Online Marketing: It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For

Dan Stone from Study Breaks, a college experience magazine distributed on campuses nationwide, shared this wonderful video with me from Roy Spence , the author of It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For. It’s about 45 minutes long. It’s a must watch for any entrepreneur.

In the video, Roy talks about purpose, a higher purpose. From a business standpoint, purpose is the difference you are trying to make in your customers’ lives. Aristotle defined purpose as the intersection between your talents and the needs of the world…an amazing business principle that we all need to consider.

So often as HVAC contractors, we think about selling new things to new customers and more things to current customers. But are we making a difference? Do we stand for something?

This isn’t just about a cultural shift in your organization or how we live our lives in general. Understanding what your purpose is can drive your entire online marketing strategy. Yes, online marketing.

Here’s why.

Whether you are talking about internet entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk or big brands like Southwest Airlines , their success is not about their product, it’s about having purpose. It’s about standing for something. Gary sells wine, but his purpose is to help his followers understand the wine experience. Southwest isn’t about plane rides, it’s about freedom.

Let me give you an HVAC example.

Most HVAC contractors offer heating and air conditioning services; some are commercial, some residential, some offer both. Some HVAC contractors focus on service maintenance agreements, some don’t; some have a picture of a warm house on their websites, some have a dog. The list goes on.

Those companies that are truly successful online, focus on standing for something and making a real difference in their customers’ lives. What’s better, being a provider of heating and air conditioning solutions or providing home comfort tools and techniques so that customers can live happy, healthier lives? This plays out in online marketing.

If you’re mission is to offer the best HVAC products and service, then you probably have a lot of information about your products and services on your website. That’s fine, but online, people search for problems and share solutions. That means it takes a ton of work to be found online and people may not always share your information (because customers care about themselves, not about you). If your mission is to provide comfort tools and techniques so your customers can live happy, healthy lives, then create information that solves your customers’ pain points. You develop online content that helps people sleep better at night. You become the trusted expert. Your information is shared on Facebook and Twitter because it’s that good. It’s purposeful.

Before you figure out whether to use Facebook, Twitter, or do that website redesign, figure out what your story is and whether you have a true purpose that will drive your online marketing. Those with purpose will find that marketing on the web is substantially easier then if you are just product and service oriented. What do you stand for?

Joe Pulizzi is CEO of SocialTract , a blogging/social media service for HVACR contractors. Joe is also co-author of Get Content Get Customers, which details how companies can publish content to drive revenues. SocialTract is a division of Z Squared Media, LLC . Joe can be reached at [email protected] . For speaking needs -

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