the four generations of opt in marketing

2182 Four generations 20120811 1 958x538 300x168 the four generations of opt in marketingThis is an email primarily about how to build a solid following and, primarily, how to get people to ‘opt in’ to receive your email newsletter.

I want to submit that there have been four generations of approaches to getting permission to be in touch with potential clients. And that what worked four generations ago, isn’t the best approach today.

But let’s start here: A lot of people focus on ‘getting their name out there’ in marketing.

And they justify a lot of useless activity with it. They go to networking events and not only give their cards to everyone but leave them on every table and they think, ‘Yup! Sure got my name out there tonight!’ They put their brochures in bookshoppes and cafes all over town, they put ads in all sorts of places, and try to drive people to their website (maybe even successfully) and they think, ‘Awesome. I am so getting my name out there.’

This kind of thinking might result in some business but I think it’s the wrong goal. I think that we want to get their name in here.

Let me explain: If you’re at a networking event, it is far more powerful to get 10 business cards from others into your pocket than to get a hundred of your business cards into their pockets. Because, if you have their business cards, you can follow up with them. You can take a next step in building a relationship with them. If not, you are stuck waiting and hoping.

And hope is not a strategy.

Put another way, let’s say you got a million people to visit your website in the next month. Sounds awesome, right?

But what if, instead of a million visitors, I gave you 10,000 new perfect-fit people for your email list?

The 10,000 on your email list is more valuable in the long-term. These are people you can stay in touch with and build a relationship with over time. These are the people who will spend money on you, hire you and tell their friends about you.

If I sent a million people to your website not much would happen.

Unless . . . unless you had a system to get those people to join your email list (and get their names in here). 

I want to suggest that there have been four generations of approaches on how to get people to opt in to be in touch with you and allow you to be in touch with them.

Generation #1: The Contact Me Page

When websites first began, there were no email newsletters. There was just a page with your contact info and, if they wanted to reach you they could email or call you.

The Downside: It’s a viable option but includes a bit of risk for the person reaching out. It also would only have people call you who were very close to being ready to buy. And if people were just shopping around, that’s a lot of your personal time answering questions. 

Generation #2: The Free Email Newsletter.

People have signed up to have newsletters mailed to them for many years. That’s not new, but, with the advent of email marketing, those newsletters could be free. I remember the first ‘free email newsletter‘ I saw was something simple like, ‘get a free inspirational quote every day’. And, at the time, that was really novel and exciting. For the first time, you could, for very little money, stay in touch with a large number of people and regularly add value to their lives. 

The Downside: The challenge with this approach now is that there are literally millions of email newsletters you could be on. Most of us are on so many lists that we don’t read. Some we got on because we participated in a telesummit or teleseminar and now we’re on their list, or because we joined years ago and have ignored it since. And some we follow regularly. 

But the bottom line is this: no one is excited to sign up for another free newsletter. No one. Now, if your website is extremely niched and your newsletter is targeted to helping a particular kind of person with a particular kind of problem people might want to. But, the idea of a free newsletter itself is absolutely no longer compelling. 

Generation #3: The Free ‘Opt In’ Gift

So, if an email newsletter isn’t that compelling, but to grow your business you need to stay in touch with people, what do you do? Should you just stop having the email newsletter? 

I don’t think so. I think your email list is the most valuable piece of property your business has. Social media lets you stay in touch but it won’t get the kinds of response rates an email list will have (unless you have a huge following). And, if your ideal client were to give it a try, they might really love.

So, how to get them to give it an honest try?

What a lot of people, myself included, have done is to offer a free gift to people for signing up. In some ways, free gift is a bit of a misnomer because what you’re really offering is a fair trade, ‘I’ll give you a lot of free advice and information if you sign up for my email list and give it a try’. 

The Free Opt In Gift could be an ebook, audio, a video, a quiz/assessment etc. There are a lot of options. The key is that it costs them no money, asks no risk of them and takes you no time to deliver. It’s a sample of your work that they can try to get a taste of what you do. It’s a pink spoon type offer that I spoke about in my blog ‘do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

And the difference you’ll see between just saying, ‘sign up for my free email newsletter’ and ‘enter your email here to get this free gift and you’ll be added to my email newsletter too’ is huge. You will get very few sign ups with the former approach and many more with the latter. You’ll be shocked at the difference it makes if you take this approach.

The Downside: More and more people are doing this too. The idea of the free opt in gift is no longer rare. It’s almost expected. And, here’s the surprising twist, even resented.

That’s right, increasingly, people might even resent your free opt in gift.

And here’s why.

Imagine you come across a website. It seems like it’s targeted to people just like you! Amazing.

This website definitely seems relevant to what you’re going through. Now you want to find out more. So you read a bunch of generic stuff about the business but then there’s nothing else to read. No blog. No articles. No videos. You want to know more about their point of view and approach. You want to know their take on your situation.

But there’s nothing that tells you that. Which means you’re going to have to go through the rigamaroll of emailing them and asking them and who knows when they’ll respond and . . . WAIT there it is! There’s some free info – they’re offering a free video series on how to take some first steps at handling your issue.

Great!

But . . . wait . . . you have to enter your email for it. Shit. You’re already on too many email lists. You resent that, to just check them out, you have to sign up to be on another email list that you aren’t even sure you want to be on.

To make it clearer why this is an issue: imagine you go to an ice cream shop and you ask to try a sample of their ice cream – just a little pink spoon. But, instead of having you the pink spoon they hand you an iPad and ask you to enter your email first. You say, ‘Uhm. Why? I just want to see if I even like this flavour . . .’ And they inform you that you need to be on their email list before you try it. Holy backfiring coercion.

Another downside, a lot of people will just sign up for your free gift and then unsubscribe at the next email. This might be unavoidable but if they see you regularly have new content on your site or at least a tonne of free content, they’ll be a lot more likely to come back of their own accord to check you out.

Generation #4: The Non-Opt In Free Gifts + Opt In

So, what the hell? . . .

What are you supposed to do?

I don’t know for sure but here’s my theory on what’s next: a mix of opt in and non-opt in pink spoons for people to try. 

Give people some things they can check out for free, without having to sign up for a damn thing on your website. Let them try free samples of your bread at your bakery or soup at your restaurant. Let them get a taste of you without having to commit to anything. But also give them the option to get some extra special if they’re willing to take the risk to sign up. 

On this website you can read over 500 posts on my blog for free. There are case studies. There are over three hours of free video. And there’s also a 195 ebook called The Way of the Radical Business you can get if you sign up for my email list. 

I am a big fan of the idea of being a generosity based business. But, being real, I give away a lot more than I need to. You don’t need to offer even a fraction of what I do (out of laziness of turning them into sellable products (actually true)). You just need to offer people a taste. A sample. A way of understanding your point of view. Enough that they can know if it’s a fit to take the next step. 

People will respect this. They love it. They love being able to explore your take on things and get a bit of help without having to pay anything and it will build trust in you.

When people email me to ask for coaching, they’ve likely already been following me for years. They don’t haggle over price. They’ve decided they want to work with me. They’re also often very familiar with my approach to marketing which is wonderful and allows me to help them more. 

Now, if you’ve got a single teleseminar or course, it’s fine to have a squeeze page – just a simple page where the only option is to sign up. But, I think of your website as more your home. It’s a place where people can come to learn about you and if, overall, you are a fit for them. 

And this isn’t even to speak to the benefits of blogging and how that free content can drive traffic to your website or give you little pink spoons you can send to people at networking events and have you feel even more proud of your website.

I want to submit that this fourth generation will build a more solid relationship with your people over time than insisting they sign up for your email newsletter to find out anything about you.

If you want help developing your free opt-in gift, you might want to check out my ‘How To Create Your Free Gift‘ workbook.

 

do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

icecreamfunnel do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

A few questions for you:

  • When people hit your website, do they stick around?
  • Do they sign up to your email list?
  • When you meet someone at a networking party who is curious about your work, do you have a way to give them a taste of what you do that doesn’t involve giving away your time for free?
  • When you host a teleseminar or are interviewed, do you have an incentive to offer people to go and check out your website?
  • Does your business card get you any business? I mean really?
  • Do you have things your clients can pass onto their friends to get them interested in what you do?

If you don’t, then this might be the most important blog post you’ve read in a while.

A lot of people make the mistake of seeing marketing as about trying to change minds rather than seeing who naturally resonates with what they offer.

Or they expect people to jump into the deep end of their incredibly profound work without any shallow end of the pool to explore. They expect people to sign up for their full weekend intensive workshop without knowing anything about them or their work. They have a booth at a craft show with everything flat on the table and wonder why no one approaches them.

Or they just give out a tonne of business cards and brochures and expect people to sign up and buy.

Everything above is all about the same thing – the same blunder committed by countless entrepreneurs.

What we eventually find is that safety is incredibly important in marketing.

The first thing marketing needs to do is get the attention of your ideal client. 

But then we need to lower the risk of them taking a first step in working with us. We need to make it so easy for them to check us out to see if it feels like a fit. 

So, the main idea in this blog post is about the importance of creating a free gift you can offer to people to help them figure out if your work is a fit for them.

I first really got this from reading PinkSpoonMarketing.com. It is a colleague of mine, Andrea Lee, who is a lovely, lovely lady.

She is the one who introduced me to the idea of a sales funnel and the ‘pink spoon’ in marketing.

msfunnel 297x300 do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

You will notice the image on top is like an ice cream store. You have the pink spoon (the literal little pink spoon that gives you a sample taste of ice cream), an ice cream cone, a little bucket of ice cream, ice cream cake, and the calendar which is like for some ice cream stores, believe it or not, have a club you can join where every month you get mailed a coupon for a new delicious flavor of ice cream. It costs a bunch of money because it is really rare, but that’s what you get.

There are different levels of the funnel. You will notice that it is wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. Wider at the top is of course more people are going to try the free thing; less people will try the cone, less people will get a gallon, and very few people will go for the club.

Think of it as a yoga studio. The pink spoon would be a free class. The ice cream cone might be a drop in class. The bucket of ice cream might be a ten pass or a monthly pass. The cake might be a weekend workshop. The club would be the teacher training. Interesting fact, if you take out the teacher training at the sales funnel of most yoga studios, they will collapse within six months to a year. They will just totally not last. It is that important.

There is the bronze, silver, and gold sort of levels. You have seen this all sorts of places. You will see the image below and it gives you a sense of what the price points might be. The pink spoon is free. The next level is anywhere from $5 to $50, then $50 to $200 for the level after that, and then $200 to $500, and then the bottom level of $500 plus, as an example. It may vary.

The important thing is having levels.

There are a few reasons this matters so much.

First of all, consider the impact of trying to remove levels from the sales funnel. Think of it as just pink spoons. Cover with your hand the whole sales funnel and all you have is the pink spoons. You are kind of popular for awhile, but you are broke at the end and you have no ice cream. 

And it is actually really frustrating for people who then discover a flavour they like and they want more. You tell them they can have another little sample, but that is all they can have. Eventually, that gets very frustrating for people. 

