This is a guest post by Rebekah Mays, the owner of Thrive Copywriting. She helps sustainable and purpose-driven brands grow their leads and sales through SEO content strategy and writing. You can learn more about her and her growing community of conscientious marketers at www.thrivecopywriting.com.
If you’re a sucker for cheesy Christmas movies like I am, then you’re in luck.
Because Netflix’s Falling for Christmas with Lyndsay Lohan is not just a silly and lighthearted holiday distraction … it actually teaches the marketing lessons from the Simplest Marketing Plan!
(FYI, spoilers ahead!)
If you’ve seen the movie, then you may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about.
On the surface, the flick seems to be teaching viewers that Christmas magic – not marketing – is what saves the adorable North Star Lodge from closing down.
But a closer look shows that good ole’ Jake and Sierra actually use a combination of marketing tools to revive the failing business.
The very tools from the Simplest Marketing Plan!
Let’s take a look and see what we learn …
First, a quick setup for those who haven’t seen the movie.
Jake is the owner of a cozy little ski lodge in some unnamed winter wonderland.
He and his deceased wife inherited the lodge from her family. But now he’s trying to carry on the business without her … and it’s getting increasingly hard to pay the bills.
If things don’t turn around, he’ll have to shut down the business!
Jake tries a few things to save the lodge … which we’ll talk about in a minute.
But one day, while taking some guests on a sleigh ride, he comes across a skier (Lohan), who is unconscious and has lost her memory due to a skiing accident. Jake takes care of her while she’s trying to regain her memory.
Little does he know that her dad is the owner of a super ritzy ski resort nearby – a man he’s invited to invest in the lodge.
Jake and the skier (“Sierra”) fall in love. And of course, Sierra helps him save the business.
So what are those marketing lessons?
The first tool: targeted outreach
The first marketing tool that Jake uses is a form of “targeted outreach.”
Targeted outreach is another way of saying “warm email prospecting” or “cold calling.”
Only, Jake doesn’t call potential clients of the lodge. He’s calling up potential investors and pitching them a proposal.
He’s clearly desperate … but his tactics are actually pretty smooth!
He’s gone through a long list of investors, calling them up and meeting with them in person when he can.
He calls the last investor on his list (who happens to be Sierra’s dad) a total of twelve times, before showing up to his resort and asking for a five-minute conversation.
Investor guy challenges Jake to a ski match, and Jake narrowly loses. Afterwards, Jake makes his pitch to the investor, showing “what’s in it for him” and handing him his pitch packet.
The investor politely declines the proposal but wishes him well.
Oh, and one other important thing. The investor noticed that Jake secretly let him win the ski match and says he’s impressed. The seed has been planted!
Targeted outreach takeaways for freelancers
Targeted outreach is one of the best ways to let potential clients know that you’re ready to do business. After all, if prospects don’t know you exist, how can they work with you?
Like Jake, you can’t be afraid to call or email someone several times before you get a response.
Better yet, find ways to show up and actually meet the prospect you’re trying to land. Send them a package ... challenge them to a ski match … whatever!
If you want the prospect bad enough, do whatever it takes to get their attention.
And from my experience, the way the investor reacts in the movie is actually realistic. He says no, but he’s polite about it. More importantly, he admires Jake’s determination and class and will remember him later.
Take note, freelancers!
The second tool: High-quality content marketing
Now back to the movie. Jake is disheartened by the investor’s refusal and is worried more than ever that he’ll have to close the lodge.
But when Sierra comes into his life, she encourages him to try new things to save the lodge and keep it top of mind for all the past guests.
Enter marketing tool number two … content marketing!
Now, Jake could simply hire a freelancer to send out a newsletter or write a blog for him. That would be a more typical form of content marketing.
But they do something a little more advanced, because they’re a little desperate. They throw a Christmas Eve party for all the past guests of the North Star Lodge.
As part of this bonanza, they send out email invitations, make and hand out flyers, and roll out the holiday treats.
To their surprise, dozens of people come to the party … and start giving Jake money for all the past favors he’s done for them!
Jake and company have renewed hope that they’ll be able to save the lodge, so it’s safe to say their “content marketing” was a big success.
Content marketing takeaway for freelancers
While it’s a bit of a stretch that you throw a party (or publish a single blog) and have people just start throwing money at you without you even asking for it …
It is true that staying top of mind is key for bringing in business.
If you haven’t yet, it might be time to start trying out the different types of content marketing, such as email newsletters, blogs, and LinkedIn posts. The more you focus on solving your prospects’ problems, the more successful your content will be at bringing in new business.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also try more advanced forms of content marketing – like holding a webinar … or even throwing a holiday party for your prospects.
When you consistently show up and challenge yourself to show up in big ways, things start happening.
The third tool: Strategic networking
I’m saving this tool for last, because ultimately this is what saves the North Star Lodge.
This third tool is “strategic networking,” which is all about finding your best clients and prospects and approaching them with curiosity in real time.
It can also be simply schmoozing with people who you know have the potential to refer you to great new prospects.
Here’s how it plays out for Jake …
The donations from the holiday party were a big help, but Jake still needs new bookings to keep the lodge from closing down.
That’s when Sierra remembers who she is and returns to her fancy resort. During a press conference about her disappearance, she name drops the Lodge and says she highly recommends it.
Suddenly, the phone is ringing off the hook with new bookings!
Being a smart guy, Jake decides to chase after Sierra so he doesn’t lose her.
In the final scene, we find out that Sierra’s investor dad is so delighted that Jake helped his daughter, that he decides he’s going to invest in the lodge after all.
And everyone lives happily ever after!
Strategic networking takeaway for freelancers
Part of Jake’s “strategic” networking is definitely pure luck.
But I love that in the movie, Jake’s networking is just part of his life. He’s constantly helping his community, his guests, strangers, and yes, potential investors.
They all respond to his kindness and authenticity and want to help him in return.
In the end, he decides to chase after Sierra. This is obviously a romantic decision … but it ends up helping his business, too!
You can be even more strategic than Jake by seeking out events where your target prospects are hanging out. Another approach is to meet other service providers in your niche.
Like Jake, be generous and authentic with your network. The right people will respond to you and return the favor when they can.
For a bit of holiday magic, try the SMP’s tools
Whether your business is thriving or needs a little New Year’s boost, there’s no better time than now to start using these three marketing tools.
Marketing consistently is what will help you grow your business, and help you eliminate the “feast or famine” cycle.
Targeted outreach, content marketing, and strategic networking are all you need to get started. Just like in Falling for Christmas, the three tools work together really well.
Use them consistently, and you may just find yourself living your own happily ever after.
Get the brand new Simplest Marketing Plan here now.