Marketing Lessons From a Move

Today we are going to be diving into my recent house move. And yes, it does not sound like a marketing lesson, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be building up your know, like, and trust factor, but I promise you, it has lessons we can all learn from. And it’s a hugely embarrassing story for me to tell along the way. So maybe it will amuse you a little bit.

This all started by me posting a pithy little quip on Facebook, “I’m running this house move in the exact opposite way I tell my clients to run their marketing.” And it sounds kind of like a joke, except it was not at all a joke. We were flying by the seat of our pants, and it was stressful.

Now, I want to preface this by saying I couldn’t control all the timing on this. We closed on the house at a certain time that was not in my control. And we had to be out of our house by the end of the month, which was technically under my control. But I didn’t want to pay another month of rent when we were buying a house and that money could be going toward all the house projects we had to complete at the new house.

So these are just a few of the things that had to happen before we moved:

We had to take the baseboard heating out. Now, it wasn’t functional — the previous owners had actually installed an HVAC system and registered heat. But the baseboards were still there. And they were ugly and non-functional. And, frankly, I consider them a tripping hazard for small children, which of course I have. So we had to get that out first so that we could schedule the carpet cleaning, the carpet replacement, the drywall patching, and eventually, so I could paint all the walls so they weren’t ugly beige everywhere.

Then we could actually schedule our move.

You know, the truck, the guys that come move all your big heavy things? Only, of course, we didn’t plan enough time. So by the time the movers did come, we didn’t have everything packed and tons of crap got left behind in our old house. So as I am writing this five days after our move, my husband is at our old house, rounding up the last haul of our stuff that didn’t make it onto the moving truck. So when I say it was stressful, that right there is pretty much what I mean.

So the carpet cleaning happened. We had an amazing carpet cleaner, like I would sing this guy’s praises. If you want to talk about building up know, like, and trust factor, he had it. We also had amazing movers. And I have never said that about movers in the past. We’ve had some decent ones, we’ve had some not-so-decent ones. But these movers were amazing. And again, I will recommend them to anyone who will listen to me.

So those two lessons alone — our carpet cleaner and our movers — have given me ideas on how I can add things into my own business.

For one, being really communicative. For two, having the ability to adjust. For example, the carpet cleaner, right? We had some pretty old carpet in this new house. We don’t want to replace it all because we’re gonna be remodeling the main area of the house in a couple years. And I figured, you know, I’ve got a three and a half year old who is not clean and tidy. So let’s just leave the old carpet there as long as we can. But you know, some stains, right? So we had him in. And while he was here, I found out we could not get the carpet replaced in the two bedrooms where we wanted it replaced before we moved in. So the carpet cleaners like, “Well, I don’t have time to clean those today because I didn’t schedule it. But I can come back tomorrow, if you like?” Totally willing to work with us. Such a nice guy. Really good conversationalist as well.

Reminds me that sometimes I have clients who maybe they have like a sales funnel they want built and then, “Oh, I didn’t realize I probably want you to do the emails, too.” I love writing emails for my clients. And they rarely think about it ahead of time. Even if I mention it, they’re like, “No, no, no, I can do that,” until all of a sudden push comes to shove and they’re like, “Hey, can you just write the sales and the abandoned cart sequence for me?” I love offering that service. Why would I not do that for my clients? The carpet cleaner situation reiterated and kind of reaffirmed that that is something I love doing for my clients when I have capability and, of course, the time to do it.

And then our movers, right? They were so good. They gave us a clear estimate of what it was going to be. Halfway through, I had to run to the bank to get the actual cash. And they’re like, “It’s probably going to be about this much.” We ended up exactly on target for what it was. Again, really respectful guys, totally hard workers. They talked as they moved, but they weren’t like wasting time as they talked. Just really lovely people.

I love offering that for my clients as well. And this is me putting myself out there here: I know I am not great at small talk. It’s not one of my skills. That’s right. But I know that that makes people feel comfortable. And I know that from my perspective as a client, I really enjoy it. So it really helps me remember, this is something that I should do, not just because it helps people feel comfortable, but it makes the overall experience more enjoyable.

Alright, so those are two lessons right there. Now let’s move on to the actual timing of said move here.

This whole like “just in time” thing. I know the whole world operates at this point. And that’s one of the big reasons we have such bad supply chain issues. Now, if you’re annoyed at the supply chain headlines, just take a hard look at your business and acknowledge there are probably ways you are operating as a “just in time” business and it could happen to you too. Yes, you’re not waiting on silicon to make the chips to make the computers to make the cars.

But a lot of small business owners market in this exact way. The Facebook post isn’t made until the day before the promotion because no one can make a decision on the promotion until the stock is received or until the offer is finalized. And then all of a sudden, you are launching something tomorrow. You haven’t written an email, you haven’t written your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, whatever posts. You haven’t put together the basic marketing strategy around it, so your marketing ends up being like, “Hey, here’s the thing. Buy it.” Instead of, “Hey, I know you have this problem. We can fix it like this. So you can alleviate whatever the problem is, so you can achieve your goal.”

