What does having a successful online business look like to you?

One of the hardest things to get right in business, in my opinion, is your marketing. It’s something that’s often left to the wayside, done as an afterthought, or purchased by brands and folks that think, “Okay, now we’ll just add some Marketing to it.”

Like, soap. Soap you can just slather on and maybe that will fix it and make everything go away.

Soap doesn’t help with a stinky product, or when you don’t know what your customer really wants, or when you try to get a 17 year old teenage dude to run your Instagram channel and you’re marketing to 40-something moms who have specific needs and pain points and the teenager, wonderful as they may be, doesn’t understand your brand voice.

Marketing is all about connecting to the people who want to hear from you.

Marketing is so important that I’ve taken multiple courses and have been studying from the experts (I took Seth Godin’s Marketing Seminar, I’m a big fan and affiliate for Marie Forleo’s B-School, and yes, I sometimes listen to Zig Ziglar audiotapes to continue to learn and study the art of human connection).

Because marketing and selling is not about slimy tactics or strong-arming someone into buying something they don’t want.

That’s just rude behavior.

Great marketing is about forming relationships with people, understanding what they need, listening to your audience, and starting conversations that matter.

Marketing is about having a space for conversations that are relevant. (This is what we’re trying to do with The Startup Pregnant Podcast, by the way).

Many of you know that I am building my company, Startup Pregnant. Several of you have asked me how I’m doing it so effectively and why it seems to be growing so fast.

I’ll credit some of that to being in business for a number of years. Also? Last year I studied Marie Forleo’s work when I finally signed up for B-School (and here’s my post on why I decided to finally jump in, yes, while pregnant with baby number two), and I was blown away. I thought it was really, really good.

I was a little surprised! I suppose I thought that if I just swam in the ocean long enough, and watched enough of her free videos (her YouTube channel is gold), that I’d get all the information I needed.

Nope, the program was better.

I don’t say that lightly, either.

If you’re curious about her work and you want to see an example of what she builds, take a look at her free training series where she does three short video courses (about 30 minutes each) with downloadable worksheets for you to think through your business offerings, positioning, and marketing-communications strategies.

Marie Forleo International, Inc.

If you want to get better at selling, marketing, and positioning, then check out this free training series.

Right now she has a free training program out right now with three lessons:

Here are some of my takeaways from the free series:

  • Big-hearted entrepreneurs that want to help people, and create generous businesses, are wired to succeed. BUT. We have to get out of our own way and truly master the ‘profit’ side of our business. (That’s why the first pillar of the six pillars is called ‘Profit Clarity.’)
  • Positioning yourself is not an after-thought. You must listen to your audience and your customers and use the words that they use, not just in describing your products or services, but also in describing their pain points, dreams, wishes, and desires.
  • Sometimes it can get cloudy and we don’t know what to do or where to go next. It is NOT a good idea to listen to friends and family if they’re not in our target market. Instead, listen to the people you want to serve and kindly but firmly create a boundary between you and all that well-meaning advice your non-business-savvy friends might heap on.

Humans are built to sell.

Selling only got a bad rap when we were forced to listen to slimy salespeople in the last decade and we didn’t have a choice about opting out. Somehow the word got around that selling was gross. Here’s the thing, though. Humans are built to sell. We are ALWAYS selling something, whether it’s where we want to eat for lunch, or what time we want to go to bed, or how we want to connect. Marie’s program helps big-hearted entrepreneurs set up a framework for success, and she walks through the six pillars that you can study and why they matter for your business.

If you want to learn how to authentically talk about your work, do work in a way that’s generous, thoughtful, and useful, and you’ve been struggling to find a ‘click’ with your customers (or you want to take your communications to the next level), I’m a big fan of Marie, and her work. Here’s what I think about B-School and who the program is right for.

PS: As you know, I’m a proud affiliate of Marie’s program, and I am sharing it because it really helped my business. If you’re not interested, don’t sign up. Simple. I’m doing a series on my blog all about what I learned, what the program includes, and why I think it’s useful if you want to read about my experience.