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6 ways to market your business without feeling salesy

6 ways to market your business without feeling salesy

In this post, I want to talk to you about marketing, that “necessary evil” we all love to hate and I’m going to share with you 6 ways to market your business without feeling like a sleazy salesman.

The deeper I get into my entrepreneurial journey the more I realise that marketing has got a bad rap and the more I see how we can reclaim marketing in authentic and genuine ways. Here are the ways I “market” my business without feeling salesy.

1. Teach Your Audience

As a soul-led, conscious business owner, it’s my guess that the service your business provides to people is grounded in a skillset, modality or way of being that you yourself learned at one time or another. Which means that there are things you could undoubtedly be sharing with your audience that will better educate them in achieving their goals. Allow me to illustrate with some examples.

  • A Life Coach might do a Facebook Live to teach her audience how to deal with her inner critic.
  • An Energy Healer might teach her audience how to better ground themselves during emotional times.
  • A Business Coach might teach her audience how to market without feeling salesy!

Get the idea? You can teach using your newsletter, a video (live or pre-recorded), a free workshop, a blog post or any other medium you can think of.

Teaching is a great way to serve your audience at the same time as demonstrating your expertise, inevitably leaving certain audience members keen to deepen their relationship with you. Don’t market your skills with clever sales pitches, show people your skills by teaching them what you know. 

 

2. Share client testimonials

It can feel cringe-worthy to talk about our own skills and abilities – if you’ve ever tried to write your own about page copy, you’ll know what I’m talking about! – and the thing is you really don’t need to. If you are working with people, either paid or for free, you really want to be collecting testimonials and reviews from people who have had a positive experience of working with you.

A super easy way to do this is to set up your Business Facebook Page (I highly recommend you create one if you haven’t already) and use a template that allows for reviews and recommendations. Then every time someone thanks you for a great session or service, simply write back and ask them if they would mind leaving you a review on your page.

Be sure to link to your page in the email to make it as easy as possible for them to do it. Let other people sing your praises so you don’t have to! It’s far more powerful than anything you could ever write anyway. 

 

3. Tell stories

When you talk about what you do, it can feel extremely difficult to put into words, how exactly you help people. Trying to can feel deeply uncomfortable and like we’re trying to sell ourselves, but it needn’t be that way.

Every time you help a client in your business move from island A (their struggle or challenge) to island B (the outcome they desire) there’s a story to tell about how how you helped them to do this. In fact my guess is that you’re sitting on a gold mine of stories.

One way to start to collect these stories is to take time after you’ve had a session with someone and make notes on what came up and how you helped them with their issue or struggle. 

One of my favourite Marketing specialists, Tad Hargraves, has a great 8 minute video on how to do this to best effect which you can view here

4. Share resources

This is an easy one because it doesn’t even have to be resources you have created, it can be a combination of tools or resources that you yourself use to achieve the results your clients are also looking for and it can also be resources that you have specifically created for your audience for the same purpose.

A few ways I do this: 

  • When I read something powerful in a book or blog post that has an impact on me that I know could help my audience, I share it. 
  • When I create a tool or template for myself to be more organised in my business, and I think it could also benefit my audience, I share it. 

Often people feel reticent about giving their best content away for free or sharing other people’s best content but this is a huge mistake. When we support our audience with tools and resources that really help them and at the same time demonstrate your expertise and your understanding of their struggle, there will always be members of your audience that will want to go deeper with you.

You want to aim to share more of your own resources than others, but there is no harm in being seen as the go to person on issue X, even if that’s because you always find and share the best information out there (whether it’s yours or someone else’s). The key is to position yourself as the go-to person on whatever topic you help your clients with. When you are generous with your content and with the sharing of other people’s, you also find that people are more generous about sharing what you create or share, expanding your reach even more. 

 

5. Create and share really great content

This relates to number 4 but this is more about you creating and sharing your content on a consistent basis. Every newsletter, blog post and social media post you write is an opportunity to share more about your unique business perspective and your particular way of working with the problem your audience needs help with.

Let’s take my business as an example, I help conscious business owners to succeed in business using strategies rooted in integrity. So every blog post and newsletter I write aims to help my audience do just that.

Consistency is key here because consistency, in the eyes of your audience, equals reliability. People need to know that you’re reliable and that they can depend on you, if you expect them to pay for your services. If you’re flakey and inconsistent in your content, whose to say you won’t be flakey and inconsistent in your service provision. It’s that important.

 

6. Serve your audience

A great way to “market” your services is to serve your audience as if they were already clients. Offering complimentary sessions is a great way to do this. If you are a coach, for example, rather than offering a 30 minute “discovery session” during which you’ll ask about the person’s problems for 10 minutes or so and then pitch your services for the rest of the time, offer obligation-free, powerful, 60-90 minute coaching sessions instead.

