“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued.”
~ Brené Brown
Lately I’ve had a phrase that keeps playing in my head and I’m feeling called to share it:
You don’t get paid to do your marketing, you do your marketing to get paid.
I can’t tell you how often I hear from business owners that they don’t have the time, inclination, inspiration or discipline to be consistent in their marketing efforts and it pains me every time I do. I see good people doing important work in the world, not making enough money to be sustainable, because they have a really terrible relationship with marketing. Just the word makes some people retreat.
Is that you? Do you feel like your business life would be all sunshine and rainbows if you could just be successful already without having to do any marketing? If so, then I’m hoping that what you read here today changes how you feel about the M word.
Before we dive in though. Take a moment now to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself what marketing means to you? If you have pen and paper, jot down your thoughts before reading on.
I want to share with you some common problems I see when it comes to how conscious business owners feel about marketing, along with my suggested reframes. See if you can relate.
You see marketing as inherently bad and to market your work is to be pushy, icky and salesy. It means shouting about yourself, being an attention-seeker, annoying or bothering people — being salesy.
Of course I get this, it makes perfect sense — a lot of marketing online is manipulative and unethical and nearly always focused on getting the sale. It, therefore, makes perfect sense that you would want to avoid it as much as possible, but and it’s a big but — there is another way! You absolutely can do marketing without being these things.
One of my favourite reframes is to think about connecting with people rather than marketing to them.
If you think about connecting or having a conversation with another human beings on the subject of your area of expertise, does it bring up the same feelings? If you think about that connection in the context of the Brené Brown quote at the top of this article, can you image a way to connect with people in your network that has them feel seen, heard and valued? Isn’t that preferable?
Of course traditional marketing is pretty gross and self-serving but it doesn’t have to be.
If how you connect with your people is valuable to them and helps them to overcome difficulties or struggles in their life, why wouldn’t you want to do more of it?
Think about the people you admire in your industry, the newsletters you look forward to reading. For sure they will be few and far between but my guess is that there are some blog posts, newsletters, Instagram feeds that add to your day and how would you feel if the people behind those pieces of content suddenly decided to stop sharing their wisdom on the regular because they don’t want to “bother” you.
Marketing is only a nuisance if it’s spammy, manipulative, fluff. Don’t put out spammy and manipulative fluff and you’re good to go.
You don’t always enjoy marketing and and only feel able to show up when you feel inspired to do so.
I was talking to a client about recommitting to her content schedule and her plan to do weekly FB lives. The problem, she complained, was that she didn’t always feel like going live and so often that meant she didn’t. To her it seemed logical that if she didn’t feel like showing up, she shouldn’t push herself to do so.
So I asked this question: What do you do when you have a client session booked in that you don’t feel like doing? She didn’t miss a beat in telling me that she would of course show up anyway.
Can you relate to that? Does showing up for your clients feel different to showing up for your audience? I get it AND, I think that this is something it would serve you well to shift. This is where the idea that “we don’t get paid to do our marketing but instead do our marketing to get paid” comes from.
In my mind it’s a mistake to separate out the marketing of your business and the delivery of your services. It seems short-sighted to say I will give my all to my clients and show up powerfully for them and then be flakey and unreliable in your marketing. Why? Because if you show up inconsistently to the very people who might be considering investing in your services, then why would they think things would be different once they’ve paid you? How are your prospective clients going to trust you enough to hire you if they see you only showing up when you feel like it?
It’s clear to me that these two are related. If we see marketing as the devil’s work then of course we’re not going to feel like doing it or imposing it on to our people.
So it follows that we have to redefine what marketing means for us.
Allow me to share a little of my behind the scenes to show you what conscious marketing can look and feel like.
Writing my weekly newsletter is my most important marketing activity of the week. Its contents now becoming this blog post. It can then be repurposed again for my website, LinkedIn profile as well as Facebook and Instagram. If I didn’t write the newsletter, I wouldn’t have any of my other marketing materials.
Here’s how I created the newsletter behind this very piece. One morning after my husband and little ones left for work, school and nursery, I had breakfast and a shower. I then made a tall cup of hot chai with oat milk (my new favourite beverage with which I’m obsessed!) and headed to my office.
The first thing I do these days is burn my favourite incense (it reminds me of my days of living in Thailand) and play a track of windchime and birdsong sounds on repeat. (One of my lovely clients has actual windchimes in her home and when we have sessions the sound of them feels so calming that I decided to recreate it).
Then I opened up my Mailchimp and started the email. I should mention that I block off the whole of Monday mornings from 8.30am — 12.30pm to write my newsletter. It takes time to create valuable content and I want to honour that.
Usually I’ve thought about the topic ahead of time. I like to mull it over when I’m in the shower and at other points in my day — I also believe that when I come up with the topic ahead of time, my subconscious mind works on it when I’m not even thinking about it.
Before and as I write, I hold the intention to serve. I truly want my weekly letters to help the reader (you!) so I’m mindful to give as much as I can in support of your business growth.
There is nothing about this marketing activity that feels icky to me. I love writing, so for me the task itself is enjoyable and I love the topic of “conscious business” so I’m super inspired to share about it and my setup feels calming and nourishing, like I’m sitting down to my craft. To make art even.
Sometimes I also share something about what I have on offer and other times I don’t. I always separate out the content of the email from the selling of my services so as not to muddy the water. I want what I share in the letter to be of value to you even if you don’t buy what I’m selling.
The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s possible to do marketing in a conscious and compassionate way and for it to feel good. I truly believe it’s possible to fall in love with marketing if you’re willing to see it in a whole new light.
So now over to you, what could you change about your relationship to marketing that would have it feel good to you and to your people? What could you change in how you approach your marketing activities to make it feel more soulful? If you feel called to share with me, feel free to leave a comment below.