But, on the other side of it, a yoga studio would collapse without the teacher training because that is where most of their money comes from. The yoga studio actually doesn’t make that much money from the regular classes because the teacher needs to be paid, there is overhead etc. Teacher trainings are thousands of dollars so that is where they make most of their money. 

Imagine covering the sales funnel, except the calendar at the bottom of the funnel. That would be like walking into a yoga studio and saying, “Hey, I was wondering if I could do a drop-in class?”

They would say, “We don’t do that, but if you would like to sign up for our $3,000 teacher training you can.” You get what a huge leap that is. You walk in to a studio where you don’t know the teachers, you don’t know their philosophy, you don’t know anything about their platform or who they are, and they are immediately expecting you to make that kind of a leap.

Here is the really compelling piece that will just nail some of you. Take out everything, cover up the pink spoon, cover up everything below the ice cream cone. I would suggest that the situation most holistic practitioners are in, most holistic practitioners are in is a position of just selling ice cream cones.  

That sounds like this:  “Hey, thanks for coming in for the session. Would you like to book another session?” and then when they come back, “Would you like to book another session?” And figuratively, it is just selling ice cream cones. 

I want to submit that that isn’t as safe for people as you would think. You don’t know if they want to try a whole cone. They just want to try a sample first. So it is not safe for them and it is not that sustainable for you.

Now you are stuck just trying to get new people in all the time, trying to rebook people, having that uncomfortable conversation. Having a sales funnel makes it much safer for people to engage at the level that feels comfortable for them. It also makes your work much more sustainable for you. 

I will tell you a bit about my personal experience with this. When I first started off I was just doing workshops. I had no pink spoons. It was kind of hard to get people in my workshops. I had one workshop, this one weekend workshop called the Radical Business Intensive. Then I started developing some pink spoons.

I came up with my Niche Workbook. I came up with The Horrible Hundred, the Radical Business 180, these early diagnostics that are a part of the eBook that you can download on my Web site. I had those and those were great.

Then I had this intro workshop that I was doing. One day, I thought, I just need to record this, get it transcribed, so I can offer it as a pink spoon as a free thing on my Web site. I had that. People immediately loved having that. It didn’t make me any money but it helped me grow my list.

I combined the quizzes plus the transcript of that plus a few other things into this 200-page eBook (which is overkill). You don’t need that much content for a pink spoon. It might be too much, but a lot of people say they love it. 

My blog has become a huge pink spoon. The great thing with the blog is that I am getting to a point where I can take some of those posts from my blog and move them into products. I take them off my blog, turn them into a product that I can charge for, but I got to share it and it got to be useful for people in the meantime, which I feel really wonderful about.

Then I noticed that I was getting a lot of people who were holistic practitioners. I created this workshop, Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners. That was another revenue stream. I had this other sort of more green business thing and the holistic practitioner workshop.

Then I created the “How to Create a Free Gift on Your Website”, basically, how to create the pink spoon on your Web site. That was a little bit additional revenue.

Then I was seeing that I had so many of my favourite clients who were just never going to come back to the same old workshop – so I designed a workshop called The HotBox which was invite only for my favourite clients. Five clients per workshop. 100% based in hotseats. Each person gets an hour of the groups time. I’ve done three of them so far and the results have been really powerful. I charge a sliding scale of $250 – $500 for it.

Then I got this crazy idea to turn my weekend workshop, the Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners, into this six-week online course, which I have been enjoying so much, and that you are a part of. That has been really good financially, sustainably, etc. I charged $200 for a basic level and then offered the group course plus an hour of coaching for $300 and six coaching sessions for $700. I made $8400 or so. That’s more profitable than most weekends I’ve ever done (no costs for venue, travel, accommodations etc.). 

Then I led a Niching for Hippies virtual course. The first time I led it, I charged $300 per person and got about 45 people. So, that was about $13,000 when it was all said and done. I did it again six months later and charged $600 for it and got 45 people. In the end, that was about $23,000 of profit.

My situation used to be, “I’m broke. I need to hit the road and do some more workshops.” But now I am actually hitting the road with money in my bank instead of the tank being dry. 

As my sales funnel has become more robust, I can’t tell you the relief it is. It feels like the boat is getting so much more solid. It is not leaking as much. Again, not just being safer for people to check me out, but to uphold me. Also, I created a bunch of these case studies that are on my Web site for free.

But, it all starts with the pink spoons. It all starts with the free gift you can offer people. This is not a new idea. Ice cream stores do it. Bakeries do it. Grocery stores do it. Authors do it with ‘free chapters’ of their books and blogs. You should do it too.

It starts with giving people a way to sample what you have to offer with no risk, at no cost and that take zero time from you.

There’s nothing I know of that will help you build your list, deepen trust, connect with people and develop a following that having a thoughtful, well put together pink spoon.

If you’d like some help in creating one for your website, check out the “How to Create a Free Gift on Your Website”. I think you’ll love it. 

And, if you’ve got a pink spoon you use successfully, please share it with us below in the comments. 

Attracting More Customers with Your Story

schuyler Attracting More Customers with Your StorySchuyler Kaye (pictured here) was a participant of my January, 2013 Niching for Hippies course. During and after the course, I heard him speak about his work in helping people uncover their story and using that in marketing. Then I heard he was leading a course on it so I thought I’d help him spread the word but also do an interview with him about it.

In my experience, story is everything in marketing. It’s both the means and the ends. Understanding our story and the journey we’ve been through helps us figure out so much about our business, our niche and what we have to offer. Sharing our story helps potential clients really feel into whether or not it’s a fit for them.

You can find out more about his free webinar, Attracting More Customers with Your Story, when you click here

It’s tailored specifically for small business owners whose online efforts aren’t attracting new or the “right” customer. If you have trouble answering your customers when they ask “why you?” If you’d like to get more warm leads from your online presence and if you wish your website could filter the “right” customers from the ones who aren’t . . . this will be worth your time.

He’s also leading a full seven-week course which starts May 14th, 2013 and you can check out here. There are only 16 spaces available. It’s really worth reading his sales letter just for some education on a great sales letter.

This isn’t an affiliate deal. I don’t make any money from spreading the word on it.

Why story? More and more people are talking about the importance of storytelling in marketing – what’s your take on why this matters?

Oh wow, this is a loaded question. I could tell you a lot of things like… how human brains are hard wired to quickly understand and remember stories. 

Or I could even mention how stories tap into the emotional side of the brain, which essentially determines whether someone wants to buy or not.

But the truth is that marketing is generally… boring. It’s boring because, in most cases, it talks above, around, or through the audience rather than to the audience. Are you offering a solution without witnessing the problem? Are you speaking in terms your customer can relate to?

From the time of villagers sitting around the fire, stories are what have led people to move toward their vision.  Stories work because they are NOT boring… to the right people. 

When you use stories in your marketing you allow your customers to experience the need you’re trying to solve in a way that is easily understood and memorable. It is also safe because it creates enough distance between your reader and their problem that they are able to see it from an objective point of view. 

(Easily understood + memorable) * safety = a warm lead 

Why is telling our own story helpful for marketing? Can you give three real life mini examples of clients or people you know who had stories relevant to their work?

I’ll be blunt… chances are you’re not the only one offering a solution to the problem. And with a computer and Wi-Fi access, your customer can probably find a number of those other solutions. So what’s going to separate you from them?

The answer is You. 

Telling your own story accomplishes three things when talking to your audience. 

  1. Communicates the purpose or the “why” you do what you do. 
  2. Establishes credibility that is not dependent on being first or better than your competition.
  3. Builds trust that you can help them solve their problem.

Tad, I think your story is a great example to start with (I’ll paraphrase):

You started out as a hippie that loved marketing. The journey of becoming a better marketer created a struggle between the love you wanted to share in your heart and the inauthentic or contrived approaches traditional marketers were teaching.

This led you to find ways of marketing that felt good to your heart and included working with the people you loved most in the world… other hippies. Now you help hippies all over market their products and services in a way that feels true to their roots.

Here is a recent client story:

My client’s mom was a very successful doctor, and it was always expected that she become a doctor too. The trouble was that she didn’t want to be a traditional doctor and so the internal struggle of balancing her own and others’ expectations began.

She spent years learning everything from psychology to hypnotherapy to help her deal with this inner struggle until she found her solution. Now she is a “doctor” who solves problems of a different kind by helping others who want to find joy but struggle with expectations.

A part of my own story:

I spent a great deal of my life achieving approval by modifying my image to gain acceptance from those around me. Those skills were invaluable in marketing my first business right up until the point when they weren’t. That’s when the struggle of surviving and changing with the whims of my customers and competitors became overwhelming. 

With my experience with storytelling in business, spiritual practices, and a willingness to look inward for my answers, I found a heart-centered branding solution that worked for me… and now I work with other small business owners to help them through that same transformation process.

You went through my Niching for Hippies program where we did a lot of exploring around this notion that your deepest wound is often a doorway to your truest niche. What’s your personal take on this? Is there anything you’d add or amend to that notion?

Definitely. I spend time exploring wounds in my course on “Attracting customers with your story” for a very similar reason.  

Who would you trust to help you with a problem? Someone who is certified to help you …or someone who has lived the problem and found a solution?

Your story of how you struggled with and solved the problem that you now help others with is the perfect way to share that experience with your customers in a way they can understand, remember and relate to.

If I were going to add anything to this concept it would be that it is also helpful to look at your early accomplishments. They can be windows to your niche since many times they are what reinforce your beliefs and expectations. 

What’s the connection between our story and our niche? 

You are sharing your story to help your customers determine that you can provide the right solution for them. 

In that way they work together. As you understand your niche, you are able to share the stories from your life that better serve your customers. Just as when you explore your story, you will find it can help you self-select your niche.

It seems like finding your story is also a sort of integrity and safety mechanism. Like, if you haven’t achieved a particular result, maybe you shouldn’t be teaching others about how to do it? Would you agree?

Yes I do agree, but more so for you than your customer. Let me explain with a story.

I remember being excited with all the possibilities that were in front of me. I had just left the company I worked for and was going to venture out to make a difference in the world. The trouble was… I didn’t know what difference I wanted to make.

A buddy of mine had an idea to create a web service that helped restaurants schedule their employees. It seemed like a great idea, and so I decided to join him in bringing the product to market. I found that marketing a service I didn’t use to an audience I wasn’t part of wasn’t the best business for me… 

My story never had a restaurant in it… the closest I got to working for a restaurant was helping them remove the food they put on my plate… by eating it. The trouble wasn’t that our solution didn’t work… it worked great. The issue was that I was out of integrity to my purpose, which left me unmotivated and wanting more.

I enjoyed working with my buddy… but I was still searching for the difference I wanted to make.

For me, finding my story actually created clarity around what I feel is my purpose. I guess I would call it less of a safety mechanism and more of a compass to guide me through the wilderness.

I’d also caution people with the word “result”. When I hear “result” it can sound like a destination, but in many cases it is really just part of the journey.

