When you think of marketing your business, does it give you a sense of dread? A vague feeling of guilt? Does it suck all the energy out of you? You’re not alone in this. Most people who don’t enjoy marketing think marketing means trying to convince people to buy something they don’t really want or need. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when you’re building a heart-centered service business.
It might go something like this. Your website is up and running, you’re playing on 2-3 social media channels, you’ve written a few blog posts, and started a newsletter. You heard that it’s important to spend money on Facebook or Google ads so you gave that a try, but nothing much came from it. Now it’s time to go to networking meetings to give strangers your elevator pitch (that “pithy” 10-30 second introduction to your offer). Are you having fun yet? Maybe you are, but if you’re not it’s quite OK.
These are common should-do’s, but what is right for you and your business? This is what we want to know.
Elizabeth dreads networking but loves speaking to large groups
Elizabeth has a consulting business that helps corporations become B Corps. She dreads networking meetings and small talk makes her cringe. But she is passionate about what it means to be a B Corporation and extremely knowledgeable about the process. She loves to tell the stories of companies she has helped and is proud of her ability to guide organizations successfully through B Corp certification. Elizabeth speaks in front of large groups often and receives rave reviews for her speaking abilities and expertise. Furthermore, her presentations are recorded on video.
Those videos are marketing GOLD! Elizabeth can use them on her website to increase her speaking engagements and her credibility. She can turn them into a webinar or slice the videos into smaller segments and create case studies for use in blogs and social media. She can use them as part of a press kit. She can use them to augment her reputation as an expert for news segments on podcasts, radio, print and television. These are all marketing activities that come from something Elizabeth already does and enjoys.
Elizabeth’s topic is inherently attractive to those businesses interested in becoming a certified B Corp. Presumably, her potential audience enjoys attending inspirational talks, and will be attracted to video as an educational tool.
What activities bring you joy and give you energy?
Have you ever made a list of your favorite activities and then looked at it and said, “I can’t make money doing that!” and put it away? Raven did. Long before she started her business, she was invited to create such a list in a course called The Career Playground. Years later, when she was learning about successful marketing approaches for service business owners, she remembered that list. Low and behold, a few of those activities were legitimate marketing approaches!
Raven loves to connect with people through one-on-one exploratory conversations. She enjoys a good cup of coffee and book stores – back then there were plenty to be found. A light bulb went off. She realized that some of the elements in her Favorite Activity list held the key to the best approach to her marketing efforts.
From her favorite activities list:
- Drinking a “perfect” cup of coffee
- Talking to people she likes
- Exchanging ideas
- Inspiring conversation
- Browsing bookstores
After meeting a prospective client at my favorite coffee place and another at my favorite bookstore, I noticed how much I enjoyed myself and how productive the conversations were for both of us. When I figured this out, I made a decision. When possible I meet with prospective clients over a cup of coffee.
I’d learned how to lead a “sales” conversation by then. I carried a pad of paper with some prepared questions to help me guide the conversation, and keep me focused on its purpose, to discover if my services could help the person sitting across from me. ~ Raven
Here’s another example. Take golf. We know that golf is an activity quite conducive to conducting business. If you don’t like coffee and cafes, do you like golf? Or some other social activity?
The best marketing approaches leverage your strengths and fit your personality.
If you were to loosen the notions you have about what constitutes marketing, what could you do that would be FUN?
Where can you meet people who share similar joys or interests, where conversations about topics related to your services can surface easily and naturally?
When it comes down to it, marketing is simply a conversation. There are some “rules” that you need to understand so as to be effective, but those are teachable. We’re here for that.