The 5-21-11 Rapture was a hard sell. Fortunately not a huge number of people bought it, but there are some that have sold all their belongings and given away their money. That sucks.
The past few weeks have been tough for me emotionally. I made a major change in the focus of my work and website by claiming myself as an Environmental Artist, without really knowing what that means. To discover what it could mean, I created a fundraiser for a project that would allow me to research some forms of environmental art. I have never attempted to raise funds before and was not prepared for how hard and emotional it would be. What I was even less prepared for was doing something like this, something uncertain while redefining myself, amidst what I now know as launch season. The fundraiser failed and I’m truly OK with that, but I still felt somehow disgruntled and lacking and judged. It was not my lack of clarity or my failed fundraiser, it was my email.
My in box was flooded daily with promos from what felt like every blogger in the universe that knows exactly what I need to succeed. I subscribed to these blogs and I know I don’t have to read them, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. The lights were just too damn bright. I allowed myself to get uppity and wrote an opinionated post about it. Perhaps not my finest hour, but something really good came out of it. I got more comments on the post and through email than on any post so far. I got links to others writing on the topic and I learned something important.
I learned I was not alone, and there is more than one way to sell your soul.
Admittedly I am here to sell something. I need to make a living like everyone and I want to do it without compromising myself. I think what really bothered me is I am in a place of needing guidance, but I don’t like being told what to do and more so how to do it. I really don’t like being told again and again. I realized there are many styles of communication/selling but it seems to boil down to two main themes, telling vs. sharing. My inbox contains both but telling is so much louder. On his blog pen vs. paper, Jeffrey writes this.
The internet is a noisy place.
The prevailing notion of ‘How to Use Social Media’ seems to be “the louder the better.”
For example: Position yourself as an expert! Advertise your Exclusive Private Coaching Program of Awesome! Learn these sneaky tricks to ensnare more subscribers! Write more how-to guides and top-10 lists! Find a Niche and a Message and promote, promote, promote! Louder, louder, LOUDER!
Oy. It’s like we’re becoming human infomercials.
Okay, truthfully? The problem isn’t the techniques. The problem is, when everyone’s shouting, it’s all just noise.
I agree! With so much noise and bright lights I feel accosted, confused, and inferior. I feel sad because some of the people pushing my buttons are people I think have good content. I also feel
compelled determined to find a better way.
Brigitte at Unfettered Ink had a less than moment over this too. She writes about fear of working for herself allowing her to be distracted by the bright lights. She says:
I’ve been abdicating my responsibility to control how much I take in – and subsequently how much energy I have left to produce.
It’s Marie and Laura’s job to promote the crap out of their program. It’s their job to enlist their friends to promote the crap out of their program.
It’s my job to cut off the stream when it becomes too much.
Marie and Laura provided an opt-out option for their e-mails (which I opted into, by the way). I chose not to use it. And then I chose to bitch about it.
I’m afraid to cut the stream. I’m afraid to miss some amazing opportunity that could change my life.
I’m afraid to unfollow you on Twitter, because OMG you might get offended.
I’m afraid to read fewer blogs, because I won’t be clued in.
I’m afraid of missing out.
And, so I am.
Wow, Is that what I’m doing? Sounds a little too familiar. I totally agree it is my responsibility to cut off the stream if it is holding me back, but I still feel there needs to be a shift in marketing practices. I would like to see something different begin to happen, and I think this launch season is a great catalyst. I want to be confident in my ability and know that I might need some help anyway.
My attention was also drawn to Fabeku Fatunmise, who just did a three-part video series on Ick marketing. He identifies three styles of LOUD marketing that tend to permeate sales, and not just on the internet.
I recommend watching them all whether or not you agree with me. All are excellent food for thought, but the latter – which could also be called “I’ve Got a Secret” marketing – is something I think is implied in all.
This was my response to that post.
I’ve got a secret…there are no secrets.
This launch season has spurred a lot of frenzy from those in support of secrets and those who see the word secret (or other tactics that imply secrets) and feel like they’ve been stabbed in the heart. I would be the latter. My disappointment is mostly in myself for reacting, but I think that the financial climate of our country and the world has something to do with that. 5 years ago I’d have been less sensitive. I digress. I have been writing in my journal as I know this upset has more to do with me that any sleazy IMO marketing techniques. What I came up with is this. I think all the techniques you describe imply secrets even if the word is not used. The message is
“I have a secret you can’t live without and you have to pay me to get it.”
This implies teaching in the form of telling.
What I might like to see is this.
“I have experience that may t be useful to you. Would you like to pay me to explore your possibilities and options?”
This implies teaching through interaction, through sharing.
This is what I want to do. Whether I am selling art or something not yet known I want to share, communicate, and interact. While I am learning how to do that I need someone that can help me have a few light bulb moments, not blind me with neon dollar signs, and when I do get it sorted out I want to share not tell.
In yet another related post Bridget Pilloud says this:
Provide Good Content. Don’t Be Manipulative. Don’t Cold Frog your Customers. Create Relationships. Show that You’re Competent.
People will buy from you.
Lastly, my original blog mentor and one of my favorite people, Patti Digh, says this in response to Fabeku’s posts:
“Make strong offers. Offers that are healthy, that presuppose the health and beauty and wisdom of your audience, that are wise and grounded and quiet.”
Whew, that is a lot to chew on. I hope I’ve inspired a conversation here. I believe there will always be a place for the hard sell, but I want to hear some new ideas.
What resonates with you when you are shopping for stuff or information?
What makes your eyes glaze over, and what makes you run for the Ben & Jerry’s to zone out?