The Secret to Effectiveness in Marketing

marketing clipboard
Written by davearnold

marketing clipboard

This is a guest post by by Pastor Dave Arnold, founder of Reflections From The Alley.

As a Christian, I use to struggle with the whole idea of marketing. I believed that marketing was a deceptive tool to persuade people to buy a product or join a cause.

We’ve all seen those people in the mall or downtown or wherever with clip-boards in hand. And what do we usually do when they come toward us? Turn the other way or ignore them.

However, marketing in and of itself is not a bad thing. It all depends on the motives behind it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to promote your voice – your product, blog, book, podcast, art, or sermon-series.

The key is: What is your motive?

I believe the secret to effectiveness in marketing is found in one word:


Michael Hyatt, a devout Christian and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, says, “Tribe-building is the new marketing. Marketing is no longer about shouting in a crowded marketplace; it is about participating in a dialogue with fellow travelers… it is about serving those who share your passion” (from the book, Platform).

This is the principle Jesus taught: It’s better to give then to receive (Acts 20:35).

Because of social media, it’s not only a great time to promote your business, ministry, or dream; it’s also a great time to practice the biblical principle of generosity.

How do you do this? Consider this:

Give stuff away. If you are writing a book or devotional or trying to sell a product, give something away. It could be a chapter, an eBook, a free trial of your product, etc. Social media experts say one of the best ways to grow your “tribe” is to give stuff away. Let people see your generosity and they’ll be more likely to promote you.

• Ask the question: “How can I help you?” or “How can I bless you?” If you use Twitter, for example, a great way to grow your followers is by asking how you can enhance them. You can do this with Facebook, too or through your website.

Send an encouraging message to one person per day. You could do this through writing a comment on a blog you follow, or on Facebook or Twitter. An example of this is an email I get periodically. All it says is, “Thanks for your ministry.” I’ve never met this person, nor do I know what he looks like. But every time I get his email, I’m so encouraged.

The principle behind these suggestions is the idea of promoting others more than yourselves. “In humility consider others better than yourselves,” Paul says (Philippians 2:3).

What people are looking for is authenticity. They want a relationship, not just a product. One of the best ways to share your “voice” is through generosity and learning to serve.

Social media is a great tool in which we can do this! So let’s use this tool to enhance other people and let our light shine before all men (Matthew 5:16).

In what ways do you use social media to bless others? What is one thing you can do this week to practice generosity in your networks?


About the author


I've been involved in pastoral ministry and church planting for the last fourteen years. Currently, I lead Reflections From The Alley, an organization that seeks to help the church reach out to the broken, the poor, and refugees. I am also a blogger and writer. My first book, "Pilgrims of the Alley: Living Out Faith in Displacement" comes out in the Winter or Spring of 2013.


  • Hey Dave, I completely agree – generosity is the best approach to marketing. And you've demonstrated that here by generously giving of your time and wisdom in this guest post. Thanks!

    Some other ways I've tried to be generous online include:

    – listening to my friends/followers & responding to them
    – retweeting/sharing other people's content
    – allowing people to republish content from our blog at no cost (with permission)
    – donating to support missions trips and other causes
    – blogging to help with book launches

    Looking forward to seeing other generosity ideas people post.

    • Thanks, Paul! I appreciate you giving me this opportunity to guest post. I really enjoy this site and the posts on it. Thanks for sharing how you've demonstrated practicing generosity. Blessings to you!

  • I'd say you and Paul both captured a servants heart in offering these practical suggestions.
    Digital generosity is another way Christians reflect the character of Christ online.

    Here's a version of the ABCs of digital generosity written about a year ago – wrapped in more biblical truth:

    You can tell I am passionate about of this particular conversation.

    Well done Pastor Dave, thanks for highlighting God's plan in this space and place.

    Blessings to you!

    • Thanks, Tami. I read your post, too. Great job. I really think you nailed it when it come to how we can bless people and show up and be others-centered in our digital age. I was very encouraged. Thanks for your kind words.

  • Marketing is one thing that I’ve never really excelled at, and when I was assigned the task of promoting and marketing for our Bible study program, I was totally overwhelmed, so I turned to the obvious resource: the Internet. I’m so glad I came across your blog post—you have taught me a lot that I know will help my own marketing endeavors.

  • Hi Margo. Thanks for your kind words. I'm so glad you came across this blog post. I too was so overwhelmed by marketing. But when I began to see it as a tool the Lord could use, I embraced it. It's the world we live in. I hope the Bible study program goes well for you. Feel free to contact me and let me know. God bless!

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