Do you have to have everything figured out in order to be able to help people? I don’t think so… you just have to be further along the path than they are.

You speak about five steps to your process. Can you walk us through them in case study of a client you’ve worked with?

Absolutely, I’ll use the same client above and share snippets of her story to add clarity. She helps adults living in NYC, who believe that life should be fun, but struggle with perfectionism, anxiety, frustration and stress.

1. Natural Authority: Your ability to do what you do comes from many aspects of your life beyond your business. Knowing those aspects is the first step to shift from comparison to story.

With a doctor and an engineer for parents, it wasn’t hard to see how she became a problem solver who wanted to help people.  The expectation for her to become a traditional doctor landed her in an internal struggle between her parents’ expectations and what her heart desired.

Notice how this sets the stage showing how she was groomed to help those struggling with perfectionism. Next she shares her journey to finding a solution…

2. Point of View: Knowing how to apply your natural authority to help your customers solve their problems will complete the shift. It will build trust with your customers. They will know that you understand what they’re going through and there is a solution.

She moved to Israel to study Psychology where she became aware that her issue was created in her mind; yet knowing it wasn’t enough to solve it.

Frustrated in her first attempt she tried yoga, meditation, energy healing, nutrition, all the body sciences, and about the body-mind connection at one of Tel-Aviv’s holistic colleges; yet doing wasn’t enough to solve it either.

She then spent the next 11 years learning everything from life coaching to Neuro-Linguistic Programming but it wasn’t until she became a board certified hypnotherapist and Past Life Regression practitioner that it all came together.

Finally, after years of pursuing freedom from the pressures to become something she wasn’t, she had found a solution that worked fully… it was a combination of knowing, doing, and working with the subconscious mind. 

Observe her point of view coming together… This part of the story shows her audience that she’s been through this before and come out the other side. It also tells about how she sees the solution coming together… “The combination of knowing, doing, and working with the subconscious mind.”

3. Reputation: Most people don’t want to be the first to cross a possibly rickety bridge. Sharing your external credibility in the right way can help build confidence that your bridge is safe. 

In her story you can see supporting external credibility in the schools she’s gone to, the years she’s been working, the certifications she has, etc. They show her customers that other people are verifying her ability to help them with this problem. 

4. Icebreakers: You can encourage your customers to begin a relationship with you by sharing some personal icebreakers. 

She works with the Brooklyn Animal Shelter to help heal cats so that they’re ready for adoption. She loves photography and walking barefoot when the sun’s out.

By sharing some personal details she has created an opportunity for people to know who she is and not only what she does… This reminds her customers that she is human too, not a business just trying to sell them something.

5. Audience: It’s your story, but it’s about your audience. Recognize how to get their attention, and remember what they need from you. It will make the difference between having them read your story — or not.

Note that these excerpts from her story are told because they answer questions that her customers might have… like: “Why should I pick you?” and “How do I know your solution works for me?”

Pick me because I’ve been through this before and have found a solution. I have certifications and experience that support and validate my story and life experiences that have prepared me to solve this problem.

What are the surprising benefits that people might not expect when they really begin to explore their own story?

I think my client above may have said it best:

“This course exceeded my expectations. I thought I would end up with a story on my “about me” page, and ended up with a whole new clarity about my purpose and the clients I wanted to work with.” 

I found that to be my experience as well. The process aligned my business with my heart… my purpose. That brought so much clarity to who my customer is, what I have to offer them, and created more compassion and understanding for what my customers are going through. 

Here’s some info on Schuyler’s upcoming courses.

Attracting More Customers with Your Story

Tailored specifically for small business owners whose online efforts aren’t attracting new or the “right” customers.

  1. Have trouble answering your customers when they ask “why you?”
  2. Would you like to get more warm leads from your online presence?
  3. Do you wish your website could filter the “right” customers from the ones who aren’t?

If you feel a resounding “yes” to these questions, then here are two opportunities starting at free that you’ll want to check out:

No-Cost Webinar see the details here:

http://www.t4execs.com/attracting-more-customers-with-your-story/no-cost-webinar

Full seven-week course see the details here:

http://www.t4execs.com/attracting-more-customers-with-your-story

A Bit About Schuyler: Hi, I’m Schuyler Kaye. I help small business owners who want to make a difference and need to attract more customers through their online presence. I’ve been in the business of branding since I decided being a short, fat, nerdy high schooler wasn’t the way to start college. My experiences during my graduate work at Stanford University in conjunction with marketing my first business led to my heart-centered branding program. I love to travel, dance, play guitar, and eat more green chile than is generally advisable. For more info on my work: www.t4execs.com

Kelly on Wounds

Kelly 1 resized 200x300 Kelly on Wounds

I’d been hearing about Kelly Tobey for years.

He’s a leading figure in the Calgary personal growth scene. And then recently, while preparing for my Niching for Hippies course I saw that he was leading a workshop called ‘Shifting From Wounds to Assets”. And it reminded me of the blog post I’d written about wounds as niche. People struggle for years with their niche and often discover that their best niche is a younger version of them.

What followed was an extended interview happening over the space of months via facebook messages. I hope you enjoy it.

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Tad: You’re leading a workshop called, “shifting from wounds to assets” what’s it all about?

Kelly: In my journey of working with people for over 20 years one thing has shown itself over and over. From reading some of your writings Tad it seems that you have come across similar patterns. 

The workshop gives people a chance to look at their past wounds with the purpose of getting conscious about what assets have developed from their experiences. Then looking at how they are actually using those assets now and how they can utilize them more in the future if they choose to. 

I have found that many people just view the points of trauma or difficulties in their lives as things they have to get past and do their best to forget about. Instead this approach is one of uncovering any value that was gained and using it, rather than burying the experience entirely.  

In the process of recovering from the places where we have been traumatized or wounded we develop inner strengths and gain wisdom. On a personal level these strengths become assets in our ability to take on life’s challenges that we are faced with. Not only do we now know that we can recover from hurts but we also have tools that can be used to help us move forward with more ease. 

On a relational level we can now offer support, feedback and encouragement to others that are going through similar challenges. Our opportunity to be in service in such a way feeds the soul. It gives a purposefulness to the hard times we have gone through. In studies done on how to create more happiness in our lives, one of the keys to happiness is to be in meaningful service to others. As well it builds a sense of self-value and esteem.  

Tad: What’s the story of this workshop? And what’s your personal connection to this material?

Kelly: I will give you an example from my own life that might bring grounding and clarity to the concepts I am referring to. 

In my family system I had a mother that was overly critical. How that wounded me was that I had very low esteem as I felt no matter how well I did it was never good enough. This led to two major dysfunctional behaviours in me. The first was to go into “people pleasing” always looking for ways to make other people happy in hopes that they would then like me and the criticism would stop. 

The major draw back with that approach to life was that it took me further and further away from my core self. I was not focused on what actions (or non-actions) were true for me at my essence. Instead I was focused on looking for what others wanted. As a result much of the time I was betraying what was true to me. So even when I was getting approval from others for doing what they wanted, my esteem was still being damaged because I was betraying myself. 

This inappropriate sacrifice for others was building an internal anger. Which I tried to bury because nice guy people pleasers were not allowed anger. Eventually this led to the second major dysfunctional behaviour. Tired of sacrificing myself and tired of still getting mother’s criticism no matter how hard I tried to be perfect for her, I flipped over into rebellion.

I attempted to bury my underlying desire to be loved by my mother by pretending that I did not care if she loved me and approved of me or not. And in an attempt to prove it I went into fierce rebellion. Doing anything that I knew would horrify my mother and threaten her good standing with her religious friends.

Again, like with my people pleasing behaviour, there was no discernment about what actions (or non-actions) would be congruent with my essence. My rebellion took me further and further into self-destruction eventually landing me in solitary confinement in prison. 

Eventually, dissatisfied with the results from both of the dysfunctional behaviours I went on a journey of seeking a different path. Gradually I learned new ways of being that were based in being true to the essence of who I am and living a purposeful life that reflects that to the best of my ability. To explain all the steps in that would take a book or two so I will just jump to the results. 

Healing from my own wounds and the resulting dysfunctions called on lots of inner strength and fortitude. I gained a lot of wisdom along the way. I learned tools that I have been able to apply in facing other personal challenges. 

I ended up working in Group Homes with “delinquent” youngsters that had been in trouble with the law or that their parents did not know how to handle. I now had assets to share with these youngsters because of coming out the other side from similar wounds. And I had a depth of compassion and understanding that “book learned” social workers in the Group Home system could only touch on. Plus I was a living example for them, that it is possible to change out of the rebellious behaviours and have a more satisfying life. So I had great results with the youngsters I was working with.

That is an example from one of the many traumas I experienced. 

Although each trauma was different, the layout of working through them was the same, examine how I was wounded, do the recovery work, look at the gifts that evolved, and then utilize those gifts in my life.

So that is my personal connection to this material and why I like to empower others with exploring their own process through these steps. 

Tad:  What is the connection you see between wounds and assets?

Kelly: I think in some ways I have already answered that question. To recap > if we do the work to heal from our wounds it calls up our inner gifts and strengths. Along the journey we pick up wisdom. So the wounds have the potential to lead us into developing assets. 

On the other hand if we just attempt to bury or ignore our wounds, not only do we not develop the potential assets but we are dooming ourselves to living out dysfunctional coping strategies that are driven by the subconscious mind because of the unwillingness to bring it all to conscious awareness for healing. 

For example if I did not have the courage to face the buried pain of being raised with criticism and receiving corporal punishment if I made a mistake, then I would still be running self-destructive people pleasing and/or rebellious behaviours.  

Tad:  Do you see a connection between our wounds and our work in the world?

Kelly: Certainly the assets we gain by working through our wounds can give us great tools to apply in our working lives. 

Here is an example that came out of a recent workshop. I wont use names as I want to respect privacy. 

When he went back to examine some of the old wounding, one of the men in the workshop remembered that he was not allowed to draw and create art because of his parents’ religious beliefs and their belief that art had no value. This set him up to suppress one of his great inner gifts. Eventually an uncle “smuggled” drawing materials to him and encouraged him to draw. So he began to draw again in secrecy late at night with a flashlight under his blankets. 

Through time he did enough work on breaking free of the wounding that as an adult he has been able to use the gained assets to make a living as an artist. Yet it is not in the field of art that he has the highest passion for. 

He was still carrying some of the old wounding when it came to expressing his talents in the field fine arts. Although highly talented in this area, for sometime he has been concerned that if he were to do his fine arts full time that he would then be depending on it for money. He was then concerned that it would cut into the spiritual flow and connection he has with the fine arts.

In the workshop he saw that as a result of the wounding, as a child he had learned that his full passion for art and the spiritual connection to it had to be kept secret (under the blankets). So far he had recovered enough to go into a branch of art that he could make a living at but the possibility of going fully into his fine arts raised subconscious fears planted by the initial wounding. 

