So you've got this business. Maybe you love it, maybe you don't. Maybe it's just kind of the thing you do so that you can put food on the table. Or maybe it's the thing that springs you out of bed every morning because you're so excited to work on it.
... or maybe it's a little bit of both.
Either way, your business is the way you contribute to the world. It's the way you give back.
Now, you can read that sentence and take a woo-woo spiritual approach to it, or you can simply look at the world in terms of commerce and realize that, truly, in order for anything or anyone to be nourished and happy in life, they must give back.
Marketing Can be Service-Oriented
Entrepreneurs - especially female entrepreneurs -- so frequently get turned off by the idea of having to market their business. They don't want to appear "salesy," so they disconnect themselves from the opportunities and potential that opens up when you powerfully and authentically market your services or product.
The truth is, each of us has to give something back to the world if we wish to get something out of it. The only way to earn money is to provide value in exchange, whether the value is being of service by ringing up items at a grocery store or writing blog posts and web copy for businesses around the world (like me!) or running a billion-dollar company that creates technology products.
Each example is of someone giving up their time, energy and creativity in order to make the lives of others better.
When your marketing comes from that place, the place of knowing that you run your business because it's the way in which you choose to give back to the world, everything changes.
One of my favorite things about blogging is that it's not just sales copy. Of course, writing and sharing a blog is still a way that businesses communicate with their potential buyers and generate business - but when you have the chance to write 500-1000 words, you can really share something meaningful.
Education-based marketing is the idea that in order to foster relationships with new potential clients, you must engage and educate them first. Teach them about your area of expertise and share knowledge with them that will improve their lives.
I love this article by Steve Olenski from Forbes.com that explains education-based marketing. Steve says...
Maintaining an educational presence and relationship with your customers is an important element in any business that hopes to remain relevant today, whether you are a retail business, a financial services firm, an entrepreneur or even in the service or medical field. You should always be on the lookout for how you can continue to educate your existing clients as well as potential customers and ways to help them with their problems and ways to achieve their goals. Give them more than what they were hoping for, always over-deliver and this will build a stronger relationship between you and your ideal customer.
Steve does a good job explaining how and why this works. But I also like taking a slightly more holistic approach, which is to consider that when you offer education to your audience, you're actually helping them! You're not just throwing a random flashy video or image in their face and hoping they'll remember you next time you're in the supermarket -- you're actually giving them something they can put to use immediately.
There's only one of you, and I'll bet that there's an audience waiting with baited breath for the information you have to share. When you think of your marketing as education, you'll not only help them make their lives better, you'll also feel much more confident about the knowledge you're passing on.
And I wouldn't be surprised if you see levels of interest grow when you do this, as well.
Allison Volk specializes in creating authority and visibility for businesses and entrepreneurs through effective content marketing. Her clients have appeared in The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, Mind Body Green, LifeHack, Bitter Lemons and DentalTown.com, to name a few. Find out more at www.TheBlogBabe.com.