Nothing helps a person understand how you work better than actually working with them. If people have a powerful experience, whether they choose to buy from you or not, they’re more likely to write you a glowing testimonial and or become a source for referrals. Complimentary sessions or services create good will and can generate word of mouth marketing so that you don’t need to and ultimately they are more likely to turn an audience member into a paying client.

So there you have it, 6 ways to market your business without all the cheesy gimmicks. What these have in common is that they are rooted in service and supporting your audience to better understand how to overcome the challenges they face. When you do this, people start to see you as a trusted advisor rather than someone trying to sell to them and it’s precisely this trust that can support you to build a truly sustainable and meaningful business.

Which of the above strategies appeals to you most? Are there any you’ve yet to try that you now feel inspired to give a go? I’d love to know in the comments below. If you found this post useful, please do share it with others who may benefit. 

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Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I’m learning about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

Why you hate sales & marketing (+ what to do about it)

Why you hate sales & marketing (+ what to do about it)

Over the past few years of coaching women in business, I’ve met many brilliant and gifted business owners whose resistance to selling was crippling their business and their ability to grow. In this post I aim to shed light on where that resistance comes from and how to overcome it to make your business a success.

The premise of this post is based on the following statement. Take a moment now to consider what this really means to you. 

You hate sales and marketing because of what you believe sales and marketing represents. 

We live in a world where sales has become synonymous with deceitful practices in marketing and advertising. Where selling is a game of persuasion and manipulation. It’s everywhere, it’s on our televisions, our computers, on the streets, on the sides of buildings, on our trains and buses. EVERYWHERE we look we can see intrusive, manipulative and dishonest marketing and advertising practices designed to get us to buy, buy, buy. We live in a world that prioritises profits over people and for women like you and I, this hurts us to the core.

As a consumer, we feel overwhelmed because every which way we turn, somebody is trying to get us to buy something. Most often, things, that many of us as soul-led, spiritually inclined women know in our hearts that we don’t even need. Clutter that only serves to weigh us down and keep us from enjoying the present moment in all it’s glory.

It therefore makes perfect sense that when it comes to our own business, and the point at which we need to engage in sales or marketing, that we feel such huge resistance. As conscious business owners we absolutely don’t want to contribute to this dysfunctional system of selling people things that they don’t need, in ways that feel inherently dishonest. We are not prepared to make people feel the way that we so often feel when we’re being sold to.

So whilst I get the logic behind this thinking, there are two things to look at more closely here:

1. You are not selling things that people don’t need. (How do I know? Because it’s unlikely you would be in my audience, reading this post if you were). You are creating and sharing things that have the potential to impact and transform people’s lives for the better. The very fact that you have a resistance to selling simply proves this.

2. You don’t have to sell the mainstream way. There is a way that you can sell with integrity. There is a way that we can turn the traditional approach to sales on it’s head and do business differently.

Here are a few key ways we can do this:

We can focus on serving our people rather than selling to them. We can be in a mode of giving rather than a mode of getting. We can make people the priority rather than profits. 

I want to give you a couple of specific examples of how this might look in your business.

  • Rather than spend your time trying to market yourself and your business online, do everything you can to create and disseminate truly meaningful content instead. Share your best work for free.
  • Rather than go into Facebook groups to promote your business and services, go into those groups to support and serve other people.
  • Rather than spend hours and hours trying to make your web copy speak to the heart of your ideal client or creating the perfect offering, jump on calls with individual people and find out what they need and what you can do to help them. Then go do that.
  • Rather than trying to perfectly articulate the benefits of your newest product or service in your marketing, mention it directly to those people in your audience who you think it might help and ask if they want to know more.
  • Rather than spend your time trying to figure out how to better market and sell your products and service, ask yourself daily, what can I do today that would deeply serve my audience.

The mainstream way is to dress up your sales as service. Create a killer freebie opt-in so that people sign up for your newsletter, then seduce them with a nurture sequence of seemingly useful emails that ultimately culminates in a sale. In the mainstream way service is a strategy. Service is seen as a means to and end.

In the alternative approach that I advocate, service is the end. Our ultimate goal is to serve powerfully and sales then become a by-product of that.

For many people this might seem counter-intuitive. They might say something like “surely the point of a business is to make money?” well yes and no. We do need our businesses to succeed financially so that they are sustainable but it doesn’t have to be our primary focus.

Women like you and me are driven by a desire to serve. To make a difference and to have an impact. This is why selling feels so off to us and what many of us do is waste our precious resources trying to sell and failing miserably when we would do far better using that time and energy to serve.

When you show up and serve all day every day, people naturally want to know more about what you offer. In this way, you no longer feel like you have to chase people for the sale.