How it played out was that so much time was spent on the art he was doing for income that his fine art kept being put aside. Then when he would finally start to spend time with his fine art, he was so hungry for the experience that he would lose sense of time and other commitments. He just loved his spiritually connected experience so much that nothing else would matter. Then when he would finally come out of the fine art experience he would face complaints from the people in his life that had been ignored. His ex-wife had even framed his fine arts as being his “mistress”. His wounded child self was taking the complaints as the same old message > that art was bad. 

So in his workshop exploration he became clearer that of course the fine art was not bad and did not need to get him “in trouble”. He was just unconsciously setting up a replaying of that scenario from his past wounding. The replaying was reinforcing the old message that embracing his fine art fully would lead to punishment. 

With this new found awareness, if he wanted he could use some time management. Portion feeding time for his ongoing desire for the fine arts. By not putting it off for extended periods he would not end up so starved for the experience that he would forget about his other time commitments. 

As a result of these awarenesses he has already started to unravel some of the limitations from the old wounding. Soon after the workshop he was fulfilling a contract to paint a fine art mural on an inside wall of a public building. And told me he was having a blissful experience doing it!! 

Another step towards opening to his fine art becoming more and more visible to the public rather than “hidden under a blanket”. And knowing that receiving acknowledgement and money does not have to take away from the sacred experience > that belief was just an old tape from the past. 

To address your question “Do you see a connection between our wounds and our work in the world?” I would suggest that some of the most deeply satisfying vocations can come from applying the assets we have gained out of the process of healing our wounds. That process can be seen as a training ground for developing our gifts. We are always going to deliver our best work when offering something that parallels our own personal experience. Sure we can bring value into the work place as a result of formal education yet by itself it pales in comparison.

So for example lets look at someone that went through the trauma of car crash and physically damaged their body. Then they were able to heal themselves through an array of nutrients and physical exercises. For them to transmute that experience into a job such as setting up a clinic that specializes in vehicle crash recovery could be very fulfilling. They could share their wisdom from the grounding of their own experience.  Who to relate better to the clients than someone who has travelled a similar path. Someone who can relate closely with empathy and understanding. Someone who can be encouraging through the difficult times and be a living example of the results.  

Tad:  What is the outline of the steps you think people need to go through in order to transform their wounds into gifts?

Kelly: I wont attempt to cover all the possible steps involved as there are a great variety and many of them are dependent on what the wounding was. 

I will touch on some. One is to not bury the wound. If it stays in the subconscious it will not heal. Like a physical cut, you may cover it with a bandage for a while but eventually you need to open the wound to air for it to complete it’s healing. 

Another is to seek help. We may be able to heal some wounds on our own but it is so much quicker when we reach out for help. 

Another key point that eluded me for years is that traumas are going to have an emotional component. For years I attempted to heal wounds in myself and in clients with mind alone. Assuming that we could think ourselves into full recovery. I couldn’t understand why dysfunctional patterns would persist even when we knew mentally that the patterns were not serving. Why did we not just stop the behaviour if we knew better? Finally I came to grips with the fact that traumas have an impact on our emotional body. And that emotions are involved in our behaviours behind the scenes. 

Example: If I wanted to create an intimate partnership but kept running behaviours that pushed people away. With my mind I could analyze the behaviours and see what ones do not work for creating partnership. I could tell myself that I am not going to keep running those behaviours. Yet I may find that try as I might, I could only temporarily stop the behaviours before they came back or they were replaced with other behaviours that pushed potential intimates away. 

If I were to look deeper I may call up memories of past relational traumas. Perhaps I had a break up that involved being betrayed. If I were to acknowledge the underlying emotions I would see that I was deeply hurt by the experience. But perhaps I was raised to not acknowledge feelings of grief. Maybe I got the message of keep a stiff upper lip and move on. So I never went into the feelings of grief, gave them full airtime, or allowed them to be expressed and healed. 

As a result, in the present even though I would consciously want an intimate relationship my subconscious would be doing its best to protect me from getting into another situation where I might fall in love but then be betrayed again and have to feel grief. So my subconscious would make sure that I kept acting out behaviours that would push a potential partner away. Because I had been trained to regard grief as something that needed to be suppressed and feared, I could not risk another event that might activate more grief to add to the grief I was already suppressing.

So without doing the required emotional work I would stay stuck in the effects of the wound.    

Tad:  Can you share three stories of people you’ve worked with and how their wounds were turned into gifts? and what was the impact of that?

Kelly: Hee hee, I guess I got ahead of you as I have given you a couple of examples while responding to earlier questions. But yes I can give you more examples. 

Of course one of the people I have worked with is myself so I will give another example from my own life that fits nicely into what I was just sharing about the importance of emotional work. 

Before I go into explaining the trauma I will give you some background. I had spent my life disengaged from my emotional body. I had trained myself in what I now refer to as spiritual bypassing. That was the art of telling myself that I did not need to feel grief over my losses because in spirit we are all one so nothing is ever lost anyway. At the time I did not realize it was just another tool for suppressing emotion.  

My partner Dianne, a friend of ours Verna and myself were out for a day of rock climbing. We made it to the top feeling the elation of completing a brand new route. We unroped from each other and sorted out our gear preparing to walk along the top of the cliff to a place were we could do the 300-foot rappel back to the base of the cliff. Verna walked in front, followed by myself and Dianne brought up the rear. At one point I heard from behind Dianne say “oh shit”. I turned around to see what she was expressing about. My brain could not compute at first because when I turned she was no where to be seen. Then with shock I realized what had happened. She had stumbled and fallen over the edge of the cliff. The cliff at that point was overhung so we could not see the part of the cliff directly below us. We called out but heard no replies from Dianne. 

We set up a repel station so we could drop over the cliff on our remaining rope and to find her. Dianne had the other rope over her shoulder when she fell. We were hoping that it might have caught on something. Because of the distance Verna and I had to continue to reset new repels as we continued our descent. With each passing one the dread loomed larger as it meant Dianne had fallen a greater and greater distance. 

It was dark by the time we finally reached the cliff base. We started walking a grid back and forth. Eventually we came across her lifeless body. As we sat beside Dianne under the starry sky I broke open emotionally. These feelings were much too big for me to suppress. 

So obviously that experience was a trauma point. As it turned out I reached out for support and found it in the form of a facilitator that was intimately familiar with the emotional body. He led me to see the importance of needing to heal the emotional body as one of the key components to a fuller recovery from trauma. Up until that point my work with people had only been based in psychology, spirituality and body care. I could facilitate some results but without recognizing it I was missing a key component to part of what we are as humans > our emotional bodies.  

So now that I saw the importance I veraciously studied the art of working with the emotions. In her death Dianne had given me one of the most important gifts of my life. Not only had she facilitated the opening of my emotional life, transforming me into a much more fulfilled human being, but she had instigated me into developing the integration of emotional intelligence into my healing practise. This grew the effectiveness of my working with people exponentially. Her death rippled out through my transformed worked to touch the heart and soul of many, many people since. I will be forever grateful to her. 

Here is another example, this time from a person that I have worked with. Her trauma came in the form of being scapegoated in her family. Not being seen or heard in the way she would have hoped. The isolation only grew when her parents separated. 

In the process of healing her own history she was drawn to doing rebirthing work with me. This led to further study of childhood traumas and to research into a variety of parenting techniques and birthing processes. She used these more organically natural techniques in birthing her own son. 

The healing of her trauma of being poorly parented has led her to learn many skills and now she works as a Dula in service to other families in the process of giving birth to their children. She approaches it with a huge heart full of loving care. 

Tad since you first invited me to do this interview with you, I have explored a bit of the work that you do. So I know that you too see the value of people doing work that flows out of their personal life experiences. You point out how much more connected one can be to their client when fulfilling a need that is based in a personal experience. 

I want to thank you for encouraging people in this manner as I feel it will bring both them and their customers more satisfaction. 

I realize that most of your clients are coming to you for help with their businesses, yet I want to add here that for anyone that has not yet figured out a way to turn your gifts into your vocation, I would still encourage you to find places where you can give them. Perhaps it is with friends, perhaps by volunteering on the side. But know that if you find a way to give from the gifts you have gained through personal experiences and that are connected to the essence of who you are, your life is going to be filled with even more fulfillment. 

Tad: When you speak about becoming a people pleaser and ‘nice guy’ it strikes me that you must have learned a great deal about building rapport with people, setting a relaxed vibe, diffusing conflict in that process. And I imagine those same skills that were a part of unhealthy patterns for you, now used consciously are part of what make you such a wonderful facilitator. Would you say that’s true?

Kelly: Yes I would agree to the truth of that and not just in myself. What I have come to see in working with people is that any trauma or wound that we are met with leads to us coming up with a coping strategy. Somewhat simplified, our copying strategy will have two sides to it. 

One is that it will be rooted in an inner strength and/or gift that will be creatively used to attempt to deal with the wounding and protect us from similar wounding. So using the example of the “people pleaser”, it has all the traits that you referred to such as rapport building, bringing calmness to situations, diffusing conflict, as well as ability to read people and intuit what they want or need.

The second part is that when the “gift” goes sideways it turns into a dysfunction. And it is quite likely that we will have some of these dysfunctions blended in to our behaviours because typically we are reacting to a trauma unconsciously as apposed to us consciously deciding how to cope. Because it is unconscious reaction we can have “sideways” behaviours mixed in without even knowing it. 

So for instance as a people pleaser, I had the gift of actually knowing how to please people and be in service to them BUT one of the ways it went sideways was that if any situation had elements of the original wounding, I would be acting out of a fear reaction rather than a conscious response. 

So for example one of the dysfunctions is to sacrifice what would be true to me in an attempt to make someone else happy (in unconscious hopes that if I was able to please them they would not wound me). But in the self-betrayal I would actually end up wounding myself. Because when I am not being true to my own integrity I am not in alignment with inner peace and harmony. 

This comes back to the importance of addressing and working through our wounds. In the process of healing the wounds we become conscious of what our unconscious coping mechanisms were. Now with the clarity of conscious awareness we can pick and choose between which behaviours are appropriate and which ones are not serving us.   

Tad: And it also seems like you really help people who struggle as you struggled to feel ‘enough’. That seems like a clear example of a direct connection between your wound and your ‘wand’ as they say.

Kelly: Hee hee I had never heard the term “your wound and your wand”, it has a nice ring to it. 

Yes, again I agree with your observation. Because I choose to work through the wounding of my self-worth and self-esteem, as I continue to learn how to heal the damage in myself, I continue to learn tools that have the possibilities of serving others as well. And all this gets amplified in a workshop setting because of the strength of intention. Participant’s intention to strengthen their acknowledgment of self-worth and my intention to share what I have learned along the path.  

Tad: And, related to that, do you feel like the gifts come from the compensating mechanisms or from the healing from them specifically?

Kelly: I suspect that the gifts are inherent in us, and that dealing with life’s challenges calls them to the forefront. As you have likely seen, different people can face almost identical challenges, yet the internal strengths they call on to face the challenge might be quite different. 

