Hi, welcome to String Revolution. I'm Léan, I live in Dublin with my husband and two little boys, and I am a dangerous stringy subversive.
My job is to radiate my creative truth, and to help you radiate yours. I create, without exception, every day. I write here when I have something to say.

(learn more about me).

How I Feel About Marketing

Crocuses! At last!

Pay no attention to the crocuses. They are a delaying tactic.

Right. OK. Here’s the thing. I want a business.

[The Demons of Stuckification: Shame! Shame! Resign!]

I want a business in the arena of textile arts/crafts.

Until recently, I knew nothing – nothing – about business. Family-wise, it’s basically academics all the way down (well, OK, there were also doctors, writers, and revolutionaries, but even some of those were academics on the side). Not a whiff of the entreprenenurial spirit anywhere in my background, and plenty of studied incomprehension of That Whole World. A year ago, if you’d told me I’d be trying to reinvent myself as a small business owner, I’d have laughed. Derisively, I suspect.

And yet, here I am.

I still know terrifyingly little, it must be said. But I know that the kind of business I want will rely heavily on the Web and social media. So I’m blogging, and I’m tweeting, and I’m putting myself about to the extent that I feel able. (The panic attacks have improved considerably, thank you.)

I’m networking, dammit. And that’s more or less OK.

Here, let me do you a metaphor.

Networking, right, is like I’m at a party (yeah, I’m going for the startlingly original, here). I’m thinking a sophisticated sort of party, where I’ve got a bit glammed up, and there are waiters handing around silver trays of champagne, and I’m chatting urbanely with the other beautifully dressed guests, and I can see out of the corner of my eye in the large mirror above the marble fireplace that I’m looking pretty good. People are laughing with me, and I’m coming across as witty and warm and wise and all those good w-words. I fit in here.

That’s networking.

But networking, in and of itself, doesn’t bring home any bacon, as far as I know. At some point, you have to combine it with some kind of *mumblemumblemumble*.

[The Demons of Stuckification: Don’t say it! If you don’t say it, they won’t guess!]

You know. The M-word.

So, at this party, I’m trying to work up to making some kind of remark that might lead people ever so delicately to the gentle realisation that if they were so minded, they could in fact exchange some of their monies for some object or activity that I would produce or perform. [*breathe, breathe*]

What I’m aiming for is a sort of dignified murmur – a casual remark, dropped into the limpid pool of the conversation – a rumour that might spread, shiny and sparkling, throughout the room – and then people would begin to smile, and look over with glad, interested faces, and eventually approach me discreetly (but in gratifyingly large numbers) and make arrangements for the exchange in question.

So, I see my conversational opening, and I prepare to utter my carefully prepared murmur – but instead, quite without meaning to, I fling my champagne at the wall and rush into the middle of the room, yelling coarsely and throwing my skirt over my head. (And you just know this was the day when my only clean underpants were the stained, greyish, torn pair, yes? Yes.)

So I’m standing there in the middle of the room, and everybody is staring dumbfounded at my pale, shaggy legs, too shocked to look away, too horrified to parse my ragged cries of “Give me your money! Buy! Buy! Buy now!”

And eventually I stop shouting, pull my skirt down (to the profound relief of all present – because yes indeed, this little fantasy features incidental body shame – call it local colour), brush my hair from my face, look around, and say, “What? What did I do?”

Because I can’t understand what’s gone wrong. All I know is that I’ve completely, irrevocably blown it, and none of these people – possibly nobody on the entire planet – will ever speak to me again.

That’s marketing.

[The DoS: You never listen, do you?]

And that’s my problem. I can’t seem to imagine any kind of actual, honest-to-god promotion of a product or service that is … not awful. Forgivable. Graceful. I think about, say, writing a sales page, or writing a post telling people, authentically, about something I’ve used and enjoyed – and yeah. I feel like throwing up. And the worst fear, the nightmare scenario, is that I write whatever-it-is and think it’s OK, but it isn’t.

[The DoS: Give up! You’re not cut out for this business thing. Face it.]

So that’s one thing. I need to learn how to murmur.

When I’ve mastered murmuring, perhaps I could learn how to clear my throat and say, “Could I have your attention for just a moment, please, because there’s something here I think you might like.” But that’s almost unimaginable from where I’m standing.

Now, I don’t as yet have anything for sale. But for murmuring practice, I’ve put together a little survey for String Revolution readers. (And do you see how I’ve placed it at the end of this long post, so that only those stalwarts who slog all the way to the end will see it? Way to go, marketing ninja.)

It’s just 7 questions about you and this blog – nothing scary – won’t take more than a couple of minutes. And just to be clear, I’ll still love you even if you don’t fill it out (as far as I know it’s anonymous in any case).

So here we go. My first murmur. Ready?

Augh! Graaargh! Ululululul!
Take my survey! Take it!

What? What did I do?

3 comments to How I Feel About Marketing

  • Jay + I were just talking about this – bringing up what we do in conversation.
    I’m not saying it is EASY (not at all!) but it can be so much more casual than you can imagine.
    It can be as simple as:
    “How are you?”
    “Oh, I’m fine, the yarn shop is going really well”
    “Really, you own a yarn shop?”
    “Why yes, in Jonesborough”
    “How delightful!”

    And now they now I do a thing. And that they can buy a thing. And where to buy it.

    Or:
    “Hey, how are you?”
    “good, I’m really excited about my upcoming class on X”
    “really? I’d love to learn that!”

    BAM!

  • sorenr

    My impression of you is that you’re not really interested in talking people into buying your products and services, and that can actually be a marketing strategy in itself. You don’t have to persuade anybody.

    But if you tell people that “look, this thing is really cool and you might enjoy it”, then you are actually giving potential customers the chance to make up their mind about whether that’s relevant to them. They can say yes or no; it’s up to them. If, however, you don’t even mention that you can offer a product or a service, then you have made the decision on the potential customer’s behalf.

    Marketing doesn’t have to be persuasion and manipulation; sometimes it’s just simple, honest information. (And yes, information that might in the end lead to you earning some money, but there’s nothing wrong with that.)

    Best of luck!

  • I just got a graphic designer friend to do me a proper web design and marketing strategy for my own business. Now that it’s my primary source of income and the alternative is gradual starvation or living with my mum I find that my previous philosophical objections and embarrassment about marketing my own skills have melted away. I find it helpful to think of it as a persona, and a very useful one. Since I can’t help having personae I might as well take control of this one.

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