A friend or acquaintance who you don’t talk too much reaches out. When your phone chimes, the name catches you by surprise. Butterflies stir in the bottom of your stomach.
“Wonder what this is about?” you think first. Then hope pushes through the front door like a breezy spring day. You can’t contain the flutter of excitement to reconnect. Your hope is childlike, like when a toddler yells ‘Daddy!’ after a long workday.
Often, hope gets squashed. What’s behind the timing of your friend re-appearing out of thin air?
It’s simple. He or she needs something from you. He needs to know where to find that article for a big project at work. She wants to know where you bought that one dress you wore to so-and-so’s wedding.
This is how relationships work. That’s because this is how humans work. We need things. It’s normal.
So, I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with how this works. I do it. But here’s what I must admit in my more honest moments…
It’s true. I can’t always tell you why it bothers me a lot one time, and it’s no big deal another time. Is it how long we’ve been friends (a matter of duration)? How much I estimate our friendship is worth (a measure of depth)? How big or small the ‘need’ is (a criterion of cost)? Or what I had for lunch?
Here’s what I do know. I always feel loved when a long-lost friend reaches out solely to reconnect. This is always life-giving. This feels more like a hand extending a gift, rather than a hand ‘grabbing of my french fries.’
So what’s the micro-lesson for your marketing and personal brand?
Customers can feel the same way. As personal brands, it’s easy to reach out when we have a new service to offer, a new product coming out, or a new car payment coming up 😉. We aim to help our customers, but we must confess our motives aren’t simply to give. We want a handful of their french fries.
As marketers, we have a name for this. It’s called a product launch. Like NASA, we have entire pre-launch sequences. Emails, Facebook Ads, a podcast interview if we can get it. That’s all great!
But let’s not forget to reach out to our customers when there’s no immediate gain for us. Ask yourself these questions…
My advice? Be a personal brand that reaches out and makes a call that says, “I was just thinking of you.”