Random Acts of Serendipitous Marketing: A Trip in the Time Machine

time machine

You know those folks you cross paths with online whom you instantly “feel” a connection? Like in a heartbeat?!

The people you can’t wait to network with, can’t wait to read their next blog post, can’t wait to find out more about, can’t wait to receive their newsletter, and can’t wait to meet in person?

Yeah, those people.

The truly priceless connections, kindred spirits, and solid bonds you form online; the email lists you actually want to be on!

Bet you’ve stumbled on more than a dozen of these fabulous keepers, serendipitously, along the internet highway.

You haven’t spoken one word to them (yet) but your intuition assures you they’re going to become long time cherished connections – forever friends and colleagues. You can feel it in your bones, from your head to your toes.

Stick with me and I’ll tell you what all this has to do with marketing.

Boarding the Time Machine to Travel Back a Decade

I’m a people person … period.

I love to exchange ideas, engage in lively conversations, lend inspiration and encouragement, share remarkable stories, problem solve, walk my talk, and nurture meaningful relationships.

So when I came online and started blogging (back in the dinosaur days), I had NO idea sharing other bloggers’ posts, virtual events, social media updates, book releases, dynamite freebies, product launches, etc., was a form of “marketing”.

Who knew?!

Yep. I was marketing my little heart out by showcasing the lovely gems I uncovered while mining the mighty blogosphere. I didn’t grasp it at the time, but I was hard and heavy into honing my online visibility skills.

One goal was clear: Bringing the little known and unknown bloggers (those magnificent hidden diamonds in the rough) to the forefront.

Singing praises is my ‘thing’.

Need a biz cheer leader? Looking for a trusty blog ambassador? Want to get the word out about your upcoming event? Count on me. I’m a whiz at tooting horns.

When I see good work, good writing, good branding, and good deeds, I can’t help but shift into sharing mode. It makes me giddy to put deserving, hard-working solopreneurs in the spotlight.

And you know what usually happens? They reciprocate. (Read that again and you’ll sense the magnitude and the ripple effect of sharing.)

I recommended and promoted people, products, events, and services for a long time before I realized I was, in fact, helping small business owners with their marketing efforts.

Let’s just call it “Serendipitous Marketing”.

I didn’t seek out anyone in particular during those early years or any specific type of business or blog. Where I landed was a pure and simple case of sheer happenstance and serendipity at play.

The Almighty Universe can take full credit for being my guide.

Today I’m in the company of a beautiful network of some of the coolest and most creative solopreneurs and biz bloggers on the net.

Ooh! I’m blessed.

Nothing Has Changed: Still Promoting the Underdogs

The trip in the time machine was a fun nostalgic adventure but let’s fast forward to the present time.

I’m still doing it – marketing serendipitously.

Oh, I have my “regulars” whose online visibility I won’t hesitate to boost. I’ll never leave them in the dust. They’re on my hit parade for keeps. Whatever they’re writing or marketing goes right to the top of my priority list for sharing.

However (and thank goodness), my sacred guide is still working to direct me to new connections all the time.

Throughout my uncanny (I-didn’t-know-I-was-marketing) journey, I gleaned a much tighter grip on what marketing is all about along with the added perk of understanding the kinds of people my soul is attracted to.

I like quirky people.

The black sheep. The wallflowers. The outcasts. The loners. The rejects. The eccentric. The broken. The lost and forgotten. The odd ducks.

And why not?!

I’ve got a few quirks of my own. <grin>

But I’m not too quirky or too proud to admit I was flexing and strengthening my marketing muscles long before I could even define marketing.

It’s Your Turn

Do you have a [marketing-before-you-knew-the-meaning-of-the-word] story to share? Plunk that tale in the comment box! Make my day. I would love to hear it.

Next step: Don’t let the party end. Head over to this month’s Mission: Storytelling word carnival to read more on “How I marketed before I even knew what marketing was”. (A.K.A. “Marketing without marketing”)

Image credit: Pixabay

  • Melanie that is awesome that you are still dedicated to promoting others. That is something we did a lot in the beginning to build trust and build relationships. Although we haven’t stuck to it, you have definitely motivated me to get back to that! 🙂

    • Know what’s really cool, Denisse? Many of the people I connected with all those years ago still stay in touch — via email, social media, Skype, and snail mail. Our friendship has never waned. It’s been wonderful witnessing their success stories as they unfold.

      Happy to hear you feel motivated to do more “connecting” online. If you’re a bit quirky like me, here’s a tip: Have some fun and don’t search in all the usual, standard, customary places (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) for new people to connect with. Head over to “About [dot] me”, click the “Discover” tab, and start by exploring the “Staff picks”. I know you and Yaritza are super busy so make your goal an easy one: Find one new person per week to connect with. In just three months time, you’ll have a dozen new connections! 🙂

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation.

