Stop it with the self-promotion: put your customers first

Don't sell with your content marketing

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about marketing over the years it is this. As proud as you may be of your company / product / service, you should know that your customers or clients are definitely not as interested as you are. Their only concern is how well you can help them to meet their challenges and needs. If you want more of them to buy from you, your focus HAS to be on them, not on you.

Obsessive self-orientation is a mistake that many businesses make with their websites. They are convinced that the purpose of their site, of their marketing is to continuously talk about how fantastic their company is. This is the belief that the louder you shout, the better ‘image’ you put across and the more sales you will get: ‘Megaphone Marketing’ if you like.

“Don’t be egotistical. Nobody cares about your products and services (except you). What people care about are themselves and solving their problems.”

David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR

Yes of course the purpose of marketing is help to you to win more business, but if you want your messages to be welcomed rather than seen as an irritation then shift your focus. Make every marketing communication primarily of benefit to the people who receive it and secondarily of benefit to you and your business. It’s not rocket science; it’s a simple awareness of human nature. And it will make all the difference to your marketing.

Mel Lester puts his customers first in his marketing

Last year’s winner of the golden Valuable Content Award, practice management consultant Mel Lester demonstrates this customer-focused attitude perfectly. His desire is to create content that serves his clients and he leads his website with a strong promise:

“Mel Lester is pleased to offer this website as a valuable source of ‘how-to-get-things-done’ information and tools. I set out with an ambitious goal: to create the best Internet resource for helping managers of architectural, engineering, and environmental consulting firms succeed, both corporately and personally.”

Taken from the home page of

Mel’s statement demonstrates all the valuable attributes to aspire to. His content is helpful and focused (more Magnet then Megaphone), his goal clear and compelling. He has committed to content excellence and is evidently sincere in his desire to help. He focuses on the customer first and it gets results: by not selling so hard he elicits more sales.

If you are going to succeed with your marketing put your customer first, like Mel.

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  1. Vaughan Merlyn

    This is probably the most valuable blog post I’ve read this year! (Maybe, several years!) You are reminding us of what we probably know intellectually, but still fall into the trap of an ego-centric rather than customer-centric perspective. I know I’ve fallen into the trap! Your post has me re-thinking how I present myself and company – thank you for that. Valuable Content indeed!

  2. Sonja Jefferson

    Hello Vaughan, and thank you. Client-focused rather than me-focused – it’s so fundamental and so simple, yet hard to achieve. I’d love it if we could turn business communications around. Hope all is good for you. Sonja


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