Does conventional marketing ever leave you feeling a little gross? Entrepreneurs are often told to use shame, pain points, urgency, and FOMO to make sales. Trauma informed marketing offers a different approach that doesn’t rely on triggering techniques to connect with audiences. In this post, we review some of the principles of trauma informed marketing and two concrete shifts that entrepreneurs can make towards more ethical marketing.
What is trauma informed marketing?
Trauma informed marketing takes its foundational principles from the field of trauma-informed care in healthcare. The idea is the impacts of trauma can be lifelong, so healthcare practitioners should avoid retraumatizing patients. Trauma-informed care considers how the nervous system can affect almost any area of a person’s life. The approach emphasizes avoiding blame or judgment in order to see people as individuals with unique dispositions, histories, and needs.
The principles of trauma-informed care, including safety, trust, and choice, have begun making their way into many industries. When we were high school educators, we learned about similar frameworks in the context of working with students. Now some entrepreneurs are seeing the value of trauma informed marketing for running more ethical businesses.
A trauma-informed framework has several implications for marketing. It avoids shame and false urgency. Shame is such a common tactic in marketing that it feels natural for many entrepreneurs. How many Reels have you seen titled “5 Things You Should Stop Doing” or “This is why you can’t close sales”? It activates people’s nervous systems. It’s effective, but trauma informed marketing offers us a different path.
So far, this definition has been pretty abstract. Let’s take a look at two shifts entrepreneurs can make towards more trauma informed marketing.
Shift 1: Acknowledge nuance over making assumptions.
The human experience is so diverse that we often can’t say one way of doing something is right for all people all the time. We also can’t assume we know everything about the lives of people who encounter our content. Most of us don’t even know that much about our next door neighbors let alone strangers who find us on their FYP. For this reason, we’re careful about using words like “need.”
Example: The blog title “5 Reasons You Need a Wedding Party” can be rephrased as “5 Reasons You Might Love a Wedding Party.”
Reason this works: You go from potentially making people feel bad for something they haven’t decided on to inviting them to explore the joys of having their close humans supporting them on their wedding day.
Shift 2: Focus on the positive over pain points.
Service providers don’t need to trigger people’s trauma or shame to sell. I know this is contrary to most conventional marketing advice, but it’s true. Think of it this way: We can focus on what we can do for our clients as opposed to what they’re afraid of.
Example: In website copy, “I can wrangle your rowdy guests” becomes “Here are the ways I can support you in having a calm photo session.”
Reason this works: You’re not preying on people’s worst fears about their wedding day. Instead, you’re showing them the wonderful possibilities of working with you.
Are you looking for help shifting to trauma informed marketing and sales? At Brandcendent, we provided SEO-driven copywriting services as well as business coaching for ethical entrepreneurs. Reach out to learn how we can help you!