Bring Your Marketing Home

For the Accidental Entrepreneur, marketing often means leaving the comforts of home to learn unfamiliar principles and practices. You read books and blogs, take courses and webinars, and look at what other people are doing. Along the way you learn all sorts of things:

  • Instead of focusing on all the wonderful things you know how to do for people, you’re supposed to speak to their pain.
  • Rather than casting your net as broadly as possible, you’ve got to choose a narrow niche.
  • In spite of the fact that the depth and nuances of your work are what make it valuable, you’re told to talk in terms of results, not processes.

It’s good stuff. I teach it. But for all that good stuff to actually work, you have to bring it home.

Don’t let your essence get lost in translation

When you’re learning unfamiliar ways of spreading the word about your work, your essence and your voice can get lost in translation. It’s not that you’ve stopped being authentic, and it’s not that what you’ve learned is (necessarily) manipulative.

It’s simply that, like any learner, you tend to take on the style and syntax of your teachers. When you first put your message into the structures of marketing and sales, you can sounding like a not very bright used car salesman. It’s embarrassing, and I’ve seen countless Accidental Entrepreneurs give up marketing because they weren’t willing to come across that way.

But the answer isn’t to stop marketing. It’s to take what you learn and bring it home.

How do you do that?

Ask four key questions

The simplest way I know to bring it home is to ask four questions:

1. Where is it written that this has to be done in a sleazy or cheesy way?
2. Setting aside the ick factor, what’s the function of this tool or technique?
3. How could that serve my people?
4. How can I accomplish this with integrity?

Let’s take urgency for example.

Urgency is a key ingredient in an effective offer. Without it, your message, no matter how appealing, is likely to get lost in the background noise of daily life. Even your loyal customers and clients are likely to put off acting until later, and later rarely comes.

Sleazy examples of urgency abound. The red countdown clock on a sales page ticking away the minutes you have left to take You just know that if you go back in a week you’ll see the same timer.

So let’s run the four questions on the factor of urgency.

  1. Where is it written that urgency has to be done in a sleazy or cheesy way? Nowhere that I know of. Sure, the examples in classic copywriting texts may be hard to take, but there’s no rule that you have to lie to create urgency.
  2. Setting aside the ick factor, what’s the actual function of this tool or technique? The function of urgency is to cut through the background noise so that the people who can really use what you offer stop long enough to make a decision and act before it goes out of their minds.
  3. How could that serve your people? Assuming that what you do benefits your clients and customers, this one’s a no brainer. Your people are served when they get from you what they want and need.
  4. How can you accomplish this with integrity? A tried and true and honorable method of creating urgency is offering a discount or bonus for prompt purchases. To do this with integrity, make the time frame long enough that your people aren’t unreasonably pressured, then stick to it. If you offer a bonus, make it something of real value, not a trumped up sales tool in disguise. And please, don’t inflate the value of your bonuses. If I never see another $25 book with $1,497 worth of bonuses, it will be too soon.

You can do this

Don’t wait until you have something to sell to bring marketing and sales home. Whenever you get triggered by a sleazy marketing or sales technique, run the four questions. The more you practice, the better you will get at making effective marketing and sales practices yours.

While leaving home is a necessary part of learning to market and sell, the magic happens when you come back home. Home to yourself. Home to what you care about. Home to the people you serve.

Which is what you rock at, right?

About Molly Gordon

Molly Gordon is the owner of Shaboom Inc., a company devoted to helping Accidental Entrepreneurs who are allergic to business develop the skills they need to prosper. She’s an artist, writer, marketing consultant, and coach -- as well as a paddle-boarder, cyclist, singer, and grandmother. She lives in Suquamish, Washington with her husband, two hens, and Bolivia the Wonder Cat. Molly blogs at, where you can also sign up for her weekly ezine, Authentic Promotion.

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