Perhaps in some cases the gifts would lay dormant until we are faced with a challenge that requires them to surface. As hard as it is to experience traumas, it might be that if we have the support and willingness to work through them, that they accelerate us coming into our wholeness. 

Tad: I’m wondering if you feel like the path of healing and connecting with our inner nature IS the gift we get from our wounds (and so the gift is always inherently about the discipline and dedication to healing in some way?) or if it’s the compensating mechanisms and defences we’ve created that we are now able to consciously redirect that is where the gifts come from in it – so that we look at how we dealt with our wounds (poorly) and find ways that those same poor behaviours can be ultimately used for good? I’m curious what your take on that is.

Kelly: Hmmm, looks like I jumped ahead with my previous response as I think your question was already answered. It seems to me that the gifts are inherent in us and can be developed whether we have trauma to stimulate them or not, yet it is only a theory, I am not 100% sure on that.  

Tad: I know for myself, I have had the wound of not feeling ‘cool’ for a lot of my life. And that had me try ‘too hard’ to be cool and come across as ‘try hard’ to people. And that felt painful. Which had me feel uncool. And made me try even harder. And part of being uncool was learning how to map rooms to see who the cool people were. Unconsciously, that was a disingenuous pattern. But now, as I work to build connections with key hubs around sustainability and local food and good things in Edmonton – those same skills of mapping out key players is actually a beautiful gift to the community. 

Kelly: Yes Tad, great example of what we are talking about. 

Tad: When you speak of the tragedy of your friend falling to her death – it strikes me that you found a beautiful meaning in it that honoured her life and its loss. Is this a core part of your work? Helping people find a meaning in it?

Kelly: I do not know if that can be considered the core of my work but yes it is safe to say that it is a core part. I think that it is great to find deeper levels of meaning when they are available to us. It can settle the hungry mind and in some situations reformulate the emotional impact of events. 

Yet there is also a lot to be said for standing in the middle of the mystery of life. I have noticed in myself and in some others that it is easy to get “addicted” to having answers, even to the point of being in discomfort or disarray if no answers are forth coming. I find that sometimes it serves me to invite in answers if they will serve the highest good, yet in the meantime to let go of the demand for answers and just bask in a space wonderment. The unfolding of the unpredictability of life can bring lots of “juice” to our experience. I notice that the more I trust myself to be able to deal with any of life’s challenges, the more relaxed I am with the unfolding. 

On the other hand if I don’t feel safe with life, then my search for meaning is fear based, full of angst, and with an underpinning of wanting to know in hopes that the knowledge will allow me to control things. Fear tells me that if I can control everything I can be safe. 

Trust tells me that I can call on inner and outer resources that will carry me through anything that arises, making it safe to flow through as the mystery reveals itself moment by moment.  

Tad: I’ve heard it said that our ideal niche is often a younger version of ourselves – does that feel true for you? Like, I felt uncool when I was a young man, but now, older and wiser, I might have a lot to offer to a young man who feels uncool. A woman who struggled with body issues as a teen might be the perfect person, once she’s grown and healed enough, to help other young women on the same journey. I did a lot of pushy sales stuff, and now I help people who are struggling with how to be authentic in sales and marketing. There’s this idea that much of the purpose of growing up is to become the adult whose support we were most needing when we were growing up. That, when we’re lost in our direction in life, we can often look back in time at who we used to be and where we used to be and offer help to those people.

Kelly: Thanks, now I am clearer on the point you were asking about. Yes, I am in agreement with that principal, in fact it ties into a healing process that often gets used in my work. I have notice that for our elder, present self to just have the knowledge of how we needed to be treated in our past times of crisis, is just part of the process of cleaning up the “damage”. Without further steps, the younger parts of ourselves can stay in a traumatized state even once our adult self knows better. So it can be useful for a person to go into a meditative state and call up the memory of the trauma point, including all the emotions that were activated. Once accessed they can use creative imagination to picture their wiser adult self travelling back through time and stepping in as an advocate for the younger self. 

So for example I have done this myself by using memory to go back to a time when my mother was beating me using corporal punishment. I saw that as a child I was traumatized by the pain. That I was confused that someone that supposedly loved me was using physical violence because of a mistake she assumed I made. I saw that in my young mind I was making up the story that I did not have any rights over my own sovereign space, my own body. I was being taught that if someone was angry at me, that they had the right to physically attack me, criticize me and shame me. And I saw that as a result my child self was feeling a mixture of helplessness, sadness and anger about what was happening. 

While still holding that image, it was overlaid with my present imagination. That imagination was of my adult self dropping into the scene, taking my younger self into my arms away from my mother, telling her she could no longer physically abuse this child, telling my younger self that I was going to be here and now stand up for Kelly, making openhearted boundaries whenever needed so no one gets to abuse us again. 

From this place of safety I visualized my child and adult self sending loving energy to the essence of my mother while at the same time saying no to her inappropriate behaviours. 

As I am doing this I am holding the consciousness of my adult self and child self at the same time and allowing them to both express through my present self. So here I am with all this going on internally while in present time I am weeping the tears of my child self. The tears he never got to cry while he was being violated, as well as his tears of relief that someone had finally seen him and cared enough to step in with the love and care that he had needed. 

So one might ask, what was the point of doing all that. Well the point is that prior to doing that kind of inner work, in my everyday life, if I ran into situations that had elements of what happened when I was a child, I would unconsciously go into that childhood assumption that I had to put up with aggression from other people. It wasn’t as extreme as me being physically hit, but it did manifest as me collapsing and not standing up for myself. Especially in the face of women that reminded me of my mother 

So I was stunted in a child state when facing situations that triggered associations to the past events. Because all this was playing out subconsciously below my awareness, all that I was seeing in my adult life was that I could be manipulated by people that showed aggression. That I lacked boundaries and would collapse into a passive state. Or if I were pushed too far I would flip to the other pole and become aggressive (unconsciously fuelled by the unresolved anger I had at my mother). 

So in present time, logically my adult self had the intellectual knowledge that I had the right to my sovereign space. My adult knew that no one had the right to be abusive towards me, BUT when triggered I unconsciously regressed to the unhealed child state. In a sense the adult was nowhere to be found when the child state took over. 

Once I did the healing work to go back in to the trauma and unify the connection between the child and adult Kelly > now my child self is not left disconnected internally. So if something arises presently that has elements of the past, even if the child is activated, he is not left alone, the adult steps in with him as an advocate and puts the needed boundaries in place.  

So this would be one of my personal examples that is an illustration of how we can become an advocate for our own internal child self. And then there is the option to extend that out to others as you were mentioning Tad.

So in my workshops a big thrust is in supporting people to learn how to empower themselves to make openhearted boundaries. Passing on what I have learned (or a better description would be – what I have embodied) and helping people find ways to embody that for themselves so they have more than just the head knowledge of physiological and spiritual ideals about self care.

Tad: If someone were to say to you, ‘My wounds are NOT a blessing!’ I’m curious how you might respond, or want to respond if they were open.

Kelly: I liked how you framed that Tad “or want to respond if they were open”. It shows me your sensitivity to care when addressing someone’s wounds. Discussion of wounds can initiate protectiveness, so unless there is a sincere openness, any attempt at communication can break down rapidly. 

If there is an opening then I would likely share my thoughts about the paradox of wounding. Receiving wounding is not a blessing. Receiving a wounding can be a blessing. Both ring true to me so I would not want to polarize to one statement or the other. Rather I would hold space for both of them. 

If I am stuck with just “it is not a blessing” then I am likely to stay stuck in a disempowered victim place around it. If I am stuck in “it is a blessing” then I may be prone to use positivity to suppress the grief that needs to be felt through. And to avoid looking squarely at the damage facilitated by the wounding. If I am not willing to fully look at the damage and emotional feel what that brings up, then I will be left with blind spots that will keep me stuck and unable to move forward into an empowered space. It is through the close observation and emotional work that I can sort out how to heal the wound and come back into an empowered place. That process is going to call forward my gifts, which in turn reveals the other side of the paradox > “my wounds are a blessing”. 

Hmmm, that feels like it may be a natural place to close on Tad, unless you have further questions, which I would be willing to answer.

Thanks again for your stimulating questions. 

May each of you that reads this be blessed on your journey. 

Kelly Tobey is an IntegrativeTransformational Processing Facilitator with StarTree Integration Adventures (founded 1991)

Kelly provides, Private Sessions, Workshops, Leadership Trainings, Retreats, across Canada  And in Calgary ongoing weekly drop-in seminars called Expanding Heartfelt Living evenings. For information contact Kelly Tobey at Phone: (403) 217-5533 Fax: (403) 217-0053 Website: www.kellytobey.com Facebook: Kelly Tobey YouTube: KellyTobey1

marketing from the heart manifesto

heart marketing from the heart manifestoOne of my clients, wrote me a beautiful email recently with her ‘manifesto’ about marketing. I was so inspired by it that I had to share it. It’s a beautiful example of starting with the ‘why’ and of a clear and compelling point of view.

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Marketing From The Heart?

by Mary Pellicer, MD?

My vision of what MARKETING can be if it comes from the HEART:

An INVITATION to people to live RICHER, FULLER and more MEANINGFUL LIVES, to live lives in ALIGNMENT with their own INTEGRITY.

Communication to INSPIRE from a place of GENEROSITY (vs. pushing and pressuring from a place of greed)

CONNECTION to inspire people out of LOVE and CARE (vs. motivating them from fear)

EMPATHIZING with people (vs. exploiting their insecurities)

Being COMMITTED to SERVING people (vs. selling to them)

Making sure it’s a PERFECT FIT (or NO DEAL)-Going for the WIN-WIN ?(vs. making the sale)

CONTACT to LEAD & INFLUENCE (vs. seeking fame)

Opening CONVERSATIONS about POSSIBILITIES (vs. closing deals)

Market from the Heart and invest in making the world an amazing place to live, work and grow.                    

(With much gratitude to Tad Hargrave who’s blog post Death and Marketing inspired this.)

your signature talk

I was chatting with my colleague Jonathan Bender about his upcoming coaching program about helping people deliver a ‘signature talk’. It’s a term I suggest you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the coming months. But it’s a bit of jargon so I asked Jonathan to explain what it is and why it matters.
 
JonathanBender1 your signature talkWhat is a signature talk? Why do it? And who’s it for?
 
First, a signature talk is simply a speech / presentation / keynote / talk that is uniquely you. It’s a forum for bringing your message to the world. Even if someone else has a similar topic, it doesn’t matter – a signature talk will always be authentically you. Also, it could be done at a live, in-person event, or it could be on a webinar or teleseminar. Finally, a signature talk could labeled as a motivational or inspirational speech. Often, it’s used to inspire new clients to work with you.
 
Why do it? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, speaking is one of the best ways to get clients, and to get established as an expert in your field. It helps you reach far more people very quickly – which makes getting clients much easier. Also, you get to change more people’s lives with your message. That’s pretty cool.
 
