By Allison Bliss
"Marketing as a spiritual practice." It sounds contradictory - how can sales and promotion possibly be considered spiritual? But the secret is, once you truly understand that marketing isn't all about struggle, jargon, tricks or gimmicks, spiritual practice is the very root of success.
Sound completely airy-fairy? We understand the response. But in reality, marketing consists of a set of specific actions or practices. And only you can decide whether you wish to tackle them in angst, or with value and truth (i.e., as a "spiritual practice"). Once you learn how to apply this practice to your marketing, you'll make more money, attract clients truly right for you, and feel exponentially more satisfied.
We know that it is unlikely in the first 20 years of a business to have the experience to know which strategies will work and that it's virtually impossible to have the objectivity needed to create a clear, concise marketing message for oneself.
1. Define your marketing messages. This is precisely one of the steps in the "spiritual practice": if you struggle with marketing you can quicken the process and stay on course by defining your messages and getting professional help to learn which strategies will work for your business now, and over time.
Remember when Coca Cola actually used to sell the taste of its product, rather than the image of the drink as a hip, cultural accoutrement? A dozen years ago, I helped Honda build an image that appealed to the "laid back California" market. How times have changed: now the company's messages promote safety and reliability to attract "serious" buyers across the nation.
Let a marketing professional help you define your key marketing messages or write your promotional materials: they are trained to clarify your offer to attract those who need what you sell. Your ideas will be defined and refined into clear, convincing, compelling information that will get your audience to react. And when you use "Marketing as a Spiritual Practice" to guide you, your writing will delve into your deeper wisdom, product offerings, how you can help clients solve their problems: No jargon, no gimmicks, no trickery. Just a deeper "wisdom" in your marketing.
2. Attract clients who are right for you. Once you are on purpose (or "in spirit") with connecting your valuable products or services with those who value them, you will attract the clients or customers who are truly right for your business. You won't need to "trick" them with clever marketing gimmicks or spam (which we're all completely fed up with, anyway). Instead, your judgment and wisdom will guide you to follow the practice outlined below. Of course, if you're one epiphany short of a great concept, give us a call!
3. The root of spiritual marketing is clarity. If you are clear about what you want and what you offer, you will make it easier for people to do business with you: Your prospective customers will instantly know whether you offer what they need.
It doesn't matter if you sell computer software, handbags, or coaching services. The fact is, companies often describe what they offer with far too much complexity. Thus, it becomes that much harder for people to make a decision to purchase what they sell. Achieving this clarity - this unwavering perception of how to do self-promotion - is typically the biggest challenge for companies of all sizes.
Another related business challenge: offering complex products at varying price points, through multiple distribution channels. This scatter-shot approach confuses people. As a result, they must work even harder to un-clutter or clarify what your company is selling in order to buy.
4. Make it easy for people to find your prices. Consider this: if you don't put prices on your services, and people have to ask what they cost, you will probably lose sales. Far too many of us instantly recall the axiom that states, "if you have to ask how much, you probably can't afford it."
5. If you don't have the faith in what you are doing, or confidence in your abilities, you'll have a harder time selling your product or service. You won't be able to stick with a plan or follow through on a marketing campaign long enough to generate worthy results. I see this failure most often in businesses in their first 10 years. They jump from gimmick to campaign, and don't do the all-important follow-up (which is where most sales are generated).
More importantly, it's simply not a "spiritual practice" to put stuff out there without making personal connections. That is the true reward. Deep joy is only achieved through honest, real connections; not with marketing hype that preempts the development of true, lasting relationships. (See more on this concept below)
6. All world, business, and spiritual leaders seek wisdom. We are only human; obviously, we cannot have all the answers. It is imperative to our business and to our personal growth that we seek the knowledge needed to continually improve our business (and in turn, our lives). We must never be too proud (or too foolish) to request help from experts when needed.
By sharing the wisdom of successful business owners and marketers, you will find inspiration and enlightenment. You can choose from a full breadth of writings, classes, and consultations (or even meditation, if you're so inclined). In addition, you can learn from the mistakes of others, and share in their lessons learned. Hey, it worked for Buddha - why not us business owners? After all, Knowledge is Bliss.
7. Once the vision of your business has been defined, and you have the wisdom, clarity, and faith in your ability to deliver, you must be a devout marketer. You must take action to gain the clientele you have prepared to service, and which you deserve. Without the action, there will be no results. Using this method for marketing will allow you to pursue your action with integrity, confidence, and even joy.
8. Inspiration comes from many sources: classes, reading, or working with insightful and intuitive professionals who can offer guidance and take action with you. A great marketing pro should have teams of writers, designers, publicists, researchers, and website experts use specific guidance processes to help get companies on target, plan their marketing using proven methods and inspired techniques that work, and develop creative, thoughtful promotional materials and/or publicity campaigns. That's what we do.
9. We believe that deep connections with our clients and our community are what make a business really work. It's a mystery to us - but we find that if you invest in the spiritual aspect of your business, you will reap many unanticipated rewards, both financially and by gaining joy and bliss in your company.
Allison Bliss Consulting, the creator of "Marketing as a Spiritual Practice" method, rebels against misleading, pushy, spam-filled marketing offering Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs an integrated range of do-it-yourself marketing products & customized marketing strategy, plans, promotional materials, websites, and hands-on services. Clients include United Airlines, Honda, ABC-TV, Hewlett Packard and hundreds of smaller or entrepreneurial companies.
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