Marketing and evangelism
If business was a religion, then marketing is the evangelism department. At it’s very core, marketing is nothing more than letting others know what you have to offer. You have a product or service, and you need to tell others about it. Evangelism is just letting others know what you have to offer; the truth you’ve found. It’s not like this is a new concept, the job title “Brand Evangelist” has been around for years. So what can marketers learn from effective evangelists?
This has been said many times before, but it’s still ignored. Just like effective evangelists, you can’t ambush people with your product (or religion). People don’t want you to constantly ask them to buy your product. They want you to tell them things about their industry. They want you to write white papers that help them grow in their field. They want you to show them articles they can take to their team. Then, after you’ve earned some trust and proven yourself an asset, then you can ask them if they’re interested in your product. Not before.
Build a relationship
The most effective form of evangelism is to get to know someone and let the topic of religion come up naturally when they’re ready. Invite someone to dinner, eat dinner, and leave. Don’t ask them to convert the first time you hang out. Then, go see a movie with them. Then, have them over for a game night. Then, if they see the way you live and are interested, they’ll ask. Or, if you get to a point in your relationship where it’s appropriate, then you can ask them about their beliefs. You know what? They’ll listen to you at that point because they like and trust you. They won’t listen before because they don’t yet trust you. The same goes for marketing. Get to know your prospects, try and do something for them, and they’ll be more than happy to give you money eventually.
Have you ever been to an event and seen those people standing out front on milk crates with a megaphone telling everyone they’re going to hell? Regardless of your beliefs, no one seems to like listening to those people. They’re not nice; they don’t say anything positive. They don’t tell you what their God likes or how you can know their God. They only tell you what he hates. I liken these “protesters” to political ads. They’re advertising something and no one wants to listen. Don’t sling mud at your competition. Don’t talk about how competing products are inferior. Tell us about your product and how great it is. A negative message gets headlines, but a positive message is always more well-received.
Help others and they’ll seek you
The greatest example of evangelism in the history of the world was the early Christian church in Rome. In a time when the elderly, orphaned, sick, or injured were ignored and left for dead, the early Christian church paid attention to these people. They took care of them, adopted them, and nursed them to health. They were acting out the love they had been instructed to. Without a word of evangelism, their church grew exponentially because they were contagious. People wanted what they had. Those who were helped, and those who saw them helping others, all wanted in. This is what your marketing should do. Treat your customers right, take care of those who purchase your product or service. Don’t be afraid to spend time with prospects even though it doesn’t generate immediate revenue. As you do, your company will become attractive to those around you and you will earn more customers.