A sticker on a pole says YOU DON'T NEED IT BUT YOU WANT IT BUY

Does Selling and Marketing Give You the Ick?

When you think of sales and marketing, is your first reaction ick? Yuck? No thanks?

If you are at all spiritually oriented or aware and own your own business, then you know that you’re already caught in a conundrum. 

You have to sell your products or services so you can support yourself and your loved ones. But the means to do that feel exploitative because capitalism is inherently exploitative.

It may not even be about beliefs about money, which I will not get into here. It could just be that you don’t want to engage in such a destructive system.

But, ya gotta eat! Keep a roof over your head. Take care of yourself

A Necessary Reframe

Marketing can feel manipulative. All of us are guilty of buying something we didn’t need because we felt cajoled or guilted or beguiled into the purchase.

So of course, you don’t want to treat your clients that way. And that’s a good impulse. 

But marketing really is just telling folks about what you have to offer and how you can help.

All the other stuff that feels slimy — you do not have to engage in!

Marketing Your Way

Especially if you’re extremely online like I am, you are inundated with people trying to sell your something or influence you.

And again, you may not want to engage with your own audience like that.

And then on top of that, there’s this pressure to sell sell sell now now now — not only because it can feel highly competitive (even if you have something new and unique to offer), but because you need to provide for yourself.

I do believe there’s a middle way, where you’re working with your spiritual team and also the timing of your business cycles, to more easily provide for yourself.

This reminds of a Bible verse, where Jesus says to be in the world but not of it.

In my opinion, selling stuff doesn’t inherently make you a capitalist.

You can be in a capitalist society, both as consumer and a seller, and not let a capitalist mindset consume you or make you feel bad for not wanting to fully engage in capitalism.

So how can sell things without selling out? It goes back to that reframe of what marketing is — just informing people about who you are and how you can help them.

The Un-Icky How of Marketing and Sales

Think about a time you bought a service or product from someone and you enjoyed the process. What most delighted you?

I’m going to safely assume that the process felt seamless. You felt like the seller understood you and your needs. You felt respected and seen. There was a transparent sales process with no hard sell. You felt empowered as a buyer. Your questions about the purchase are easily answered.

You felt like you were a human being vs. a bag of money.

Ultimately, the right client will be attracted to you because you provide those things, too. And you won’t have to pressure them into buying. You will provide excellent customer service. You and your biz aren’t full of hot air, fearmongering, or hype.

One way to accomplish this is to be vulnerable. 

Not oversharing. Vulnerable.

One tip I’ve heard as a copywriter and content strategist is when you write your sales copy, think about how you would share something with your BFF. Obviously, you can keep the inside jokes out, but that requires a bit of vulnerability and it is a lot more casual and relatable.

So here’s an exercise for you: how would you tell your BFF or your partner about your service or product? Maybe you can practice with them or pretend in your head and write it down.

Dealing with the Ick of Social Media

Being online these days is a strange experience. I’ve been on social media since at least 1996 and it went from hanging out and socializing to hardcore selling and metrics and systems and parasocial relationships created to separate people from their money.

Yuck.

And now, everyone just wants to be rich and famous, as it seems to be the easiest way to support yourself.

Meanwhile, we still need writers, crafters, astrologers, child care workers, healthcare workers, trash collectors, public servants, bus drivers…

We can’t escape the wage theft and stagnant wages and the price gouging dressed up as inflation and the rising cost of ineffective health care and this COVID pandemic that most of us pretend doesn’t exist.

WHEW.

So logging onto social media, you’re inundated with all that bs, and you certainly don’t want to add to it.

If you don’t want to be online but you know you have to be there to sell things, then one idea is to schedule your posts and time being on there.

Look into apps like Buffer, where you can create and schedule posts without actually having to be on the platform.

If you know that live video works for you, schedule your Facebook Lives or Instagram Lives. You can start off with once a week.

And be consistent.

Make Appointment Content

Remember Must See TV? Maybe if you’re not an 80s or 90s kid, you don’t remember that from NBC on Thursdays, with popular shows like Seinfeld and Friends.

You can do that with social media. Have one day and time a week you show you and talk about yourself and what you have to offer. Have a Q&A session about a product or service. 

Try scheduling time to pop in to see comments and respond to them. You can also schedule time to look at your metrics to see what you need to tweak.

If you don’t want to be extremely online to sell, you do not have to. See it as a job that you check in with once in a while.

And then, of course, there’s offline interactions. Meeting people in real life. Admittedly, because of the pandemic, this is harder for me. I have not been socializing much at all. So I have to work harder online to compensate. 

But look into Meetup groups. Even just talking about your business with your friends and family can be a big help. 

One other way to deal with social media and avoiding is…a newsletter! Email marketing still gets more sales than social media. and you can have that one-on-one interaction with someone’s inbox. 

I’m restarting my own monthly newsletter, called In The Loop — you should sign up!

Email marketing is better because you’re not dealing with someone’s algorithm. Unless someone marks you as spam, your email will faithfully arrive in someone’s inbox.

Get Back Out There and Tell Some Stories

This may be tough to hear but closed mouths don’t get fed.

So you gotta tell people what you’re up to and how they can work with you/buy from you.

In the course of your career, you probably have some interesting stories to tell, some wisdom you have to share, some information that can help someone.

Every time you write a post or email or do a live video, think about your bestie audience. What do they need to know? How can you help them?

You don’t have to dress it up or be the best storyteller on the planet. Your unique POV, experiences, and life story is ultimately why people buy from you.

What you’re trying to create is real relationships with people. 

And I use bestie tongue-in-cheek here. I’m not saying you should go the parasocial route and create a fanbase that you don’t really care about.

We Already Have Relationship with People We Buy From

Think about the people in your life that do things for you: your astrologer, energy healer, doctor, dog walker, child care worker, housecleaning person, mailperson.

Eventually over time, even if it’s completely a transactional relationship, you start to build a relationship with them, with rapport. You may ask each other how’s it going, about each other’s families and loved ones. You get to know them.

People online through your marketing can start to get to know you in the same way.

You’ve probably heard of the marketing formula Know Like Trust. We all do it in all our interactions.

We find someone’s social media account or website because they or someone shared it. Or we meet someone offline face-to-face.

We get to know them. We get to like them because we know them better. And then, over time, we get to trust them because we really like them and we really know them. 

One Final Tip

 A lot of people, maybe even most people, are lurkers. They don’t like or comment or posts. When you ask for their opinions via email, they may never respond.

But they know you. They’re watching you. They’re learning from you.

And then, before you know it, they’re BUYING from you. It may take a few days or a few years — which is why being consistent and showing up matters. 

Most people when they meet you are not ready to buy from you.

So look at marketing as a way to build relationships and trust in those relationships. You can ignore all the dancing videos and the hype.

You cut through all that by consistently showing up as your unabashed awesome self. 

And if you’re spiritually minded, your spiritual team can support you and guide you. (I can help, too).

Keep showing up the best way you can and eventually, you’ll have a thriving business you’re proud of. 

Mercury entered Taurus today, and with plenty of planets in Taurus right now, I want to remind you that it WILL take time. There are no silver bullets to marketing except continually showing up and consistency.

What are you struggling with in your marketing efforts? I’d love to hear what’s going on with your and your business. Email me!