A colleague asked why I qualify “marketing” with “authentic” — what do I mean by authentic marketing?
In all ways, authentic marketing is about not pretending.
To be truthful about where we are in our journey, instead of suggesting that we are farther along, to try to impress. Or in our content, pretending that we are more polished than we usually are when we're with clients.
Let’s apply this at 2 levels:
Maybe you’ve had this experience:
A program / service / product is sold as being life changing — it will make you a 7-figure income, bring you true and lasting love, or you’ll live healthy forever.
It sounds so good, why not just try it, right?
You buy it, and after trying it out, you realize you’ve been duped again.
(Or maybe you forgot those promises, because you’re already onto the next shiny new object!)
Selling by using hype is tempting for marketers because it works.
Good-hearted people are easily tricked by marketing. It’s only after multiple disappointing experiences (sometimes losing a lot of money) does someone become a skeptical buyer.
Hype-selling works in the short-term, so marketers keep using it, unaware (or not caring) about the negative effect it has on their own long-term brand loyalty, or lack thereof.
As authentic marketers, we care about the long-term, because our conscience, our heart, our soul, won’t let us do otherwise.
It “feels” off to lie. It’s contrary to our higher values, so we feel bad when we do it. Telling the truth is the most sustainable marketing strategy, for our inner life, as well as for our business long-term.
The challenge is that it takes more courage initially to tell the truth. But eventually, buyers/clients will see that we are different. They will share us with others.
How to do authentic selling?
In short, authentic selling is about telling the truth, and truly caring for the prospective client. They will be able to feel it.
When it comes to our content, “fake it ’til you make it” is terrible advice.
In our photos and videos, are we trying to look polished? To seem more successful than we actually are?
Here's a simple, good rule: Be as you would be with an ideal client.
If someone is an ideal client, they don’t need you to posture in any way. They accept you as you are, and you don't need to look like you’ve got everything together. They hope you’ll be comfortable as you work with them, so that you can effectively express your unique genius. They like everything you do naturally — because they are an ideal client!
Imagine that person when you make content. Make your content for them.
Be comfortable, so that your real voice and genius can be expressed.
Be Your Best Authentic Self
To be authentically yourself is not as simple as it seems, especially in business.
Sometimes, you are authentically negative: angry, sad, fearful, desperate, etc.
Other times — usually when you’ve gotten enough sleep, are well-fed, and feeling loved — you are authentically courageous, naturally brilliant in your own unique way, and genuinely caring.
This is the kind of authenticity I hope you will bring into your business and marketing: your best authentic self.
Therefore it is your responsibility, and opportunity, to practice self-care everyday, in as many moments of each day as needed, so that you can be authentically your strongest, kindest self in business and marketing.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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