Who’s it for? If you are a heart-based entrepreneur – a coach, holistic practitioner, or with your own unique business that really helps people – it’s for you. If your reaction is, “I’m not a speaker,” then you’re the perfect fit. Yes, some people with signature talks make their living as paid speakers, but many others have their own coaching, therapy or healing business – and just use speaking to reach their perfect clients.
 
Anyone can learn to do it. It’s important to learn all the key elements, which I’ll be discussing with Tad on our call on Wednesday. Join us to learn a lot more, and how you can put a professional signature talk together – and start using it to attract great clients – faster than you may think.
Let me drill this down a bit further.
 
Your signature talk with where you express your point of view. Meaning, your talk is fundamentally going to be on the topic of the journey they’re on from Island A to Island B (and maybe to inspire them that Island C is possible). But just getting up there and describing that journey would, ultimately, be unsatisfying for an audience. You need to not only talk about the destination but to draw your unique map of how you think people should best make that journey.
 
You need to share your honest point of view.
 
I wrote a post called “50 real life examples of point of view in action“. And each of the examples could be the basis of your signature talk. But finding your voice and really honing your point of view into something clear can take work. Your signature talk is a chance to express your platform – to have them leave with a very clear sense of what you want to be known for.
 
Think about the success of TED Talks.

You’ve likely seen at least one (and if you haven’t I apologize in advance for the week of your life you’re going to lose watching them).

These talks are obviously inspiring, thought provoking and often very powerful.

But also consider this – can you imagine the number of books those videos have sold for the speakers? The number of speaking engagements and clients they gotten as a direct result of those talks? What those talks have done for their reputation? The projects they’ve been invited to be involved in?

Think about it.

I’ve gotten to asking my clients at workshops – ‘What would your TED Talk be?’ If you were given 20 minutes on stage in front of thousands of your ideal clients would you be able to distill your core philosophy and ‘take’ on things into that time in a way that they totally ‘got it’?

Of course, TED has a massive reach and reputation. But, even if you take that away, having a ‘signature talk’ like that (whether online or in person) is one of the most vital things I can imagine an entrepreneur having. The power of TED is partly the huge following they have (1,224,829 Followers) but it’s also about the clarity of the ideas being communicated and the powerful stories being told.

You may not have the reach but you can create a talk with the same power and impact.

You likely already know that public speaking is one of the best ways to get clients.

Yet, so many incredible conscious entrepreneurs aren’t doing it.

Or, they’re not being effective, and missing out on getting to bring their important message and purpose to the world.

I’ve seen talks where the presenter never even mentioned their services they offered (and so got no clients). I’ve seen talks where the speakers used high pressure and manipulative tactics to try and get people to buy (and then got no clients).

Jonathan Bender, a warm and wonderful fellow who’s been a speaking coach for over 15 years (also a professional theater director, actor and writer!), will be leading an incredible free training:

“How to Craft a Powerful, Inspiring Speech… that Transforms Your Audience, Changes Their Lives, and Moves Them to Work with You!”

DATE: Wednesday, October 10th @ 5pm PT/6pm MT/7pm CT/8pm ET
COST: Free
REGISTRATION: http://bit.ly/QxW7M7

REPLAY / RECORDING AVAILABLE? Yes!

your platform in a single page

paper your platform in a single pageClarity is everything in marketing.

A while ago I wrote a blog post about the importance of developing a clear platform. Your platform is what you’re known for. It’s another way of talking about ‘brand‘. It’s the heart of slow marketing (but also the basis of fast marketing). The challenge that I lay out in that post is that most people choose to be known for only ONE thing – which is the thing they do. But I would submit that there are six things you can be known for.

And if you can clearly articulate them in a single page then you are ready to grow. If you can do it in a single page then everything else will be simple (even if it takes effort).

Always remember: the confused mind says ‘no’.

There are two watchwords for your platform. The first is ‘clarity’. But the second is ‘authenticity‘. It’s the clarity and authenticity of your platform that ultimately makes your business safe to approach and easy to get to know.

And while there’s endless depth you can go into in defining your platform – here’s my down and dirty version. Each of the six elements of the platform has three or four laser focused questions to help you hone in on them. They’re the best questions I know of to get right to the heart of the matter.

If you can answer them and distill it into a single page – you’ll have the clarity you need to grow easily, organically and beautifully.

Before answering these questions I commend reading the following blog posts so that the rest of the questions make sense:

The Journey

The Platform

The Three Foundations of  Thriving Business

*

BOAT:

What is it that you do? If I were to look you up in the Yellow Pages or on google what terms would I use? (e.g. plumber, hardware store, massage therapist etc.)

What is your boat built out of? How many hours and how much money has gone into building your business? How much education?

What is most important to your clients when buying what you sell? (either to have or not to have) And how do you deliver that?

If your business were to shut down tomorrow – who would miss you and why?

 

JOURNEY:

What is the journey that you take people on? Fill in the blanks for the ideal kinds of clients you want to have: ‘we work with __________ (kinds of people) struggling with _________ (kinds of problems) and who feel ________ (way about their problem). And what we do it to help them get __________ (result).

Who is a perfect fit for you as a client? Why?

When is the perfect moment for you to enter their life? When is the perfect moment to leave it?

To read more of my blog posts on Niching click here.

 

YOU:

What gives you the credibility to do what you do so well? In what ways have you gone on the journey you’re taking your clients on? What have you had to overcome in order to be offering what you’re offering here and sailing that particular boat?

What qualities do you bring to the table that are different from other people offering similar things?

What are your nerdy interests, hobbies, strange lives you’ve led in the past, interesting social information about you?

 
POINT OF VIEW:
 
Why do most people fail to make this journey? What are they missing?
 
What’s your map/system for getting people from Island A to Island B as quickly, easily and painlessly as possible? How many steps?
 
What’s your core take on this issue? What’s your perspective, philosophy, understanding of this journey?
 
To read more of my blog posts on Point of View click here.

 

WHY:

Why did you start doing what you do?

Beyond money, status etc. what is this business really about for you? What’s the bigger cause it’s a part of?

What is it that you see missing in the world that would help make it more whole?

To read more of my blog posts on developing your Why click here.

 

ISLAND C: THE NEW POSSIBILITY

What is it that you see is possible for your clients that they don’t see is possible yet?

When you went through your journey did anything delightful happen as a result of being on the journey that you didn’t expect that you couldn’t have anticipated when you began?

What do you crave for your clients to have in their life? What’s your fondest wish for them?

What do you see is the future of your industry? What’s coming up next that’s so exciting that most people don’t even know about?

To read more of my blog posts on Island C click here.

Screen Shot 2012 09 26 at 3.09.59 PM your platform in a single pageCASE STUDY: Paolo Donati – Italian Nutritionist - http://discoveritalianfood.com

BOAT: as a qualified natural nutritionist and health coach I help people overcome a variety of health issues and improve their shape using natural foods, supplements and powerful but simple cleansing techniques. I offer live or online consultations and cleansing retreats in my native country, Italy.

ME: With a background in environmental engineering and remediation of contaminated land, at my core I’m a nerd with a true passion for bringing nature back into its pure, uncontaminated state.

I was raised on the Standard Italian Diet (still better than the SAD hey) which made me lethargic, lacking energy, mentally confused and a totally unsociable kid. Somehow I felt that food affected my behaviour and emotional state.

From a very young age I studied what gifts from Nature could make me more healthy and in tune with who I am.

I experimented with different detoxes and type of diets: from macrobiotic, vegan, mediterranean to paleo and weston price type of diets. After giving up the frustrating quest for the perfect diet, I can honestly say I had benefits from all of them. Eventually I started listening to the messages in my body and found an equilibrium that works really well for me. Today my approach to health and nutrition with my clients is absolutely dogma-free.

As a native Italian, I still have a passion for local, traditional Italian food. I love revisiting stunning Italian dishes using alternative ingredients to make them more healthy for us. After all, I believe we can occasionally indulge and feed our spirit more than our body, provided it comes from a clear message within to enjoy and live life more fully, rather than a need for suppression.

JOURNEY: My main journey type is on health. But I also help reach a state of inner peace and greater clarity by working in cleansing and nourishing the body.

Who: I am attracted to people who believe in good old fashioned common sense and trusting their intuition who find themselves experiencing some chronic health issues. They are looking for a holistic body-nurturing approach rather than reductionist conventional treatments. They are also interested in keeping fit and adopting a diet to support their levels of training. Ideally they consider adding at least some animal products into their diet, if not I am more comfortable referring them to a vegan nutritionist.

Problem: chronic fatigue syndromes, digestive problems, depression and so called gut and psychology syndromes, i.e. mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, ADHD and others connected to a leaky gut condition.

Result: Renewed physical energy and health, mental balance, clarity. Significant improvements of mental conditions. Toxicity is removed from bowels, liver and other tissues. Feeling more in tune with ourselves and our higher purpose.

POINT OF VIEW: Dieting is for losers… if we don’t first love ourselves, accept our current situation and that we need to take baby steps. Without this fundamental frame most of us will sabotage any attempt to move towards a diet, or anything new in life.

The ‘perfect’ diet is a quest for the holy grail. It really depends on your location on the planet, the season, your curent state of health, your history of health and what you want to achieve. For most of us, the quest for the perfect diet is just an excuse for not taking consistent action.

Elimination is as important as nutrition. The cleanest diet may lead to autointoxication if we don’t support the routes of elimination in the body.

Humans are part of nature and we should be inspired by nature’s rythms when deciding how to live, what to eat and how to eat it.

Your body never works against itself. It always does the best it can to restore its original conditions.

WHY: To continually celebrate and be inspired by the transformation in health and energy of people around me. To support as I can local farmers and food producers so their products not only will improve people’s health but also contribute to restore damaged ecosystems through sustainable farming. When in my home country, I love travelling the Italian countryside to meet local food producers that don’t even know what the Internet is.

ISLAND C: I didn’t expect that by releasing my toxic load I also got rid of old negative emotions I was still holding to. I feel lighter, full of energy and mentally clear. Now that I got past my health issues I’m ready to move on to something new in my life. I feel this food is wholesome and nutritious and I’m naturally drawn to eat it. I’m not influenced by dietary ‘dogmas’ or the latest diet in the media.

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

muslim school marketing lesson

teaching 300x169 muslim school marketing lessonI just lunch with my friend Govert van Ginkel. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years but we both share a passion for Non Violent Communication and how we can engage in healing and supporting others best. He and his partner TR we in town and we went for lunch at one of my favourite cafe’s in town, Noorish.

Govert was updating me on the past two years and the kind of work he’s been doing and the difficulty of pitching ‘Non Violent Communication’ type workshops to various groups.

“I was brought in by a Muslim school a while ago and they wanted me to do some team building amongst the staff to deal with some of the ways they related to each other. The challenge is that the staff all thought they communicated really well with each other. So I knew they wouldn’t really be open to that. So, we came up with a different topic!”

“What was that?”

“How to deal with difficult parents!”

“That’s amazing. From a marketing angle that’s so amazing. What happened?”

