Pulling Splinters: Marketing For the Long Game

February 16, 2021

by Eric Branner

Here's a true story about how I got over twenty students from a single experience.

I showed up for Gabe's guitar lesson on a summer afternoon. I could hear sobbing from coming within the house as I approached the front door. His mom opened the door and I could see the splinter in his foot from five feet away. It was a doozy! He'd snagged this massive splinter while jumping off a dock into Lake Washington. Lessons were canceled and they were headed to the ER... no one could get him to calm down enough to dig that sucker out. Somehow, I convinced him to let me cut that sliver out. (I think I said "My best friend is an ER doc... which is true) Thirty minutes later, I tweezed out the final remnants of that plank of treated lumber. As I did, Gabe sighed with relief and said "Branner, I love you and I'd be so sad if you ever died."

It was one of the sweetest guitar lessons of my career, and I never pulled my guitar out of the case. Gabe's got an MBA now, and we always laugh about that experience when we see each other. Almost immediately following the great sliver incident, my phone started ringing.... a lot. The story of the guitar teacher who averted a trip to the ER got around the neighborhood and the city quickly. This moment happened right around the time I raised my rates. My schedule was packed eight weeks later, and I averted the crisis of going back to school to get a law degree or an MBA. That was the marketing strategy. Asking a living wage and practicing compassion for the clients that I cared so deeply for. Natural, authentic, and honest.

What does the internet tell you about growing your business?

Google & Instagram Ads! Nextdoor, Thumbtack!

Spending money to advertise your business is sexy. Determine where your audience spends time, and leverage the correct tool to reach them and you'll be successful!

Reality? Most businesses do not win using this strategy.

Building a business is a long game. Trust the universe and your awesome nature friends!

If you’d like to join a cohort of creative business owners searching for opportunities within this moment, join our Fons Family FB Group. It’s a wonderful resource, and we welcome your voice to our conversation.

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