  • Make sure you keep us posted Mel 🙂

    • Will do, Sandy! It’s bound to be an interesting and exciting journey. 😉

  • I love that your approach to marketing in this piece shows it as the human, relationship-based beast kitten that it really is. While it can still seem daunting to go out there (even online) and find the people that you connect with, it’s so worth the effort.

    For me, joining up with and keeping tabs on fellow entrepreneurs who I a) like as people and b) admire for their unique take on their work, has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my 2+ years as a true solopreneur. Connecting with other *people* is really what it’s all about. Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

    • The BIG Bingo goes to you! ” … it’s so worth it.” In more ways than one, Molly.

      It’s pretty exciting to think on any given day you face the possibility of meeting your next joint venture partner, a dynamo virtual assistant, a graphic designer, a marketing consultant, prospective clients and customers, guest bloggers, authors, artists … phew! The list of possibilities is endless. Maybe you’ll meet someone online tomorrow who shares your favorite hobby or a fellow pet lover or fellow movie buff. The time you devote to making new connections is “so worth it”. 🙂

      Thanks for catching my post!

  • So what you’re saying is that you were fabulous before you even knew you were fabulous! You are a sharing queen, Melanie, and I share your enthusiasm for promoting some less-known (non-celebrity, shall we say?) bloggers and business people. Everyone knows the usual suspects, right? How many times can you really retweet a Mashable post? But I love discovering people because they are the ones who care. And they are the ones who become your connections, friends, colleagues and general paparazzi 🙂 It’s a skill, because not everyone gets that. Not everyone understands the idea of give-to-get or even the idea of reciprocity. But for those who do, it’s a treasure… like you!

    • On a vast and barren dessert, Carol Lynn, you’re an oasis! Thanks for your kind remarks. 🙂

      I definitely share your sentiment …
      “I love discovering people because they are the ones who care.”

      The “big guns” are already getting more than enough coverage and attention online. A Tweet from you and me goes unnoticed and amounts to nothing more than a muffled sound amidst all the noise in their stream. No, scratch that. It’s more like “inaudible”.

      I’d rather share the work of someone who’s putting one foot in front of the other every day and climbing the learning curve with blistered and calloused hands. I will forever remain an advocate for the underdogs. 🙂

  • I used to have “Nick’s Picks” each week on my blog, I’d find cool stories from smallish bloggers and re-tweet them and do a rundown post each week.

    It was a lot of fun and I made some great connections (not the least of which was Scott Stratten of UnMarketing – I have a signed, “You’re not the Jackass Whisperer” poster framed on my wall).

    It’s a great way to market and the links you’ve showered in your post are all fantastic folks as well 😀

    I slowed down on doing the run-down posts, not because I didn’t like doing them – but because I honest-to-god ran out of time to keep the lights on and do that kind of outreach. I think I’ll get back to it someday soon 😀

    • “Outreach” — that’s the ticket, Nick!

      But as busy and booked up as you are, it’s a wonder you have time to go to the bathroom! Would be great to see “Nick’s Picks” back in action but I’m not aware the 30-hour day has been invented yet. LOL!

      A signed “You’re not the Jackass Whisperer” poster. How cool is that?! 🙂

      Muchas Gracias for the visit.

  • I can only echo what others here have said – you ARE super generous, and I know that you’re permanently cemented in my mind as an amazing person because of it. And, look at that, it’s paying off!

    I think a lot of marketing comes down to “be helpful”…and we’re way too prone to forgetting that for the “make more money” side of things. But you, I don’t think that will ever happen to 😉

    • Soaking in your beautiful commentary, Michelle — thanks!

      You’re spot on about the “be helpful” part. Answer questions, contribute valuable biz-building tips on social media channels, volunteer your time to mentor newbies, etc. Really. Simple. Stuff. 🙂

      I heard this saying many years ago and it’s remained firmly ingrained in my brain:
      “In life, you get what you give.” The same is true in business.

  • Oh my goodness, yes. I love this, Melanie. It’s why I always chuckle a little bit when people wrinkle their noses at the word “marketing.” What they really hate isn’t marketing – it’s the sleazy, pushy, outbound crap we’ve been conditioned to tolerate (barely). Marketing is whatever helps you tell your business’s story. Period.

    • Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed this piece, Annie.

      I want NO parts of this stuff …
      “sleazy, pushy, outbound crap” YUCK.