When you have a community of people who already know, like and trust you because you have been showing up consistently to share meaningful content and serve powerfully, you need only share what you are creating and people, who have been on the receiving end of your generosity and know the value of your work, can and will come to you wanting more.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you never need talk about your products and services. In actual fact most female business owners I meet need to do that far more than they currently do. What I am saying, however, is that you needn’t ever manipulate or convince people to buy. When you’ve already provided an amazing service to people, they already know the value of your work so in a way there is no need to sell as such. It becomes more about whether or not, the product or service is a fit. 

When we do share details of our paid for offerings, what we want to aim for is something I call selling with transparency. Which essentially means being clear when you are sharing a paid offering versus when you are sharing free content and don’t muddy the water by using your free content as a thinly veiled sales pitch or bribe. Because guess what? We see that shit and we hate it and even though those strategies might get you sales in the short term, they will erode trust and loyalty from your audience in the long-term.

When we make being of service our north star, it is absolutely possible to sell and market what we do with integrity, and the best part, it won’t feel like you’re selling or marketing one bit, either to you or your audience.  

I’d love to know if you can relate to what I’ve shared here. Let me know in the comments below what comes up for you as you read this post and if you know anyone who would benefit from reading it, then feel free to share it.

SIGN UP FOR MY SOULFUL STRATEGIES WEEKLY

 

Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

How We Sell Matters (+ Making an Ethical Move)

How We Sell Matters (+ Making an Ethical Move)

I don’t know about you, but I am so over the manipulative and icky sales and marketing strategies that are rife in the online business world these days.

Tactics like: manufactured scarcity creating a false sense of urgency that plays on our fear of missing out. Inflated promises that we can expect huge profits in a very short amount of time if we sign up to xx program or buy xx product. Webinars that pretend to be live when they are clearly pre-recorded (what is that about!? Do they really think we are that stupid?). Webinars that claim to be hugely informative but end up being yet another thinly veiled sales pitch. Pressure to buy now in order to make huge savings, using offers that threaten to disappear in a matter of hours or days.

Oh countdown timers I see you and I purposefully choose to ignore you. 

These tactics and many more like them are not only harmful to us as consumers, but they are potentially damaging to us as business owners. When we start to believe that we need to engage in unethical sales practices like these, in order to succeed, we do ourselves, our businesses and our clients a huge disservice. 

A few months ago I read an eye-opening e-book called “Don’t Buy Now” written by Mark Silver of Heart of Business and it changed everything for me about how I want to run my business. In it Mark shares, some of the most common unethical sales strategies we are likely to encounter, specifically in the realm of business coaching, but that also apply to many other things you might buy online.

As a Business Coach myself you can bet that I sat up and took notice of what he had to say on this topic and it shocked me to realise that I, myself,  had unconsciously adopted some practices that were less than ethical. Since reading Don’t Buy Now (which I highly recommend) I’ve made it my mission to educate myself further on the topic of running an ethical and conscious online business. 

And, as is often the way, since I made this my mission, the right teachers, mentors and resources have magically started to appear. People like Tad Hargrave, George Kao, Molly Mandelberg and Julie Wolk to name a few and even more recently I was delighted to discover The Ethical Move, a movement to create a new standard of marketing based on trust and honesty. How good that sounds to my soul. Marketing based on trust and honesty. Count. Me. In.

 

Charm Prices 

So whilst there are lots of things I’m changing about how I do business based on everything I’m learning, things that I will be sharing with you, my audience, in this post I wanted to share with you the pledge I’ve recently made as a signed up member to The Ethical Move. 

That pledge is to stop using ‘charm prices’ and instead to round up prices to whole numbers. So using a round number like $200 instead of a charm price like $197.

“Charm prices are used to make a product appear cheaper than it is, bypassing the conscious choice of the buyer. They are only created to generate more sales and do not benefit the buyer in the least.” 

Simple tactics like these might seem harmless enough, but the bottom line is that they are designed to manipulate the buyer into making a decision they otherwise might not make. This might be okay for some business owners but, as someone who deeply values integrity, it’s not okay for me.

I don’t want someone to buy one of my products or services because I tricked them into thinking it was cheaper than it is. I want people to buy my products and services feeling empowered and informed of all the facts.

 

Take the pledge

If you feel called to support The Ethical Move and to sign up for this pledge, you can do so by clicking the image below. What I love about this movement, is that once you sign up for the pledge they will check your website to make sure that you are true to your word (yay integrity) and once satisfied you’ll be granted permission to use a badge (like the one below) to promote your pledge to your customers and clients.

 

I’d love to know what this post brings up for you and for you to share in the comments any marketing tactics that really get under your skin and/or any ethical alternatives you’ve seen or use. Don’t be shy, join this important and long overdue conversation.

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Please know that I do occasionally share details of my products and services with my subscribers but you can rest assured that I do so without using any tactics designed to manipulate you to buy them. If you want to receive them, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll immediately get added to my list.