Online marketing without being a bully or a sleaze


Online marketing without being a bully or a sleaze

When did the Internet become all about the bottom line?

Like so many things in life, the world wide web seems increasingly to be dominated by a whole lot of noise. There are so many people desperate, or so it feels to me, to sell you stuff. They employ aggressive and manipulative sales techniques. And I’m left wondering if I can find a way to sell stuff online without selling my soul.

I sign up to a lot of lists. I’m curious what other people are doing and right now I’m open to learning from those who appear to be having success. But in the past week, I have received several email newsletters which have made me stop and wonder if there’s any space left for quiet, honest folk.

Are bullying and boasting really the only tactics?

One was a marketing email for a programme designed to improve your systems (whatever that actually means). It followed several other emails I must have deleted unread. She (and yes, it was a woman) was basically telling me I must have my sh*t together because she could think of no other reason I wouldn’t have purchased the $69 course.

I felt like a teenager who’d just encountered the school bully, swiftly unsubscribed and was left wondering if that technique actually works. Or was it a deliberate tactic because I obviously wasn’t going to “convert” and she only wants people who buy stuff on her list?

Another was one of those income reports which boast about how much the blogger is making. But here’s the thing, she wasn’t comfortable with it. It got a positive response so she was working on her “limiting beliefs” and publishing anyway. But if you feel like publishing your blog income online is weird and a bit sleazy, it’s because it is! You don’t need to try and convince yourself otherwise.

Is there a better way to sell stuff online?

Ever since starting this blog I have been thinking about what my core message is and how to market that message to reach “my tribe”. Over the past 18 months, I’ve been trying to learn and work on two connected threads. Firstly, I want to improve my craft as a writer and, secondly I want to learn how to use social media to reach readers.

My core message is increasingly about how to slow down and appreciate the things in life which are truly important. I want to write from my heart to yours and find a way to encourage us all to live more wholehearted lives. But I wonder if it’s possible to be authentic and truthful and have integrity in an online medium which seems to require aggressive self-promotion and less than honest tactics?

But here’s the thing, I have a couple of products, an e-course and hopefully a book, which are currently in the planning stages, that I would like to launch over the next 12-18 months or so. Watch this space for the first of those.

Putting them into the world without the necessary promotion and marketing techniques to reach the people who might need them is a strange sort of self-sabotage. It’s playing small and allowing the fear of failure to dictate my plans. If no one sees it I don’t have to deal with possible rejection, right?

But I don’t want anyone to make anyone feel pressured or persuaded or pushed to buy a product just to boost my own bottom line. We’re all intelligent adults who can decide for ourselves what we do or don’t want to buy. Aren’t we? I hate all the random prices hikes and clicking clocks and all the buy now before you miss out. And meanwhile, our inboxes and kindle apps end up just as cluttered as the rest of our life.

I hate all the random prices hikes and clicking clocks and all the buy now before you miss out. And meanwhile, our inboxes and kindle apps end up just as cluttered as the rest of our life. I’ve been inside a couple of affiliate marketing campaigns (unsuccessfully) mainly out of curiosity about how the process works. I don’t like what I see.

Is there another way in which we can all retain our humanity and which allows us to buy and sell without turning everyone into winners or losers in a competition we never asked to join?


My Own Personal Journey to Self Promotion without the Shame

I believe I have a message that isn’t meant to stay inside of me. It may not be for everyone, but we live in times where we have unprecedented access to tools which allow us to reach a lot of people. If I really believe my message will impact others, it is my job to find the people who need to hear what I have to say.

But there’s an inner work I have to do first. I have to start from a place of freedom.

If my sense of self-worth is tied to how well my blog, or anything else I produce, does then I’m stuck playing a game I can never win. I will always need more likes, more followers, bigger and better sales figures to keep proving to myself I am winning.

If self-promotion comes from a place of needing to prove you are good enough then maybe you will pursue numbers whatever the cost. And then shout to the world about how much money you are making and how many books you have sold. The louder you shout it the more people will be drawn to your message and the stronger your sense of self-worth becomes.

But you’ve lost your core message along the way. People only (virtually) hang around you because they hope they can get the success you’re having. There’s no loyalty. People are promoting your product because of what it can get them (money and reflected glory), not because they truly believe in your message anymore.

And that isn’t my idea of freedom.

But, I’m more likely to go the other way. Produce a product then leave it to flounder and fail, because marketing is icky. I then allow the failure to feed back into a lack of self-worth. No one read it? See? Your message sucks, you’re not a writer, no-one wants to hear what you have to say. No one commented on your last blog post and you only got 10 shares. Get over yourself give up now loser. (Where did that come from?)

Then pride rears its head and I tell myself I’m better than all this anyway. Real writers don’t need a blog or a marketing strategy or any of that low-class sh*t. Serious writers don’t sell out. Their talent radiates into the world and books fly magically off the shelves.

Which is another strange form of captivity

So the question is can I find freedom and security to let the message and the words themselves provide the self-worth I need? Can I promote myself online without placing external markers on my success?

To be continued….

I’m taking a break this week from my current series: The Slow Path – 10 Fundamentals for an Authentic Life

You can download a full-colour pdf poster with all 10 fundamentals created by my friend Charlotte Marillet by entering your email address in the box below.

This will also sign you up to my email list “Postcards Home”, which gives you access to exclusive news and updates. It will also give you the chance to shape how my blog develops in the coming months.



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