for YOU doing what YOU do best, and finding others to do those other activities. If you identify an opportunity that does not fall in your wheelhouse, don’t avoid it; find someone who has that skillset and leverage his or her expertise so you can stay focused on those activities that you can do to move your business forward, and drive your success.

I may go back to email marketing, as I do want to capture those opportunities and advance my business in new ways. When I do, I’ll find that person who is the expert, and leverage his or her expertise so I can continue to focus on what I do best. Speaking of which. . . you and I should get together for a cup of coffee! ;)

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