Millions of people have had to change their businesses to be more online-based due to these historic times of unrest and uncertainty. It’s a great time to utilize tech for building a brand, maximizing our impact, and earning a sustainable income. However, it’s just as important to sell and promote our products and services ethically so we don’t replicate oppressive business practices that make us cringe when they hit our inboxes or Instagram feeds! Here are my 5 tips for selling ethically online.
I’ve been in the online space for many years now and have come across every marketing tactic in the book! Based on the past few years of experience with what has work and hasn’t worked, I now teach my students how to teach what they love in an honest, authentic, and intentional way. Although I typically work with wellness entrepreneurs, these tips will work for anyone in almost any industry.
Focus on Maximizing your Social Impact
Your work is valuable and unique, you don’t want to dilute it by going for “clickbait” or gimmicks. Focus on what the impact of what you offer is, how it will transform people, and how community can benefit from what you’re putting out there. When we do this we are less likely to sound salesy and more likely to come across as authentic and relatable. One way to do this while putting your offering together is to ask yourself “who does this serve, and what will they walk away with after getting my product/service?”
Community over Profits
When we decide that we want to put something out there simply to make money then we miss the point of being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is about serving the community with unique and special offerings that only we can provide when we aren’t tied down by a 9-5. Whether you’re an educator or selling beauty products, when you focus on community you are less likely to fall into predatory tactics just to get a buck.
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!
One of the best things I’ve learned is that collaboration is the key to success, but it also keeps you honest. Working with other people can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before or are new to selling online. I challenge everyone to step outside their comfort zone and reach out to people you admire and respect. Work together, solve a problem for the community, merge ideas, or build something totally new. Make sure it’s a collaboration that makes sense for your brand and not one simply to gain followers. To start, make a list of your top 10 dream collaborators, with varying degrees of experience, expertise, and followings. Then reach out to them with a unique idea, you got this!
Create Accessible Pricing while still Charging your Worth
We’ve all heard by now the phrase “charge your worth”, but what does that truly mean?! For me it means not charging dollar store prices when I don’t have dollar store offerings, but it also means not charging an arm and a leg when my goal is to help as many people as possible. So the happy medium I’ve found is sliding scale pricing. Now, this may not work for product-based businesses but it can at least help you think outside the box if that's your business offering. For those of us who can set tiered pricing for our offerings, I suggest doing it as a triad. The first price is your highest price, this one is priced at 1.5-2x what your offering is worth. The second price is your middle tier, this is the baseline of what your offering is worth. And the third is your most affordable price, this is your accessible or subsidized price that people who have financial struggles can still access. The point of this system is to maximize our impact on community, so those who buy at the highest tier pay for themselves AND for those at the lowest tier who have a more discounted rate. Play around with this new pricing model and see if it works for you.
Avoid Fear-Based Marketing, Promote Honestly
One thing you may see a lot out there is people marketing to your fears, speaking about the problems you might have, or manipulating your insecurities. This is an age-old tactic rooted in predatory marketing, and while it may get people to buy quickly it certainly is not ethical. Instead, focus your marketing on the transformation you or your product provides, the benefits, and the impact it will have on their lives. While it’s true you might point to a pain point here and there just to make a point, you don’t want that to be the focus of your sales. People want to feel good about their purchases, not terrible about themselves! Be honest about what you provide and the results people get, make them feel like they are investing in something special that will help them be their fullest selves.