And we mean that in the purest sense: be the exception. The rarity. The weird one.
“Playing it safe” and “playing by the rules” might get you new business now and then, but it’s a matter of luck and brute persistence — you put your marketing in front of a few hundred prospects and maybe get a dozen bites. It’s luck and it’s numbers. It doesn’t mean you’re doing something right.
The problem is that in marketing, as in operations, most smaller businesses are tempted to follow the “best practices” of the big ones. The result is a lot of copycat websites and marketing video. (Picture a room full of suitors, each wearing almost the same thing and saying almost the same things. Of the fifty of them, maybe three will be short listed for further consideration. But the guy in the corner wearing a feather boa and saying nothing at all? He’s short listed automatically, just for being intriguing. He makes the others look trite by comparison.)
It’s the same in trying to attract business: you have to be willing to stand out. Be willing to alienate a few prospects, or you’ll get interest from almost none of them.
That’s phase one. Once you’ve got a prospect drawn in, you should switch to phase two: toning down the weirdness and demonstrating your competence. This assures the client that you aren’t all gimmicks and clever marketing, you can actually do the job. And that’s how you turn plain curiosity into new business.