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High Touch Marketing

high touch marketing smallThere are two basic marketing strategies … what I call high touch and low touch. They complement each other.

High touch strategies involve direct, personal interaction with potential clients. Anything that gives them an immediate experience of you is a high touch strategy. You might give them this first-hand sense of who you are and what you have to offer by speaking to groups, doing radio and TV interviews, networking, conducting classes and demonstrations, or just sitting down with prospective clients over coffee.

Low touch strategies, by contrast, rely on indirect contact with people. These include everything from business cards, brochures, and websites to traditional advertising and signage. Twitter, Facebook, and blogging are somewhere between fully high touch and low touch.

Now, here’s a quiz question. Which brings in the business?

High touch strategies. While low touch methods alone might bring in some business on their own now and then, the low touch methods are ideally designed to play nothing more than a supporting role in any successful marketing effort. They help establish your presence and credibility, but what sells you is you.

So, what do you think happens when people rely almost solely on low touch strategies? They typically struggle. The arms-length approach usually isn’t sufficient to engage people to the point where they just have to hire you.

It’s so clear to me that there are different kinds of practitioners. Some people have no reservations about putting themselves out there and jumping head first into the high touch strategies. They’re typically the extraverts … the go-getter types.

Others find activities such as speaking and networking stressful and they would love, more than anything, to be able to just do some low touch marketing and have people beat a path to their door.

But here’s the thing. It doesn’t work like that. Sure, there are exceptions, but I’ll say it again, what sells you is you. As much as I know some of you would love to just do a great job of providing your service to people and never have to do any high touch marketing, I have to tell you that it’s just not a viable plan.

If you recognize that you don’t like to do high touch marketing, I see four potential choices.

  • Find a way to make it fun, doing something you’re comfortable doing!
  • Become an associate of an organization that does the selling for you and sends you the work … for a big cut and probably with a big say in how you do what you do.
  • Be satisfied with what you get from low touch strategies.
  • Find a place in life where you don’t have market yourself at all in order to be really successful. That would not be in private practice, I’m afraid.

Now, I am in no way disparaging people who don’t want to do high touch marketing. It’s a choice. My life partner, Tom, is an extremely accomplished presentation skills coach. I sit and watch, amazed, as he helps people transform who they’re being in front of an audience in just minutes. He’s as good as they come … and he doesn’t like to market himself.

In his case, he knew early on that rather than force himself to pick up the phone and make the connections he needed to make to build a business, he’d rather team with someone else who secured the work. And it’s worked out fantastically well for him. But it’s not as easy to find those situations as you might think, and, as you might guess, he does present himself and what he has to offer quite well to prospective partners!

So, while a partnership arrangement where someone does the marketing and you provide the service can work out, I just don’t want anyone to hang their hat on that approach or worse, think they’re just going to do some low touch marketing, sit back, and see what they get.

Of course, we think that most people can be very successful marketing themselves using high touch methods, and many people who were anxious at first come to really enjoy it. The key is to find something you’re comfortable doing, get good at it, and stick with it.

Best wishes,

Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!