A Guide to Soulful, Slow Marketing
We live in an era of go-go-go and do-do-do. For those of us trying to slow down and live more intentionally, this is a frustrating thing to confront when it comes to running a business. That’s why I advocate for a slow marketing strategy for soulful entrepreneurs.
What Is Slow Marketing?
You might not yet be familiar with the idea of slow marketing. It hasn’t really made it to mainstream business discussions yet, though you’ll start to see aspects of it after you understand what to look for.
If you’re into holistic living, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of slow food or slow living. It’s the idea that quality is better than quantity. And that applies to both health and enjoyment of life.
Slow marketing is based on a very similar idea of quality over quantity. When you start reading articles on Forbes, taking online courses on marketing, and showing up for your local chamber of commerce meetings, you’ll likely to get overwhelmed with everything you’re “supposed” to do. And this can become a huge roadblock for soulful entrepreneurs.
Why Slow Marketing Matters
If you’re a sensitive, intuitive, introverted soul, the M-word probably makes you cringe. As soon as someone starts explaining sales funnels, you might start feeling like you’d rather run for the woods and never come out again. Lots of us associate marketing with manipulative tactics and sleazy salespeople stereotypes.
But in reality, marketing is, at its simplest form, just getting the word out about your business offerings. The hardest thing for many of us is just getting used to self-promotion. We’ve been taught to be humble and downplay our work, but when you start a business, suddenly you have to do just the opposite. Giving yourself permission to grow and shine is part of this process.
Marketing doesn’t have to feel gross, manipulative, or overly hustle-focused. In fact, the best marketing for small businesses is based on authenticity. As a business owner, you get to work out some kinks in your life and invest in your own personal growth. This allows you to remove hurdles from your own path so you can start sharing your badass light with the world.
How to Do Slow Marketing
The most beautiful part of slow marketing is that it’s based on quiet simplicity. If you have a mindfulness practice, you can actually use it to discover your best slow marketing plan. Sounds bizarre, I know. But your business is often an extension of you, so digging deep to find what is right for you is what works best. Here are a few tips to help you to better understand how to actually put slow marketing practices into place in your life.
1. Stop reading business articles meant for corporations.
Business advice is typically aimed at large businesses and corporations that have investors to please and thousands of customers to attract. This is where the loud, shouty marketing world lives it up. And exactly where you’ll get lost, overwhelmed, and start to feel like you can’t do anything right. Just walk away. It’s not meant for you.
2. Start tapping into your intuition and inner wisdom.
You don’t really need to understand the Five Steps to a Perfect Sales Funnel, or whatever nonsense people are trying to convince you that you need. Honestly, if you’ve been alive for enough years, you know how to interact with people in a way that works well for you (or you’ve got some hints and you’re working on it).
That’s all you need to get started in slow marketing. You know your product or service, you know who you love to work with, and you know yourself. The rest is all trial and error until you find the right formula that is best for you.
3. Focus on really understanding what you do and who you do it for.
Often, we let fear drive our businesses. So we think that we have to show our wares, so to speak, to every human with a heartbeat that crosses our path. We’ve got to make money quickly, so we get desperate. But this energy comes out in our interactions, quickly pushing people away. It’s counterproductive.
Instead, spend some time in your mind, body, and heart really digging deep. If you’ve spent any time thinking about or researching your ideal client, then you’ve got all you need to tap into your inner wisdom. Ponder slowly about your offerings and how they move your soul. Let yourself feel how they might be transformative for your ideal clients. Then visualize who will be most affected by what you offer. Once you get clear on what you do and who you do it for, the rest will just fall into place and you’ll be able to make decisions more intuitively.
4. Figure out how you want to spread your message.
If you’re working online, this is also known as content marketing, but you don’t need to get all hung up in the whats and hows (you can do that later when you know what your strategy is). Are you a natural writer or someone who would like to get better at writing? Then maybe blogging is a great format for you.
Or maybe you like the idea of just sharing your message through videos where you can play to your strength of speaking. Or perhaps you love photography, graphic design, or art. Maybe you just like getting in front of people in real life and talking to them face-to-face. Decide what your strengths are and what you would most enjoy doing, then…
5. Decide where you want to spread your message online.
This all depends on whether your business is exclusively online, in person, or a mix of both. Social media is a great place to share your message, but not all platforms are a good fit for every person. First, you’ll need to find out where your ideal audience is hanging out. Then you’ll need to decide which places you enjoy spending your time.
