We humans like to think of ourselves as mental dynamos, with powerful supercomputers perched inside our skulls, the entirety of our life’s experiences instantly accessible at a moment’s notice. But the reality is we’re more like house cats, flitting from laser pointer to shiny bell to the…sorry…what was I saying? I got distracted by a yogurt lid.
We’re notoriously bad at keeping more than a few things at the front of our minds at any given time, and usually, the thing that we’ve most recently seen or see most frequently is the thing we’ll be able to conjure to mind the quickest. Think of your favorite TV shows. The names that spring to mind will likely include either the same answers you’ve always given or new shows you’re currently watching or just watched — the same thing with books, movies, music, and just about any experience a person can have. Our memories favor the stuff we’ve seen recently and the things we repeat over and over to ourselves.
Now imagine that you’re the TV show. Or the book. Or the laser pointer. If you want to be included in people’s top five lists, what’s the best strategy for accomplishing that? You need to stay top of mind. You need to be the most recent thing they saw. And you want to be seen as frequently as possible. Ideally, you want to become so synonymous with whatever it is you do that your audience includes you in their top ten by default simply because you’ve always been there. This is the importance of staying in front of your audience.
You May Be Great at What You Do, but if No One Remembers You Exist It Doesn’t Matter
Have you heard of Clyfford Still? He was a pioneer of the abstract impressionist and abstract expressionist art movements of the early 20th century. Some of his contemporaries, like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, are household names, and the trajectory of Still’s career was paralleling theirs. Until 1951 when, just as his fame was starting to blossom, he decided to walk away.
He didn’t stop painting. Not at all. He moved from New York to rural Maryland and painted voraciously in an old farmhouse he purchased. He had the skills. He had the drive. He had the output. What he didn’t have any longer was an audience. And so he was forgotten.
There are lessons here. It doesn’t matter how good you are if no one’s paying attention to you, and just being good isn’t always enough to get people to care. You have to make an effort to get them to take notice. And you have to do it consistently. You have to bang your own drum until the racket drowns out your competition and your audience has no choice but to see you. And then you have to keep it up. In whatever category you occupy you want to be the last engagement your audience had and the most frequent contributor. Disengage, even for a little while, and your audience will start chasing butterflies.
You May Be the Best, But You Probably Aren’t
This isn’t a knock on your skills. It’s just simple statistics. ‘The best’ is, by necessity a very limited subset of everyone doing whatever it is they do. You’re likely very good, but you aren’t the best. But that’s okay. You don’t need to be the best to be successful. You need to be good and make sure people are aware of you.
Consider Google search rankings. No matter what you’re looking for Google will return millions of results. It’s likely that hundreds of thousands of the pages returned would be useful to you. But you’ll never see any of them. If you look beyond the first page of listings, you’re in a tiny minority. It’s estimated that the listings Google returns on the first page of search results get 95% of the traffic. That leaves 5% for the millions of others that no one ever sees.
These top ten listings aren’t necessarily the best answers to your question. And you’ll never know if they were because you won’t even look at the others. But they’re good answers, and they’re the ones you have in front of you.
The same holds true for you and your audience. If you’re working to make sure you’re in front of them consistently, then you will be one of the few contenders they consider when they’re searching for a solution to a problem you can help them with.
People don’t want to work that hard. They’ll look to the solutions closest at hand first, and only if those come up empty will they expand their search. You want to be right in front of them when they start looking.
From Your Audience Spring, Your Customers
Your audience is like a garden. If you tend to its needs, make sure you’re around when it requires you to be, and keep yourself present, you’re likely to raise a bumper crop of fresh veggies each season. Your audience becomes your customers. If you want to develop a constant stream of new clients you need to nurture the pool of people most likely to need your services one day.
You can’t control what your audience thinks about. You can’t control their behaviors or actions. You can ask for their business and ask repeatedly. But know that you aren’t the only one asking. The best thing you can do is keep yourself in front of them. Be persistent. Be present. Connect on social media. Engage with them in forums. Send newsletters and emails. Reach out and communicate. Make sure they know that you’re always available if they ever need anything. If you stay in front of your audience consistently and graciously, your garden will grow.
And we can help. Our creative professionals are experts at getting your message out, communicating it clearly, and making sure it’s seen by the right people, frequently. Contact us today so that we can review your current strategic efforts and suggest compelling ways to execute and implement that will encourage your audience to take action. Let us be your laser pointer.