Staying out of the creepy zone




I love me some George Gershwin. I sing along and proclaim him a genius to all and sundry until I get to this lyric: “For every girl who passes me I shout, ‘Hey maybe you are meant to be my loving baby!'” I never can help thinking, “No wonder you’re lonely, pal!”

It’s human nature that when we’re single, at least some of the time we may wonder whether the next person we meet might be our significant other. That guy reading Nick Hornby on the train. The woman in the coat with the pink faux-fur collar. We wonder. But do we ask them whether they’re The One? Just like that, off the cuff? Unless you’re in a Gershwin song, chances are you don’t. It would be… you know… a little… a lot… erm… creepy. No one wants to be creepy.

We know this, and yet so many people marketing their business in social media have no problem being the marketing equivalent of creepy. Everybody is a prospect. There’s no getting-to-know-you. Offers of products and services arrive with the click of the “accept as friend” button. Private messages that read like a real live human being is really interested in you, another real live human being, fizzle out as soon as it’s clear you’re not buying yet.

Whatever book they’re reading, they’ve missed the chapter that tells them no one is interested in what you have to sell when they don’t know you from a bar of soap. The most effective marketing always has been, and will continue to be, relationship marketing. In relationship marketing, you’ve put yourself out there. You’ve written blogs and articles. You’ve nurtured your list. You’ve been working in your field longer than five minutes and you can prove it. People rave about your awesomeness, or your product’s awesomeness. There is connection instead of, “Hey maybe you are meant to be!…”

Is relationship marketing instant? No. Is it the only kind of marketing? No. But if you’re interested in longevity, in profound impact, and serious wealth instead of a get-rich-quick gamble, it’s the best way.