What Does Trusting God with Marketing Look Like?

'Signs on the former Megabowl, Pershore Street, Birmingham - Wimpy - sign' photo (c) 2010, Elliott Brown - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I have a confession to make.

I’ve always been a wimp when it comes to trusting God with marketing.

You probably are, too. Most of us suffer from this illness. We sit back and say:

I trust God to grow my ministry.

How is that wimpy, you say? Well, let me illustrate by telling you a story.

I started my main marriage and parenting blog in March of 2008. I decided it was time to get on the blogging bandwagon if I wanted to build a platform for my writing in the area of marriage. And so I began to blog. Pretty soon I was getting around 200 readers a day. But then, about two years into blogging, I hit 400 readers a day. And I couldn’t budge it. Occasionally I’d get a big surge where I hit 700 readers, but that was it.

At the beginning of November, I attended a marketing conference with my agent. I asked, “how many readers do publishers want for a blog? What should our traffic be if we want our blog to be considered a good platform?” And the answer came back, “1000 a day. Or 30,000 a month.

30,000 a month? That was huge! I was excited when I hit 12,000. And I had a book coming out in March (The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex). I wanted to get up to that point by March. But how could I do that? That’s more than doubling my traffic in just three months, when I had spent years trying to get my traffic going. I had guest posted. I had left comments at other people’s blogs. I had participated in link ups. And nothing.

But I decided to try something radical. I decided to pray for actual numbers. So I said,

God, I need 30,000 people by the end of February. I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but I pray that you will bring me that traffic.

In December I was discovered by reddit, a bookmarking site. I had 60,000 visitors in December.

But that was a fluke, I thought. I’ll never hit anything like that again!

Here’s my traffic since then:

Now, if you’re trying to simply get speaking engagements, you absolutely do not need 1000 people on your website a day. I needed it because I was trying to build a platform to sell a book, and that’s something different.

But here’s what I learned, and this is what I really want to impress on people: Sometimes we mistake the wimpy for the godly.

For instance, which is more godly to say?

I put my marketing entirely in your hands, God. I know you have my ministry in Your hands, and so I trust you.

Or,

God, I believe you have brought me to this place. I believe that You want me to grow my ministry. So I pray that you will bring people to me, and that you will give me opportunities to reach more and more. I pray that I will have (3 retreats this year, 2 paying engagements, a book contract, whatever it may be for you), and if that’s not Your will, reveal it to me soon, because I want to spend the time that you have given me in the best way for Your kingdom.

You see, I prayed the first prayer for years. But what I was really doing was giving God an out. I was saying, “If you want me to grow, I will, but if You don’t, I won’t.” It wasn’t a prayer of faith; it was a cop out.

And when we pray like that, I think we’re less likely to actively market ourselves, because we figure that God should do it for us. And if God doesn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be. But what if it was meant to be, but God needed you to wrestle through, and trust Him, and step forward?

I think it demonstrates far more trust in God if we step forward in faith in our ministry, believing that God has brought us to this point, than if we hide in the back, and say, “God will make it happen if He wants it to.”

This is not a “name it and claim it” thing I mean, because I don’t believe in “name it and claim it”. But I do believe that if God has called you to something, He wants you to do it. He wants you to be a full participant. He wants you to believe in that calling. And if He hasn’t called you, then it’s good to wrestle that through and figure that out anyway.

Lately I’ve been so busy with the release of my book that I haven’t posted very much, and I’m sorry about that. I’m hoping to get back to things soon. But I thought that I would leave you with these things that have been spilling around my head, and ask you: what do you think? What does trusting God with marketing mean to you?

 

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