In the past three articles we’ve been looking at the difference between the ‘old school’ and new paradigm approach to writing marketing copy for our websites, sales pages, newsletters, email shots, blog articles, social media updates, and so on. If you missed these articles, you can catch up by clicking these links:
- PART 1: Grace-FULL Tips for Writing Effective Marketing Copy – where we looked at how to bring the Graces of Connection and Inspiration into our written copy.
- PART 2: Tips for Writing Clear, Inviting and Ethical Marketing Copy – where we looked at how to bring the Graces of Invitation and Directness into our written copy.
- PART 3: A Case for Transparency – Ditching the Formulaic Sales Page – where (as the title suggests) we looked at how to bring the Grace of Transparency into our written copy.
TODAY, we’ll be exploring the next of the 7 Graces – the Grace of Abundance – and see how it can bring balance and sustainability to our online marketing copy.
A Deeper Look at the Concept of ‘ABUNDANCE’
Like the word ‘transparency’, which we discussed last time, the word ‘abundance’ has been an online buzz word for the past decade, and is especially used by businesses that appeal to the ‘positive thinking’ and mind-body-spirit audiences. Many (if not most) of these businesses use the word ‘abundance’ to mean the possession of financial wealth, and they tend to offer books, films and coaching/consultancy services that promise to help people overcome their mental and emotional limitations towards this kind of prosperity.
But what I find interesting is that, at its etymological roots, the word ‘abundance’ has nothing specifically to do with financial prosperity:
- The origins of the word come from the Latin verb ‘abundare’ which means ‘to overflow; to abound; to have in large measure’.
- The word abundare is further derived from the Latin word undare which means ‘to flow; to surge; to flood; to rise in waves’.
- Ultimately, all these words come from the Latin name ‘unda’, which means ‘wave’. 1
When I read this, I could see immediately how our English word ‘abundant’ is cognate with the word ‘inundate’. Thus, literally speaking, to be ‘abundant’ means to be flooded and surging with something. It is less about possessions than it is about an energetic state. Abundance is dynamic. It does not mean a state of wealth but a state of flow.
Understanding the Grace of Abundance
I believe this etymological explanation of the word ‘abundance’ opens up an entirely different perspective for us as marketers, business owners as a human beings in general. Surely ‘abundance’ does, in part, have to do with money, but it also has to do with love, friends, family, support, health, happiness, growth, fun, a sense of self-worth and achievement, and all the other things that make it worth being alive.
The old symbol of the cornucopia, which depicts an overflowing harvest, encapsulates all of these live-giving elements. It also symbolises the flow of Abundance: we sow the seeds and reap abundance in flow with the seasons. Within this beautiful symbol is the promise of Time in which we are told that there is indeed enough – more than enough – for all when we live in harmony, flow and balance. This brings us a vibrant, new definition for Abundance in the modern world:
Abundance is the fundamental belief that there is more than enough for all when we live in harmony and balance with the natural flow and rhythm of the World.
How Scarcity Marketing is Unsustainable
As marketers, we need to decide which ‘lens’ we wish to use when creating marketing copy: Scarcity or Abundance.
If Abundance is all about flow, Scarcity is the antithesis of that flow. It shuts energy down. If you see the world through a lens of ‘scarcity’, you will believe you need to compete against everyone else for see a finite number of customers. Working from this perspective, you will inevitably bring scarcity into your marketing. Common scarcity tactics in online marketing copy is the use of urgency and limitation, intended to create anxiety in our prospects that leads to impulse buying. One cliché strategy I see on SO many Internet sales pages is where they show a clock ticking down saying you can get this product for 90% off IF you buy before time runs out (often giving you only 2 – 3 minutes to decide). I can only assume if visited the same page from a different IP address it would show me the exact same thing. There IS no ‘deadline’ or urgency; it’s all a manipulation created by the illusion of scarcity.
Online marketers seem to be convinced that scarcity marketing works because it generates sales. But scarcity marketing can NEVER result in sustainable flow of prosperity of any kind, financial or otherwise, because it is by nature the opposite of flow. Scarcity marketing is like using genetically modified (GM) rice seeds to grow rice. The GM seeds can produce a crop really quickly, but the rice it produces will be seriously lacking in nutrients AND it won’t be able to produce seed for the next crop.
