I'd read about helping others first in order to do well myself, and I'd thought about ways it might take shape. In some ways, I've tried it, too, through writing articles that promoted friends and their products. However, my newest idea is possibly my best chance to help others on a massive scale that still allows my own advertising to come through. Maybe this is the Holy Grail to marketing that I have yet to use, or maybe it's just another misuse of my time, but my plan is to help Lutheran Radio Church Service get links while Luthernet Web Design gets some exposure.
Yes, I have tried email and snail mail to get churches to recognize me as the best Lutheran website builder on the planet, but that has not gotten me as far as I would like. I believe this is because most email and letters are seen as ads for something that costs money and is not necessary. I realize my potential clients are weary of email marketing, spam, and scams. I know most of them have been ripped off by dishonest web designers in the past. I know people WANT to be able to just find me when they need me rather than having to deal with me when I send out a message. The problem is that the big, dishonest, frustrating companies are the ones they end up finding in searches, so I do have to keep working. However, there might be a better way involving one of me current clients.
Lutheran Radio Church Service offers half-hour Lutheran radio services weekly. But the services are also archived online. These are LCMS and WELS services meant for people who are traveling, shut-in, or maybe looking for some enrichment. These services are not meant to compete with regular church, which means I can confidently promote them to all LCMS and WELS churches. Like the links many of these congregations add for the official Lutheran radio programs, this one can be put on any number of webpages in order to provide a resource to church members.
So my plan is to promote Lutheran Radio Church Service instead of Luthernet. No, I'm not getting paid to do it. The point is simply to help somoene else more than myself. The possibility exists that more links to the website will create curiosity as to who designed it, and I do put a short plug in the email I send, but I am not targeting churches in need of my services at all. In fact, lrcsonline.org will benefit more from links thrown on the best websites with the most viewers, and that's fine with me. Someone might see my design link on the bottom, but even if I just get more people to avoid skipping a service because they're online, that's enough for me.
However, I am honestly hoping that my approach of helping others first will eventually lead to opportunities for me, whether through building more websites or just as a proof of my character in a job interview after I have to give up trying to run my own business. I know, there are some business majors out there rolling their eyes at this article. The other church website builders are laughing on their way to the bank. Even Lisa looked at me and asked if I should really use my time to help another organization. I hope the answer is yes. I hope LCMS and WELS churches see me as a good person who wants my clients to do well. But even if no one else sees it as a correct path to doing business, I have faith God sees it that way, so I will continue to use my talents to help others.
After one day and 150 emails, I have received one response, and it was from someone who seemed to think I might be selling something through the lrcsonline website. Like memberships. Nope, it's all free.