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How to Remove Shame From Your Marketing

If you are looking to practice conscious marketing, then shame has to be eliminated from your messaging. That being said, with all of the external noise when it comes to marketing your business, the chances are there may be some shame language already present. No, I'm not shaming you for that! It's actually become so incredibly normal to see lack-based language within marketing, to the point that you, or potential customers may not even notice its presence. Don't fear though, this blog is going to walk you through a process to make sure your marketing is rooted in empowerment and as a result, is a true energetic match to your service.

Firstly, what is shame marketing and why do we need to avoid it?

Anytime the topic of shame comes up, I always direct people towards Brené Brown's Ted Talk: Listening to shame. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in here about what shame is, how it manifests within us and the ways it can impact behaviour. One of my favourite lines captures the impact shame has beautifully...

“Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough.”

The problem with making people "not feel good enough" within marketing is conveyed within research. Studies suggest that fear within marketing is more likely to result in avoidance or escape (Lazarus, 1991). This notion is supported by qualitative research (Brennan and Binney, 2006), indicating that negative appeals are more likely to invoke self-protection and inaction rather than an active response.

From the note of conscious marketing too, if shame is present within your marketing, you aren't creating an effective mirror of your service (which is what makes it truly magnetic to aligned clients). If you are inviting people into your service with shame being the driving force, you are likely to attract clients that don't actually feel good to work with. They might not be "doing the work" beyond the sessions, you may find their expectation of you/the service is sky high and never lives up to what they want it to be and it's highly likely that they aren't going to get what they need from what you have to deliver (no matter how good it is).

The key to signing clients you love is to eradicate shame marketing.

So how can you practice marketing without shaming?

Create safety:

You can point out where someone is at, what problem they might be experiencing, what they might desire etc without creating shame for that. What if instead of trying to make people deeply uncomfortable with their reality, you instead created a safe space for them to land in that? In regards to the research, if shame creates avoidance, then we can assume the antidote to that is to create a space of acceptance where people can face what is arising. 

Generate intrinsic motivation: 

In his book Drive, Pink highlights that we have based a system of motivation on extrinsic elements for some time now (money, validation, status etc), but the deepest sense of motivation can be found in the opposite. Instead, the deepest motivation is found in the intrinsic motivation (satisfaction, fulfilment, passion etc). Most marketing relies on extrinsic elements and so whilst it may create an initial reaction, it’s not creating the deep-rooted change that would lead to high levels of retainment from customers. If you want buyers to love your product and keep coming back for more, then creating speaking to intrinsic motivators is the best route. 

Lean into desire.

The bottom line is people need to see the value of your product/service to buy it. If they can’t see the impact it will have on their lives, they aren’t going to part with their cash for it. Navigating that fine line of speaking to a transformation, without generating fear/lack isn’t easy. One way to do this is to lean into what people want, rather than what they don’t have. Creating this shift invites empowered decisions from a place of believing what is possible, rather than being rooted in fear of what isn’t in existence. This simple shift takes people from avoidance to awareness and invites aligned action as a result. 

If you didn't already know, my most popular service is a marketing audit.

This is where I dive into your marketing to tease out more of your brilliance in a way that will activate clients. One thing I also pull out in these audits is when shaming may be lurking beneath the surface. You can have me dive into your marketing here:


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