In my last post I promised to relate to you some marketing lessons from the past. In this post I hope to present those lessons but first I have to tell you a story.

The Lead refinery was hot and smelly and there was a danger of lead poisoning. On the floor above was the blast furnace where the sulfur was released from the ore. The result was extremely hot molten metal. Here antimony was removed from the metal which was pumped down to the floor I was to work on. This floor was called the gold and silver floor. It consisted of three huge 235-ton kettles recessed into the floor. The central kettle was the gold kettle and two silver kettles were on each side.

The purpose of these kettles was to purify the lead by removing gold and silver dross. The molten lead was pumped into the central kettle and heated to about 800 degrees as I recall. The fire under the kettle was then shut off and the kettles began to cool down. Zinc ingots were melted and agitated into the cooling metal. As the kettle cooled the zinc would attract the gold and silver and it would rise to the top where it would be skimmed off into molds.

The fist few ingots would be shipped further down the process to be refined further. The first dross to reach the surface was a thick substance resembling dirt in texture and black in color. The next was a beautiful royal blue color. Subsequent colors would change to purple, then silver in each skimming. When the lead had cooled sufficiently it took on the texture of fish scales. A huge cast iron chain was placed against the side of the kettle and the lead was splashed against it. The chain was then pulled to be recycled into the next kettle. The kettle was then reheated and the molten lead was pumped to the silver kettle. I never ceased to marvel at the beauty of the changing colors.

So how does this ancient process relate to Internet marketing? Let me tell you.

The first skimming of the kettle looks like black dirt. If it is discarded a great value is unknowingly lost. It is most important that you create and maintain a list. What rises to the top first is gold. This is you buyers. What remains must be recycled and concentrated. This must be treated carefully. When I sampled the ore from a gold shipment I had to turn down the cuffs of my pants and dust off every spec of dust before leaving the freight car.

The next skimming is silver. These will not purchase anything from you immediately but they have tremendous value. Treat them kindly. Nurture them. Become friends with them. They to need to be recycled and concentrated.

The final skimming is to remove every past particle of what appears to be useless. It too must be recycled. Make these your friends. They may never buy from you but they have friends and neighbors they will refer to you.

Finally the size of your list is not near as important as how you relate to it. Nurture it. We will continue this analogy in future posts. Stay tuned.

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