Two summers ago, we moved onto two acres of property, much of it being grass. Push mowers did not seem adequate for our mowing needs so my wife and I began thinking of alternatives. Believing ourselves crafty and smart, we opted for the next best thing - an herbivore. We went with a goat and felt so confident the goat we purchased was going to be a part of our grass solution, we named the goat “John Deere.”
Two things quickly became evident with this move.
First, John Deere does not like grass or weeds. At all. Sigh. BIG sigh.
Second, it is a huge mistake thinking you can have just ONE goat. Goats are highly social animals and need the company of other warm blooded creatures. Goats make great company for each other, but if no other goats are around, people will do. I say this because the moment we brought John Deere home, he immediately bonded with us. When we left him alone in the barn, the sound that came from that little goat sounded like someone being murdered. It was heart wrenching. That week resulted in me having about a 20 foot radius of free moving space around this goat. My wife and I actually spent the first weekend camped out on cots and sleeping bags in the barn with John Deere, happily curled up with us as he slept.
It was a very unproductive week.
The rest, as they say, was history. We now have five goats. Not because we needed five goats. It is just that our goats have needs. Five seems to be the number that makes a well rounded, functioning herd, on the small scale of course. Due to us reaching “herd” status with five goats, I have been affectionately branded as a goat herder.
But one thing I have learned despite my new given title - you cannot herd goats.
You cannot herd goats
Herd animals such as sheep or cows are herded by driving them in the direction you want. Ranchers team up and get behind and alongside the herd, and through movement and sound, drive them in whatever direction needed. It is important to note that the herd does not follow the ranchers, they are driven.
Attempting to “drive” goats from behind only results in them scattering everywhere. For some reason, they lose their herd mentality and when chased from behind, scatter every which way but loose. They will eventually regroup, but in a location of their choosing, not yours. Yet the need to get the goats to go from point A to B remains, so there must be an alternative.
It really comes down to realizing any attempt to “herd” your goats is in reality, a request on your part. You will be most successful, if you are either holding something they want (food), or they have become bored with their current location and you are standing in a place that seems more interesting to them. Hopefully with one of those tactics working for you, along with you calling out “goats!”, you can get them to go where you need them to go by leading them. If that does not work, you are left with walking over and picking up the leader and taking him with you. The others will usually follow...most of the time.
You should not herd people
If you have read a few of my other blogs, you know the topic will tie into my business. Not breaking stride, let me say that there is a close comparison to be made between goat herding and email marketing. Email marketing campaigns of all types should be designed to lead the audience where you would like them to go. Marketing emails that attempt to “push” the recipient towards a sale, products, services or events often achieve the same result as when you tried herding the goats. Your intended audience will likely scatter as well and not go in the direction you want them to go.
Pushy campaigns tout things such as:
There are two problems with this approach. First, most people have been around long enough to know that most likely, there will be another opportunity, and the product or service will be available in the future. The second issue is these types of marketing tactics focus on the sale rather than the individual. It is all about the sale.
When you use that same tactic of leading your audience like you used on the goats, you are making yourself attractive and interesting enough to get people to come to you. There is a value in the message you are sending to your audience. When it is combined with the right content, design and media, your message becomes about the person you send it to.
I specialize in email marketing that enjoys better than industry average response rates. That means a higher percentage of the recipients open the message and more important, a higher percentage show interest in the email by clicking on an item in the message. They went where we wanted them to go.
Are you thinking about how email marketing can work for you or your organization? Contact me and let me know. I would be happy to discuss it with you.
I am a website designer with calloused hands.