But what about curiosity as an approach to marketing?
We’ve probably all heard marketing people say that we should try to write texts that spark curiosity. This is often cited as the best way to get people interested in our products and services and to get their attention long enough to read our marketing texts and website copy.
This idea came to me recently as I was thinking about how people feel in relation to marketing. I know that, in the past, I have procrastinated on my marketing. Not because I was lazy, but because I was very attached to the outcome. I wanted to control the result. And since I obviously couldn’t do this, my mind helped me out by creating a story about what was going to happen: “Nobody will read my letters. Nobody will be interested. I don’t have enough experience. Other people can do this job better than me. The statistical return is only 1–3% anyway. It’s a waste of time.” And once that negativity creeps in, it really isn’t easy to overcome. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who has ever felt like that.
Turn it around
What about trying a different approach? What if we were able to completely detach from the outcome and look at marketing from the point of view of curiosity? This is not easy, I know, especially when you need clients and you need the income.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Oh it’s all right for her. She already has plenty of clients. I, on the other hand, really need the clients and I really need the income.“ Okay, I hear you. But this is simply you attaching even more to an outcome over which you have no control—irrespective of how much you may feel you need or want to control it. And how exactly does that help you? All you are actually doing, in fact, is adding even more pointless emotional stress to a situation that is already difficult for you.
A change of focus
Now if you take the curiosity approach you could say to yourself, “Okay, I have never done this before, but I’m going to try sending out 100 letters to potential clients and see what happens.” This way you are detaching emotionally from the result and approaching the matter with interest and openness—positive rather than negative emotions, positive rather than negative energy. This will already feel like, and indeed be, a big step forward. What’s more, regardless of whether the marketing measure you choose first is successful or not, you will: a) be a step closer to learning what does and doesn’t work in your target market, and b) have some experience under your belt, which means that next time round the emotional hurdle won’t be so high.
Perhaps next time you’ll try heading to an event attended by your target clients or a trade fair for your industry. Or maybe you’ll look into participating in a workshop or an event aimed at your potential clients. No, I can’t tell you and you won’t be able to say in advance whether these options will be successful in terms of getting you those new clients you want and need, but you will, through curiosity and trial and error, be able to determine which marketing options are best suited to you and, if you run a survey or ask every new client who comes your way how they found you (which I highly recommend), then, over time, you will be able to ascertain which marketing methods are working best for your business.
Karen Rückert is a German>English legal translator specializing in commercial law. She has 14 years of experience in the translation industry, initially working in-house for a large commercial law firm in Germany before embarking on her freelance career in 2007. She is a publicly appointed and sworn translator for the English language for Baden-Württemberg, Germany. She writes the Translator Mentoring Blog (https://karenrueckert.wordpress.com), and her work has been featured in The ATA Chronicle. Contact: email@example.com.
“Business Practices” will alternate in this space with “The Entrepreneurial Linguist.” This column is not intended to constitute legal, financial, or other business advice. Each individual or company should make its own independent business decisions and consult its own legal, financial, or other advisors as appropriate. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of ATA or its Board of Directors.