Marketing made human
How a Servant Marketing Strategy will transform your life & business
There’s a fundamental shift happening in business...
Businesses are losing control.
Customers are no longer asking for higher quality products and content,
they’re demanding it.
They want to buy from brands with a mission that support a cause they care about. Brands that are authentic, human, and empathetic.
Brands that provide value before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale.
Brands that meet them on their turf, and on their terms – and if you’re not willing to adapt, they’ll spend their hard-earned dollars elsewhere.
Your customer is in control.
Successfully adopt a servant marketing strategy for your business and you’ll find yourself not only meeting their needs, but exceeding them.
You’ll see substantial increases in leads, sales, and repeat customers. You may even 10x your business, simply by implementing this one simple strategy.
What is servant marketing?
I’m not going to make this complicated, because honestly it’s not. Servant Marketing simply means marketing to serve before marketing to sell.
Now don’t get me wrong, you NEED to sell to have a successful business … obviously. But the businesses that are skillfully using marketing to serve their customers FIRST, will outsell a small business owner wheeling and dealing to make a quick sale any day.
But notice that I used the word “skillfully.”
Just because the premise of servant marketing is simple does not mean it’s easy.
It takes time, effort, research, and thoughtful – but sometimes tough – decisions.
Adopting servant marketing for your business means letting your customers lead your marketing strategy.
In fact, servant marketing comes from the idea of servant leadership, coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970. According to Greenleaf, as a servant leader, you’re a “servant first” – meaning you focus on the needs of others, before you focus on your own.
The needs of the business/CEO are at the top with everyone else looking up towards them for vision.
Customer needs come first, and the leaders of the company are focused on serving those above them.
Serving your customers, or letting them lead your marketing strategy, may sound like common sense, but unfortunately, 90% of companies are still getting this wrong … and you can see it play out in disappointing ads and slimy marketing tactics every single day.
In fact, giving up control to their customers can be one of the hardest concepts for entrepreneurs and business owners to grasp.
It can take some serious courage and humility.
They’re often so focused on bringing their own dream – their baby – to life that they develop their marketing strategy, design, copy, and even products and services without any customer feedback … or even more dangerously, they rely on their own personal preference or assumptions. *Gasp!*
I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept of starting with your “WHY” ... and that’s incredibly important...
But it’s even more important to know your customer’s “WHY” – and how your product or service helps them fulfill it.
So how do you get started …?
Where to start? Know your customer inside & out
To grow your business, the first thing you need to understand is that your customer is in control – and they want to do business with life-changing brands.
Or in other words, brands that will make their lives better.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, or even if you’ve had a business for years but need help getting to the next level, the first thing you need to start with is a Customer Affinity Workshop.
You need to understand your customer inside and out.
Their biggest fears, their biggest desires, and how they view the world. You need to know what problems they have, what erks them, and what sets their souls on fire.
You need to know how they live their lives and what values are important to them.
And then, you need to understand how your product or service solves those problems, or fulfills those dreams. How your business helps them live the life they desire, or be the person they’re striving to be.
Now you need to be able to articulate it. To make them feel it deep in their bones. To erupt an emotional response that drives them to take immediate action.
You need powerful copy, strong design, unmatched customer service, and an exceptional product.
You need to put the right message in front of the right person at the precise time they need to hear it on their journey. But you need to do it authentically, with the right offer, and on the right channel.
Admittedly, there’s a lot to consider.
But figure it out, teach your team, and develop a marketing strategy based on value and human connection - and all of YOUR dreams can be fulfilled.
A happy and passionate life, a thriving business, and a fulfilled purpose.
I realize to some of you that may sound utopian, exaggerative, or unrealistic … and then maybe this isn’t for you.
But if that sounds intriguing, energizing, or like the life and business you’ve been working to build, read on.
7 Servant marketing Principles to live & Do business by
Adopt these principles and transform your life and business:
Start with your customer - ALWAYS
I may sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s literally the most important part!
Use customer research, data, and insights to drive everything you do. Focus on serving them, solving their problems, and fulfilling their dreams and you’ll build a large, loyal army of advocates for your business.
