Be the fractal you wish to see in the world

Fractal: any of various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given or larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size. - Merriam Webster.

When you look at your organization, does your process or product or output reflect your own internal systems or processes?

A fractal is a self repeating pattern, a pattern that recurs whether you are viewing the object at the macro or microscopic level.

I had a realization some months ago that if I wanted my clients to believe in the systems and processes we created for them, those systems and processes needed to be reflected in my own business. Then I read adrienne maree brown’s book Emergent Strategy where talks about organizations as fractals.

And this is how the work truly began. I needed to practice what I preached and as a marketer, there was no where to hide.

To espouse the value of content, I needed to be creating my own content. To keep my clients accountable to their goals, I needed to set, revisit and take consistent action to achieve my own goals.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy or that I saw overnight results. That’s simply not the kind of business I am building and it’s not the kind of business I help my clients to build.

See the connection? Fractals.

I’ve come to realize the value of slow, incremental, gentle change. I write a blog post every day. Not only because of SEO or to build a following or to generate leads, but because the creative process itself is so generative.

Because writing helps me organize my thoughts. Because daily practices help to ground me, to bring me clarity. I can then bring this clarity to the work I do with my clients.

Knowledge is free, time costs extra

In modern marketing, there’s a saying that you should give away your knowledge, but never give away your time.

I encourage all of my clients to publicize their process to potential clients. This means creating service packages and a pricing structure that is clear, honest and transparent with pricing to match and making this information as accessible as possible on their websites.

I also encourage my clients to create helpful, free content based on their audience’s needs.

‘But if I put my process out there, won’t others just copy it?’

‘If I share what I know for free, why would anyone want to buy from me?

Both valid questions. Copycats and lurkers abound online.

And if your process is the sum total of your competitive advantage or if your grasp of theory and concepts is your core competency, you do have something to worry about.

But I suspect you have more to offer than that. Your competitive advantage is your unique world view, the sum of your experiences, the way you show up for your clients, the energy you bring to create great work.

“Do not covet your ideas. Give away everything you know and more will come back to you” - Dan Arden, It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.

Failure to launch

If you’ve run an online marketing campaign before you probably know the feeling. That fullness with anticipation at the thought of legions of new fans halfway across the world. Untapped audiences who never knew they needed your wisdom and skills until you popped up in their newsfeeds.

A few days later, you’re hit with a different kind of feeling. Overwhelm, as you realize just how many moving parts need wrangling. How every tiny element - headlines, calls to action, images, video, email subject lines, emojis, hashtags - in your sequence is a variable and every variable requires testing to get right.

Say for example you want to run a webinar to launch a new workshop you have created. Over the years, you’ve built up an email list of about 1000 contacts and have about 400 Facebook fans.

Historically, you have shared content with your audience in fits and starts. You may have even tried a Facebook ad campaign once before and seen lacklustre results. But for your webinar campaign, you are pulling out all the stops. You have a Facebook ad running, a beautiful landing page, an email sequence encouraging registrants to show up live and are sharing content about your webinar on all channels.

Yet, on the big day, only five people show up live to watch your webinar - a far cry from the 250 you were aiming for. You hope more people will catch the replay yet only a handful even open your follow-up email. You make no sales on your workshop and wonder how it all went so wrong.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why even bother with marketing campaigns at all? After all, you get most of your clients through word of mouth.

The thing is, while you’re focusing on what a failure your first campaign was, you’re missing a ton of learning, a ton of new information about who your audience is. You also just created more content via your webinar you can share with a more engaged audience.

This is not the time to quit. It’s the time to commit to working on every little piece of that campaign until you get the results you want. And getting it right doesn’t mean following all of the advice out there about how to write great headlines, how to use video in your ads, how to get more people to click your links.

It means getting it right for your particular audience, communicating with them about their particular needs where they have a tendency to be. Every headline, every caption, every image, every call to action until it’s spot on.

Lurkers

There will always be lurkers. Those who subscribe to your email list or download your free guide who won’t buy from you. They will return to your site again and again and never pay you a penny.

Why are we so afraid of the lurkers? We look to them as evidence that creating and sharing our insights is a pointless exercise. That we’re giving away our expertise. Yet, in one form or another, we’re all lurkers to someone.

How many emails do you read from that expert before you buy? The truth is you probably never will. Why? Maybe their prices are too high. Or maybe, everything they tell you, you already know.

Maybe, you’re not the person they’re trying to sell to.

When thinking about whether to share your knowledge, to whom and where, instead of thinking of it in terms of growing your customer base, think of it as growing a movement.

So why might the lurkers eventually buy? Because they trust you. Because they somehow feel like they already know you. Because the movement you have created around your service is impossible to ignore.