Is this one of your greatest fears as a heart-centred solopreneur?
Do you feel (not just think) but really FEEL in your heart of hearts that marketing online is “icky”?
I’m here to burst your bubble (in a compassionate, supportive way of course!)
Letting people know you are out there…
Marketing is in reality MORE important than your business. Yep, I know that’s a pretty big claim to make, but if you want to earn your living doing the work that you love, you need to let people know you are out there.
That’s obvious when you think about it (and there’s not even a hint of “selling out” is there?!)
Marketing from the heart (no sleazy sales letters, ever!)
You CAN market your product or service without resorting to sleazy sales campaigns based on scarcity. (You’ve probably seen examples of these long web-based sales letters with countdowns to when “this one time, incredible offer will expire”). I don’t agree with, and would never suggest you use such tactics!
Marketing can be done in a way that not only feels ok, but good – that upholds your values about life. Don’t worry marketing your business NEVER has to be in conflict with what you hold dear. Consider recruiting a marketing specialist, at least for a short term.
So now that you know that it’s possible to tell the world about your work in a way that feels comfortable for you, let me give you some pointers on how to get started “marketing from the heart”…
ALWAYS start with strategy
My website services include helping clients to get clear about their online marketing strategy – if you don’t have a plan it’s very hard to take action, to do more of what is working and drop what is not. In fact one of my mantras is “marketing your business online ALWAYS starts with strategy”.
Sometimes clients are very clear about what they want to achieve but often times they only have a vague idea that they “need a website”. Nathan (not his real name) had been running his consultancy business for a couple of years and was in this same position. He is an expert in his field and worked in senior positions within his industry prior to setting up his own business. The first draft of “copy” for his site was simply a CV (probably not that appealing to potential clients who were searching for his service online!)
By the end of his Website Strategy Session, he came away with renewed clarity about the services he offered, the people he wanted to reach and how to go about doing just that. He had a clear strategy laid out and could easily take action.
Without a website strategy it is very difficult to “share your offer with the world”. Moreover, it’s important that your message is clear and easy to understand so that your perfect people resonate with it quickly. (Research shows that on average people leave a website within 10-20 seconds of clicking on it).
How to “share your offer with the world”
To get you started there are 3 key steps you will want to think about:
1. Who are your perfect people? *
In traditional “marketing speak” this would be your “ideal customer”. Who resonates with you, and vice versa? Who have been your favourite clients in the past? Make a list focusing on their key characteristics.
Tip: Think about the values you’ve shared with your perfect people more than whether they simply wanted to buy your product or service – this will help you delve much deeper.
(*thanks to Cigdem Kobu for this terminology)
2. What product or service can only YOU offer?
You have probably heard the term USP (unique selling point). This is often the point at which heart-centred solopreneurs switch off (it sounds so “salesy”, right?) But how about re-framing it to: the product or service that only YOU can offer to your perfect people. (This sounds like much more fun to work on!)
Tip: Try to be as specific as possible – for instance, instead of offering “life coaching” you could “help stressed out mums find time for their own creative projects whilst juggling work and family life”. (By the way, this is the real business of a fellow participant on a recent course I took!) Can you see how Donna combines her offer (coaching) with her perfect people (mum’s wanting time to be creative)?
3. How are you going to describe your offer?
This is where you start to think about your website copy. How do you describe your offer, and for whom is it the best fit?
If blank page syndrome fills you with dread, simply start by writing for one of your perfect people. Imagine you are sitting together over a cup of tea and they ask you how you can help them solve their problem (which, of course, just happens to be your offer).
Write from the heart – don’t try to sound “business-y” just write as you would speak to a friend. Start with one page so it doesn’t feel overwhelming – the “About” page is great to get going, as it gives you free reign to share your values and passion for your work.
Tip: Ensure the word “you” appears more than “I” or “me” in your copy (your perfect people want to hear about themselves and how you can help solve their particular problems.)
Over to you
Take a morning away from your desk and spend time in a place that inspires you (favourite local coffee shop, out in nature – well maybe not in January!) to develop your online marketing strategy. Focus on the three points above to get clarity about the “who”, “what” and “how” of your offer.
When you are done, come back and “share your offer with the world” in the Comments below.
Feeling stuck working on your website strategy? Want some help getting clear about “how to share your offer with the world”? Click here to find out more about how a Website Strategy Session can help, and get the conversation started.
Photo credit: Esmé Weijun Wang