Provide value FIRST
This applies to everything. Lead generation experiences, sales funnels, cross-sells, everything.
If you’re asking someone to do something for you, whether it’s giving up their email address, opening their wallet, or referring a friend, you need to provide them with value before, during, and after – every time.
People don’t want to buy from businesses. People want to buy from people.
Get vulnerable with your audience. Share your story. What do you believe in? Why should like-minded people join you? What can you accomplish together?
Share your accomplishments, but also share your failures. Make a mistake? Own up to it, fix it. Say you’re sorry. Be human.
Create a community
Start a conversation with your marketing, create a community.
People want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves, they want to feel connected to other people. Meet them where they are, bring them together.
Invite everyone, but stay authentic and true to your values. A tribe of raving fans can be more fruitful than a sea of lukewarm customers.
Make empathy your superpower
Most of the time all people want is to be heard, to be understood. So be understanding, and listen to them.
Or go one step further and walk a mile in their shoes...
Attempt to feel what they feel, and let them see themselves in your content and ads. But don’t just talk the talk, showcase personal testimonials with proven results.
Treat them how you want to be treated.
Over-deliver. Every. Time.
One of the core values over at Servant Marketing Co. is to only do work your mom would be proud of. Make sure you’re doing the “mom test” on every marketing piece you put out.
If you spent a little more time, would this ad be better? If you took the risk to get that once-in-a-lifetime shot for that video, would it make the difference?
Do it, every time. Go further than most are willing to.
Follow this one simple principle and you will be better than 90% of other businesses. (The other 10% are your people - work and connect with them!)
Show your gratitude
This one’s my favorite, because it’s guaranteed to also help you live a happier life…
Tell your customers that you are grateful for them, often.
Better yet, show them. Show them with random acts of gratitude.
Slip a handwritten note into their product order, do a zero-profit giveaway, spotlight customers on the regular. Your customer is keeping you in business, thank them for it.
To go deeper into these principles, and get some real-life examples of companies that are killin’ it by implementing them, check out this blog post:
Once you’ve adopted these principles, then it’s time to break out the marketing tactics. I’ve alluded to some already in this post.
Servant marketing tactics to humanize your marketing
There are countless servant marketing tactics you can inject into every aspect of your business to increase engagement and conversion rates.
Whether it’s in your email subject lines, product packaging, blog posts, or social media strategy – you can connect with your customers on a more human level…
But that’s enough information for a whole nother blog post ;-)
Here’s a few to peak your interest:
Create content and ads with real customers.
Set up an automated survey that asks for customer reviews or opinions. Pick the ones that resonate and send them a follow up email asking if they’d like to be featured on your site or ad.
Turn a sour critic into a raving fan.
Follow up on negative reviews by reaching out to them privately and giving them the royal treatment. You will blow their mind and they may even blow up your social media with thanks.
Provide value before you ask for anything from your customer.
This can be as simple as adding a video jam-packed with educational value to your squeeze page, or as intricate as a retargeting strategy where there is no ask from the customer on step 1.
Try adding a free whitepaper to your sales page, or a freebie to your core offer. Try making your sales experience all about delivering value instead of a transaction and see what happens.
Collect feedback and do customer research as much as possible.
Launching a new product? Ask your customers for their opinion, or better yet, let them design it (this will also generate buzz and excitement)!
In disagreement with your creative director on what messaging your new brand should use? A/B test it and let the results speak for themselves.
Designing a new t-shirt? Create a t-shirt battle and let your customers pick the annual design.
Start a real conversation with your customers.
Try sending an email that simply asks customers to reply. No button, no link, just an authentic conversation. See what happens.
Ask your prospects why they haven’t bought your product yet. It may be ugly and painful, but it will make you better.
And those are just a few.
If all this seems a bit daunting, it’s okay...
Simply start with the next right thing.
Because after all of this is said and done, Servant Marketing simply means doing the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing.
For help, fill out our contact form below so we can connect.
It might just be the next right thing. :)
Cheers to your growth,
Owner | Servant Marketing Co.