When you take the person in the middle out the way you have freedom.
The goal for you isn’t about more followers, more visits or more page views, it is about taking out the thing that stands between you and someone else.
Having no middle man means you can still meet someone in the middle.
This article is about addressing your audience and it becomes more fun when someone else isn’t in the way. It is all about a free flow of information when you build and you address someone directly.
When I say middleman this could be a search engine deciding if you are worthy to be found, LinkedIn granting you admission to connect with someone, another website inviting you to write for them so more people can read what you think, or a publisher selling you the benefits to advertise in their magazine so you can be seen by others in a particular marketplace.
When you take out the person in the middle, things flow better.
When you become too dependent on someone else, you start to become too comfortable. When you build something that is yours and accumulates an addressable audience, this puts you in a place of strength. There is no wall, no hurdle.
A Big Wide World Example
In a recent Marketing Week article (thanks for the nod to this Ryan Haynes), Dr.Martens shared how they are marketing directly to others. The article is all about being continually connected. From in-store gigs, tattooists come in to personalise shoes, as well as bringing barbers in store, it’s all about people buying in and a brand being there.
Dr.Martens chief product and marketing officer, Darren Campbell said, “Consumers will call brands out of they think they are driving them to a social platform just to transact. The days of brands telling consumers what the brand wants to tell has changed.”
It’s not just about the transaction, but where a flow of communication is continual.
What the Dr.Martens example represents is putting people in front of you so you can address them directly, without a stranger holding your hand and telling you when you can speak. We are now in an age where you can control and build the conversation and the days of having permission via others to transmit and distribute puts them to the side.
My Own Challenge
On a personal side, my biggest challenge and goal is how to take the online ticketing tool out the way for the You Are The Media events. I use Eventbrite as the. booking system and I am well aware of other options out there. If I can take the ticketing system out the equation, I take the middleman out the way.
As people book for the You Are The Media Conference and Lunch Clubs, I know it is tough as everything is so easy, even if Eventbrite get their cut. However, companies who are booking more than one place, the walls are starting to come down when there is a conversation/email first and an invoice from my side to someone else.
Even people who want a helping hand, they are approaching directly, rather than the first port of call being Eventbrite. By helping hand, I mean spreading the cost over a couple of months. This is where everything becomes personal and a level of understanding, rather than everything being dictated by the percentage taken by someone else.
All the middleman want is their side of the bargain and squeeze whatever they need from your guts and soul, so they take the reward for your effort.
There has to be a way to take out the dependency on those who grant you access, in order to have a direct relationship with someone else.
When you take out the middle man you can sit at the centre of someone’s world.
Something To Share With You
Here is something that I have recently tried, that provides food thought.
It is based around building the audience first and then making something special. When it comes to booking, I took out the man in the middle. I made something invite only.
Australian author, speaker, and all-round marketing impresario person, Trevor Young is heading over to the UK this week (week commencing 7th January). Trevor is someone who I have known since 2013. I really enjoyed his book microDomination and now has his new book Content Marketing for PR out this year. He has always been there for support, a regular voice on the You Are The Media Podcast and one of the first people I went to for the Talking Content Marketing project from 2013 to 2017.
With Trevor heading over to the UK, he is staying in Bournemouth for a couple of nights. This provided the opportunity to invite those people who are very much part of the You Are The Media for a lunch and spend some time together.
These are people who are part of the community, have some form of involvement and have participated at various levels. 95% of people I asked accepted. It was not made public, it wasn’t promoted on social media, it was made for those people who are very much part of the community. Everything was controlled via an email or phone call to someone else and there was already that sense of familiarity. It became easy to ask and people said ‘yes.’
By not having someone else as a mediator, means that once you have built a connection, you unite those people you wish to serve. In this instance, Trevor is someone who agreed to stay in Bournemouth, so we get to spend time together (uniting two people) and the wider You Are The Media audience gets to spend time together, at the start of the year (uniting many people).
There was no middle man to bring people together, no Linkedin group post, no Facebook ad. If enough people care, you don’t need a go-between.
So, it made me think. How can you do something and take out the need of an intermediary? Here are some areas to consider. It all comes down to familiarity and trust.
– Get people to know what you are about. People need somewhere to start, if your offering sounds like the same as everyone else, then it becomes more difficult to make that commitment.
– Get people to trust you and not present a hidden agenda. If someone signs up by giving you their email, they have effectively opened up to trust you, why ruin it by selling to them in the quickest way possible?
– Show up with your message. The tradeoff from spending money on advertising and borrowing from someone else’s space is the investment of time by showing up time and time again in a place you build ie. email
– People finding you is not just about SEO. When someone becomes familiar with what you stand for and your angle of approach, they search for you, not a generic title.
– Build an audience to a size where you can address people directly. The more people who come on board, the more fun it gets. More people in a conversation means more ideas and a pulse.
– Create something people want to be a part of and not feel like a stranger. There is nothing worse than an initiative starting and then winding down before things take off. The energy invested from you and others takes time to grow.
– Become a part of someone’s monthly calendar. When you own a particular time of the month where you show up ie. audio, text, video, you become someone else’s rhythm. It becomes something expected and where you are accepted.
Let’s Round Up
When you allow others to direct your message to others, you have given up. You are at the beck and call of what someone else dictates.
The way that you can take someone out of the equation is when there is approval, familiarity and then recognition. When you are close to an audience, you don’t always need someone else to push your message out for a wider reach.
It all comes down to owning the conversation. The person who does is the one who wins, not someone else always on the lookout to take a cut.
Small businesses can punch above their weight, it all comes to down to the impact they make on others, the people they serve and the communication on your terms, not someone else’s.