So the man sold tree services. And the season was turning into December in northern USA.
During this time of year, homes can be in danger if trees aren’t trimmed and cared for.
A snowfall or heavy load of ice could break branches, bringing them down into your bay windows, or take out your porch.
And then suddenly, for no apparent reason, Google stopped ranking him well. Visitors to site dropped away.
Nothing had changed on his site. From what his marketing team could tell, he outshone his competitors in almost every way. And yet…
On top of it, he started worrying about layoffs. Without new business, he couldn’t pay his entire team of guys.
He couldn’t pay for advertising. Passive, inbound SEO was the best he could afford.
Many of us have heard this story before.
I wish I knew the end to it.
It’s become a standard business tale today.
Then my friend, the one telling me this story, mentioned that the man had an email list of 500 emails.
Never been used.
What would you do?
Here’s my ‘unsolicited, storytelling advice’.
Start a hearts and minds campaign.
Send an email to your list, sharing a tip for their own safety this winter.
And then ask them to reply with the one question they NEEDED answered about tree care.
Most won’t open. Perhaps a 100 actually benefit from the tip. And maybe 20 write back.
You now have conversations going. Write up short answers and send them back to the email list.
Then, once a week, send a photo and short bio of a team member. Start humanizing the brand.
Share the founding story, and why you care about the community.
At this point, you should have some kind of testimonial you can share, perhaps photos of a job.
Invite past customers to send in a photo of past work that’s been done, and how its held up a year later.
None of this costs much, except time.
And it creates something invaluable; trust. In a small business, trust is the actual currency that makes sales. Sales happen because we believe in something.
So I think, if you’re stuck with conventional advertising, take stock of what you have, and don’t pitch to them.
Help them, share your humanity, ask how you can educate them. You wont be like the competition who keep adblasting reminders.
They’ll remember you.
What do you think?