That’s why you see marketing that creates more questions than answers: because it’s being done in that just in time format, it’s not actually solving problems for your audience. And that’s probably why a lot of marketing fails. Why course launches fail. Why new services don’t get shared with your audience in a way that makes them realize this is for me.

So understand, really large businesses — you know, the car manufacturers, right. You go in, you need a new car because your old one got totaled. And they’re like, “Yeah, so we want to sell you a car. But this car that you want isn’t available for the next four months.” They can just say that, and you take it at its face value, because you’re like, “Well, they can’t do anything about it. Of course they want to sell it to me.”

And large businesses can do that. When your Christmas present that you probably have an order right now doesn’t arrive till December 27. And you call irate to the Customer Service Center. These large businesses can hide behind a faceless customer service rep saying things like, “Sorry, we don’t know how your package didn’t get there in time.” But you cannot. If you don’t deliver to your clients, they know it’s you. And if you don’t plan on the marketing, the content plan for your next launch or promotion or even continuing service marketing for my service businesses, that is on you.

We are not large businesses that can hide behind, quote unquote supply chain issues. We cannot subscribe to “just in time” marketing. We have to make a plan. And we have to do it in a way that doesn’t tire us out and lead to huge burnout in our business. This is why my recent podcast episode and blog posts on decision fatigue struck such a major chord. Or maybe they, you know, banged a reverberating symbol. Because I am still a few weeks later getting messages about that content.

The reality is, taking two hours to plan now can save you weeks of anxiety over the next quarter. Examples, you can easily plan 30 weeks of content in two hours using my Show-Up System. Not a DIY’er? In my Visibility Accelerator program, I, one on one with you, create a 120-day content plan and content dashboard, which shows you which posts are so valuable that you want to be able to repurpose and reuse them later so you finally get off that content creation hamster wheel.

So instead of laying in bed at 11pm on Tuesday night, the day before your Wednesday move, the day before Thursday Thanksgiving, realizing you forgot to order the dang pie for Thanksgiving. Take a lesson for me, just in time is no way to run a small business.

So instead of that, here is what I propose: do a lofty yearly plan. And yes, I am going to acknowledge, I am recording this right at the end of Q4 and everyone else’s like, “Q4 is ending! 2022 is coming! Do your planning! Oh my gosh, everything’s changing!” And I am not saying it in that way. I’m saying on a little piece of paper, sketch out a lofty yearly plan. You can have like three lines on it. And that’s probably fine.

For service businesses, this may mean scheduling a quarterly planning schedule for yourself on your calendar so you can adjust for your client load, cash flow, capacity planning. For course creators, that is more likely to look like planning a launch schedule for next year. How many times do you want to launch? Is it three times? Is it four times? What’s the general month for those launches? Then backwards plan from those major dates. This is where you get a little bit more granular. What needs doing one month prior to this launch or to this service adjustment? What needs doing three months prior?

An example here, my client Patti is a book launch expert. And as I’ve been doing some work for her, I’ve learned a lot of her process and it’s been fascinating. She recommends six months to plan your book launch. Now you’re not promoting your launch the whole time, but you need the six months to plan and four months at a minimum for that. If you know that ahead of time, and you want to launch your book in June, you know that planning starts right now in December.

Then, in terms of content, you can start asking yourself the question, “What does my best client need to know before the service or course purchase can become an option for them?” What do they need to know so that they can actually connect the dots from where they are right now? To where they need to be as they purchase that service from you? Plan content around that for at least two months leading up.

Is this the end all? Is this like, everything you need to do? It’s not. But if this is all you do, you are ahead. If this is all you plan, yeah, you’ll still have to make some minor adjustments along the way. But the broad bones of your content and marketing will be set. You’re going to lose that “fly by the seat of your pants” feeling and move more toward a confident stance and, friends, that is everything. Whether it’s your next move, or your next three months of marketing to build up that know like, and trust, moving forward with confidence makes all the difference.

And I can tell you this, because 10 years ago, I moved from New York to Oregon, and I had the most organized, flawless move ever. In 300-something items that got put on some big ass truck, we only broke one thing. And it was a martini glass. And I still don’t miss it, so we’re fine. Everything was organized within a day of moving into our new house. We had our kitchen completely set up and within two days, our office completely set up. I think we had all the boxes gone within three weeks. That was so lovely. It was a move to learn from.

And I wish I had been smart enough to learn from that this way around. I wasn’t quite there. I was still working, my husband was sick, I was kind of sick, we had kid issues. And we’ve been kind of stressed buckets ever since.
So I’m going to reiterate what I said a little bit earlier. Take it from me, don’t run your business in a “just in time” format. Take these marketing lessons from my house move and move forward not just with confidence, but with less stress in the new year.

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