Conversational Marketing is a term I've coined to describe a more human way of growing your business - one that's especially needed right now (not to mention perfect if you're a coach, healer or some other relationship focused professional).
Many business owners feel increasingly frustrated and downright disheartened because marketing advice makes them feel like they're having to put on a mask and pretend to be something they’re not.
And I've got to confess - I did it myself for the first couple of years in my own business. My first website was modeled on all the sites I saw from other coaches- complete with motivational messages and images of women jumping with joy in cornfields (seriously, those corn fields must be crowded).
I promise I'm not judging anyone here. I get it - and I did it too. We follow what we see others doing. We model what we think we need to do to replicate the success we see others having. And if you've never run a successful coaching business before (and who has when they're just out of coach school?), we're going to model what we see those who are successful doing.
For many coaches, that means having glamorous headshots taken, talking about 'hustling' and living your best life and making squillions while working from the beach.
The problems with this are two-fold:
Firstly, when we adopt this approach to marketing, it feels disconnected from and at odds with the coaching work we do. How can we be committed to truthful, open-hearted conversations as part of our profession when the methods we use to sell that profession aren't?
Secondly, there's a lack of authenticity that as humans we can spot a mile away. When potential customers see us indulging in those inauthentic (if well intentioned) marketing techniques, they're turned off by them. I think this is especially true when it comes to something like coaching - after all, it's a professional relationship where the client is connecting - and hiring, us. If something feels at odds with the image we're projecting, it's a massive turn-off to those potential clients.
So what's the solution?
Conversational Marketing is rooted in the skills and approaches we already have as coaches - a human desire to listen deeply and connect fully with another in service to them. And it's, therefore, an approach that feels natural and authentic to us. And guess what? this approach is WAY more effective at making those deep and trusting connections that coaching is based on.
What is it really?
Conversational marketing is a mindset and an aligned strategic approach.
The mindset part happened accidentally for me - I reached an 'I can't do this anymore' moment in my marketing, where I felt shallow and tedious and just urgh when I was putting out listicles and using phrases like 'crushing it' which I would never in a million years use in 'real life' (I'm a 45 year old woman from the north of England - I never say 'crushing it'. Ever. )
But I had been caught up in the 'this is what I'm supposed to do, so I guess I should just get on with it' approach to marketing, which in all honesty, I approached with the same enthusiasm I approach going for a smear test- a necessary, and not very pleasant, part of being a grown-up woman.
I hit a wall that had letters writ 10 foot high saying: This isn't you.
Past that wall, could not get. So I stopped.
I stopped trying to make it happen in this way that was making me want to cry. I stopped putting my faith in something that in my very bones I knew wasn't good for me, my business or the world.
I stopped trying to do all the things and focused in on what I was good at and what I enjoyed: Having conversations.
I built all of my marketing around that really simple, elemental concept. My podcast is a conversation. My webinars and online classes are conversations. The same with my weekly love letter and my Facebook Group. My core intention with all of them is to create a personal interaction. I show up honestly, and talk, write and interact as if we're having an intimate, personable, and honest conversation.
I regularly open my calendar for no sell office hours calls - where I focus on helping, connecting and giving people a taste of how I can help them. I even launched my business this way AND teach a free course on how you can do it too.
Conversational Marketing Makes Building Your Business So Much More...Human
Ever since I fully embraced this approach, magical things have happened in my business. I've had more clients who are a better (read: wonderful) fit, more income, fun, creativity - and a hell of a lot more ease.
Sometimes we overcomplicate business building - internet shiny objects will do that to a woman.
But if we go back to our core - back to the basic tenets of our profession then it all becomes much clearer: Start with the end in mind.
Coaching is a conversation. Marketing is a conversation.
Instead of thinking about complex email funnel, multiple channels, social media strategies and analytics - focus on how you can turn everything you do into a genuine, from the heart conversation.
Weekly email blasts transform and become love letters. Podcasts become relaxed chats. Webinars are gatherings of friends (or at least potential friends). The pressure is taken off and I can own MY expertise, style, and badassery in a way that's genuine and in a way that connects.
This is what I teach my clients to do - and it works. Last week one of my Supernova Collective clients offered a limited number of free one on one chats - and got 17 takers in a matter of hours - 17 potential clients and 17 people who get to taste her particular style of brilliance. As I write this she's completed the first 2 of those calls and potentially picked up new paying client. She's not even launched her new website yet.
If you want to see how this works in action and understand how you can allow conversational marketing to transform your business, check out my Supernova Collective program and book a free chat with me. No pressure. No spin. Just connection and honest conversation about your next steps to building a business that feels good, is sustainable and thrives.
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You're not going to like it when you first hear it, but I promise you'll thank me. If you want to be happy and successful in your business (whatever your definition of that is) you need to embrace failure.
Yep. Embrace failure.
