How to WOW Your Customers with a SERVE FIRST Approach

I used to manage a tennis club.  

And so when I first saw Pat Flynn wearing this shirt, I just had to have it.  

jackie ellis and pat flynn

It’s a great motto for life and business.  (And the double entendre was perfect for tennis...get it?)

Wearing it reminds me of the true purpose of our businesses.  To help people solve a problem, to teach, to inspire, to motivate, to create impact.  But most of all to SERVE.


To me, it’s obvious when a business doesn’t have a SERVE FIRST approach.  You can feel it.  They’re pushy. Salesy. Always asking for something, but not big on GIVING.


There’s a great example sitting in my inbox right now (though I’d love to, I won’t share the name of the business).  A long time ago, I took their certification course.  And now I get a biweekly email from them.  


Every single email they send me is promoting an upcoming webinar they have.  It would be one thing if the webinar was free and closely related to the certification I took. But the webinars always cost moo-lah and are usually topics I don’t even give a rip about.  I never feel like there is value for me in those emails.  It’s just about what’s in it for them (my $$).


And as a result, they lose me as a subscriber. And as a customer.


Now let’s think about this in your own business.  What kind of content are you putting out into the universe?  Is it all promotional or asking for a sale?


Could you do a better job of delivering value, not just promotion?

My guess is HECK YEAH you could.  We all could.


I know, I know.  Sometimes you have an upcoming event or service and you realize that you need to start promoting it immediately.  So you hop on social media and start sharing the dates and sign-up links.  And you send out an email blast with more of the same.


Maybe your followers and subscribers feel the same way I do about those stupid (not free) webinar emails I get all the time.


It’s like that friend or relative that calls only when they need something.  *Don’t be that person.*

So let’s talk about how to fix that.


The First Impression


Your first impression is made through the content you’re sharing on social media.  Keep in mind this audience doesn’t know who the heck ya are.


You might only get ONE shot at it so you want to make a bangin’ first impression.   So you want your content to be really good.   Valuable.  Actionable. A sampling of what people will get if  they work with you.  (And I’m not just talking about one piece of content. I’m talking about every piece of content.)


Does it have to be PERFECT? Heck no.


In fact, real is better than perfect.  Authentic is what people want.  They want to see YOU. Your flaws (yes, scary, I know!) and your personality.  Be true to you.  Don’t try to be perfect.


This is the hardest part for most people.  Creating good content.  I’ll be honest - you’ll have to get creative.  


And I’ll give you a really great example of the most creative marketer I know: Jenna Kutcher.  (When I say “know,” I actually mean stalk online)


Jenna is part photographer, part online marketing educator and part genius.  She sells online courses and has a podcast.  And her content is the forking* bomb.

* I’m trying to give up swearing for 2018.


Jenna’s free content goes above and beyond what I’ve seen any other entrepreneur do.  She creates the best freebies for entrepreneurs: top Instagram apps she uses, email templates, list growth tips, a quiz to find out what kind of business personality you have, and more.  She also shares openly about her life, behind the scenes struggles, and inspiration.  She takes the most interesting spins on content creation.  You’ll never be bored with her content because she’s so creative.  It’s never just “how to take a picture” or “how to send an email.”  She thinks outside the box.  She always SERVES FIRST.  And you need to, too!


(If you haven’t seen Jenna’s stuff, you can check her out at or on Instagram @jennakutcher or @golddiggerpodcast.)


This is the type of content that will get someone to follow you, engage with you or join your email list (usually by opting into a freebie that provides even more value!).


What To Do Next

Congratulations!  You got someone’s attention.  What do you do next?

This is where entrepreneurs make the biggest mistake with their marketing.  


Let me ask you this:

Once someone’s a follower or on your email list, you have permission to sell to them whatever and whenever you want, right?  

No forking way!


You need to continue to build a relationship with your followers and subscribers.  They want more from you. (That might sound exhausting. But it’s a good problem to have.  Read: they want MORE from you.)

How much do they want? What do you give them? Great questions, folks.


I’m a numbers kind of gal so I’ve always thought about it like this - GIVE at least 75% of the time. Ask less than 25%.  


That means that for every promotion or offer you want to make, you should GIVE VALUE to them 3 times first.  


What the heck should you give them?

Here are a few content ideas to get your juices flowing:

  • Share a case study
  • Give a peek behind the scenes
  • Introduce a team member
  • Interview a client of the month
  • Share a testimonial
  • Share a community event (not your own) that you’re participating in
  • Repost content that was popular
  • Bust a myth
  • Share a TBT
  • Share a “snippet” of your paid content


Keep It Simple

I know all of this can feel completely overwhelming. Here you are hustling to run your business and the last thing you need is some chick telling you that you need to do MORE.  To create more things. To give away more for free.  


But it doesn’t have to be a ton of work.  So before you start pulling your hair out trying to do it all, think about how you can keep it simple and save time.


Use content you’ve already created.  Have you written a blog post or an article that you could repurpose and share? You don’t have to create from scratch! Use what you have!


 If you’re just getting started, just come up with 4 pieces of content (3 gives and 1 ask) and post each one weekly for a month.  That’s it! That’s a month’s worth of content.


Batch it.  Get your 4 pieces of content together all at once: images, captions, hashtags, etc.  This will help you think ahead and save time!


Have questions?  Head over to my FB Live video called SERVE FIRST and leave a comment.




Jackie EllisComment