“Well, we played a bunch of games with them and through those games that were about how to deal with difficult parents they actually began to realize the ways they communicated with each other that weren’t so great. They began to see the ways they weren’t such a great team that no one was talking about.”

It reminded me of my conversation with Sexologist Jessica O’Reilly about how she would lead workshops called ‘How to Blow His/Her Mind’ that would sell out vs. tantra workshops that would try to market directly to the deeper need.

It’s really hard to sell things to people that they don’t want – even when you think they ‘need’ it.

It’s hard to give people advice that they’re not wanting.

You might see their limiting patterns, dysfunction and what they need so incredibly clearly . . . but if they don’t agree with your diagnosis and assessment they’re unlikely to take your advice or follow your guidance.

So much of helping people is about find the right way in – the doorway. It’s about figuring out how to reach people without pushing them. How to honour people and invite them to consider more.

And, in my experience, the best way to do this is to meet them where they’re at. The best way to reach people is with empathy for what they’re actually struggling with vs. frustration and impatience that they’re not ready to ‘get down to the real work’ (as you see it).

Govert could have tried to lecture the staff about their resistance to this important work he was offering and rolled his eyes at them thinking, ‘how can not see how incredibly dysfunctional they are!’ But how far do you suspect that would have gotten him.

Often our thoughts that our clients should be any different that they are is exactly what kills our marketing. Because then our marketing takes on the tone of shaming. Of making them ‘wrong’ for being who they are.

But Govert looked carefully at the situation and asked himself, ‘is there anywhere that these people are struggling (and know that they’re struggling) that I could offer help? Is there any pain they’re experiencing that I could help relieve that might open the door to deeper work if it goes well?’

And he found it: these poor bedraggled teachers are criticized constantly by parents. And he empathized with that. Imagine, you do your best all day only to be yelled at by a parent for not doing it perfectly enough? Ouch.

And so of course they were open to help with that. And once they’d met Govert and he helped them see other areas they were struggling they were open then to more guidance. They were humbled with what they saw about themselves. But they weren’t shamed. People are open to feeling humbled, but no one wants to feel humiliated. People want to do better, they don’t want to feel like they’re not doing enough.

Empathize. Meet them with kindness where they are. You might be surprised where it will take you and where they might ask you to go with them.

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

nine thoughts on copywriting for hippies

quill 1 nine thoughts on copywriting for hippiesMy dear colleagues Jeffrey and Suzanne are hosting a call all about their take on ‘Spiritual Copywriting’. You can check it out here.

So it had me want to jot down some of my thoughts about this whole ‘writing sales letters’ thing.

I’ve already written a few blog posts on sales letters but I’ve never put down my own unique thoughts on it in one place.

Here’s the deal: You’ve got this cool thing. You know it’s cool. You know it helps people. You know it’s got a lot of value.

But you’re having a hard time getting that value across to people.

Of course, once they experience it, they often rave about it.

But . . . how do you even get them to have an experience? How do you get them to even be clear about what it is you do? If only you could find the right words (and express yourself without sounding salesy and gross).

My Wake Up Call

Years ago, I got an email from someone on my list asking to be unsubscribed. I asked them why and they shared honestly,

“Well, I just find your e-mails are kind of “in your face.”  All the BOLD print and BIG letters with FREE this and FREE that….  I get the feeling you were a car salesman in your previous life or something.  I just get the feeling you’re yelling at me… I worked for a communications company in my previous life and have done a lot of research into how to market myself as a nutritional consultant.  I have a very successful practice and what works for me is building relationships, public speaking, connecting with people on a personal level… and pull marketing as opposed to push marketing.  Have you ever read the book “How to Build an Ideal Private Practice”, by Lynn Grodski?  It’s a fabulous book…  a must read. Anyway – your approach likely works for many – but just not for me.”

Ouch.

The tragedy of it was that when people met me in person and come to my workshop they had the exact opposite experience. I was constantly told that I felt very safe, warm, welcoming etc. somehow my marketing materials weren’t reflecting the “vibe” of who I was.

So to hear this feedback was really painful.

I had, somehow, become (in her eyes) what I hated.

But I didn’t know any other way at the time.

This is the problem with the written word. when people meet you in person there’s 93% more of the communication spectrum in play. People can feel you. But words are only 7% of communication. So, you’re being judged 100% by 7% of who you are.

So then that 7% needs to really count and have some care and thought put into it.

The problem is you seem to get one of two extremes:

1) the business card ad: boring and generic and unclear.

2) the hyped ad: sounds like a used car salesman.

So, how do you write an ad that really grabs people without pushing them away? How do you make it hot without losing the warmth? How can you write something that sells without losing the sincerity? How do you trigger a positive response? How do you not trigger the “used car salesman response?

How can our ads be bold without triggering “bullshit?”

There’s a lot to say about writing good sales copy but here are some of my thoughts from the hippie angle.

The Basics of Copywriting:

First of all, here are some basics.

  • The Beginning and the Ending: By far, the most important parts of what you write will be the beginning and the ending of it. In a sales letter this will be the headline and the p.s. at the bottom. These should get the lion’s share of your efforts. First, you need to get their attention so they even bother to read your sales letter. Second you need to engage them more deeply (which stories are great for). Third, you need to help them really experience what it might be like to own the product. And lastly, you need to make it really easy for them to buy it from you.
  • Keep it simple: No more than five lines per paragraph. Use short words. Use short sentences. Write at a grade seven level. Don’t use industry jargon. Write like you would normally speak.

Hippie Copywriting Thought #1: It’s not about the sale.

I’m not just saying this to be contrarian.

The purpose of your sales letters isn’t to try to convince everyone that what you’re offering is the most amazing thing ever and that they should buy it now. That’s genuinely not the purpose.

The entire purpose of a sales letter is about helping them figure out – quickly – whether it’s a fit for them.

Period.

That’s it.

But, if your agenda is the sales letter is to ‘get the sale’ then it will come across as gross, contrived, condescending, pushy, slimy etc. The agenda to close people is what creates the resistance.

So, how do you help them figure out if it’s a fit for them?

First of all you need to do the work to figure out who’s a perfect fit for you (and let go of trying to please everyone).

You make sure that your platform is clear to them. You make sure that you speak directly to their problems and symptoms and also to the results they’re craving. You acknowledge their secret fears with empathy. You share your point of view about the best way to solve their particular problems. You need to share why you’re doing what you’re doing.

The real issue in poor sales copy is less often about writing skill and more often about the lack of clarity about our own platforms. If we’re not really clear about it, how can we hope to clearly express it to others?

You need to let them get to know you a bit better. And you need to help them understand, in clear and direct terms, what’s in it for them. You need to be clear about what you can promise and what you can’t.

A sales letter is not a huge net that you try to throw over everyone. It’s a filter you use to make sure that only the right people buy what you have to offer. After all, if the wrong people buy it then they’ll be pissed it didn’t work for them, bad mouth you and demand refunds.

Who needs that drama? No one.

Your sales letter isn’t a blackhole trying to suck everyone in – it’s filter trying to keep people who aren’t a fit out.

Hippie Copywriting Thought #2: Remove ‘hype’ triggers.

These hype triggers tend to appear in sales copy where the idea of ‘fit’ is unclear and they’re trying to get everyone to ‘buy now’.

First of all, watch out for the ALL CAPS. It really seems like you’re hyper and/or shouting. Try italics instead. Much softer.

Secondly, remove all exclamation marks. Seriously.

Thirdly, try removing any universals: always, every, never. These lose you credibility fast.

Fourth, remove any sense or tone of shaming someone into buying. Any notion that if they don’t buy from you then it’s prove that they don’t believe in themselves has got to go.

Fifthly, don’t lie about there being scarcity where there isn’t. Be real about why you’re deciding to limit supplies if you are. People will respect that. They will not respect being lied to. I’ve seen sales letters saying things like, ‘i don’t know how much longer I can keep this online because once my competitors find out about this they’ll want it taken down because it’s so effective and such a threat to them.’ . . . bull. shit.

Another fellow had a clock counting down on this sales page saying, ‘this offer will only be up until the clock hits zero’. Fine. But when you refreshed the page – the clock started over. Bull. Shit. Be humble about the scarcity. More of a, ‘Sorry we have to limit it but here’s why we are going that route’ rather than arrogantly lording it over them.

Sixth, limit use of superlatives. Saying you’re the ‘best’ is a sure way to arouse suspicion. Use testimonials. Show other evidence, awards, certifications, tell stories etc. Be wary of your stuff is the awesomest.

Seventh, don’t over promise. You might consider avoiding statements like “you will absolutely leave with _________” results and try “it’s our deepest hope that you leave with _________” or “we’ve set up this workshop to help you ______”. Promise what you can deliver on and not more.

Consider the occasional use of understatement – “hopefully”, “our intention is . . .” “let’s see if we can’t” “We think this might”  etc. in your copy and let your customers give the “raving reviews”. Let your customers and the case studies you use demonstrate the strength of your case. Let your point of view be so clear and compelling that it inspires their trust rather than just saying, ‘trust me’.

Eight, admit limitations and flaws. One of the most compelling things I ever saw in an ad was one for holistic nutrition where it said, ‘come and learn the possibilities and the limitations of natural nutrition’. And the limitations. Wow. They were admitting that this couldn’t help everyone all the time. My trust in them went through the roof in those three words: and the limitations.

If you are a boring lecturer, admit that (e.g. “I’m not a compelling speaker but I think you’ll find my ideas could double your profits this year.”). Nobody really believes there’s a perfect solution out there, so share your imperfections and learn to even endorse your own worst weaknesses.

Hippie Copywriting Thought #3: Tell stories.

The more you can weave story telling into your sales letters, the better.

When I run my workshops, I’ll have everyone introduce themselves at the beginning of the day. People smile and nod. Later I have them share stories about what they do and then I hear people saying, ‘Ohhhh. Now I get what you do.’ (note: they never mentioned not getting it before).

There are two basic kinds of stories you can share . . .

The story of what got you into this business: this story showcases your bigger why, builds your credibility and also shares your humanity.

The story of the impact of your work on your clients: these stories help to deepen their understanding of your point of view and approach as well as deepening your credibility. You can do these stories in the third person (case studies) or have them share them in their words (testimonials).

The beauty of testimonials is that clients can say things about you that you’d sound like a pompous ass saying about yourself.

Here are some great websites to check out about the power of storytelling in your marketing:

http://www.getstoried.com/

http://www.storiesthatsellguide.com/

http://www.byebyeboringbio.com/

And some blog posts I’ve done about stories in marketing: http://marketingforhippies.com/tag/stories/

Hippie Copywriting Thought #4: Sleep on it and trust your gut.

This one distinction will save you so much pain.

Recently, I wrote a blog post about the idea of slow marketing. And I think this applies hugely here.

Once you’ve written your sales letter, sleep on it. For a night. For a week if you can manage it. Then look at it with fresh eyes. Read it out loud to make sure it sounds like you. Like a normal person talking.

