As my son says, “in days of yore,” pre-Internet, I had to market myself virally, though I didn’t know what that meant. I focused on doing great work for clients, speaking and writing wherever I could, and being provocative and contrarian. I also continually asked for referrals if they weren’t spontaneously forthcoming.
That’s because I was convinced I could help people and companies significantly, and I was doing them a favor by providing value—not imposing on them by trying to “sell” and take their money.
Many people would claim that viral marketing is easier than ever today with the electronic amplification that’s available. But I don’t think so. When EVERTHING IS AMPLIFIED, nothing is really amplified. And the focus on doing outstanding work is subordinated to making a lot of noise. (If you don’t believe that, you’ve never visited Facebook.)
Word-of-Mouth is the original “viral marketing” and it’s more important in its mint form than every before—peers talking to peers on an intimate basis extolling you and your results. To assume that’s going to be accomplished amidst the job-seeking hordes on Linkedin or the 140-character nanoseconds on Twitter is a fantasy.
Do great work and ask your clients to tell others, to introduce you to others, and to respond to others who inquire about you. If you’re not aggressively seeking referrals you’re leaving six figures on the table every year.
© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.