Two questions immediately spring to mind when talking about a heart-based business. The first is inevitable: ‘What exactly is a heart-based business?’. This question is usually followed by the second: ‘How does an authentic, heart-based business owner grow their business?’
Many coaches, therapists and female entrepreneurs brand themselves as a heart-based business. It’s a phrase used to describe the more emotional and intuitive-led, feminine way of running a business – something that’s often beautifully illustrated via the feminine-focused branding and graphics heart-based enterprises use.
However, this often leads to an assumption that a heart-based business can’t use the more traditional marketing methods to grow a business or build relationships. Sales, marketing, content creation, email marketing and even websites all get seen as inauthentic for heart-based business owners.
But is this always the case - or do they still have a place in the heart-based business?
A heart-based business is a refreshing change to the traditional way of running a business. You’re a heart-based business if you’re open, honest, vulnerable, and non-pushy in your general business practices. Heart-based activities are more emotional and intuitive-based too.
As a heart-based business owner, it’s essential that your clients feel right for you and your business. You (quite rightly) will choose only to work with clients who feel right and who are a good fit for your business - and the client has to feel that you’re a good fit for them, too.
Many heart-based business owners work on the basis that everything happens at the right time (for both you and your clients). Whether that’s you gaining a new client, your client making a breakthrough, the way you market your business or the way you build relationships with potential clients. This leads to an all-round gentler way of building a business – one where you attract clients, opportunities and sales to you, as opposed to pushing and striving.
As a heart-based businesswoman, you can’t help feeling that the traditional way of building relationships and growing your email list, don’t work. Bribes for sign-ups, capturing leads by enticing them with incentives, persuasive, subliminal copy, and sending regular targeted email campaigns to contacts, feels too pushy and salesy. You don’t want to be seen as pushy - and that’s understandable.
When it comes to being visible and marketing your business, again, traditional marketing can feel too inauthentic for you. You don’t want to resort to bombarding your ideal audience with your offers and products, and advertising and promotion can often feel too pushy.
You want to attract clients to you, so you show up primarily on social media, as this is where you can be both friendly and visible. It’s so much gentler than pushing for clients and selling themselves via the traditional methods of SEO, websites, blog posts and mailing lists etc.
You’re looking to run your business based on the philosophy of ‘build it, and they will come’. For many heart-based businesswomen, this is what you’ve been taught to do. It leads you to believe you need to throw away the traditional ways of working. Instead, you should choose to keep your marketing-based interactions to a minimum and just be visible online. The more visible you are, the more followers you get - and eventually, the right client will want to work with you.
Your marketing strategy is to grow your social media numbers to such high figures, that you can then sit, wait and attract your clients to you when the time is ‘right’. You don’t push for a sale, and you’d never dream of really promoting yourself and your services.
You then believe that you don’t need a website or blog at all, as you’re so visible on social media. After all, your website would never have that same high level of interaction, as you’re currently getting, would it?
The problem is, you believe traditional marketing won’t work for heart-based businesses. You’re blaming the tools for your issues - when the problem is you’re not adapting and learning how to use the tools!
And that’s understandable, considering. Old school marketing and business training were more masculine-based. It often encouraged harsh, pushy and even underhanded techniques to grow a business. Clients were seen as numbers and targets, we learnt secrets and blackhat techniques, while the sale was the end result of all your hard work - and the end of any relationship you’d formed.
It’s no wonder a more feminine heart-based way to do business was needed!
But a tool is only as useful as the person using it. For example, if you have a bookcase to make, but you give the hammer to your toddler – don’t expect it to get built. You’ll probably end up with a lot of broken things around your home, as well as tears and maybe a bruise or two on your toddler (and you!). But the hammer itself isn’t the issue. The issue is the toddler doesn’t know how to build a bookcase, and they don’t know how to use the hammer.
It’s the same with those traditional tools of mailing lists, lead magnets and websites. They’re not your problem. Your problem is you can’t see how you can use them effectively, in a more authentic way, for your heart-based business.
If you want to get clear on how those more traditional-based marketing tools can help you market your business, you need to start by understanding what a heart-based relationship is.
