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Relationships and IRL marketing

Relationships and IRL marketing

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
2 min read

Yesterday I made the argument that if you want to increase your leads and sales, becoming a multi-channel threat is now, or will be soon, the only effective way to do it.

I’ve interviewed a fair number of firm owners and universally I find that they’re doing a lotof different things in order to grow their firms (or simply increase profitability), and many of those things include “in real life” (IRL) marketing.

My argument for why those things are defensible is pretty simple: they don’t scale well, and they’re quite difficult to execute. For this reason, not many people will be skilled at IRL marketing, and they’ll give up due to the learning curve, sheer volume of work required, and the significant expense.

But IRL marketing – like speaking, networking, conferences, and more – is perhaps the fastest way to accelerate the trust cycle. Simply put, earning trust is one of the most difficult and time-consuming aspects of client acquisition. This is the same reason why referrals are such a win whenever you can get them: they come with the trust and social capital already established between referrer and referral.

IRL happens to be the best way to establish and solidify trust.

We’re not evolved to sit in front of screens, we’re built to be social creatures in real, live interactions. Even so, IRL marketing is scary difficult and expensive, which is why most firms won’t attempt it, let alone succeed at it. Still, these same difficulties are the moat you can build around your business.

More specifically, IRL marketing works and will always be a viable marketing channelbecause:

  • It doesn’t scale well because you can only physically be in one place at a time, and unless you’re on stage, you can only talk to one person at a time
  • It takes a lot of effort because you often have to travel, spend tons of time preparing for your IRL events, and you lose a lot of time in transit and task switching
  • You have to be good at it to make it pay and most aren’t; others will give up much too soon to become skilled IRL marketers
  • It can be quite hit or miss, especially general networking events like Chamber of Commerce events (not a fan)
  • In-person interaction is higher fidelity communication than anything else you can do, period

If you read yesterday’s article, you probably thought “what about good ol’ fashioned relationships.” Yes, exactly. Do more of that if you can. IRL should be part of your multi-channel approach, especially if you’re selling to the C Suite at mid-market or enterprise companies.

Two of my recent podcast guests – Sean Flaherty and Nick Ellsmore – both use IRL marketing, particularly speaking, in order to accelerate business development, lead generation, and authority building in their respective industries.

Acknowledging, though, the lack of scalability and impossibility of the task to stay in touch with everyone is where the rest of your marketing and selling comes into play.

Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll be back in your inbox on Monday.