Similarly, when we use scarcity marketing, your strategies might appear to be successful in generating quick sales, in the long term, your audience will wake up and will be unlikely to buy from you again. It’s a case of ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’ Eventually, you WILL lose your customers if you repeatedly try to manipulate them through scarcity marketing. This means you’ll be constantly on the hunt for new ones. So, just like the GM rice crop, scarcity marketing is unsustainable. It requires that you continually create new ‘crops’ because the old crops don’t generate any new business for you.
Scarcity marketing is also inefficient in that it requires a far higher degree of energy put into it than you receive in return. Many online marketers accept an overall conversion rate of 2% for their sales pages to be pretty good. To me, that sounds about as sensible as over-indulging on high-calorie, processed junk food comprised of 98% unhealthy garbage, just so that your body can extract the scanty 2% that is usable nutrition (leaving you seriously undernourished). In this same way, scarcity marketing is an inefficient use of your marketing energy, leaving your business undernourished even if it appears to be making sales.
The Cosmology of Abundance
While I believe the Grace of Abundance is the ‘remedy’ for scarcity marketing, it is not something most of us can step into without some significant internal ‘rewiring’. Mastering the Grace of Abundance requires a shift in our fundamental belief system. Abundance is not something we ‘have’ or ‘do’ but something we ‘see’.
When we see the World through the eyes of Scarcity, we will always try to manipulate the balance towards what we mistakenly believe is in our favour. But while our efforts to tip this balance might work in the short time, ultimately we’ll end up losing. This is because the natural law of the World will always rebalance its resources over time (it’s just basic physics). The more we believe in Scarcity, the more desperate we become to try to control the outcome when it no longer seems to work for us. The more desperate we become, the more we will bring Scarcity into our marketing (consciously or not), and the whole cycle keeps spinning around and around. Thus, our belief in Scarcity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Conversely, when we genuinely see the World through the eyes of Abundance, we will always be able to see the bigger picture. We see that the Universe is a balanced system of resources, and that all those resources are by nature flowing from one organism and one state to the next. We will see the ebb and flow of time and season, and how prosperity – which includes money but is not limited to it – is continually shifting and redistributing itself for the balance of the greater Whole (society, planet, etc.). Through these eyes, the idea of ‘scarcity’ simply doesn’t exist.
Please read that last statement carefully. This is not an empty, ‘wishful’ thought, but a fundamental and holistic shift in our world-view.
Bringing the Grace of ABUNDANCE into Your Marketing Copy
At this point, some of you might be asking, ‘Well, if scarcity simply doesn’t exit, why should we bother with marketing at all? Won’t the same amount of customers come to me whether or not I do marketing?’
It sounds like a logical question, but remember that Abundance is about flow. Just as scarcity marketing shuts down the flow by trying to trap and control the energetic exchange between marketer and potential customer, failing to exchange any energy with your audience also stops the flow.
Just as the currency of money is an energy exchange, so is marketing (or at least it should be). In marketing, we are exchanging energy through our communication — our words, our images, our voice, our values, etc. IF the energy of the communication resonates with our audience, they will come to check us out. If they keep resonating after they get to know more about us and our products and/or services, they will buy from us. That is the flow we aim to achieve.
While the ethos of Abundance is a topic I could write about for days, I’d rather invite you to explore this idea on your own for now, and get back to looking at how we can bring the sustainable practice of Grace of Abundance into our marketing copy, and our marketing in general. Here are some ideas.
- Distribute Your Own Abundance. I’m not talking about giving away money here, but about distributing your wisdom and information. Instead of focusing on sales pages and conversion rates, focus on creating lots and lots of free online content for your audience. This could be in the form of articles, videos or short audio classes. Like nutritious food nourishes the body, an abundance of ‘nutritious’ content ‘feeds’ and nourishes your audience and keeps them coming back to your website. While many use these materials solely for the purpose of ‘upselling’ to a paid product, there is great value in creating content that does not involve any kind of selling. While your audience might not be exchanging the energy of money with you now, by nourishing them, you are building a strong body of potential energy for possible future business.
