"By the way, I think we'll start looking for a new web designer.
Do you by chance know someone?"
I was puzzled. As far as I knew, my customer had always been pretty satisfied about her services - and having frequently cooperated with her for my customer's projects, I couldn't possibly think of a way this focused and experienced lady might have screwed it up.
So I dared asking why. And the answer was plain and simple:
"It's not about her web design skills - but I don't trust her any longer."
One of the things I love about this customer is that he managed to achieve impressive business results whilst keeping it all nice and easy. He loves working with independent professionals rather than with big companies, and still values the old fashioned way of doing business - in-person meetings (chats over coffee included), occasional courtesy phone calls and the like.
A little bit of digging later, it turns out that the focused and experienced web design lady had started a massive online client hunt marketing herself as a SEO and social media expert.
Unfortunately, she accidentally sent one of her marketing emails to our common customer as well. As a result, he immediately recalled asking her about an online advertising campaign a few monts earlier - and that she did not accept the job because she "didn't know much about it."
Maybe the web design lady needed to find more clients and decided to go the easy way - we all know SEO and social media sell. Or maybe following that infamous inquiry she decided it was time to take on a new challenge and started investing time and efforts in a new area of business.
Still, you can't become an expert in a handful of weeks - and her accidental email turned out to be a huge marketing fail.
Accidents like this happen every day. Social media experts and self-proclaimed marketing gurus have flourished in all industries (mostly overnight), thus creating a smelly grey ocean of so-called sales wizards which are just riding the wave rather than offering value.
Some customers, however, are wiser than that.
Marketing pill no. 50
When I started the Marketing Pills series in 2012, I could not envision being here, 3 years and 49 articles later, writing yet another article about running and promoting a freelance business.
Things were kind of different back then - online resources for solopreneurs were scarcer, and they usually focused on the marketing side of freelancing rather than on business concepts at large. Now the internet burst with hints and tips for independent professionals, and more and more great freelancers from all industries have grown the confidence to write about these tricky topics.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy contributing my little drops to this mare magnum - and I'm grateful for all the feedback and food for thought received, for the intriguing conversations over Skype or at conference lunch breaks, and for your willingness to come back and check out The Alchemist's Lair every now and then.