“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
This is where so many of us heart-based entrepreneurs fall down: we try to mix our selling with our moments of content generosity. We know it doesn’t feel totally right. We may even sabotage our own efforts.
I recommend that we separate our content from our selling.
I’ll start with some context. I’ve observed what may be a 3-phase evolution in the online marketing industry. At least, it’s been true with my own process:
Phase 1: A pure focus on Selling / Enrollment.
It’s clear what the sales person is trying to do. Their primary purpose — transparent to them, and to you — is to sell you a product.
They might say they want to help you, but you know (and they know) that it’s a byproduct of the main intention: to make sales.
If they’re an ethical salesperson, they will do a good job of “filtering” or “qualifying” which is to ask good questions and help you explore whether the product is actually a good fit for you, that it will solve the problem you actually care about, and that it’s the right timing for you to buy it.
Phase 2: Content Marketing.
The blogger, podcaster, social media maven, especially if they’re very heart-centered, might feel conflicted about Selling/Enrollment. They know they “have” to eventually sell, to stay in business, but they would prefer to simply give helpful content.
They may have learned from other marketing “experts” to create a “marketing funnel” where someone comes in at the top of the funnel through free content, then moves “down the funnel” to more in-depth content, then to a cheap product, then to more expensive products.
The problem with the Content Marketer is that they’re sometimes conflicted internally.
Whenever they create content, they also have this (subtle) hope that their content will also eventually produce sales.
That internal conflict does not liberate the full creativity and effectiveness of helping that full altruism does.
Phase 3: Authentic Marketing.
This is what I’ve been exploring for the past few years through my articles and videos.
I’m aiming to borrow the best of Phase 1 and 2, and bring purity of heart and intention to the doing of each activity.
We understand that we have 2 separate activities in our business: (1) Selling and (2) Content.
It’s like a business having 2 arms: the for-profit arm and the non-profit arm.
In each department, there is purity of intention. There is no psychological conflict. In this way, both can be done ethically and effectively for its purpose. You can make enough money, and yet also fulfill your natural desire to give and help with a full heart.
The key is that when I’m creating content, I’m not hoping that you’ll buy anything from me. Occasionally in various blog posts I do link to courses that I sell, but it’s more as an FYI, rather than having the purpose of that blog post be to sell the course.
Yet I also consistently announce my launches and sales. When I sell, I aim with pure intention: I’m telling you why I created this product, who it’s for, what it aims to help you with, and other details. My selling is not hidden within an article or video that purports to be free content.
To summarize here are the benefits of separating content from selling:
- You feel the freedom to fully explore ideas that intrigue you, without feeling like you have to “perform” and sell effectively.
- You feel the abundant opportunity to experiment with finding your public “voice” and building confidence (and authority) with it.
- You don’t feel like you’re tricking the audience, pulling them in with “free” content only to have them experience a sales pitch at the end.
- If you are distributing your content, using FB or IG ads, for example, to increase the reach of your content, some of it will be shared widely, thus growing your audience.
- Some of your audience will then check out your services or products, and buy when it’s the right time for them.
It’s a natural byproduct of authentic marketing that people will eventually buy from you. It’s not something you need to focus on — “making” people buy from you.
Instead, if you focus on doing these two activities with pure heart — content generosity, and selling with integrity — then the business tends to grow as well.