      Stories — the cornerstone of marketing. 🙂

  • Melanie…I love this post. I think this is truly one of my favs of yours! I cannot wait to share it :). One of the things I have truly learned about you…you are not selfish and the first to respond and say “Sure, I will share and support you”. It is magnetizing to see someone so giving and I applaud you for it. You are such an inspiration. I too have always liked supporting and sharing and I think there are sooo many that still don’t get the importance of it. I was with a client last night who does not understand her Instagram and only wants to see her stuff she posts…Gotta spend more time educating her…It just made me realize just how much more “sharing” is required…THANKS Melanie

    • Be patient with that client of yours, Michelle. She’ll “get” it eventually. As you know, a little TLC goes a long way. Just put on your “teaching cap” and lay a load of your wisdom in her lap! 😉

      A big bouquet of thanks for your kind remarks. You and I have our tents pitched in the same camp. 🙂

  • Well, darn, Melanie, I missed the boat for being your 1st comment. 😉

    Maybe being a middle child of 7 taught me to share (although sometimes it was my mother’s voice urging that response). 😉 I’ve always loved the idea of sharing information. It’s one of the reasons I was so saddened by the loss of LinkedIn’s Answers. It was marketing without the pitch. It was people helping people. I like that. I had more than one gig come from that connection. When you think about it, who would you rather do business with? Someone who TELLS you how great there are or someone who shows you through their actions?

    • The RSS must have been sleepy this morning, Cathy. Too much partying last night. LOL!

      LOVE your last point and you’re completely spot on!

      I miss LinkedIn’s “Answers”, too. Really a shame they let that feature go. I know Quora is the next best option but I don’t seem to venture over there very much. You know how it goes … too many social media channels, so little time. 😉

      • Ha-Ha -and I call myself a writer – that last line should read: Someone who TELLS you how great they are or someone who shows you through their actions?

        Ah, typos. The great equalizer. 😉

        • “Ah, typos. The great equalizer.” !!LOL!! I’ve taken that same flight many times, Cathy, and I didn’t even have to leave the ground. 😉

  • “No strings attached” generosity is your hallmark, Melanie. In my experience, giving and sharing always works out in your favor, even if it’s in a “pay it forward” kind of way. Help someone today, and when you most need it, help will come your way. Sounds like a schmaltzy song, but you know what I mean. 🙂

    • Doesn’t sound “schmaltzy” at all, Sharon — it sounds downright sensible. 🙂

      Gotta say …
      I’m a bit perplexed sometimes when I hear people say they struggle to make the right kinds of connections online. To be blunt, if you know how to connect with people in the “real” world, you can accomplish that same goal online. It’s a matter of putting your relationship-building skills to work, understanding a bit about human nature, practicing good manners, and believing that everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. And definitely focus on “paying it forward”! The rewards are immeasurable.

  • Your continued and unending generous ways have definitely built up a huge store of good karma for you, Mel. Whenever I think of you, that’s the first thing that comes to mind: generous. And you’ve proven that being generous (without expecting anything in return) is one of the best ways to “bloom” your audience. I predict it won’t be long before you’re kicking serious butt as a blog coach/consultant!

    • “… kicking serious butt” — I like the sound of that, Tea!!

      There’s a lot of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” type of exchanges online. However, they’re not always the kind of thing I like to see or would support. For example, I see testimonials on landing pages and sales pages that are as phony as a three-dollar bill (IMHO). They’re plumped up, if you will, and a little too flowery. What’s more, there’s an “expectation” attached.

      I don’t roll that way. I’ll stick with my own personal style of gathering a store of “good karma”. It’s called “no strings attached.” 🙂

      Many thanks for your vote of confidence on my upcoming blog coaching/consulting adventure. I’m excited to get this show on the road!

  • Ah Mel, the best, the most authentic and the most valuable form of marketing there is and your name for it is perfect, ‘Serendipity Marketing’. Advocating on behalf of others and having them return the favour.

    Not something you can conjure out of thin air though, while you make it sound effortless. For you cheerleader and highlighter of hidden gems, I imagine it is. But there is a lot of time and energy to be put into being a connector and supporter and advocate and I for one thank you greatly for the times you have advocated for me. It is a pleasure to return the favour.

    I hear that you are teaching blogging. Given your store of knowledge, there are some fortunate people out there who will benefit from what you know.

    • You’re 100% right, Sandy …

      “… there is a lot of time and energy to be put into being a connector and supporter and advocate”.

      I feel lucky to have a “leg up” or a “leading edge” because I was taught as a child that the meaning of life is “people connection”. It’s the biggest reason we’re all here. Although it made for a great television program years ago, we weren’t designed to be “The Lone Ranger”. 😉

      Thanks for the visit today and for your encouraging words! I’m looking forward to jumping into the realm of blog coaching. 🙂

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