In my opinion, a heart-based relationship is one that:
A heart-based relationship is one that feels right for you. If you want to market your heart-based business authentically, you start by focusing on your ultimate goal - to build better relationships. For many heart-based business owners, this means not being pushy or fake in your marketing. The focus isn’t on the money, but on being of service to clients.
And this is something that is doable, with those traditional business tools.
It starts by changing your view on those traditional tools. Those tools are only as useful as you want them to be. If you don’t want to come across as pushy or spammy and salesy – don’t use manipulative, salesy techniques in your content. It doesn’t mean you can’t ask for the sale – but don’t make it the sole focus of every piece of content you have.
Focus on giving value to your clients, as your main reason for creating content. Show them how they can build on that value, with your call to action to check out the products and/or services you offer.
Want to be authentic? Be open, honest and genuine in your written content. Don’t get your clients jumping through hoops, just to find out how much your product or service is. Give them your current prices, so they’re not on the back foot and anxious for when you eventually uncover the cost of their ‘investment’ during your discovery call with them. Don’t inflate your prices to make your bonuses, one-time deals and freebies seem more appealing - and don’t pretend you’re live on a webinar when you’re not!
Be mindful of your client’s situation, by giving them different options for working with you, at various price points. Don’t encourage them to slap it on a credit card that they can’t afford to pay back. And never push them to make a decision, without giving them time away from you, to come to a decision that’s right for them.
In the same vein, if they don’t need what you’re offering or won’t benefit from it - tell them! It isn’t about making assumptions about their financial situation or their right to buy anything - it’s about being mindful enough to listen to their needs and wants. It’s about not using fears, worry and panic as a manipulative way of getting another sale, and genuinely having your clients best interests at heart.
Understand that your website and blog are there to help serve your clients. Their primary purpose is to either build or start, a heart-based relationship with your clients. You achieve this through sharing details of your products and services, via your solution and benefits-focused sales pages, as well as offering informative, helpful and value-led blog posts.
A heart-based business is only as good as the person running it. If you want to build better relationships with your clients, start by having a better relationship with yourself. If you value being open and honest with your clients, be open and honest with yourself. Show up as you online. And if you have fears and uncertainty over how to market your business effectively, grow your list, or use traditional marketing tools more authentically - invest in getting help and support.
Just because you’re a heart-based business, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell or promote your services and products. In fact, by hiding away and not actively promoting your services and products, you’re doing your potential clients a disservice. Remember, the key to a heart-based business is doing business in a way that’s both honest and authentic for you. So you focus on promoting how you can help your clients and be of service to them.
But any business, whether it’s heart-based or not, needs to be run as a business. You need to have plans and goals in place, as well as marketing and social media strategies, to grow your business. You also need to ensure you’re charging sensible prices for what you do and you need to be utilizing all of the tools at your disposal - traditional and attraction-based.
As a business owner, you need to be active and focused on growing that business - regardless of what tools you have at your disposal.
No matter how you want to say otherwise, you’re in business to make money. We all need money to be able to serve the needs of ourselves and our clients effectively. The more money you have at your disposal, the more effectively you can address those needs - in a heart-based way.
Yes, you’re in business to serve your clients in the best possible way, and your focus needs to be on your clients, to serve them well. But the sales, subsequent income and overall business growth that comes from taking your business seriously put you in a more secure position to help serve your audience on a bigger scale. The more money you have in your business, the more options you can subsequently make available to your clients - including scholarships, payment options and different product levels. You’re not stressed about needing the money and are more focused on how you can make your service and products more accessible to your clients.
The different platforms and tools you use, along with the content you share, all just help you serve your clients more effectively - no matter what type of business you are, or whether you use new or traditional marketing tools. They give you more of a chance to grow your business in a heart-based way – by giving you the means to be passionate about what you do, provide your clients what they need to grow and to build better, and build better heart-based relationships with those clients.
A heart-based business is a more feminine-based, gentler and less pushy way of working when compared to the more traditional methods and tools used in business. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still use traditional tools to build your heart-based business and better relationships with clients. The key is to find a happy balance between the two.
There will be times when you do need to be more forward and pushy in business - but there is also a need to learn when to sit back and let your intuition take charge. By learning how to balance the two, you’ll find it much easier to both build better relationships and grow your heart-based business faster and more effectively.
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