Adventures of the unknown

What the heck was I thinking??

This was my idea: a unique birthday present for my husband that he would love. So now here I am, strapped into an open-cockpit Waco Biplane built in 1940. 1940!! That’s pretty much 80 years ago! How can something built 80 years ago take off into the air and fly around at 1500 feet, then come back down and land safely? With upper and lower wings held together with what looks like bamboo and zip ties?

I feel so vulnerable. I didn’t have a great sleep last night because my imagination decided to kick in from 2 to 5am whilst thinking about today’s activity. I sure hope the pilot has had a good sleep, because everything rides on his alertness, knowledge, confidence and skill of this mere 23-foot aircraft.

My husband Sean right beside me is in his glory. “Listen to that motor!!!… Hon don’t you love the fact that this plane was leaking oil all over the pavement just like Harley’s do??” Me: “Ya no, Yikes!!”

On top of that, right before we get strapped in, Hubby says to the pilot, “Hey we have strong stomaches and we are up for anything. If you wanna be a hot dog pilot and have some fun… go ahead ok??”. Pilot gives a big smile, “Ok, we’ll have some fun up there.” My stomach does a series flip flops and we haven’t even gotten into the plane yet.

We are sitting at the front of the plane and the pilot is behind us, but there is no communication with him because there isn’t exactly leading edge technology on this ride, at least none visible. We’re completely at his mercy and God’s. I did quite a bit of praying last night while awake, but I say another quick prayer now.

We turn onto the runway and the engine picks up RPM. It’s our turn. The insides of my hands are sweaty, clutching the bar in front of me while my knuckles are cold and white. My heart picks up and adrenaline kicks in. I brace myself and force myself to breathe. We taxi down the runway and prepare to take to the air.

But something happens when we lift off.

It seems like the worries of the world, safety, gravity and all other concerns are lifted and are carried away with the wind. As we part from the ground and start putting vertical distance between ourselves and the earth, my perspective shifts and I laugh with joy.

landscape from above

Marketing your product or service in today’s landscape

Our thrilling adventure and having to trust in our young biplane pilot reminds me of the business owner and online marketing. You need a website. There are multiple social networks to navigate. There are many moving parts including SEO, blog posts, email newsletters, mobile, e-commerce and more.

Because you are skilled in YOUR niche of business and not necessarily in web design or online marketing, you need to find one or more trusted guides to help you achieve your goals.

How can you find the right fit to pilot your digital marketing?

1. Ask your colleagues for recommendations. Referral is still the best known way of finding a suitable candidate for the job. You can find out the nitty gritty details of your colleague’s experience and ask key questions. What are the top 3 or 4 qualities that you are looking for? Be sure to query your network with these conditions in mind, whether they be turnaround time, level of communication, attention to detail, price or other variables.

2. Check online reviews. Does the company have a BBB profile? What are their Google and/or Facebook reviews? If they have received a negative review, do they respond to it and how?

3. Read testimonials. What types of clients do they have and what are their comments? Do these align with your values?

4. Investigate portfolios or case studies. Does their work emulate the styles, attention to detail and quality that you are looking for? Are they more mainstream or a little on the edge? What fits with your style, your branding?

5. Create a short list and begin contacting companies. Do they really listen to your questions? Do they take care in their answers and give you the feeling that they are there to solve your problems, not just to promote their own greatness? How quickly do they respond? Are they willing to use the same communication methods that you are comfortable with — email, messenger, text, a real phone call or a Zoom / Skype call? Maybe even an in-person meeting?

trusting the expert

Trusting the pilot and enjoying the ride

Back to our flight, we’re now over the Gatineau hills. We feel light as a feather as we slice through the air, doing figure 8’s, climbs and dives. We see dense forests, lakes and valleys, doing circles around historical and geographical land marks. Giggling, grabbing each other’s arms to show each other breathtaking views. Turning deep, deep lefts and rights, sometimes looking straight down at the views below. Somehow the pilot (bless his heart) seems to know my limit and just at the perfect time, things slow down.

We descend over the patchwork of farmer’s fields and the pilot doesn’t quite cut the engine but slows it almost to a stop. We just glide. All we hear is the wind itself, whistling through the cockpit as we view patches of crops, roads, homesteads, ponds and streams. Although we’re still relatively close to ground, life slows down immensely from this perspective. We feel like we’re on top of the world.

Having confidence in the experts

Now that you’ve put extensive time into researching and finding the right experts to help you with your website and online marketing, it’s time to trust. Of course it is still good to keep tabs on the project, to give direction when needed and not lose sight of the end goal. Your expert will need your feedback. But, your marketing partner has such a good reputation because they are skilled and knowledgable in their field. Relax and enjoy the process.

new perspective

A new perspective

Back on the Ontario side, we fly around and over the Parliament buildings, noticing the expanse of the current renovation project. We also fly over the canal and locks, astounded by beauty of our capital city. All the buildings that from below look so majestic, even imposing — from above they shrink down and interweave into a larger mosaic of land, roads, communities and bodies of water. They become almost 2-dimensional like a quilt or a map.

The landing

We fly back along the Ottawa River and back to the airport, with the realization sinking in that our exhilarating adventure is coming to an end. Our pilot lands the biplane perfectly, like butter. This is indeed a memory that will be implanted in our minds and hearts forever.

In conclusion, a business goal or challenge can seem very daunting when first looking at it from your solo perspective. But when you gather the right people around you with specialized knowledge and expertise, you are able to rise above and look at it like you would a map or a board game. The obstacles turn from looming 3D peaks into 2D stepping stones.

Together with your design and marketing team’s expertise: your brand is promoted, your product is sold, and your website ROI is met. The ride isn’t perfectly smooth, but the landing is a success!