If you’re not yet sure, go ahead and do some lurking on the common platforms that appeal to you. Do some watching and paying attention to what others are doing, saying, and sharing. Then check in with your gut. Which one feels enjoyable and exciting to you? Start with just one platform so you can give your energy to really mastering how to use that space for your business.
6. Learn how to use your platform, then develop a strategy.
Once you’ve picked a social media platform, take the time to learn how to use it effectively. Read very recent blog posts that outline best practices (they’re always changing, so skip the older articles). Follow accounts that you admire and are similar to how you’d like to use the platform. Pay attention to how they engage with their audience and if it’s effective or not and why.
After you’ve really given it some effort and learning, you’re ready to determine how you’d like to present your business. Put together a simple strategy that helps you to laser focus your time and effort. We all know that spending lots of time on social media platforms isn’t healthy. So make sure that you plan out your time on there, show up and get your work done, then log out and get out in the garden.
7. If you’re focused in-person, decide how to do that strategically.
If social media is just not your thing, at all, that’s okay. You can find clients lots of other ways, particularly if your business is locally-based and you work with people face-to-face. Create a free one-hour workshop for potential clients, then offer free or low-cost consultations to get people discussing their needs with you in-person. If they like you and you’re a good fit, they’ll be more likely to purchase your services after meeting you in person.
Show up for farmers markets, get your products in your local food co-op store, offer to teach a free class for your local wellness clinic. The idea is to start to build community so that you become the go-to person for the service or products that you offer.
Make friends. Take other professionals out to coffee or lunch. Show up for other people’s events so that you demonstrate that you care about collaboration. Donate your time, products, efforts to community events that will generate traffic to your website.
Be a good community member and the right people will fall in love with what you do.
8. Say yes to growth and say no to busyness.
When we get started with our businesses, we tend to think we’re supposed to do all the things all the time. So then we end up half-assing everything, which doesn’t impress anyone at all. That’s why slow marketing is focused on quality over quantity.
Show up authentically in just one space for a while and really put your heart into it. You’ll grow a following much faster that way. And let’s be honest, you’re just one person, not a whole marketing team. Be selective about how you spend your time so it’s effective and honors your self-care values.
And also be willing to step into opportunities that are a bit scary. If it feels like the right thing and makes you nervous, check in to see if it’s something you should be doing. If it’s an authentic move that will lead you to growth, then you probably should say yes.
Be willing to show up and take risks. Overcome your fear of talking on the phone or having a video call with someone, or presenting something to a small group. You don’t need to conquer the world or behave like a wannabe CEO. But pushing yourself a little into situations that will benefit you is a helpful way to accelerate your own personal growth.
9. Add in other marketing methods, slowly (and with wisdom).
One channel of marketing might be enough for you. Or you might decide that there are other opportunities to get in front of your ideal clients. Don’t rush to grow too quickly, but know when it’s time to add in something else. When you get there, you’ll probably feel confident in your first method and maybe even feel a little bored by it (or just ready for a new challenge). Or you’ll have a sudden need to push a little harder through a faster marketing method to help pay a bill (such as using cold emailing, pitching, or other short-term tactics).
Always take some time to really think about a new method or platform. Do some journaling and meditation. Understand why you want to use it and if it’s motivated by fear or a deepening enjoyment in spreading your message.
Then, if it’s truly right for you, take the time to understand and get good at it like you did with the first method. Find the ways to use it that feel most authentic for you. Let go of comparison and focus on what’s actually right for you. Get innovative and use a method differently than you’ve seen it used by others. Modify, innovate, and be authentic. And always take care of yourself first.
Consistency and Authenticity in Slow Marketing
At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and being vulnerable. Love yourself enough to be willing to take risks and grow as a person. The beautiful thing about having a business is that you get to learn how to value yourself and what you can offer the world.
You get to learn how to be soft and also how to manage criticism with self-love. You can find ways to better interact with others, overcoming old anxieties and fears. You get to really refine who you are as a person and step out into the world more confidently and with joy. And best of all, you get to practice embodiment, intuition, and let your inner guide teach you first.
Business ownership isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it. We can let the struggle of business building make us feel fear and inadequacy. Or we can lean in to the process and let it help us climb out of our fears and step into our own light. You’ve got something wonderful to share with the world.
I’m here rooting for you as you sort through your own business process. If I can help in any way, send me a message and we can set up a free 30-minute chat. I can’t wait to see how you show up in the world and make life more beautiful for others.