And the sit with it. And pay close attention to how you feel about it. Does anything feel ‘off’ or uncomfortable? If so, trust your gut. Meditate on it. Close your eyes. Notice where it doesn’t feel right and make the changes you need to make.

Ask a few trusted clients and colleagues to read key materials and do a “vibe check” on it.  Ask them, “Is this clear? Does this feel right?” You’ll get great feedback.

Give yourself time. Don’t rush this. If you know it needs to be written in a month, start on it now with a first draft. Give yourself the whole month to really steep in it. Sit with it. Let it ripen. Make it something you’re proud of. You’ll be surprised how much better you can make a salesletter with a little bit of space.

Hippie Copywriting Thought #5: Be yourself.

In both the wording and design, be yourself.

Here are a bunch of examples of sales letters I’ve seen that look cool and quirky – but are still really clear:

http://www.thenewaboutme.com/

http://rightbrainersinbusiness.com/

http://spiritualmarketingquest.com/

http://www.irresistiblewriting.com/websiteprogram

http://www.marketing101forholisticpractitioners.com/weekend.php

http://www.fluentself.com/monsters/

http://www.pinkelephantacademy.com/how-to-write-a-sales-page-the-sweetly-selling-workbook/

http://www.heartofbusiness.com/training-programs/momentum-course/

http://healthybabycode.com/signup

Let your own style, vibe, voice come through. If you’re nerdy let that come through. If you’re a jock, speak like a jock would. If you’re cranky, let yourself be cranky. Don’t you want clients who will love you for who you are? So then put yourself out there and let the sales letter be your protective filter that only brings you people who love you for who you are.

It can be hard to find your voice – but when you do, your sales letters will sing.

Selling Sweetly cover 231x300 nine thoughts on copywriting for hippiesHippie Copywriting Thought #6: Learn about the art of copywriting.

There’s a reason that professional copywriters are paid so much.

They’re good.

They can take what you do and translate that into something that your ideal customers will immediately ‘get’.

You likely can’t afford a top notch copywriter.

You can read over some of the case studies where I’ve worked with clients on their copy but here’s the best resource I know of that can help you learn how to write a wonderfully warm sales letter: Selling Sweetly: A Step by Step Guidebook to Writing a Sales Page.

I also commend checking out: http://irresistiblewriting.com/blog/

Hippie Copywriting Thought #7: Use warm words vs. pushy words.

Consider all the hyped up words that get used in sales copy you hate (e.g. ‘you must’, ‘you have to’, ‘you’d be a fool if you didn’t', ‘buy now’ etc). Here’s a starter list of warmer words you can use that might help create some more connection . . .

  • warm
  • conversation
  • intimate
  • connection
  • join us
  • small
  • invitation
  • welcome
  • no pressure
  • open
  • you are warmly invited to . . .
  • feel free to . . .
  • please consider . . .
  • it’s our hope that . . .
  • we hope that you . . .
  • probably
  • very likely
  • chances are that
  • i’m guessing that
  • my intention is

Hippie Copywriting Thought #8: It’s not about the words, it’s about the idea.

At the end of the day, the success of your sales letters won’t be determined by how hot or warm the words are but by how strong the core concept or offer is.

I’d rather have a poorly written letter expressing a strong concept than a brilliantly written letter trying to sell a weak concept.

The quality of the core offer you’re presenting is what will make the biggest difference – not how you articulate it.

If your offers aren’t getting the kinds of responses you want, you might consider that it’s just not that compelling an offer. And if that’s true . . . then go back to the beginning. Who is this for? What’s the problem it solves? Why should they pick me to help them vs. the plethora of other choices they have available to them? How do I help them get the results they’re craving most? What’s most important to them when they’re buying what I sell? And am I giving it to them? Can I prove it?

An idea like ‘free pizza delivery’ was a new solid idea. People wanted that.

If you’re struggling with this – I recommend reading Seth Godin’s brilliant book ‘Purple Cow.’ If you want to get inspired by a tonne of great business ideas to see what a ‘hot idea’ is like, go spend a few hours on www.springwise.com . If you want people to make remarks about what you do, make it ‘remarkable’. Sometimes we need to step back and innovate what we’re doing before we can market effectively.

Someone who says, ‘Oh. I teach yoga.’ has a dull offer.

You teach yoga? So what. So does everyone else.

But someone like Tiina Veer has a very compelling offer: Yoga for Round Bodies.

A good idea + good words = a very good chance of success.

Hippie Copywriting Thought #9: It’s not about the words, it’s about the messenger.

There’s an old Gaelic proverb that translates as, ‘if the messenger is worthy then the business is’.

Who people hear about things from has a far more profound impact than how well you word it.

Do both, of course.

But I can’t tell you how many people have come to my workshops and never even bothered to read the sales letters. Seriously. They came because someone they trusted told them to come. And that was enough for them. You might not need a sales letter ever. Some people succeed in spite of their terrible copywriting and lack of any website. But . . . why not have an incredible quality thing, strong relationships with hubs and well written copy?

As someone who’s a bit of a hub I can tell you that I am dramatically less likely to refer someone to a seminar or workshop or practitioner if their copy sucks.

Why?

Because now the burden is on me to explain it all for them. I’d rather just be able to say, ‘go check out their homepage. i think it’ll all make sense.’

When working on your sales letters make sure you also consider how you can get key hubs to be sending people to it. They will read your words much differently if a trusted source sent them your way than if they stumbled across you cold.


slow marketing

slow food snail logo 300x279 slow marketingI’m in Vancouver sitting at yet another favourite hang out spot here – Eternal Abundance (full of raw vegan goodness, comfy chairs, high ceilings and lots of natural light). I love places like this.

I just finished my weekend workshop in Vancouver (and Victoria the weekend before that). You can see photos here.

And something clicked for me this weekend. I’m calling it ‘Slow Marketing’. You’ve likely heard about the Slow Food movement (from which I borrow this colourful snail) and Carol Honore’s book In Praise of Slow.

And, for some reason, I’d never considered how that might apply to marketing.

But, over the weekend, I was sharing how marketing is like baseball and that we can’t ‘skip bases’ in building our relationships with people. First there needs to be clarity, then trust, then some excitement . . . and then a commitment. It can take time to build relationships with our clients. Some things can’t be rushed.

And one woman expressed her thanks, ‘I’d never considered that before.’  Something about knowing that it was okay to go slow felt confirming of her best instincts and affirming that she hadn’t failed just because she’d not gotten immediate results.

Most marketing we see is so fast.

Lynn Serafinn wrote a beautiful book called The Seven Graces of Marketing where she contrasts the common place sins of marketing with the potential graces of marketing. One of the sins she talks about is scarcity. And so much marketing is based on creating a sense of scarcity, ‘act now while supplies last’. We see seminars full of people rushing to the back of the room to sign up for a next level workshop they don’t fully understand and can’t entirely afford (and that may or may not be a fit).

So much rushing.

And it seems to work. But what you don’t end up seeing is the huge numbers of people who get ‘buyers remorse’ and cancel their participation in the programs. Or go to it and then ask for a refund because it wasn’t a fit (and then become extremely bitter when they can’t get a refund). What we sometimes fail to notice is the cynicism these tactics create in the marketplace. And the low level panic we all live in.

I remember when I first started in sales, it certainly wasn’t something I knew. I was cold calling people and trying to pressure them into making decisions. It was all I knew how to do. I thought you had to do that. Of course, it was all under the auspices of empowering them. But pressure is pressure. And it was all so fast moving. It wasn’t until years later that I began to learn that by slowing my marketing down it worked better.

It’s like irrigating a field, the slower you drip in the water the deeper it goes.

But so much marketing is so fast. It’s ‘buy now’ and ‘closing people’ and ‘converting prospects’ and creating ‘irresistible offers’. It’s ‘double your income in 30 days’ and ‘lose 50 pounds overnight!’

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people express shock that I’ve not written a book yet or developed more ‘advanced level’ seminars. But I knew I wasn’t ready yet – I was still cooking. I knew I was still figuring out what I wanted to say. And I knew that, eventually, something would click and I’d be ready and that things would flow fast.

I remember being told about the Chinese bamboo tree. You plant it and you don’t see anything grow for five years. Even though you’re doing everything right. And then, in the 5th year, it grows ninety feet in ninety days. Some of us are like that.

It’s the tortoise, not the hare.

Martin Luther (the founder of Lutheranism) used to meet with important people and had an aide who would help him organize these things. One day, his aide looked in awe at the number of important meetings and things he had to do and said to Martin Luther, “Tomorrow is so busy that I suppose you will only be able to spend half an hour in meditation instead of your usual hour.” And Luther responded, “No. Tomorrow is so important I will spend two hours in meditation.”

The higher the stakes feel, the more tempting it is to move fast . . . and the more important it is to slow things down.

Panic is not a business strategy.

What would happen if we all. slowed. down. our marketing?

Here’s what Slow Marketing means for me . . .

To me this means that even figuring out our core platform and finding our voice takes time. It’s like making tea and sometimes we just need to steep for a while in figuring out what we’re all about.

It means that we can accept that sometimes it will take a while to build trust with people we’ve just met.

It means that instead of pressuring people to buy right now, we encourage them to sleep on it and sit with it to make sure it’s really a fit (so that any clients we get are solid and long term).

It means that when we sit with a client to explore going to the next level with us – we really sit with them. We take them in. We receive what they have to say. We pause before responding.

And that means that we really take time to sit with what kinds of clients are actually a perfect fit for us.

It means we remember that, in terms of relationships with clients, forever matters more than today.

It means that we’re okay being an apprentice for a time. We’re okay learning the ropes and not needing to be ‘discovered’ and famous tomorrow.

It means that we don’t rush to write our book, create our products but slow down a bit so we can focus on crafting what we do to make it even better so that it really helps people more. We work on building our boat instead of trying to swim people from one island to another on our back. We build up the systems and checklists in our business that help us relax and know that we’ll be prepared for things as they come.

It means we don’t just accept that we sometimes need to slow down, but that we enjoy it. We relish in it.

It means it might be okay (even wonderful!) for us to have a day job while we build our business up.

It means that we acknowledge and honour each potential client’s unique right timing to work with us (or not).

It means we slow ourselves down, get still inside and let go of the panic that comes from posturing or collapsing. That we create space in our lives where we can and listen to our intuition.

It means we let emails to our list sit overnight instead of sending them out immediately.

It means we run our marketing ideas by friends and colleagues before trotting them out to the market place. We let things sit.

It means we plan further ahead to give ourselves time.

It means that we get really good at finding ways to make our business safe to approach for people and easy to buy from us. We give them lots of ways to sample what we do for free, from a distance. We do what we can to reduce the risk for people.

It means we slow down our conversations with potential clients and really listen. Instead of pushing, we lean back. Instead of starting to give advice, we get more curious about their situation. Instead of skipping over a challenge, we go deeply into exploring it.

It means that we focus on building and deepening our relationship to key hubs and community leaders instead of trying to reach our clients cold.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what ‘Slow Marketing’ means for you. You can write them in the comments below. But no rush.