The Easy Ask: How to Ask Colleagues to Support your Marketing Efforts (without driving them bonkers in the process)

We pour our hearts, time and efforts into our offerings, and then we put our idea out in the world, executing our very best marketing plan, using all of the tips that we have learned from: coaches, webinars, blogs, groups, colleagues, conferences. And then, with fingers and toes crossed, we hope that our creative idea takes flight.

Part of a solid and wise marketing plan includes asking trusted and respected colleagues to share on their social media. Note the word trusted and respected.

Here are some tips for this part of the marketing plan that I call, "The Easy Ask Tool".

When asking colleagues to share about your offerings, make it as easy as possible for the person/people/organization to do so. Here are some guidelines to help:

1. Keep the ask simple: I have had colleagues whom I adore send me a long, long loooooong email, or incredibly long group PM, or the dreaded group text that goes in to all the many steps, rules and so forth that I must follow in order to share their offering. Please do not do this.

A tried and true marketing rule is to use the KISS method: Keep It Simple Sweetheart (I like my version of sweetheart better than stupid). If your colleague opens up your email and sees a long page of text stretching out before them with several steps, rules and requests...well, chances are no matter how much they adore you, this is going to be deleted, or saved and forgotten about.

2. Do not group text or group PM: If you are texting or PM-ing for the love of all things social media, please keep in mind that most folks don't really enjoy the group text or PMs. Yes, we can leave a conversation on Facebook, or mute the conversation if in a text, but if your group of colleagues are 25 or less, then take the extra 4-5 minutes to copy and paste to each person, rather than putting the burden of leaving the convo on the person/people you are asking. You don't want to annoy your colleague right off the bat! If there are over 25, then simply send an email (and BCC your colleagues).

3. Your colleagues are busy: Not many of us have time to sift through a file of drop box images, to match this link with that photo, or fill out this or that form, or only post on Sunday, Tuesday and every other Friday, but not at 2 PM, or only between 4-6 PM, or follow a zillion rules when trying to support you.

If you are going to reach out and ask that your colleagues share your latest and greatest, make it as easy as pie for them to share about your event, product or offering.

Here is how to do that:

1. Keep your email friendly, professional and SHORT: Do not go on and on and on and on and...well you get it.

2. Provide them with a brief 4-5 sentence paragraph or blurb (at most!) that they can easily cut and paste into their social media, email list or blog, and then include an image or website link. Accompanied by a simple and polite request that might sound like this:

"Hi Mari,

I hope you are well. Would you be willing to share my xyz on your FB page sometime this week? If so, thank you very much. Here is what I would like you to share if you are open to doing so this week: (link/short blurb). If you would like to add your own thoughts about my work, I'd sure appreciate it (note: this way your colleague can add some nice adjectives about you). And Mari, if you have something I might be able to share for you, please send me the link and blurb you'd like me to post/email/etc."

Thank you for your consideration and support.

Person asking"

5. If the colleague that you asked did not respond, or they choose (for whatever reason not to share), do not pester and pester. And do not personalize. They may be having a busy week, or they are sick, or they forgot. Ask once in your email, follow up a week later at most, and then leave it alone.

6. Do not over saturate your colleagues. Either send an email request, or a PM, or a quick text. But no need to do all three in a row. And FYI, almost every clinician I have polled on this topic has shared they like the request to arrive in an email if you want them to email their list about your offering, or an individual Facebook message if you want them to share on Facebook.

7. Do not piggy back your marketing link or information on to their marketing. This is one of the top complaints that I hear about from my coaching clients. For example, if you see your colleague posting in a therapy group about their couples webinar, that is not the time to then post in their thread or comment section and list your information about your couples group (unless invited to do so, or tagged by the colleague posting). Really bad form, and it's not a good look for you.

8. If you see that they have posted on their own business FB page, or paid for their own Facebook ad, do NOT add your own stuff on to their post (unless they tag you and ask you to do so). We have all seen this while scrolling through our news feed; we read an ad or an article on about a fabulous new product for your pet poodle, and sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, in the comment section, some annoying person has added a link for their own competing product on the person's paid ad or article.

9. Please do not go to your colleague's blog and add your link in the comment section (again, unless invited to do so). If your colleague has worked hard on their blog, simply offer a comment of need to then add your own website link to draw others off of the page. This falls into the uncool category. We all know this by now, correct? When people attempt to do that on my blogs, I delete their comment. Better to ask your colleague or blogger if they will share your information. Most people are pretty cool if you ask first and respect boundaries. In fact, they may even ask you to guest blog.

What's the Magic Word? No, not cupcake.

The second part of the easy ask is to say thank you and then offer to reciprocate. I can't begin to tell you how important this step is, but one that seems to be forgotten the most.

For example, I have about a dozen colleagues ask me a month to share their offerings, and as long as I am not over saturating my own list or social media following, I am very happy to do so.

However, I will not do it again if the colleague does not a) Thank me, or b) Reciprocate.

Which brings us in to Part II of the easy ask tool:

1. Thanking the colleague both on the actual post in the comment section ("Thanks for sharing Mari, really excited for my workshop/webinar/retreat/etc") - this is a nice way for those who may be reading the link on your colleagues page to "hear" your voice on the thread and connect.

2. Send the colleague a quick PM if they go above and beyond and have said some really nice things ("Just wanted to send a sincere thank you for sharing about my xyz. I really appreciate you and am grateful for your support").

3. Share something that they are doing on your own social media or with your list. Maybe that is about their counseling, consulting, teaching or coaching niche. Maybe it is a blog you especially like, or maybe an upcoming event. Or keep your eyes out for a future offering that you can share. Ask them what you can do for them. And then, follow through.

I think if we can begin to adopt and use the "Easy Ask" tool, we will save ourselves (and our colleagues) a lot of steps and frustration.

Marketing Golden Rule

Recently I polled several therapists asking how they like to receive marketing requests from their colleagues. Across the board every single therapist shared that they prefer email with a prepared blurb and link, only followed up by a Facebook NON group message. Their least favorite method was an expectation that they were to follow particular rules around posting or going to a drop box for images, or several steps. They all shared the same thing, "make it easy for me to share your information, and keep it simple and short."

It's a big marketing world out there my peeps, and there will be all kinds of information that swirls and twirls around you (including this marketing tool). Your job is to decide what works best for you and give it a try.

Golden Rule Tip: Know your audience and treat them the way you would like to be treated. Remember, if the people you are asking to share your offerings are therapist colleagues, is the person/coach/consultant who is teaching you to ask or market to your colleagues a therapist? Why is this important? Because clinicians have their own unique way of looking at people/places and things. Inundating colleagues with the latest marketing gimmick doesn't always work so well.

So, let's keep it simple sweethearts. Be authentic, be kind, thank the colleague, and offer to reciprocate, and respect their boundaries and spaces (blogs, social media, shared therapy groups).

Finally, if you are feeling pouty or resentful because colleagues do not share your work, or feeling envious, then chin up butter cup! Sometimes in our busy bee worlds others may not realize you are hoping that colleagues will notice and share. Often you will need to reach out and ask for support.

And when your colleagues do support you, don't forget the most important part of the tool: Thanking and reciprocating!

Kindly and in support,