- Know and SHOW that You Are Unlimitedly Abundant. Many people worry they will run out of ideas for content creation. But whenever I work with a client, it’s amazing to see how easily and fluidly they will come up with an Abundance of ideas for content creation once we manage to get them into their own ‘flow’. Sometimes, we come up with 6 months or more worth of content ideas in about 15 minutes. Knowing that you can tap into this reserve of creative energy any time you want is tremendously empowering; moreover, it is really useful to your marketing at a practical level. Google loves you when you are continuously replenishing content on your website. Your site will appear in search engines more easily and effortlessly; your Alexa rankings go up. Furthermore, as your content evolves, so does your status in the minds of your audience, who see you as ‘abundantly’ expert, reliable and consistent.
- Know that Abundance comes with balance. Abundant marketing requires that we turn the idea of sales and conversion on its head. I have personally experienced that when our marketing strategy is 99.5% focussed on content creation and development, we can ditch just about all of our sales pages (and the resultant onslaught of auto-responders that go along with them). While the occasional (non-scarcity driven) sales page is OK, for the most part we can simply include information about our products and services at the end of our info content. Sales might not come right away as you might expect from a loud, flashy sales page. But remember that quick sales also lead to quick unsubscribes and high numbers of refund requests. Abundance marketing is all about the balance: feed your audience and they will feed you. Simple.
- Give an Abundance of space to your audience. It should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that if we do away with most of our sales pages and we follow the guidelines I mentioned in Part 3 of this series (A Case for Transparency – Ditching the Formulaic Sales Page), that we will no longer be engaged in using high-pressure tactics to ‘capture’ leads and ‘convert’ sales. Instead, we will create copy that focuses upon giving our audience adequate information and the space to choose. Remember, Abundance is about flow and movement. If you resort to any kind of strategy that aims to compress that flow by cramping your audience’s ability to choose, you are effectively decreasing long-term Abundance.
Last time I said that the Grace of Transparency is where the marketing paradigm really shifts. But the Grace of Abundance holds an even greater promise AND challenge for us. This is because it entails a global shift in world-view AND economic science. Yes, Abundance starts with each one of us; but ultimately it is part of a profound sociological evolution as significant as the invention of the printing press or telescope.
To bring the flow of Grace of Abundance into the world of business and marketing requires us to step into an entirely different cosmology, and abandon the assumption upon which our current economic philosophies were founded – that there is a limited amount of resources for an unlimited amounted of needs and desires.2 So long as we operate from this limiting assumption, we cannot create a new economic paradigm. Shifting away from this belief, and towards the cosmology of Abundance, is the biggest challenge we, as a society, have yet to face.
Like all ideologies, it takes time – perhaps generations – for the world to embrace them as ‘true’. I have no idea whether or not I will live long enough to see that happen, but I feel truly honoured that I have at least been able to see the first rays of this new and glorious dawn.
Coming up next time…
If you’re interested to explore the Grace of Abundance further, you might wish to read some of my previous articles on this site, especially 10 Layers of Abundance – Re-evaluating Prosperity.
Next time in Part 5 of this 6-part series, we’ll explore the Grace of Collaboration (as opposed to the ‘Deadly Sin of Competition’) in our marketing copy. Finally, in Part 6 we’ll round off this series with some of my top writing tips on how to construct your marketing copy from a practical level.
I do hope you’ll subscribe to the 7 Graces blog so you can be sure you’ll receive the entire series. And do have a browse around the site and leave a comment before you go.
And lastly, if you’re looking for help in writing marketing copy for your ethical business or non-fiction book, drop us a line via the contact form on this site.
2nd November 2013
- Abundant. My Etymology Website. Accessed 2 November 2013 from http://www.myetymology.com/english/abundant.html
- Serafinn, Lynn. 2011. The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell. London: Humanity 1 Press, pp 215-217. http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/book
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing.
Brit Writers Awards Finalist
eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically, by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media.
eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)