We live in this weird world where more and more of our lives are shown as edited highlights. Our social media feeds are dominated by success after smiling success. And it can screw with our heads because it hides the messy reality of being a human.
This is especially true when it comes to those with online businesses. There's a deliberate marketing tactic that's based around presenting yourself as someone with an enviable life because this triggers a sense of 'authority' - we subconsciously associate those people as folk who know what they're talking about, can be trusted and who we should listen to.
At it's worse it's a deliberate form of manipulation. But even when it's done innocently, it also leaves us with a sense of inadequacy.
'Why isn't MY life that organized?, What am I doing wrong? Why isn't my business as easy as theirs What's wrong with me that I'm not making six figures/living on a beach/speaking to thousands at conferences/having a blissful marriage?'
The truth is that no one's life is perfect. No one's life is without mess or is always easy. So if we just present this edited version of ourselves, we're inadvertently adding to this problem. The cycle continues and we all end up feeling crappier and crappier about our 'normal' experiences - because they start to seem abnormal in this pristine and edited world.
Embracing failure is about accepting a real and messy life.
And there's another reason to embrace failure. one related to your business (well, actually your whole life -
The truth is you will only be able to build your business if you get used to failing.
When we reach, we risk.
And there's a very good chance we'll fail. This is a good thing. We need to build our resilience through failure. Because if we're not failing, we're not doing enough.
In this podcast episode, I'm going to explain a bit more about why you need to get used to failure and 'embrace the suck' as Brene Brown says.
I share a few (of many) of my own experiences of failing in my business and how every single one of them helped to take me closer to my goal of a sustainable business AND how I still experience failures in my business. At the time all of these failures hurt like hell, but with some distance, some of them are pretty hilarious in hindsight.
I don't LIKE failing - hell no! but I've learned that they are a necessary part of growing myself and my business. It's OK to feel disappointed, cry, lick your wounds, eat a LOT of chocolate. But then you have a choice. Do you bounce back or give up?
The more you practice, the easier this becomes (note: I'm not saying it's EASY, just that it gets easier with practice).
I'm such a fan of breaking this taboo of revealing our failures that I make it a regular part of my group coaching program The Supernova Collective - where we regularly challenge ourselves to share our failures in the supportive arena of the community we've cultivated. That way we build our collective resilience, break done entrepreneur isolation and support one another through the inevitable messy bits.
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We need a new kind of marketing. Why? because the old sort is feeling tired, overused and manipulative. We need a more human approach to building our community, reaching out to our customers and interacting with our potential clients.
Something is happening in the online world - can you feel it? There's a shift away from some of the marketing methods that have dominated this online space are being rejected. If you've felt uncomfortable or just bleugh about some of the online marketing techniques I've good news for you.
Here are just a few of the things that make me roll my eyes SO HARD I get a headache:
- Having my inbox filled with seemingly EVERYONE promoting the same training program,
- Loooong sales pages filled with smiley bland people walking along beaches.
- 3 part video series' where the 'coach' shares their rags to riches story followed by a promise of how if I buy their magical system I too can be an 'authority in my field/attract high-end clients with ease/eliminate negative emotions forever'
- Facebook posts along the lines of 'I've just made a bazillion dollars working only 5 minutes a day, want to know how I did it? Comment 'hell yeah' in the comments'
- Responding to a friend request only to have them message you TWO MINUTES later trying to sell you something
- People showing up on Facebook having posted the exact same 'buy my thing' post in 7 different groups you're in (and you know this because they all show up in your newsfeed.
- Webinars that are 20 minutes of background about the host, 10 minutes of light content, and 30 minutes of a sales pitch. (I've zero problem with being sold to on a webinar FYI - I just hate the ones that basically have zero content and are just a thinly disguised sale pitch).
I could go on!
And if these things leave you wanting to reach for the sick back you're not alone. More and more people are waking up to the fact that these tactics are becoming passe, annoying and ineffective. We don't want to be taken down an obvious sales funnel. We don't want our emotional buttons pushing so that someone can make a sale. We want a new kind of marketing (that's maybe approaching it old school but with new technology).
We want human connections. Services and products that really serve our needs. Businesses that listen to us. A more human way of making money.
Holly Worton and I dive into this topic on today's podcast. What was formed out of a frustrated Facebook post from Holly has grown into a rallying cry for a better, more soulful, more connected way to market our businesses.
What You'll Learn in this episode about Why we need a new kind of marketing
- Why there's a shift going on in certain parts of the online business community
- What's not working for some people in online marketing
- Why marketing can feel manipulative and sleazy
- Why positioning yourself as an expert can be open to exploitation
- Why certain marketing tactics just don't feel good to some people
- How we get to the next phase or style of online marketing and what does that look like
Things We Discussed
Kelly Diels and the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand
Derek Halpern's Social Triggers
Robert B. Cialdini's book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Of course, I discuss marketing a lot and really do believe that marketing is an essential part of growing your business. You can learn more ways to ethically market your coaching practice here: