Wild Field Crickets

Wild Field Crickets in Their Natural Habitat

Good Luck Charm?

Behold the the wild field cricket, an insect related to the grasshopper, whose males emit a rhythmic chirping sound.

These field crickets’ games occur on grass playing fields, and while limited to 2 innings, often go on for days at a time.

Clearly these are not the common house crickets (as pictured below on a flower) who vacation here in Los Angeles from late summer through early winter.

A few of the bravest vagabond house crickets like to sneak inside at night, attracted by my night’ owl’s lamplight, through some magic crevices that must have to do with the 1940’s less-than-airtight architecture in my neighborhood.

Tourist Crickets like Los Angeles

A Tourist Cricket’s Vacay Selfie 

Less nimble than I expect, house crickets are surprisingly easy to capture under an upturned glass I keep especially for just such repatriation moments.

I take them outside, explaining yet again that they will be happier there, like their parents before them, and can get a leafy snack when they’re done singing or squawking for the night.

These feisty crickets argue with me that they are only messengers. Quoting one Animal Spirit Totem website, they chirp that crickets are a “sign of extreme good luck. All the things that you have been working toward and dreaming about are now possible. Stay open to guidance and cosmic messages and you will know exactly what you have to do. All things are possible right now – all you have to do is feel that you deserve it!” If this is true, I must be in for a passel of good luck soon!

 …or Marketer’s Nightmare?

But wait.

There is an all too common refrain when excited marketers work themselves ragged to launch their brand new online campaign or course and their worst fear happens: “I launched, and then… crickets. Aargh.”

For marketers, “crickets” are bad luck. The word is code for “no sales, no inquiries, no response and deadly silence from the marketplace.” We never think it will happen to us, and take it very personally if it does. We feel bewildered and blindsided. How could this happen?

You Diarist Frolicking in Impatiens

Your Diarist Frolicking in Impatiens

There is one culprit we fall prey to more than any other. Impatience. And I don’t mean  “Impatiens,” the colorful garden flower. Keep these three things in mind to counteract impatience.

(1) Your gut may be lying to you. We marketers are wired to trust our gut. This is both good and bad. Good for generating novel ideas quickly and creatively. Bad for having no discipline for those devilish details. We rush around producing a new product or offer without corroborating evidence the marketplace will want it.

The antidote? Take a methodical page from tech companies. They learned early that they really must beta test  products to have a prayer that complex and expensive-to-debug products are ready for their public. I enrolled “beta readers” for my book, even before it went to my editor, and they helped reveal at least two major blind spots I couldn’t see on my own.

(2) Double the time you think it will take to develop anything. Marketers tend to be eternal optimists. Many of us are not natively wired for slow and steady either. We are inspired and excited to launch our hot new idea now! The marketplace needs what we have now! We have to beat the competition and be first to market now!

The antidote? Retrain your gut to accept outside input. One powerful tool is one-to-one interviews with people who fit your audience demographics. Ask open-ended questions. LISTEN without attempting to direct or control their answers or opinions. I’m doing this for the course I’ll be launching. What I am learning is saving me from making several costly mistakes. My original launch date has been delayed, but now I am gaining a much better understanding of what is—and is not—needed and wanted, for a much better-prepared launch. Just say no to a premature launch date based on “best case” over-optimism or goading by those who urge what I call speed-launching. It not only protects against the “crickets” of marketplace rejection, but protects against costly errors that rushing often invites.

(3) Marketers are facing declining response rates. As promotional services and fancy saturation techniques multiply, the sheer volume of emails, social media posts, and opt-in campaigns is going off the charts, Have you noticed that every link you click nowadays takes you to a site with an opt-in gateway that immediately pops into view? (Yes, my site has some, too.) My publisher and I were chatting about it this week: it’s increasingly challenging to build email lists no matter how “free” your offer is.

The antidote? Bite the bullet and commit to serious, structured list development. (A) Post content on social media consistently. You can no longer afford erratic, infrequent posting patterns. If you are fortunate enough to get first visits to your social media pages or blog, and people see that your most recent post was months ago or worse, they will naturally assume you have abandoned it (or even closed your business!) and say bye bye, never to return. (B) Test paid media with defined demographics to jumpstart or expand your social media following or email list. Vet any such program carefully. Those offered directly by Facebook,Twitter, etc. are worth testing, with their detailed demographic filters. Be careful to select only services that protect against illegitimate spammy followers who would compromise the quality of your list or your account status.

Let’s make our own good fortune with these simple yet powerful antidotes of due diligence. Perhaps then a chorus of wild and melodic lucky crickets will scamper across our path.

— Cheers, Diane

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